AFL: Year of Release 2009 ~ 2000

Year of Release: 2009
Summer Wars (サマーウォーズ)

© 2009 Summer Wars Film Partners
A time where the real world and a virtual community named OZ co-exist. High school math whiz Kenji (voiced by Kamiki Ryunosuke) is invited on a trip to Ueda, Nagano prefecture by senior schoolmate Natsuki (voiced by Sakuraba Nanami), whom he has a secret crush on. While spending time with Natsuki’s extended family the Jinnouchis, Kenji receives an email with a suspicious numeric code.
The following day, a mysterious avatar appears in OZ, destroying its maintenance system and causing chaos throughout the real world. Under the leadership of family matriarch Granny Sakae (voiced by Fuji Sumiko), falsely accused Kenji and the Jinnouchi clan do battle with the enemy.
Duration:  114mins    Genre: Children / Family, Animation
Director: Mamoru Hosoda (細田 守)
Cast: KAMIKI Ryunosuke, SAKURABA Nanami, TANIMURA Mitsuki and FUJI Sumiko
Noriben - The Recipie of Fortune (のりちゃんのり弁)

© Nonchan Noriben Film Association
Komaki (Konishi Manami), who was raised in the working-class downtown district of Tokyo, has had enough of the failures of her novelist husband Noritomo (Okada Yoshinori), and decides to take her daughter Noriko (Sasaki Rio) to the home of her mother Fumiyo (Baisyo Mitsuko).
Aiming for a completely new start, she sets out full of hope to find work—but finds nothing other than numerous proverbial doors being slammed in her face. After the "noriben" that she packed for Noriko's lunch becomes a huge hit at kindergarten, she decides to open her own "bento" shop offering good inexpensive food—she forcibly apprentices herself to Toya (Kishibe Ittoku), the proprietor of the renowned restaurant Totoya.
Duration:  107mins    Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family, Feature
Director: Akira Ogata (緒方 明)
Cast: KONISHI Manami, OKADA Yoshinori and MURAKAMI Jun
After the Flowers (花のあと)

© Hana no Ato Associates
Based on a short story by noted historical novelist Fujisawa Shuhei. Unasaka domain, northeastern Japan -- the Edo period. Crossing practice swords with Magoshiro (Miyao Shuntaro), the domain's best sword-fighter, Ito (Kitagawa Keiko), the only daughter of an Unasaka official and a talented fencer, falls in love for the very first time. Several months later, however, Magoshiro is ensnared in the insidious plot of a high clan official -- not knowing what to do, Magoshiro takes his own life. Upon hearing the devastating news, Ito vows to take revenge.
Duration:  107mins    Genre: Drama, Romance, Historical, Feature
Director: Kenji Nakanishi (中西 健二)
Cast: KITAGAWA Keiko, KOMOTO Masahiro and MIYAO Shuntaro
The Chef of South Polar (南極料理人)

© "The Chef of South Polar" Film Partners
A heart-warming comedy, based on the poignant essays of Nishimura Jun, who in real life served as a Japan Coast Guard cook for an Antarctic scientific observation team. The film depicts with humor the extreme isolation of eight men, living apart from their families in the severe cold at the South Pole, where it is even too cold for viruses to survive. From full-course French cuisine to hand-made "ramen" noodles, the meals that fill the team members’ bellies and hearts are unforgettable.
Duration:   125mins   Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family, Feature
Director: Shuichi Okita (沖田 修一)
Cast: SAKAI Masato, NAMASE Katsuhisa and Kitaro
Year of Release: 2008
Zen ()

© 2009 ZEN Production Committee
The turbulent Kamakura period. Having lost his mother as a young boy, Dogen (Nakamura) travels to China at the age of 24 in search of a Buddhist master. He goes through ascetic training under Zen monk Ju-ching (Zheng Tianyong). After he finally attains enlightenment at dawn one summer morning, he returns to Japan and endeavors to spread Zen Buddhism.
Duration:  128mins    Genre: Drama, Historical, Feature
Director: Banmei Takahashi (高橋 伴明)
Cast: NAKAMURA Kantaro, UCHIDA Yuki Orin and FUJIWARA Tatsuya
Best Wishes for Tomorrow (明日への遺言)

