Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul is set in an alternate reality where ghouls, creatures that look like normal people but can only survive by eating human flesh, live among the human population in secrecy, hiding their true nature in order to evade pursuit from the authorities. Ghouls have powers including enhanced strength and regenerative abilities – a regular ghoul produces 4–7 times more kinetic energy in their muscles than a normal human; they also have several times the RC cells, a cell that flows like blood and can become solid instantly. A ghoul’s skin is resistant to ordinary piercing weapons, and it has at least one special predatory organ called a kagune, which it can manifest and use as a weapon during combat. Another distinctive trait of ghouls is that when they are excited or hungry, the color of their sclera in both eyes turns black and their irises red. This mutation is known as kakugan (“red eye”).

The story follows Ken Kaneki, a student who barely survives a deadly encounter with Rize Kamishiro, his date who reveals herself as a ghoul and tries to eat him. He is taken to the hospital in critical condition. After recovering, Kaneki discovers that he underwent a surgery that transformed him into a half-ghoul. This was accomplished because some of Rize’s organs were transferred into his body, and now, like normal ghouls, he must consume human flesh to survive. Ghouls who run a coffee shop called “Anteiku” take him in and teach him to deal with his new life as a half-ghoul. Some of his daily struggles include fitting into the ghoul society, as well as keeping his identity hidden from his human companions, especially from his best friend, Hideyoshi Nagachika.

Sources: Tokyo Ghoul Manga, Wikipedia

Hoshizora Kiseki (星空キセキ)

A good, but not great anime short film released in Japan over the Internet.

Kozue loves to stargaze and does so regularly. On a trip to view a meteorite, she happens to meet a boy named Ginga. He has a mysterious ability to discover more information about the stars, which he uses to help scientists with astronomical research. Unfortunately, his life is mostly dictated for him, and when carrying out missions, he must always wear a protective suit. Kozue helps Ginga to gradually take control of his life by encouraging him to make his own decisions.

Japanese Title: 星空キセキ(Literally Starry-Sky Miracle)

Rating: NR

Genre: Animation, Sci-Fi, Romance, Short

Directed By: Akio Watanabe, Toshikazu Matsubara

WrittenBy: Akio Watanabe, Kouichirou Itou, Toshikazu Matsubara

Country: Japan

Language: Japanese (Subtitled in English)

Release Date: June 21st, 2006 (Japan), May 10th, 2011 (USA)

Runtime: 27 minutes

Main Characters:

Ginga. (銀河)

A boy who has the ability to discover more information about stars. His life is controlled by scientist who wish to take advantage of his ability.

Kozue (こずえ)

A school girl who enjoys looking at the stars.

Your Name. (君の名は) Kimi no Na wa.

From director Makoto Shinkai, the innovative mind behind Voices of a Distant Star and 5 Centimeters Per Second, comes a beautiful masterpiece about time, the thread of fate, and the hearts of two young souls. The day the stars fell, two lives changed forever. High schoolers Mitsuha and Taki are complete strangers living separate lives. But one night, they suddenly switch places. Mitsuha wakes up in Taki’s body, and he in hers. This bizarre occurrence continues to happen randomly, and the two must adjust their lives around each other. Yet, somehow, it works. They build a connection and communicate by leaving notes, messages, and more importantly, an imprint. When a dazzling comet lights up the night’s sky, something shifts, and they seek each other out wanting something more-a chance to finally meet. But try as they might, something more daunting than distance prevents them. Is the string of fate between Mitsuha and Taki strong enough to bring them together, or will forces outside their control leave them forever separated?

