Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata's first novel to be translated from Japanese to English, received glowing reviews for its portrayal of a woman who rejects the values of her family-oriented social class and finds her niche working in a convenience store. Now comes Earthlings. As one reviewer puts it:" The two books might be seen as siblings, though Earthlings would definitely be the evil twin." [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: STAR FORCE: FUGITIVE ALIEN II Rewatch Season 3, Ep 18
Re-rewatch! Tonight (Sunday).... Get your forklifts warmed up, it's the further adventures of Ken, Captain Joe, Rocky (again!) and Tammy, in the last of MST3K's nine Sandy Frank movies. Previously, and again
Mystery Science Theater 3000: MIGHTY JACK Rewatch Season 3, Ep 14
Rewatch! Whatever this movie is about, it has sort of spies fighting "the organization known as Q" the leader of which has a cat and there's a flying thing and a base in an iceberg and a torture trap involving shining really bright lights at someone and it's really a mess. Sandy Frank sent a lot of crappy movies at Joel and the 'bots, but this is probably the crappiest. Good luck understanding it. Previously
Mystery Science Theater 3000: FUGITIVE ALIEN Rewatch Season 3, Ep 10
Rewatch! Sunday-- Ken is a Star Wolf, a member of a ruthless band of space raiders from the planet Valna, who unexpectedly develops a conscience and saves an Earth woman and sun from a comrade. He is labeled a traitor and is force to team up with hard-drinking earthling Captain Joe and his crew on the old spaceship Bacchus III. I love this episode. The movie is goofy but watchable (and as Joel and co note in the sequel, the music legitimately rocks), the jokes are funny and on-point, and in a series filled to overflowing with memorable moments, gives us several great ones, culminating in the classic lyric: "HE TRIIIED TO KILL ME WITH A FORKLIFT!" Olé! Previously Below the fold, some comments about the movie. [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: GAMERA VS. BARUGON Rewatch Season 3, Ep 4
Re-rewatch! A gigantic sort of allegator-dog attacks Japan, and in a twist (whaaa?) the previously aggressive monster turtle Gamera is the only thing that can stop it. At least there's no obnoxious kid this time. Previously one and Previously two
Mystery Science Theater 3000: GAMERA Rewatch Season 3, Ep 2
Re-rewatch! A giant turtle terrorizes Japan while a sad little kid is told he can't keep his pet turtle. Their paths cross, and now the military tries to save Japan from kaiju destruction while the kid helps as a kind of giant turtle expert. It's pretty ridiculous, but it's only the beginning of a series of Gamera movies. MST would eventually do five of them, and they're some of the show's most iconic episodes. Previously
Mystery Science Theater 3000: PRINCE OF SPACE Rewatch Season 8, Ep 16
Rewatch! We're starting to get into the weird ones. Prince of Space is a hilarious episode of our favorite cowtown puppet show, with an inexplicable hero (the invulnerable Prince of Space, who works as a Tokyo bootblack), annoying kids (PoS' child sidekicks) and easily one of the top five most ridiculous villains in MSTdom in the form of the chickenish Phantom of Krankor. HAAA... Haaa... haaa... ha. Just, for the love of decency, don't stare at the Krankorian crotches.... Previously.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: STAR FORCE: FUGITIVE ALIEN II Rewatch Season 3, Ep 18
The crew of Earth spaceship Bacchus III deals with various problems, culminating with showdowns with Ken's old girlfriend out of a murder vendetta against him, and the kabuki leader of the Star Wolves himself. Two-fisted Japanese pseudo-Star Wars space adventures with surprisingly great music that was edited into near incomprehensibility by Sandy Frank Productions. It's the sequel to Fugitive Alien, which was slightly more lucid. Previously.
Bokudake ga Inai Machi: On Netflix as "Erased" Season 1, Ep 5
Episodes 5 - 8, Wow, how much does Satoru's mom rock? Also, Satoru pulls out all the stops in an effort to save Kayo and the others and we learn the personal cost of this revival. This stretch is the emotional heart of the series. [more inside]
Bokudake ga Inai Machi: On Netflix as "Erased" Season 1, Ep 1
The title's literal translation: The town where I do not exist. Episodes 1-4. When tragedy is about to strike, Satoru Fujinuma finds himself sent back in time. The detached, 29-year-old manga artist has taken advantage of this powerful yet mysterious phenomenon, which he calls "Revival," to save many lives, but that often comes at a personal cost. [more inside]
A Man Vanishes begins as an investigation into one of the thousands of missing persons cases that occur in Japan each year. The film follows the case of Tadashi, a handsome businessman who has suddenly vanished. Imamura and his crew interview the man's fiancée, Yoshie, who is desperately searching for him, and the filmmaker becomes increasingly involved in her life. But the "investigation" casts a shadow of doubt over the couple's relationship, Tadashi's business ventures, his relationship with Yoshie's sister, and even the investigating film director, Imamura himself, who may not be what he seems.