© Best Wishes for Tomorrow production committee
After WWII, Lieutenant General Okada Tasuku (Fujita Makoto) is on trial accused of executing American aircrew who carried out indiscriminate bombing towards the end of the war. As his wife Haruko (Fuji Sumiko) and his family observe in the public gallery, Okada, together with his chief defense counsel, Featherstone (Robert Lesser), insist that the indiscriminate bombing by the Americans was against international law. Regarding the trial as a "legal battle", Okuda continues with his testimony to take full responsibility and to protect his subordinates. His attitude gradually moves American prosecutors and the judge.
Duration:   110mins   Genre: Drama
Director: Takashi Koizumi (小泉 堯史)
Cast: Makoto Fujita, Robert LESSER, Fred MCQUEEN and FUJI Sumiko
Osaka Hamlet (大阪ハムレット)

© "Osaka Hamlet" Production Committee
After the father’s sudden death, the cheerful, hard-working Fusako (Matsuzaka) is holding together the Kubo family of three growing sons. Then a mysterious man (Kishibe Ittoku) appears, claiming to be the dead father’s younger brother, and the easygoing Fusako lets him move in. The sons are perplexed by this unexpected development, but Masaji (Hisano Masahiro), the eldest, a very mature 9th-grader, falls in love with a college student, while the semi-tough second son, Yukio (Morita Naoyuki), begins to have doubts about his biological parents. Meanwhile, the youngest, the grade-schooler Koki (Otsuka Tomoya) tells his classmates he wants to become a girl and earns their ridicule. It is clear the boys have troubles enough to fill their days.
Duration: 107mins     Genre: Drama, Feature
Director: Fujirou Mitsuishi (光石 富士朗)
Cast: MATSUZAKA Keiko, KISHIBE Ittoku, MORITA Naoyuki, HAZAMA Kanpei and KATO Natsuki
 Happy Flight (ハッピーフライト)

© 2008 Fuji Television, Altamira Pictures, Toho, Dentsu
The story mainly takes place on board the flight No.1980 bound for Honolulu from Japan. For Suzuki Kazuhiro (Tanabe Seiichi), the co-pilot, this flight is the final test for his promotion to become captain. For Saito Etsuko (Ayase Haruka), a newly recruited cabin attendant, this is her memorable debut on an international flight. However, the aircraft hits a bird soon after takeoff and the aircraft is forced to turn back to Japan due to technical failures. Then they are faced with yet another challenge - difficult landing conditions due to an approaching typhoon. They manage to overcome the challenge with the help of instructions issued by the operation control center on the ground. The young crew in aviation-related occupations grow in experience after this bittersweet but fulfilling flight.
Duration: 103mins     Genre: Comedy, Feature
Director: Shinobu Yaguchi (矢口 史靖)
Cast: TANABE Seiichi, TOKITO Saburo and AYASE Haruka
Year of Release: 2007
The Battery - Future in our Hands (バッテリー)

© 2007 "Battery" Film Partners
Harada Takumi (Hayashi Kento) has moved to a country town in Okayama for his sickly younger brother. Takumi is an extraordinarily talented baseball pitcher, but has been unable to pitch to his satisfaction as he couldn't trust the catcher. Nagakura Go (Yamada Kenta), a catcher at a children's baseball team in Okayama, is eager to form a battery duo with Takumi. Their battery looked like doing well, however, the differences in technique become apparent when they join junior high school, and Takumi suggests disbanding the battery.
Duration: 119mins     Genre: Drama, Family, Feature
Director: 滝田 洋二郎 (Youjiro Takita)
Teresuko - Three for the Road (やじきた道中 てれすこ)

©  2007 "Three for the Road" Film Partners
YAJI has lost his wife and son to an epidemic and he lives alone in a ramshackle row house, eking out a living sculpting fancy pastries. He is in love with OKINO, a popular local courtesan, but she remains frustratingly beyond his reach.
Okino decides to lie to Yaji, pleading “Help me run away to see my dying father one last time.” Yaji rises to the occasion and proclaims he will engineer her escape from the pleasure quarters and take her to her native village.
Just then, a man appears outside the window. He is KITA, Yaji’s childhood friend. A second-rate actor, Kita has just totally screwed up an important part on stage and has lost his will to live. Kita decides Yaji and Okino’s impending journey is the perfect way out of his predicament and pesters Yaji to let him join them...
Duration: 108mins     Genre: Drama
Director: Hidehiro Hirayama (平山 秀幸)
Cast: Kanzaburo Nakamura, Akira Emoto and Kyoko Koizumi
Year of Release: 2006
The Girl who Leapt Through Time (時をかける少女)