Rating: PG (for thematic elements, suggestive content, brief language, and smoking)

Genre: Animation, Drama, Romance

Directed By: Makoto Shinkai

Written By: Makoto Shinkai

Country: Japan

Language: Japanese (Subtitled in English)

Release Date: April 7, 2017

Worldwide Gross: $358,922,706

Studio: FUNimation

Runtime: 106 minutes

Main Characters:

Taki Tachibana (立花 瀧, Tachibana Taki)

A high school student currently living in Tokyo. He was a 17 year old sophomore attending at Tokyo Metropolitan High School and in the class next to Class C of second year. Taki was actually three years younger than Mitsuha when they started switching bodies. He is also an architect. He is short-tempered but well meaning and kind. He spends time with Miki Okudera, working in a part-time job as a waiter at the Italian restaurant “Il Giardino delle Parole”

Mitsuha Miyamizu (宮水 三葉, Miyamizu Mitsuha)

A high school girl dissatisfied with her life in Itomori, a mountainous and rural town of Gifu Prefecture. She is a 17 year old student in her second year at Itomori High School. She was actually three years older than Taki when they started switching bodies. She ties her hair with dark red braid. She and her sister are maidens of the family shrine. Her mother died peacefully, and her father left home in order to become the town’s mayor. She lives with her grandmother, Hitoha, and her younger sister, Yotsuha, who is in elementary school. Mitsuha wishes to have a better life in Tokyo from respecting the shrine and having a strained relationship with her father.

Weathering With You (天気の子) Tenki No Ko

Set in Japan during a period of exceptionally rainy weather, the film tells the story of a high-school boy who runs away from his rural home to Tokyo and befriends an orphan girl who has the ability to manipulate the weather.

Original Title: Tenki No Ko (Literally “Child of Weather”)

Rating: NR (for suggestive material, some violence and language)

Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Romance

Directed By: Makoto Shinkai

Written By: Makoto Shinkai

Country: Japan

Language: Japanese (Subtitled in English)

Release Date: Jan 15, 2020

Worldwide Gross: $11,100,000

Runtime: 111 minutes

Main Characters:

Hodaka Morishima (森嶋 帆高, Morishima Hodaka)

He is a freshman at Kōzu-shima high school. He ran away from home by ferry to Tokyo. There is no detailed explanation of the reason for leaving home in the film. Because he was a runaway and could not present his identification, he cannot get a part-time job so he had to spend his days at an Internet cafe. He obtains a handgun from the waste bin discarded by Shibata, a criminal who is arrested for possessing a large number of firearms. Hodaka gets into trouble with Kimura, a club owner who tries to recruit Hina, who was looking for a high paying job. Hodaka accidentally fired the gun, trying to threaten him, but the bullet missed. Hodaka is hired by Keisuke, who offers him a job. His life in Tokyo was smooth sailing, but he was pursued by the police for two reasons: the fact that the shot was caught on security cameras and his family had reported him missing.

Hina Amano (天野 陽菜, Amano Hina)

She is a third year junior high school student, born on August 22. She started working part-time at McDonald’s in Kabukicho, but later she was fired because she falsely represented her age. She was 14 years old when she meets Hodaka, but she told him she would be 18 on her next birthday.

By passing through a small shrine gate on the roof of an abandoned building in Yoyogi, she gained the ability to temporarily clear a localized area by praying. But it also came at the cost of her body gradually becoming more transparent with each use of that ability, and turning into water at the end. Initially, she was unaware of this, and even considered the “100% sunshine girl” business to be her calling, but she later realized this when Natsumi showed her a video of a priest of a weather shrine recounting weather maiden lore.

Keisuke Suga (須賀 圭介, Suga Keisuke)

A middle-aged man working in a small occult magazine publishing company. He writes articles for weekly occult magazines, but he makes fun of superstitions and the like, and he thinks his readers do not believe in the content of his articles as much as he does. On his way to Tokyo, he saves Hodaka from falling, which the latter then bought a meal and beer for him in the ship’s dining room. Keisuke gave Hodaka his business card. Later, he hired Hodaka as his assistant when he came to visit him. He used the “100% sunshine girl” service to meet his daughter Moka who had been taken in by his mother-in-law Mamiya. Mamiya would not let his daughter visit him on rainy days because she has asthma.

