Shochiku, the fast movingJapanese major, has unveiled a forthcoming slate that includes a trio ofsamurai action flicks and a high-powered special effects film Hinokio.

"These films are all verydifferent in nature, but posses a common edginess that will continue to defineShochiku's slate," said Takeo Hisamatsu, managing director of production andtheatrical distribution.

Takahiko Akiyama, specialeffects director from Final Fantasy,directs Hinokio, a drama about arobot that helps a 12-year-old boy rediscover love and friendship after thedeath of his mother.

The three warrior titlesinclude:

* Hakkenden, a fantasy/action film is set in the 14th century,about a princess helped by eight Samurai warriors with different qualities anddifferent styles of martial arts set out to reclaim her kingdom. It is set fora 2006 release.

* From director YojiroTakita Ashura comes Jo No Hitomi,a battle to death between man and the devil set in the late Edo period. Castingincludes popular kabuki-actor Somegoro Ichikawa and Takako Matsu (AprilStory).

* Kohga Nipo Cho is an action film directed by Ten Shimoyama (Otogiriso), retelling the story of two lovers split by fortuneand two devastated villages whose last chance is to hire Ninja warriors.

Earlier this AFM, Shochikuunveiled Kakushi Ken Oni No Tsume,the new picture by Yoji Yamada, director of this year's foreign language Oscarnominee Twilight Samurai.

The 110-year-old company hasagain been moving upward in scale and ambition thanks to recent successes thatinclude Twilight Samurai and itsco-distribution of the Lord Of The Rings franchise.