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  • Bonds of Love

    Bonds of Love

    ★★★★

    A cruelly overlooked adaptation of a Seicho Matsumoto short story, Bonds of Love has all the tellings of a classic Matsumoto thriller - corporate and social greed, secret lovers, long train trips into the deep countryside and plenty of helpings of Dostoyevskyan paranoia.
    The pacing sags a little in the middle, but a few unexpected turns makes it a thrilling watch - the gripping final scene on the night train is unforgettable.

  • Adachi-ga Hara

    Adachi-ga Hara

    ★★★★½

    Osamu Tezuka's "Lion Books" series, written for magazines first for a period through the late 50s and then resumed during the early 70s, contain series of tales that operate like small filmic vignettes - self-contained, but incredibly bountiful in thematic and emotional depth. He reached the pinnacle (I believe) of this type of manga storytelling with "Kuuki no Soko" ("Under the Air"), written from 1968-70. Essentially what these books are are the purest way to grasp Tezuka's absolute mastery of…

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  • Night is Short, Walk on Girl

    Night is Short, Walk on Girl

    ★★★★½

    Masaaki Yuasa very seldom makes a misstep, and 夜は短し歩けよ乙女 (The Night is Short, Walk On Girl) is not one of them.
    He continues to expand on the inventive style he explored in The Tatami Galaxy, but this time with only 90 minutes to do it in - however the manic pace that Yuasa's works are usually characterised by settles in nicely considering the 'single-night' narrative layout (something I hadn't actually realised when reading the book) here as well. Although there…

  • Twenty-Four Eyes

    Twenty-Four Eyes

    ★★★★★

    It's thirty minutes too long, over-melodramatic and way too sentimental, but I'll be damned if I can think of the last time a movie made me weep like this one did. Keeping in mind that Japan has a long history of people proclaiming how a full moon brought them to tears - one only has to skim through the country's vast body of ancient literature to get an idea - it's understandable that the Japanese people have an affinity with…