Natsumi Suga (須賀 夏美, Suga Natsumi)

Keisuke’s niece and a college student working part-time at his office. Hodaka at first thought she was Keisuke’s mistress because of her bewitching appearance, her behavior, calling Keisuke “Kei-chan”, and the fact that she raised her little finger when explaining her relationship with Keisuke. In addition to working at the office, she unsuccessfully worked hard to get a job.

Nagisa (Nagi) Amano (天野 凪, Amano Nagi)

He is Hina’s younger brother studying in fifth grade. At first, he had a bad impression of Hodaka, but when Hina and Hodaka started the “100% sunshine girl” business, he became friends with him. He also became friends with Keisuke’s daughter on the very first day they met. Due to his childhood experience, he makes mature comments that are not typical of elementary students. Hodaka calls him “sempai”.

Okko’s Inn

A lovely anime that you can’t help but fall for the main character and her navigating her new reality.

Based on a series of Japanese children’s novels, written by Hiroko Reijo and illustrated by Asami. Kodansha released twenty volumes between 2003 and 2013 under their Aoi Tori Bunko imprint. A manga adaptation with art by Eiko Ōuchi was serialized in Kodansha’s shōjo manga Nakayoshi. It was collected in seven tankōbon volumes. It was nominated for an Annie Award for Best Animated Feature – Independent.


After losing her parents in a car accident, Okko goes to live with her grandmother, who runs a traditional Japanese inn. Okko soon discovers there are spirits that only she can see — welcoming ghosts who keep her company and help her navigate her new environment. The inn’s motto is that it welcomes all and will reject none, and this is soon put to the test as guests challenge Okko’s ability to be a gracious host. Ultimately, Okko discovers that dedicating herself to others is the key to taking care of herself. The latest feature from famed anime studio Madhouse and director Kitaro Kosaka blends immersive, idyllic landscapes with storybook charm. Okko’s Inn delivers a rare ghost story that is firmly grounded in the trials and joys of humanity.

Japanese Title: 若おかみは小学生(Waka Okami wa Shōgakusei!)

Other Titles: The Young Innkeeper Is a Grade Schooler!

Rating: PG

Genre: Anime, Family, Fantasy

Directed By: Kitaro Kosaka

Written By: Reiko Yoshida

Country: Japan

Language: Japanese (Subtitled in English)

Release Date: September 21st, 2018 (Japan), April 22nd, 2019 (USA)

Worldwide Gross: $293,385

Runtime: 94 minutes

Main Characters:

Oriko Seki (関 織子, Seki Oriko) Voiced by: Seiran Kobayashi (Japanese)

Okko (おっこ) Voiced by: Seiran Kobayashi (Japanese)

Makoto Tachiuri (立売 誠, Tachiuri Makoto) Voiced by: Satsumi. Matsuda (Japanese)

Uri-bō (ウリ坊) Voiced by: Satsumi. Matsuda (Japanese)

Matsuki Akino (秋野 真月, Akino Matsuki) Voiced by: Nana Mizuki (Japanese)

Mineko Seki (関 峰子, Seki Mineko) Voiced by: Ichiryūsai Harumi (Japanese)

Obā-chan (おばあちゃん) Voiced by: Ichiryūsai Harumi (Japanese)

Etsuko Tajima (田島 エツ子, Tajima Etsuko) Voiced by: Ichiryūsai Teiyū (Japanese)

Kōnosuke Minoda (蓑田 康之介, Minoda Kōnosuke) Voiced by: Masaki Terasoma (Japanese)

Kō-san (康さん) Voiced by: Masaki Terasoma (Japanese)

Suzuki (鈴鬼) Voiced by: Etsuko Kozakura (Japanese)

Ramen Heads

A wonderful documentary of what goes into running a ramen shop in Japan. It profiles Osamu Tomita one of the top ramen makers in all of Japan.


