films seen
average score
Japan - 33 years old
Alive and kicking
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The Limit of Sleeping Beauty

Rimitto Obu Suripingu Byuti
2017 / 90m - Japan
The Limit of Sleeping Beauty poster

Magical and extravagant mystery drama that feels like a fever dream. Yuki Sakurai has a knack for picking interesting projects, Ken Ninomiya launches himself as a talent. The film looks absolutely stunning, the soundtrack is amazing and the level of creativity is through the roof. My kind of film.


2019 / 104m - Japan
Mystery, Romance
Chiwawa poster

Ken Ninomiya's second future is a blistering confirmation of the man's enormous talent. Vibrant, dynamic, colorful and in your face, but never without heart. Ninomiya's films are truly one of a kind. Clearly one of the rising talents of Japanese cinema and I'm glad that Chiwawa wasn't the disappointment if so easily could've been.

The Midnight Maiden War

Mayonaka Otome Sensô
2022 / 113m - Japan
Thriller, Romance
The Midnight Maiden War poster

Ninomiya strikes again. A slightly more narrative film this time, though he still finds plenty of time for mood building and dramatic character exploration. He hasn't lost his knack of stylistic excellence either, which all comes together in a majestic finale. Ninomiya is by far the most undervalued and neglected director working in Japan these days, probably because he does things just a little differently and writes characters that are a little outside the (cinematic) norm. The Midnight Maiden War is just more proof that he is overflowing with talent.

Tonkatsu DJ Age-Taro

2020 / 100m - Japan
Tonkatsu DJ Age-Taro poster

A decidedly more commercial effort from Ninomiya. His first two films were absolute personal favorites, even though they failed to make an international splash. It seems Ninomiya is trying something different this time around, going for a more agreeable, easy to stomach comedy. I'm not sure that this film is going to do much for his career.

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Agetaro is a young kid who is forced to work in his dad's tonkatsu restaurant. When he is sent out to make a delivery to a nightclub, he enters a dream world. It there and then that Agetaro decides he wants to become a DJ, even though he has no clue what that entails. Together with some friends, he tries to kick-start his DJ career.

It's nice to see Ninomiya at least stayed true to the club setting, but don't expect anything too realistic here. The DJ stuff feels incredibly staged, the atmosphere is pretty light and mellow, stylistically the film is on the safe side. It's still a decent enough comedy, with some fun moments and a pleasant vibe, it's just not on the level of his previous work. Let's hope this was just a little filler project for Ninomiya.