films seen
13
average score
3.69*
nationality
Japan - 53 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

Maverick director who likes to do things his own way. With a strong rock/punk aesthetic, a willingness to be unorthodox and an excess of talent, Toyoda worked his way up as one of the most interesting contemporary Japanese directors.

Rare treats

The Day of Destruction

by Toshiaki Toyoda
Hakai no Hi
2020 / 57m - Japan
Horror, Mystery
The Day of Destruction poster

Toshiaki Toyoda is back. The renegade director returns with a film that tackles the current epidemic, though not without some broader stabs at humankind's greed and egocentricity. While there is a rough narrative, The Day of Destruction is a mood piece first and foremost, hammering home its message. This is the Toyoda I love.

Monsters Club

by Toshiaki Toyoda
2011 / 71m - Japan
Drama, Mystery
Monsters Club poster

The film looks beautiful, the atmosphere is tangible and the imagery unique, offering a surprising spin on what looks like yet another story about one person's distrust of modern society.

The good stuff

Blood of Rebirth

by Toshiaki Toyoda
Yomigaeri no Chi
2009 / 83m - Japan
Mystery
Blood of Rebirth poster

I still need to see Hanging Garden and Unchain, that said I believe Blood of Rebirth belongs to Toyoda's best output to date and could be the start of something beautiful.

Blue Spring

by Toshiaki Toyoda
Aoi Haru
2001 / 83m - Japan
Drama, Crime
Blue Spring poster

Blue Spring was the break-through film for Toyoda and Matsuda. This high school punk drama is quite particular to Japan and might come off a little strange at first, but the mix of violence and drama is actually quite poetic and moving. Well acted, superbly directed and to the point, this is definitely a film for the history books.

I'm Flash!

by Toshiaki Toyoda
2012 / 91m - Japan
Drama, Crime
I'm Flash! poster

I'm Flash isn't going to become one of Toyoda's best loved films, but it surely is a great experience that is unique to the skills of the director.

9 Souls

by Toshiaki Toyoda
Nain Souruzu
2003 / 120m - Japan
Crime
9 Souls poster

An impressive road trip that combines strong crime elements with light comedy and drama. Toyoda's hand is ever present, the cast does an amazing job, the score is on point and there are plenty of memorable bits. Within Toyoda's oeuvre it may not be a stand-out, then again he's directed so many superb films it's hardly a point of critique. An underappreciated gem.

Shiver

by Toshiaki Toyoda
Senritsu Seshimeyo
2021 / 89m - Japan
Music, Experimental
Shiver poster

Toyoda gets a little weird. He strips virtually all narrative elements and delivers a visual album/album film based on the unique collaboration between Koshiro Hino and the Kodo, Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble. Hauntingly rhythmic music combined with fitting visuals make for a riveting experience, but this isn't going to be for everyone.

Crows Explode

by Toshiaki Toyoda
Kurozu Explode
2014 / 129m - Japan
Action, Crime
Crows Explode poster

Toyoda made an impeccable sequel to Miike's first two films.

Solid pieces

Planetist

by Toshiaki Toyoda
2018 / 166m - Japan
Documentary
3.5*/5.0*
Planetist poster

Toyoda's documentary about the Ogasawara islands. Toyoda spent 5 years on this documentary, speaking with the locals and bringing over fellow artists to create a documentary that isn't purely informational, but is more geared at capturing the spirit of this place. The result is rather long, but satisfying.

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The central figure is Miyagawa Noritsugu, a 65-old man who made it his mission to preserve the natural beauty of the islands. He is a well-known surfer, swims with dolphins and manages a bird preservation, while taking people on little excursions to show them the beauty of the islands. In between, we get little concerts with some glamour shots of Ogasawaran nature.

The start of the documentary is a little slow, with maybe a bit too much human interest stories, but once Toyoda starts to focus more on mood and the natural beauty of the location it becomes an intriguing doc. In a way it feels like a precursor to Shiver, definitely worth a watch if you want to know more about Japanese island culture.

Hanging Garden

by Toshiaki Toyoda
Kûchû Teien
2005 / 114m - Japan
Drama
3.5*/5.0*
Hanging Garden poster

The inoffensive

The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan

by Toshiaki Toyoda
Nakimushi Shottan no Kiseki
2018 / 127m - Japan
Drama
3.0*/5.0*
The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan poster

The irony of biopics is that they're usually about people who achieved something unique, stood out from the crowd, challenged reigning ideas, while the genre itself is one of the most rigid and cliché-ridden there is. Don't expect Toyoda to fight those clichés, Crybaby Shottan is a film that colors safely inside the lines.

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The film documents the life of Shottan, a shogi player who failed to qualify as a pro before the age of 26 (which is the latest one is allowed to turn pro). He was urged by friends and relatives to challenge this tradition, as he regularly played and beat pro players as an amateur. Guess how that story ends.

Apart from the soundtrack, Toyoda's signature is completely absent, to the point where I wonder if he made this film just to be able to finance more personal projects. The cast is impressive though and the base quality is there. This is not a terrible drama, but it's predictable and doesn't even attempt to stand out. One of shogi fans and/or Toyoda completists.

Pornostar

by Toshiaki Toyoda
Poruno Sutâ
1998 / 98m - Japan
Crime
3.0*/5.0*
Pornostar poster

Dubious filler

Unchain

by Toshiaki Toyoda
2000 / 98m - Japan
Documentary, Sport
2.0*/5.0*
Unchain poster