A Japanese man with an incredible love of sweets takes a new job to have more time to visit sweet shops. [more inside]
Ryota Nonomiya is a successful businessman driven by money. He learns that his biological son was switched with another child after birth. He must make a life-changing decision and choose his true son or the boy he raised as his own. Winner of 2013 Cannes Jury Prize. [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: PRINCE OF SPACE Season 8, Ep 16
A guy working as a bootblack on the streets of Tokyo, who keeps a horde of kids with him also plying his trade, is secretly the interstellar hero Prince of Space! Defender of Earth from the dastardly chicken people of Krankor! Those who would invade us to obtain the athletic cup technology of which their own race is so woefully deficient! One of the most classic episodes of Season Eight, in terms all of riffing, of host segments, and of sublime movie weirdness. I like it very much! As for the show's "plot," all the guys go into a wormhole and strange things begin to happen.... Promo - YouTube (ih32m) Premiered August 16, 1997. [more inside]
I've just started watching the Japanese reality TV show Terrace House: Boys and Girls in the City. It has been described as a show that 'fixes what's broken in reality TV' as it 'finds meaning in mundane human interaction'. Are there any MeFites who have been watching it and want to discuss? Episode-by-episode or whole-series?
Takeo, 27-year-old career woman, travels to the countryside while reminiscing about her childhood in Tokyo in this animated feature from Studio Ghibli.
In turn-of-the-twentieth-century Japan, a young woman (Meiko Kaji) has been trained since birth to exact bloody vengeance on those who abducted and raped her mother and murdered her mother's family. [more inside]
Confined in the castle tower by her father, Princess Arete spends her days watching the world outside her window. Sometimes she sneaks out to watch the common people at work. [more inside]
A college student receives a surprising offer to be a movie star. [more inside]
Also known as A Flame At the Pier, Takashi Fujiki stars as a rebel in this drama about life on the Yokohama waterfront by New Wave director Masahiro Shinoda. The rebel works as an errand boy for a shipping company and vents his frustrations by plucking on the guitar. His interpretations of popular trends in music are sometimes right-on, and sometimes not exactly. Bereft of his guitar, the rebel's modes of expression are not as effective in generating interest as the Yokohama docks themselves, a fascinating world in their own right. [via] (Available to stream commercial-free to Hulu subscribers here.) [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: STAR FORCE: FUGITIVE ALIEN II Season 3, Ep 18
The crew of the Bacchus 3, ex-Star Wolf Ken, hard drinking Captain Joe, vivacious Tammy, suspecious Rocky (again?) and some other guys, have adventures throughout the galaxy, involving a secret weapon, Ken's old girlfriend, and the leader of the Star Wolves. It's another sewn-together movie from episodes of the Japanese TV show Star Wolf. It's got the same great theme music, including a host segment that features it. It's the last of the eight Sandy Frank movies, and it's the last Japanese movie for a long long time. The crew of the SOL wouldn't get another Japanese picture until 816 PRINCE OF SPACE, on the Sci-Fi Channel. YouTube (2h) Premiered November 16, 1991. This movie was also riffed in a KTMA episode, but no known fan copy of it exists. [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: GAMERA VS. ZIGRA Season 3, Ep 16
AKA Gamera tai Shinkai kaiju Jigura The evil alien Zigra comes to Earth in his glowing, flying bowl of Trix, and enacts his fiendish plan: to mind control people in such a way that just shouting in their ear will break the spell, and also to fight with Gamera. It doesn't go well for the intrepid shark monster. The last of the five Gamera movies MST would do, and eighth of the nine Sandy Frank films they would cover on cable. Classic "Shōwa era" Gamera would appear in three other movies in Japan: Gamera vs. Viras, Gamera vs. Jiger and the finale Gamera: Super Monster, which was mostly clips from prior movies, and in which they kill the giant turtle off. Gamera would return for four more movies in the "Heisei era," the last coming out in 2005. YouTube (1h37m) Here's the KTMA version (1h35m). [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: MIGHTY JACK Season 3, Ep 14
(1968, Color, Japanese, Spies) The only people who can hope to win against "the organization known as Q" is Mighty Jack, a bunch of action spies in a flying submarine. I think. Despite several viewings I don't think I've ever managed to pay complete attention throughout the entire episode. The movie is amazingly lacking in cohesiveness, in large part because it's really the first and last episodes of a Japanese TV spy show tacked together. For Fugitive Alien and Time Of The Apes at least some editing was done for continuity, but not here. I don't recommend this one to casual viewers. Treat Mighty Jack with respect, or Mighty Jack will destroy you. YouTube (1h38m) Premiered September 21, 1991. [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: GAMERA VS. GUIRON Season 3, Ep 12
