films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


Life of Mariko in Kabukicho

Tantei Mariko no Shôgai de Ichiban Hisan na Hi
2022 / 116m - Japan
Life of Mariko in Kabukicho poster

The kind of oddity you'll only find in Japan. Eiji Uchida and Katayama deliver a wacky genre blend that revolves around a little café in the heart of Tokyo's red-light district. Not everything is equally successful, but there are enough ideas here to fill 3 different films and it's unlikely you'll get bored (unless genre cinema isn't your thing).

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Mariko has a little café, which serves as a cover for her detective agency. Business is booming and she gets a lot of requests, but many of them seem to relate to a runaway alien. Half of Kabukicho is hunting for the extraterrestrial, which isn't all that surprising when there's a finder's fee of five million yen.

Even though Mariko is the central character, the film spends a lot of time on her wacky clients (and her ninja boyfriend). The film offers a mix of action, sci-fi, and crime, though the fact that none of it should be taken too seriously underlines its comedic intentions. It's not quite as polished or excessive as I'd hoped, but it's great fun regardless.


2021 / 124m - Japan
Drama, Crime
Missing poster

A neat little drama that reveals some nifty crime elements throughout. The balance of genres is delicate but well-executed and the film has some proper highlights, but it does lose a little steam during the second half. I was intrigued by what Katayama showed us here though, so I'm eager to see what he does next.

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Kaede's father is stuck in a depression after his wife died. One day Kaede wakes up and he is gone, not long after she receives a text saying he's doing fine, and that she shouldn't come looking for him. Kaede ignores his advice and starts her own investigation, as the police are unwilling to put in the effort.

The film holds quite a few surprises and takes a couple of interesting turns, the performances are very good and the cinematography felt modern and appropriate. It just lacks that little extra something to truly set it apart and make a lasting impact. Good film though, and worth a watch if you like a good mix of drama and crime elements.