In “Ramen Heads,”Osamu Tomita, Japan’s reigning king of ramen, takes us deep into his world, revealing every single step of his obsessive approach to creating the perfect soup and noodles, and his relentless search for the highest-quality ingredients. In addition to Tomita’s story, the film also profiles five other notable ramen shops, each with its own philosophy and flavour, which exemplify various different aspects the ramen world. Mixing in a brief rundown of ramen’s historical roots, the film gives viewers an in-depth look at the culture surrounding this unique and beguiling dish.

Rating: NR

Genre: Documentary

Directed By: Koki Shigeno

Country: Japan

Language: Japanese (Subtitled in English)

Release Date: March 16th, 2018

Worldwide Gross: $57,345

Runtime: 93 minutes


Shôta Iida

Kumiko Ishida

Katsuya Kobayashi

Yûki Ohnishi

Tom Takahashi

Osamu Tomita

Our Little Sister (海街 diary)

Based on the manga “Umimachi Diary” by Akimi Yoshida.
Three sisters Sachi, Yoshino and Chika live together in a large house in the city of Kamakura. When their father absent from the family home for the last 15 years dies, they travel to the countryside for his funeral and meet their shy teenage half-sister. Bonding quickly with the orphaned Suzu, they invite her to live with them. Suzu eagerly agrees, and a new life of joyful discovery begins for the four siblings.
  • Rating: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Original Title: Umimachi Diary (Literally “Seaside Town Diary”)
  • Directed By: Hirokazu Koreeda.
  • Written By: Hirokazu Koreeda.
  • Country: Japan
  • Language: Japanese (Subtitled in English)
  • Release Date: June 13, 2015 (Japan)
  • Filming Locations: Kamakura, Kanagawa (Japan)
  • Worldwide Gross: $15,918,101
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
  • Runtime: 127 min

Main Characters:

  • Sachi Kōda (香田 幸, Kōda Sachi)

The eldest sister of the Kōda family. She is 29-years-old. She works as a nurse in a hospital. Very serious and reliable.

  • Yoshino Kōda (香田 佳乃, Kōda Yoshino)

Second sister of the Kōda family. She is 22-years-old. She works as an office lady in a bank. She loves drinking alcohol and is pretty embarrassing when she gets drunk. She often dates young, handsome boys. Once, she dated Tomoaki Fujii, one of the protagonists of “Lover’s Kiss” an older manga series by Akimi Yoshida, also set in Kamakura).

  • Chika Kōda (香田 千佳, Kōda Chika)

The younger sister of Kōda family. She is 19-years-old. She works in a sports equipment shop.

  • Suzu Asano (浅野 すず, Asano Suzu)

She shares the same father as the Kōda sisters. She is 13-years-old and still in junior high school. She is very reliable and serious, which caught Sachi’s attention. She lived in Sendai with her father and mother, but after her mother’s death, her father married a woman named Yōko in Yamagata. She met her sisters at her father’s funeral, and moved to Kamakura to live with them. She is very good at soccer.

Seven Samurai (七人の侍)

Perhaps the greatest movie ever made (certainly the best action movie) showing director Akira Kurosawa at his highest level. A classic.

“Akira Kurosawa’s epic tale concerns honor and duty during a time when the old traditional order is breaking down. The film opens with master samurai Kambei (Takashi Shimura) posing as a monk to save a kidnapped farmer’s child. Impressed by his selflessness and bravery, a group of farmers begs him to defend their terrorized village from bandits. Kambei agrees, although there is no material gain or honor to be had in the endeavor. Soon he attracts a pair of followers: a young samurai named Katsushiro (Isao Kimura), who quickly becomes Kambei’s disciple, and boisterous Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune), who poses as a samurai but is later revealed to be the son of a farmer. Kambei assembles four other samurais, including Kyuzo (Seiji Miyaguchi), a master swordsman, to round out the group. Together they consolidate the village’s defenses and shape the villagers into a militia, while the bandits loom menacingly nearby. Soon raids and counter-raids build to a final bloody heart-wrenching battle.”