© 2006 Tokikake Film Partners
 A high school girl, Konno Makoto, obtains the power of the "time loop" - an ability to leap through time - following a car accident. Makoto starts using the power to satisfy her trifling desires. However, her best friend, Tsuda Kosuke, gets involved in an accident because Makoto selfishly changed the past. Her other best friend, Mamiya Chiaki, steps in to avoid the crisis. Chiaki has come from the future by time loop, and Makoto's ability is a consequence of the equipment that he has brought. Makoto realizes that she is in love with Chiaki but he is due to return to the future. On the day of their separation, Chiaki and Makoto promise to meet again.
Duration: 98mins     Genre: Animation, Feature
Director: Mamoru Hosoda (細田 守)
Cast: NAKA Riisa, ISHIDA Takuya and ITAKURA Mitsutaka
Year of Release: 2005
Spring Snow (春の雪)

© Toho/Fuji TV/Hori Pro./S・D・P/Hakuhodo DY Media
Matsugae Kiyoaki (Tsumabuki Satoshi) was brought up by the aristocratic Ayakura family. Kiyoaki is in love with Count Ayakura's daughter, Satoko (Takeuchi Yuko), but doesn't know how to express his love to her. Satoko accepts a proposal of arranged marriage from the imperial family which will benefit the Ayakuras, too. Satoko writes to Kiyoaki to confirm his feeling for her, but his replies never arrive and she ends up accepting the engagement. Only after the official announcement of the marriage does Kiyoaki realize how much he loves Satoko. They begin to meet in secret, in full knowledge that their affair is doomed.
Duration: 151mins    Genre: Feature
Director: Isao Yukisada (行定 勲)
Cast: TSUMABUKI Satoshi and TAKEUCHI Yuko
 A Stranger Of Mine (運命じゃない人)

© 2004 PFF Partner
Naive and gullible Miyata (Nakamura Yasuhi) is depressed because his fiance, Ayumi (Itaya Yuka), has disappeared even though he just bought an apartment where they planned to live together. His private detective friend, Kanda (Yamanaka So), can't stand Miyata's whining anymore and he picks up a girl for Miyata when they go out to a restaurant together. The girl, Maki (Kirishima Reika) says that she has just split up with her fiance, too and claims she has no place to stay. Miyata agrees to let her stay over in his apartment. Then Ayumi turns up out of the blue. Maki gets angry with the self-centered Ayumi and storms out, but Miyata runs after her and manages to get her phone number. It is an evening of modest blessings for Miyata, but a terrible chain of events is about to shatter his happiness.
Duration: 98mins     Genre: Feature
Director: Kenji Uchida (内田 けんじ)
Year of Release: 2004
Swing Girls (スウィング・ガールズ)

© 2004 Fuji Television Network/Altamira Pictures/Toho/Dentsu
At a rural girl's high school in northern Japan, remedial math classes are being held during the summer break. Looking for a way out, Tomoko (Ueno Juri) and two of her classmates volunteer to deliver lunches left behind by the school's brass band on the way to support the baseball team at a crucial game. However, when the band subsequently suffers a bout of food poisoning, Tomoko and her companions seize the chance to ditch summer school as replacement musicians. Despite a severe lack of talent, they gradually succumb to the infectious rhythms of big band jazz and start to take the music seriously. Just as they are about to perform in public for the first time, the band members they replaced return and the ring-ins are shunted to the sidelines. However, this fails to dampen the girls' newfound spirit, and they take up part-time jobs and practice in the streets to achieve their dream of playing at the school's music festival.
Duration: 105mins     Genre: Comedy, Feature
Director: Shinobu Yaguchi (矢口 史靖)
Cast: UENO Juri, KANJIYA Shihori, MOTOKARIYA Yuika, TAKENAKA Naoto and TANI Kei
The Face of Jizo (父と暮らせば)

