The idol film thread

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The idol film thread

Unread post by HungFist » 01 Jan 2009, 15:35

New and old. Comments, questions, reviews, whatever.

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Unread post by HungFist » 01 Jan 2009, 15:40

Hiroko Yakushimaru Premium Box mega review:
- Sailor Suit and Machine Gun
- Tonda Couple
- Main Theme

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http://www.bulletsnbabesdvd.com/forums/ ... php?t=3388

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Tragedy of W dvd review and comparison:

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http://www.bulletsnbabesdvd.com/forums/ ... php?t=4445

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Toki wo kakeru shojo dvd review and comparison

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http://www.bulletsnbabesdvd.com/forums/ ... php?t=4940

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Early Spring Story dvd review and comparison

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http://www.bulletsnbabesdvd.com/forums/ ... php?t=5186
Last edited by HungFist on 27 Jun 2009, 15:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread post by HungFist » 02 Jan 2009, 15:34

Nerawareta gakuen (1981)

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One of the many idol films helmed by madman Nobuhiko Obayashi, School in the Crosshairs (1981) is more akin to the wacky style of House (1977) than the more subtle fantasy dramas that tend to be the director’s best movies. This is not to say School in the Crosshairs won’t find its fans; it most certainly will, and not only people who reside in the director’s camp. In fact, the film is perhaps more remarkable as a Hiroko Yakushimaru movie than Obayashi effort – it marked the soon to be super idol’s final break through. And while Hiroko may have improved as an actress, she never quite looked as adorable as she does here. One of the benefits of being aged 16…

However, it’s not only Hiroko’s innocent presence that dominates the movie. With an opening shot set in outer space (that’s right) and an introduction text babbling about a small girl and her large chest (in almost any other film this piece would get a sexual undertone), followed by one of the most beautiful black and white opening credits sequences, it’s obvious School at the Crosshairs is also very much a director’s media. Obayashi, at the top of his game as a visual artist, gives his young star appropriately beautiful backgrounds. The director plays with visual outlook throughout the film, but rather than applying ugly contrast boosting Obayashi often fades the colors, giving the film an extremely beautiful, grayish look. Bright colors are not forgotten though; the final 15 minutes is a fireworks display, in every sense of the word.

The storyline leans towards nonsensical. Hiroko plays a teenager, who, instead of getting interested in boys (the film features no romance subplot whatsoever), receives supernatural powers. She’s not the only magician in the school, though. A new transfer student tries to take over the school and form a “nazi party” of summoned students. A man from Mars also tempts Hiroko to join him to rule the universe. None of this makes much sense. The film remains very superficial; it looks and sounds beautiful, but it doesn’t have much else to offer. It’s a fun and adventurous film, but not a master class work in Obayashi filmography. Also notice that this film was made before Hiroko’s pop star career kicked off, so you’d have to wait till Sailor Suit and Machine Gun (1981) to hear her singing.

The caps below come from the Kadokawa R2J. It comes with a good transfer (progressive of course) and the usual DD 2.0 and 5.1 options. Extras are pretty slim; only biographies, trailer and Obayashi commentary are included. A subbed IVL exists, but knowing their standards I didn’t bother wasting money. Their Kadokawa film releases always seem to suffer from poorly times subtitles and bad encoding resulting to severe compression artifacts. Kadokawa is the opposite, here they’ve used a healthy 8.99 mb/s average bitrate.

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Last edited by HungFist on 22 Nov 2009, 06:48, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread post by bradavon » 02 Jan 2009, 19:25

Idol Films are those made, to cash in on the success of a pop star right?

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Unread post by HungFist » 02 Jan 2009, 20:29

Not necessarily. Acting could easily be the main career, and singing a supporting activity. But an actress idol would usually have to sing, too, no matter if she was great or not so great, because that would count as "cute activity".

You need to understand the japanese idol culture (which doesn't really exist in western countries) and the concept of idol. It's a country where a cute girl may be able to release 10 succesful photobooks without ever taking her clothes off (I know, I have a bunch of photobooks myself :D). And they're not sold to perverts but to fans. And the fans are much more passionate than in western countries.

