films seen
16
average score
4.09*
nationality
Japan - 56 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

One of Japan's hidden gems. Tanaka's work is quirky, stylish and refined, with a strong focus on atmosphere and rhythm, not so much on structure and plot. His oeuvre has little to no weak entries, which is quite unique.

Beyond exceptional

Blessing Bell

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Also known as
Kofuku no Kane
Specifics
Japan [2002] - 87m
Genre
Comedy, Drama
More info on
rating
5.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Blessing Bell poster

Tanaka's gentle and loving approach and Terajima's superb portrayal of his character take you along on an amazing trip, full of endearing, funny and warm moments.

Rare treats

Monday

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Specifics
Japan [2000] - 100m
Genre
Comedy
More info on
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
Monday poster

The film consists of nothing but memorable scenes, contains some genuinely laugh out loud funny moments and slaps on a stylish finish to make the package complete

Miss Zombie

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Specifics
Japan [2013] - 85m
Genre
Drama, Horror
More info on
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
Miss Zombie poster

It's certain to disappoint a few zombie fanatics who end up watching this without knowing what to expect, but people who've grown tired of the grovelling undead may find a welcome reboot of the genre.

Chasuke's Journey

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Also known as
Ten no Chasuke
Specifics
Japan [2015] - 106m
Genre
Comedy, Drama
More info on
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
Chasuke's Journey poster

It seems Tanaka is back where he belongs, after going through some rougher patches in the late 00's. Chasuke's Journey is visually stunning, well acted, original and most of all unique.

Bunny Drop

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Also known as
Usagi Drop
Specifics
Japan [2011] - 113m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
Bunny Drop poster

Bunny Drop is a lovely film with lots to smile about. Wonderfully acted, creatively visualized and aptly scored, you can't really go wrong with this one.

Postman Blues

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Also known as
Posutoman Burusu
Specifics
Japan [1997] - 110m
Genre
Comedy, Drama
More info on
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
Postman Blues poster

It was more than 10 years since I first watched this film and so I wasn't quite sure if it would still hold up after all this time.

The good stuff

Jam

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Specifics
Japan [2018] - 102m
Genre
Comedy, Crime
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Jam poster

An oldskool Tanaka. Different stories intersect to tell a bigger plot, some scenes have a tendency to venture off into a direction of their own and there's an underlying layer of dark comedy that keeps things interesting. It's not Tanaka's best film, but he's so skilled that he can make a film like this extremely entertaining without having to make a real effort. Good fun.

The Crab Cannery Ship

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Also known as
Kanikosen
Specifics
Japan [2009] - 109m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
The Crab Cannery Ship poster

Kanikosen is a solid come-back for Tanaka. Visually impressive, boasting a superb setting and a strong cast.

Dead Run

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Also known as
Shissô
Specifics
Japan [2005] - 124m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Dead Run poster

Hold Up Down

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Also known as
Hôrudo Appu Daun
Specifics
Japan [2005] - 96m
Genre
Comedy
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Hold Up Down poster

Hard Luck Hero

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Specifics
Japan [2003] - 79m
Genre
Comedy, Action, Crime
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Hard Luck Hero poster

Drive

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Specifics
Japan [2002] - 102m
Genre
Comedy, Crime
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Drive poster

Trademark Tanaka film. Drive is quirky and frivolous, not held back by rigid plot conventions and sporting a killer cast that knows how to deal with the dry comedy on display. The film has aged a little, but it still feels fresh and easygoing. Tanaka is one of Japan's hidden gems, Drive may not be his best film, but it's still better than most of its peers.

Dancing Mary

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Specifics
Japan [2019] - 105m
Genre
Comedy, Fantasy
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Dancing Mary poster

Dancing Mary is a superb blend of so many genres that it's nearly impossible to categorize. Fantasy, horror, crime, comedy and drama seamlessly mix together to tell a beautiful story about a long-lost romance that ended in tragedy. The cinematography is beautiful, the editing is excellent. Add a great score and a fine cast and you have another Tanaka masterpiece.

Mr. Long

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Also known as
Ryu San
Specifics
Japan, Taiwan [2017] - 129m
Genre
Drama, Crime
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Mr. Long poster

Another quality Tanaka film. More in line with Bunny Drop, combining drama and comedy to great effect. Mr. Long also introduces some crime elements, though they are very limited. Well shot, perfectly acted, dramatically impeccable. It's not as unique as some of his other films, but well worth a watch.

Solid pieces

Unlucky Monkey

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Also known as
Anrakki Monki
Specifics
Japan [1998] - 106m
Genre
Comedy, Action
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Unlucky Monkey poster

Worthy but flawed

D.A.N.G.A.N. Runner

by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Also known as
Dangan Ranna
Specifics
Japan [1996] - 82m
Genre
Comedy, Action, Crime
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
D.A.N.G.A.N. Runner poster