Aruitemo Aruitemo

Director Hirokazu Kore-eda is no stranger to critical acclaim with films such as Nobody Knows and international arthouse hit After Life. His latest stars Hiroshi Abe (Bubble Fiction) as the good-for-nothing son of a doctor who returns home for the anniversary of his brother's death. With Kore-eda's talent for eliciting strong performances, Aruitemo Aruitemo promises to be a unique family dramedy.

Contact: Noriko Akiyama, Cine Qua Non, (81) 3 5458 6576,


A spin-off from the successful Death Note series, which grossed a combined $70m last year. Now in production under Ring director Hideo Nakata, the story focuses on a brilliant young detective with as sweet tooth. L is slated for the widest same-day international release ever for a Japanese movie, opening in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan in February.

Contact: Shinako Matsuda, Nikkatsu Corporation, (81) 3 5689 1018,

The Sky Crawlers

Legendary animation director Mamoru Oshii, whose credits include Ghost In The Shell, is in pre-production on this big-budget adaptation of Hiroshi Mori's five-part novel. The story depicts a disturbing future where teenagers - known as 'kildren' - are raised to engage in aerial battles over Europe for entertainment. The Sky Crawlers promises cutting edge animation.

Contact: Francesco Prandoni, Production IG, (81) 42 323 9400,

Shaolin Girl (Shaolin Shojo)

Kou Shibasaki (One Missed Call) spent a year training for this martial-arts sports extravaganza. She plays a woman who returns to Japan after years of martial-arts training in order to take over her grandfather's Shaolin kung-fu training facility, but ends up helping out a university lacrosse team. Shaolin Soccer star Stephen Chow co-produces with hit maker Chihiro Kameyama.

Contact: Minako Mita, Fuji TV Motion Picture Dept, (81) 3 5500 8294,

The Magic Hour

With the industry's heavy reliance on existing properties, famed writer-director Koki Mitani (Suite Dreams) is one of Japan's few film-makers producing hit movies based on original scripts. The Magic Hour follows an underworld figure who promises to track down a hit man for his boss. When he cannot locate the assassin, he tricks a third-rate actor into playing the role. The film is in production on the largest set ever built in Japan.

Contact: Minako Mita, Fuji TV Motion Picture Dept, (81) 3 5500 8294,