Hiroko Yakushimaru is a great example of an idol. Succesfull acting career including cult hits (Sailor Suit and Machine Gun), high profile films (Never Give Up with Ken Takakura, Legend of the 8 Samurai with Sonny Chiba) and critically acclaimed performances (Japanese Academy Award nomination for Tragedy of W). Loads of songs including list hits and live tours. Photobooks. Appearing in commercials. And above all, cute as hell. The way she looks, the way she acts, the way she talks. That's the main point. And a big bunch of people worshipping her. Now, that's an idol for you. Also note that she started her career as an actor. The singing career came in only a few years later.

An important thing for an idol is the image. Idols are cute, so you don't see them doing something that would wreck the image. They're not casted as rape victims in films. They won't take their clothes off (until when they've lost their popularity and want to destroy their career). And you don't see an idol misbehaving in her real life either. That's because an idol should be an idol 24/7. An idol that can't keep up the pure image will be a former idol in no time.

I don't really have a clue what I'm talking about, but I hope that helps :D
Last edited by HungFist on 27 Jun 2009, 15:12, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread post by bradavon » 02 Jan 2009, 20:43

And the fans are much more passionate than in western countries.
I understand that. I've been to Japan remember. Otherwise I bow to your infinite knowledge on the subject :).

It sounds like the closest thing we have our here is "Boy Bands". Fans go crazy and by everything they release, although obviously not to Japanese standards.

I presume photo books have text to? Any lingerie or underwear photos in them? I'm just wondering. Thanks btw.

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Unread post by gasteropod » 02 Jan 2009, 21:06

Ahh, I was wondering what the hell this thread was about lol.

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Unread post by bradavon » 02 Jan 2009, 21:51

I'm glad I wasn't the only one :D.

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Unread post by HungFist » 02 Jan 2009, 22:34

gasteropod wrote:Ahh, I was wondering what the hell this thread was about lol.
The term has confused many people before you. And will confuse many after you :D
bradavon wrote:
And the fans are much more passionate than in western countries.
I understand that. I've been to Japan remember. Otherwise I bow to your infinite knowledge on the subject :).


Thanks :D
bradavon wrote: It sounds like the closest thing we have our here is "Boy Bands". Fans go crazy and by everything they release, although obviously not to Japanese standards.


That would be about right. One big difference is that the boy bands don't have to play their role 24/7 like japanese idols. But of course their image is a bit different, too.
bradavon wrote: I presume photo books have text to? Any lingerie or underwear photos in them? I'm just wondering. Thanks btw.


Usually just photos. What kind of photos that of course depends on who we're talking about. But usually it can't be anything too sexy, as that would be against the pure image.

Here's an example. These are not my scans, but I do own this photobook. Although do note that this a modern idol, while in this thread I'm mostly talking about 80's idols.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/ ... ya_000.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/ ... ya_004.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/ ... ya_036.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/ ... ya_059.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/ ... ya_064.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/ ... ya_069.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/ ... ya_087.jpg

Note that gravure idols are bikini idols, but they're more like a sub-genre among idols. I wouldn't really call them idols at all, even though some fansboys will disagree. They don't do much else than photos, and that's pretty much their "idolship". The "idols" I've been talking about here are "personas". They may release photobooks, but that's just one part of it. It's the entirety - photos, films, songs, public appearances etc. - that creates a true idol.

Oh, and middle aged idols don't exists. You probably guessed that :D. When you get too old you need to chance profession, like become an ordinary actress or singer (Hiroko Yakushimaru for example is still acting today). Or you could finally make the (male) fans' dreams come true and take off your clothes like Nanno (Yoko Minamino) did.

Finally, some idol goodness from youtube:

The Little Girl Who Conquered Time music video (with Tomoyo Harada):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ot6BsJC7sOw

Sailor Suit and Machine Gun trailer (with song by Hiroko Yakushimaru):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQwpaoK8R5Y

Yoko Minamino: Haikarasan ga tooru:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wALtR3n7C3I
(Dice once linked me this, he’s our official Nanno expert)

And some Hiroko stuff... her old stuff still hugely popular... yahoo auction brings up 872 search results at the moment... here some:

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Sailor Suit and Machine Gun stuff
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Photobooks
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Still from Main Theme (1984)
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I own two concert dvds from her. Some day when I have time I’ll try to post something about them.

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Unread post by bradavon » 03 Jan 2009, 01:19

Don't tell me, the books cost a flipping fortune :D.