© 2004「父と暮せば」パートナーズ
In Hiroshima in 1948, memories of the atomic bombing three years earlier are still fresh in the minds of the people. Mitsue (Miyazawa Rie) works at a library where she meets Mr. Kinoshita (Asano Tadanobu), a shy, young man researching the disaster. They grow close, and Mr. Kinoshita eventually asks for her hand in marriage. However, Mitsue is troubled by her memories of the bombing when she was unable to save her father, Takezo (Harada Yoshio), and her closest friends as well as the many others who lost their lives. She doubts whether she deserves to have survived. Then the spirit of her father appears before her, and asserts that she should be happy. Watching over her budding romance with Mr. Kinoshita, Takezo cajoles and encourages Mitsue into opening her heart again.
Duration: 99mins     Genre: Feature
Director: Kazuo Kuroki (黒木和雄)
Cast: MIYAZAWA Rie, HARADA Yoshio and ASANO Tadanobu
Year of Release: 2003
Robocon (ロボコン)

© 2003 Toho/ Shogakukan/ Tokyo FM/ Nippon Shuppan Hanbai
Satomi (Nagasawa Masami) is aimlessly attending a vocational school and becomes a member of the robot club by chance. There are two robot clubs at her school. The first club's members are handpicked elite and have regularly participated in the robot contest. The other one, which Satomi belongs to, is full of hacks and the club is about to close down. The second club participates in a local contest, but can't even pass the first stage. However, their unique idea is praised and they are invited to attend the National Robot Contest. Satomi, who hates losing, burns with passion for the contest in order not to be disgraced in public. After lodging together in preparation for the event, things go well and the fruits of their labour win them the championship.
Duration: 119mins     Genre: Feature
Director: Tomoyuki Furuyama (古厩 智之)
Cast: NAGASAWA Masami, OGURI Shun and ITO Atsushi
Like Asura (阿修羅のごとく)
© 2003 Toho/ Hakuhodo/ The Mainichi Newspapers/ Nippon Shuppan Hanbai
Four sisters in the Takezawa family gather for the first time in a long while upon learning their father has a mistress and a love child. The quartet decides against letting their mother Fuji (Yachigusa Kaoru) know about it and take advantage of the gathering to reveal their own problems to each other. The oldest sister, Tsunako (Otake Shinobu), has been having a love affair. The second oldest, Makiko (Kuroki Hitomi), knows her husband has a younger girlfriend. The third sister, Takiko (Fukatsu Eri), who is painfully shy, has made up her mind to marry her first love. The youngest, Sakiko (Fukada Kyoko), who had been living with her boyfriend, got married after finding out she was pregnant. Meanwhile, their mother suddenly passes away and after her funeral they find a letter she had written to a newspaper. In the past, they had all read the same newspaper column which discussed the love affairs taking place nowadays in society. It was actually their mother who wrote the articles. They realize that she had known about their father's mistress and child all along, yet still accepted and forgave him.
Duration: 135mins     Genre: Feature
Director: Yoshimitu Morita (森田 芳光)
Cast: OTAKE Shinobu, KUROKI Hitomi, FUKATSU Eri and FUKADA Kyoko
Year of Release: 2002
A Boy’s Summer in 1945 (美しい夏キリシマ)

© 2003/ Rumble Fish
The story takes place in Kirishima, Kagoshima Prefecture, in the summer of 1945 just before WWII ends. Ninth-grader Yasuo (Emoto Tasuku) evacuates Tokyo, separated from his parents, and now lives with his rigid grandfather (Harada Yoshio) and grandmother. While he was lucky to escape being drafted due to ill health, he feels guilty about not being able to save his friend from a bomb attack and can't get accustomed to the militant attitude around him. The story also touches on people connected with Yasuo, such as Natsu, a server who feels a kinship with him, and Natsu's mother who has a love affair with a soldier in order to forget her husband's death.
Duration: 118mins     Genre: Feature
Director: Kazuo Kuroki (黒木 和雄)
Cast: EMOTO Tasuku, ODA Erika and HARADA Yoshio
Shin-chan: Appare! Sengoku Daigassen
[Bravo! Samurai Battle] (クレヨンしんちゃん 嵐を呼ぶアッパレ! )