~ Jonathan Crow

Alternate Versions:

The film’s original Japanese release version runs 207 minutes, plus intermission, which includes 4 minutes of entr’acte music against a blank screen. This is the version that has been generally shown worldwide since the 1980s, though sometimes it is shown without the intermission and entr’acte, resulting in a listed running time of 203 minutes. The initial U.S.A. release was re-titled ‘The Magnificent Seven’ and released November, 1956, with English subtitles, and ran 158 minutes. Some European releases were even further shortened to 141 minutes. Landmark Films re-released the film in the U.S. in December 1982, the first time outside Japan the film saw a major release with its running time intact (although the intermission and entr’acte were removed). Later U.S.A. releases by Avco-Embassy Pictures, Janus Films, and Films Incorporated, and by BFI in the UK, are also the full original version of the film.


Through the creative freedom provided by the studio, Kurosawa made use of telephoto lenses, which were rare in 1954, as well as multiple cameras which allowed the action to fill the screen and place the audience right in the middle of it. “If I had filmed it in the traditional shot-by-shot method, there was no guarantee that any action could be repeated in exactly the same way twice.” He found it to be very effective and he later used it in movies that were less action-oriented. His method was to put one camera in the most orthodox shooting position, another camera for quick shots and a third camera “as a kind of guerrilla unit”. This method made for very complicated shoots, for which Kurosawa choreographed the movement of all three cameras by using diagrams.

Japanese Title: 七人の侍, Shichinin no Samurai

Other Titles: The Magnificent Seven

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Foreign Language

Directed By: Akira Kurosawa

Written By: Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni

Country: Japan

Language: Japanese (Subtitled in English)

Release Date: April 26th, 1954 (Japan), November 19th, 1956 (USA)

Runtime: 207 minutes

Main Characters:

The seven samurai:

Toshiro Mifune as Kikuchiyo (菊千代), a humorous, mercurial and temperamental rogue who lies about being a samurai, but eventually proves his worth and resourcefulness.

Takashi Shimura as Kambei Shimada (島田勘兵衛, Shimada Kanbei), a war-weary but honourable and strategic rōnin, and the leader of the seven.

Daisuke Katō as Shichirōji (七郎次), Kambei’s old friend and former lieutenant.

Isao Kimura as Katsushirō Okamoto (岡本勝四郎, Okamoto Katsushirō), the untested son of a wealthy landowner samurai, whom Kambei reluctantly takes in as a disciple.

Minoru Chiaki as Heihachi Hayashida (林田平八, Hayashida Heihachi), an amiable though less-skilled fighter, whose charm and wit maintain his comrades’ morale in the face of adversity.

• Seiji Miyaguchi as Kyūzō (久蔵), a serious, stone-faced and supremely skilled swordsman.

Yoshio Inaba as Gorōbei Katayama (片山五郎兵衛, Katayama Gorōbei), a skilled archer, who acts as Kambei’s second-in-command and helps create the master plan for the village’s defense.


Yoshi Tsuchiya as Rikichi (利吉), a hotheaded villager

Bokuzen Hidari as Yohei (与平), a timid old man

Yukiko Shimazaki as Rikichi’s wife

Kamatari Fujiwara as Manzō (万造), a farmer who disguises his daughter as a man to try to protect her from the samurai

Keiko Tsushima as Shino (志乃), Manzō’s daughter

Kokuten Kōdō as Gisaku (儀作), the village patriarch, referred to as “Grandad”

Yoshio Kosugi as Mosuke, one of the farmers sent to town to hire the samurai


Shinpei Takagi as the bandit chief

Shin Otomo as the bandit second-in-command

Haruo Nakajima as a bandit scout killed by Kyuzo

Eijirō Tōno as a thief

Atsushi Watanabe as a bun seller

Jun Tatara as a coolie (a labourer)

Sachio Sakai as a coolie

Takeshi Seki as a coolie