I'm surprised no one has though of copying it here. I bet it would sell, again not to Japanese levels. Teenage girls love calenders and posters so why not photo books.

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Unread post by HungFist » 03 Jan 2009, 09:55

bradavon wrote:Don't tell me, the books cost a flipping fortune :D.
While not cheap, they're not overly expensive. Usually you get hard cover, A4 size, 100+ page book for less than 3000 yen. And the quality is of course first grade.
bradavon wrote: Teenage girls love calenders and posters so why not photo books.
Hey, what does that make of me??? :evil: :D


One idol I need to introduce myself to when I have time is Momoe Yamaguchi. Let me quote advdg / Muldoon:

Momoe shouldn't need an introduction but I'll go ahead and give one. She is arguably the top idol of the 70s who retired at the age of 20 in 1980. Her iconic status is due in part to her decision to retire at the top of her game and the fact that she has stayed retired ever since.

Many of Leslie's and Anita's hit songs were covers of songs originally sung by Momoe. I'm sure everyone is familiar with Leslie's signature song The Wind Continues To Blow (also used as the theme song for Once A Thief). This song was originally sung by Momoe. This song was also the last song she sung at her farewell concert (quite fitting because the lyrics include lines like "thank you for your kindness" and "last song for you")


Sound of the Waves (潮騒) (1975)
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view trailer here

Eden no umi (エデンの海) (1976)
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view trailer here

More Momoe trailers

one of her numeous cds: 百恵復活
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Youtube performances:
Hito Natsu no Keiken
Cosmos

Yahoo actions gives 55 pages of search results... Eternal idol indeed.

Ultimate Momoe website:
http://www.geocities.com/jpopakina/momoe/index.html

A lot of her movies are actally available on cheap Hong Kong dvd (although the quality can’t be very good).

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Unread post by diceman » 03 Jan 2009, 10:41

HungFist wrote:Yoko Minamino: Haikarasan ga tooru:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wALtR3n7C3I
(Dice once linked me this, he’s our official Nanno expert)
Actually this song is from the credits from one of the most colourful and warm flicks (goes by the same name) I've ever seen. Watched it without subtitles, just with a general Wikipedia-summary from the Anime-version in the back of my mind, but it still turned out to be great. And yes, Yoko Minamino is kind of my favorite idol, also a reason why I prefer the second season of "Sukeban Deka" over the first one. Plus her singing is great, she's got an incredible amount of hits and genuine earwigs on her resumé, more than I ever heard from any other idol, "Hiroko Yakushimaru" and "Onyanko Club" included (the latter being hugely overrated, in my opinion, and certainly more commercial).

Haikara-san ga Tooru-Trailer

A few screenshots from the Toei-DVD, showing off the incredible visual style of the movie:

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Unread post by Shingster » 03 Jan 2009, 14:29

Aya Ueto is the spitting image of Momoe Yamaguchi!

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Unread post by HungFist » 03 Jan 2009, 15:37

Shingster wrote:Aya Ueto is the spitting image of Momoe Yamaguchi!
Never came to my mind.... But now that you mention it, I think I have a similar rain pic somewhere... let me see... here:

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Ok, now I have to admit the resemblance

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Ah, this reminded me I need to go to Japan and ask her if she'd like to marry me (before her bodyguard shoots me dead) :)

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Unread post by diceman » 03 Jan 2009, 15:48

HungFist wrote:Nerawareta gakuen (1981)
While the story is kinda flawed and those flashy SFX look a bit cheesy, you're right about the general visual style, which is indeed very unique and pleasantly psychedelic (but nowhere near as crazy as "Hausu"). The dancing-scene on the schoolground caught me by surprise, though; definetely something I'd expect to see in a Musical instead of a teen-mystery flick. Plus you forget to mention, that "The aimed School" features one of the most stunningly beautiful composed title-sequences ever.
Japanese 80s rock.

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Unread post by HungFist » 03 Jan 2009, 15:59

That opening is fantastic indeed. I originally had a cap from it, intended as the first screencap, but I dropped it because I didn't want to give the image that the entire film is black & white...