(1969, Color, Kaiju, Monster, Japanese, Gamera, Sandy Frank, Cornjob) aka "Attack Of The Monsters" "Will Gamera be a super turtle or turtle soup?" A pair of boys is taken away by two scantly-clad alien ladies to their home planet -- but they plan to eat their brains! To rescue the kids, Gamera will have to fight the inexplicable Guiron, a monster with a big knife blade for a forehead. If Gamera vs. Gaos is the best Gamera movie taken on its own terms, this one is, by far, the most entertaining one in an episode of MST3K. With a goofy enemy monster, Gamera doing many blatantly absurd things like gymnastics, and a character who's name sounds all the world like Cornjob, it's an awesome episode overall and excellent fun even for newbies. And it's the episode that gives us the Gamera Fight Song! It is fourth of the Gamera movies suffered by the crew of the SOL, and the sixth Sandy Frank movie. One Gamera film, and two other Sandy Frank films, remain. YouTube (1h37m) KTMA Original! (YouTube, 1h33m) [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: FUGITIVE ALIEN Season 3, Ep 10
(1978, Color, Japan, Sandy Frank, Music, Forklift Homicide, Intro, Classic) Two episodes of the Japanese TV show Star Wolf (スターウルフ) merge into a sorta-movie by our old fiend Sandy Frank. Ken is a Wolf Raider, one of a band of space pirates, but after turning against his culture when they tried to kill an Earth kid (also named Ken), he throws his lot in with hard-drinking Captain Joe and the crew of his ship, the Bacchus III. Hey! I made a Metafilter post about this show once! It has AWESOME MUSIC, which Joel and company make good use of. I tell you truly, this is one of the best shows the Brains ever made. The movie is extremely goofy, yet still kind of watchable and likeable, and the riffing is top-notch. If you can like MST3K, you will like this. Good times ahead! YouTube. (1h40m) First aired August 17, 1991. BONUS: It's not for newbies, but you can watch the guys' first take on this movie that aired on KTMA TV! YouTube (1h43m) [more inside]
A young girl is sent to the country for health reasons, where she meets an unlikely friend in the form of Marnie, a young girl with flowing blonde hair. As the friendship unravels it is possible that Marnie has closer ties to the protagonist than we might expect. [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: GAMERA VS. GAOS Season 3, Ep 8
aka Daikaijû kûchûsen: Gamera tai Gyaosu (1967, Black & White, Gamera, Kaiju, Monster, Japanese) It's the last of the "serious" Gamera movies, and the second where he teams up with a little boy, cementing Gamera's "friend to children" status. Gaos (sometimes "Gyaos") is probably the most iconic of Gamera's foes. This is probably the best classic Gamera movie; Gaos is a credible threat to the Twirling Terrapin, and the weirdness that infests later Gamera films hasn't hit yet. Prepare yourselves: the next one is very strange.... YouTube ( 1h37m) First aired July 27, 1991. [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: TIME OF THE APES Season 3, Ep 6
Originally Saru No Gudan. (1987, Color, Japanese, TV Movie, Apes, Post-Apocalyptic) Two moppets and a lab assistant are flash-frozen by Science Machines during an earthquake and wake up hundreds of years later when APES RULE THE WORLD. They team up with the enigmatic human Godo and fight against their simian overlords to find a solution to their plight. The first of the cable run of MST3K's non-Gamera Sandy Frank films, and the origin of the Sandy Frank song, a mocking tribute to the American producer who brought us Japanese shows edited together as movies. One of the best episodes! Host segments explain "Why doesn't Johnny Care (a film by Bell Labs)" and introduce the Miracle Growth Baby. YouTube (1h37m) First aired July 13, 1991. [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER Season 2, Ep 13
(1966, Color, Japanese, Monster, Godzilla, Mothra, Kaiju) "The World's Devastating, Most Crushing Battle of the Gigantic Monsters: Ebirah, the Gigantic Lobster, Challenges the Supremacy of Godzilla and Mothra!" Guys steal a boat, people oppress islanders, and giant mutant critters throw down. After the stellar Godzilla vs. Megalon, this one's kind of a sleeper. Unavailable on YouTube. Originally aired February 2, 1991. [more inside]
Jiro Dreams of Sushi is the story of 85-year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious three-star Michelin Guide rating, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar. IMDB (7.9/10); Rotten Tomatoes (99% fresh).
Hannibal: Kō No Mono Season 2, Ep 11
Jack and the BAU team discover the truth about Freddie Lounds' disappearance, and Will and Hannibal become further engaged with Margot and Mason. Mason thinks Margot plans to get pregnant to produce an heir that will usurp him.