© 2002 Usui Yoshito. / FutabashaESHIN-EI AnimationETV Asahi Corporation. / All Rights Reserved.
After mysteriously being sent back in time, Shin-chan saves the life of Matabe Ijiri, a samurai who leads the army of a small province in Japan. Welcomed as a guest by Ijiri, Shinnosuke must figure out why he is stuck in 1574.
Duration: 95mins     Genre: Animation
Director: Keiichi Hara (原 恵一)
Cast: FUJIWARA Keiji, KÔROGI Satomi , NARAHASHI Miki and YAJIMA Akiko
Year of Release: 2001
Waterboys (ウォーターボーイズ)

© 2001 Fuji Television, Altamira Pictures, Toho, Dentsu
It’s springtime and the Tadano High School swim team is barely keeping afloat. When a pretty new coach turns up with the nutty idea of creating a top synchronized swimming team of her own, she has just a few problems to overcome: she's teaching at an all-boys school, the 5 boys who have committed to the team are all hopelessly bad swimmers, she suddenly discovers she’s 8 months pregnant and due for maternity leave.
Inspired by their darling coach’s dream, the boys start preparing a routine for Tadano High’s festival. They face great adversity and their only encouragement comes from a gaggle of local drag queens and the crazy owner of an aquarium.
When autumn rolls around, the boys have not only miraculously perfected their routine, they’ve also won the participation of a crew of new teammates. On the eve of the festival, the performance is threatened by one last catastrophe. Will the Waterboys hard work be wasted, or can they paddle their way to the success they've worked so hard to win?
Duration: 91mins     Genre: Comedy, Sport
Director: Shinobu Yaguchi (矢口 史靖)
Cast: TSUMABUKI Satoshi, TAMAKI Hiroshi and TAKENAKA Naoto
Acacia Walk (アカシアの道)

© 2003 Toho/ Shogakukan/ Tokyo FM/ Nippon Shuppan Hanbai
Editor Miwako Kijima hears from her aunt about her mother’s illness. The mother, Kanako worked as a teacher, and raised Miwako as a single parent. Life was hard for Kanako, and she was cruel to Miwako. Her mother became very ill, which surprised Miwako as she had not contacted her mother since starting university. Miwako is told that her mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and she reluctantly accepts to go back to live with her. The days are full of stress and yelling at her mother. She feels bad because she’s doing the same thing her mother did to her. She starts to see her ex-boyfriend Sawaki to relieve the stress. However she feels as if no one understands her. She is released from her loneliness by…
Duration: 90mins     Genre: Family, Drama
Director: Joji Matsuoka (松岡 錠司)
Year of Release: 2000
Ame Agaru [After The Rain] (雨あがる)

© 2000 "After the Rain" Film Partners
With the river flooded after heavy rains, a group of travellers is stranded at a small country inn. Among them are Ihei Misawa, a poor ronin (a samurai without a master) and his wife, Tayo. As the rain continues tensions rise among the guests at the inn.
Duration: 92mins     Genre: Period  Piece, Drama
Director: Takashi Koizumi (小泉 堯史)
Cast: Akira Terao, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Shiro Mifune and Fumi Dan
Doraheita (どら平太)

© 2000 Dora-Heita Projects
Dora-Heita features a street-wise magistrate battling a corrupt establishment. The new magistrate is known as Dora Heita, the 'Alley-cat Magistrate', on account of his debauched lifestyle. In his unique way which was contrary to the samurai code, he cleans up the town of the yakuza bosses and the courtiers who are in cahoots with them. He is a one of a kind hero people long for today.
Duration: 111mins     Genre: Comedy, Action, Period Piece, Crime Drama
Director: Kon Ichikawa (市川 崑)
Cast: Kōji Yakusho, Yuko Asano, Bunta Sugawara and Ryudo Uzaki
Darkness In The Light (日本の黒い夏 -冤罪-)

© 2000 NIKKATSU Corporation
Sarin gas was released in the provincial city of Matsumoto and the irresponsible media decided that the man who informed the police of the incident was the guilty party. Only one small broadcasting club believed in his innocence and went on investigating. It became obvious that Kanbe, the man deemed guilty, could not possibly be the culprit but police and major media pressed on. Kanbe’s innocence was only proved when the massive sarin attack on Tokyo occurred.
Duration: 119mins     Genre: Drama
Director: Kei Kumai (熊井 啓)
Cast: Kiichi Nakai, Akira Terao, Naomi Hosokawa, Nagiko Tono and Yukiya Kitamura