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Unread post by HungFist » 05 Jan 2009, 22:15

Mark Schilling gives a good definition for idol

"idoru (manufactured entertainer)"
- http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ ... 101r1.html

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Unread post by HungFist » 11 Jan 2009, 17:27

Incredible. Hiroko Yakushimaru hasn't changed a bit it nearly 30 years.

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- http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20081 ... t.view-000

She's gonna star in Kondo wa aisaika - a new film by Isao Yukisada - with Etsushi Toyokawa.
- http://www.tokyograph.com/news/id-4167

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Unread post by diceman » 11 Jan 2009, 19:55

Hiroko Yakushimaru (the old, yet pretty and certainly looking as young as ever Hiroko) also appeared in Seijun Suzuki's brilliantly conceived Musical "Princess Raccoon", besides Zhang Ziyi and Jo Odagiri. Watched it on a festival and the audience was in a regular riot, clapping and humming along with the songs. Wasn't a worshipper back then, so I don't remember if she has had a singing-part as well.

Anyway, HungFist, would you mind telling me a few words about "Story of a Detective"? Is it good? Worth my money and loyal dedication?

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Unread post by HungFist » 11 Jan 2009, 20:14

With Yusaku Matsuda, Hiroko Yakushimaru and a song by Hiroko of course it's worth your money :D

However, it's not one of her best films. Or that's what I'm recalling at least. I should watch it again some day.

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Unread post by HungFist » 04 Mar 2009, 14:51

Not idol film really, but co-starring a future super idol

Never Give Up (1978)

Ken Takakura and Hiroko Yakushimaru together, what more could you ask for? Well, a thoroughly good movie. Producer Haruki Kadokawa spent millions on equipment borrowed from the US army to create a modern action epic. Yet both the action and storytelling are clumsy. The the original storyline – adapted from a novel by Seiichi Morimura – is, however, rather well constructed and remains interesting till the end. But the main attraction is of course seeing the greatest idol of the 80’s – in her very first movie role even – and one of the most legendary Japanese actors of all time in one movie. That’s no small merit for a film, even if the rest isn’t as good as it ought to be.

Caps are from the R1 Adness dvd. Good enough release, and most likely a Kadokawa port as far as transfer goes. Some sound effects during the action scenes are very weak, but I'd assume this is a problem with the source materal. Only trailers (original + other films) as extras. IVL has released this in HK, but everyone knows their usual standards (incredibly shobby encoding, poor subtitles etc) when it comes to Kadokawa films.

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The following stills are from the Kadokawa W no higeki dvd
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Last edited by HungFist on 13 Aug 2009, 13:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread post by diceman » 04 Mar 2009, 17:04

HungFist wrote:IVL has released this in HK, but everyone knows their usual standards (incredibly shobby encoding, poor subtitles etc) when it comes to Kadokawa films.
I haven't watched an IVL-Release featuring a Kadokawa-Movie yet that had poor subtitles. They were all pretty solid and easy to read.
Well, there may've been the occasional typo, but nothing outrageous.

Looking forward to watching this movie, of course.

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Unread post by HungFist » 04 Mar 2009, 18:10

diceman wrote:
HungFist wrote:IVL has released this in HK, but everyone knows their usual standards (incredibly shobby encoding, poor subtitles etc) when it comes to Kadokawa films.
I haven't watched an IVL-Release featuring a Kadokawa-Movie yet that had poor subtitles. They were all pretty solid and easy to read.
Well, there may've been the occasional typo, but nothing outrageous.

Looking forward to watching this movie, of course.
I was referring mainly to the subtitle timing, which falls far, far below my own standards.

It's also irritating that they translate every-damn-thing there is. For example if it's a scene where students go to school in the morning you'll have "Good morning" and "Hello" appearing on the subtitles 20 or 30 times although most of this "dialogue" is spoken by various extras outside the frame. So when the main characters are also talking at the same time it's a complete mess.

And if it's a kendo tournament where you have 200 people in the audience yelling at the same time, and IVL has managed to come up with "translations" for everything. Expect 50 times of "Do your best", "Give it your best shot", "Way to go", "Go ahead", and "Try your best". Either they have super ears, or they are just making up half of these translations.

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Unread post by gasteropod » 04 Mar 2009, 19:47

:lol:

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Unread post by diceman » 06 Mar 2009, 10:50

Some time agon I've uploaded that fantastic Title-Sequence from "Nerawareta Gakuen".

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