Directed By: Toshiaki Toyoda
Cast: Eita, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Ryuhei Matsuda, Yosuke Kubozuka
Format: BluRay & Vimeo
Number of Discs: 3
Age Rating: 15
Licensed By: Third Window Films
Release Date: 18th October 2021
*Limited to just 2000 copies!*
Toshiaki Toyoda is an acclaimed Japanese film director from Osaka and is no stranger to the folks behind Third Window Films, as back in 2016 they had also released the Limited Edition Early Years film collection from the same director. With the films, Pornostar, Unchain and 9 Souls. Now they have partnered up yet again, to release an even bigger collection of films totalling six in all capturing the majority of Toyoda’s work from 2005 to 2021. Amongst this set is Hanging Garden (2005), Monsters Club (2011), I’m Flash (2012), Wolf’s Calling (2019), The Day of Destruction (2020) and Go Seppuku Yourselves (2021).
Hanging Garden (2005)
So let’s begin with Hanging Garden, whose story centred around the Kyobashis family and their golden rule to not keep secrets from one another. Of course the family drama ensues when such secrets become exposed, with this family being far from perfect. Each person has their own secretive life, from the ageing grand-mother, the untrustworthy father and of course the teenage son & daughter. All of their withheld lives and the stress of dealing with her own unhealthy relationship with her own mother, leads the main character to have her own mental crisis. It was quite an interesting film that took some time to get going but it was certainly holding my attention by the end. A bit of a slow burn you could say.
Monster’s Club (2011)
Our next film is entitled ‘Monster’s Club’ and follows a young man named Ryoichi who resides alone in the snow covered mountains far away from society. With strong ideas on how the World should be, free from the salvery of working for giant, multi million dollar corporations – Ryoichi takes matters into his own hands by becoming a remote terrorist. By making and sending bombs through the postal service, addressed to high ranking officials and CEO’s of TV networks. All under the pen name of the ‘Monsters’ Club’. With only a younger sister left in this World, he is one night visited by an intrusive image of a man with his face covered in some form of make up. As his mind starts to imagine the impossible, whilst living in this remote wilderness. This is certainly a political drama of sorts, as Ryoichi takes aim at the powerful business people in society, blaming them for the indoctrination of millions of people. Without the terrorist plot, this could certainly be worked around to be a thriller.
I’m Flash (2012)
Our next film is certainly my favorite amongst this collection and is entitled, ‘I’m Flash’. We follow a trio of ‘guns for hire’ who are first tasked with protecting Rui; the face and leader of a religious cult who was recently involved in a bit of a scandal. With Rui now wanting to disband his religious group, his family soon turned their attention to having him ‘dealt with for good’ by those that were hired to protect him. This was certainly an interesting film, with plenty of action and intrigue from start to finish. As we not only see it from the perspective of the ‘bodyguards’, but also from Rui’s as we see exactly what led up to the unfortunate car accident that left one dead and another in a coma. This film is possibly the most rewatchable release out of the whole collection, especially for me and my taste in film.
Wolf’s Calling (2019)
Now this next title is a short film called ‘Wolf’s Calling’ and is one that has an interesting back story to it. Back in 2019, Toshiaki Toyoda himself was arrested by Japanese police for the unlawful possession of a handgun. It was later released that this was a family keepsake, but due to the incident Toyoda turned the idea into an interesting plot for a self funded short film. Without the use of the big studios, Toyoda still held a star studded cast including Kiyohiko Shibukawa (“9 Souls” 2003) and Ryuhei Matsuda (“Blue Spring” 2002), accompanied by international known actor Tadanobu Asano (“Ichi the Killer” 2001) in a supporting role. The plot followed a young woman who finds an old handgun in her attic, thus throwing us viewers back into a long past Japan where a group of samurai gather at a very familiar looking shrine ready for a fight. I’m unsure if this was a film that was to interlink with his future work ‘Go Seppuku Yourselves’. Although I do have to say, it was a nice surprise to see actor Kiyohiko Shibukawa return to the screen as he has also appeared in other TWF releases including Pornostar and Love & Peace
The Day of Destruction (2020)
Our next film is ‘The Day of Destruction’, which was first released in 2020. The plot for this one takes us to a rural mountain town, where seven years ago a mysterious monster was found in a coal mine. Since then rumors spread amongst the town, with many falling to an unexplainable mental illness. One such person being a young man named Kenichi who is on a downward spiral after the tragic death of his younger sister. All of which sends him on a mission that inevitably leads him to the streets of Tokyo in a scene that looks like it just came from a film student’s portfolio. There has to be more of a serious undertone happening in this story, one that I have completely missed as I found it quite difficult to follow at times.
Go Seppuku Yourselves (2021)
And finally we have ‘Go Seppuku Yourselves’, the final film in what has come to be known as the politically urgent ‘Resurrection Trilogy’ from Toshiaki Toyoda. This short film follows a samurai, played by Kiyohiko Shibukawa yet again, as he attends the seppuku of a samurai who refuses to die without condemning the corrupt powers that be. A running theme in several of the films in this box set. This period samurai drama is set once again in a familiar location, one that I think has been used for the entire three films in the Resurrection Trilogy. Sure why not I suppose, it certainly helps to tie them all together.
- Disc 1: Hanging Garden 空中庭園 (2005) – Special Features: Audio commentary by Toshiaki Toyoda / Making Of / Deleted Scenes
- Disc 2: Monsters Club モンスターズクラブ (2011) / Wolf’s Calling 狼煙が呼ぶ (2019)/Day of Destruction 破壊の日 (2020) / Go Seppuku Yourselves 全員切腹 (2021). Special Features: Making of Monsters Club / Monsters Club audio commentary by Jasper Sharp / New interview with Toshiaki Toyoda
- Disc 3: I’m Flash (2012) – Special Features: Audio commentary by Tom Mes / New interview with Toshiaki Toyoda / Making Of featuring cast & staff interviews plus premiere stage greetings
This entire collection is limited to just 2000 physical BluRay copies from Third Window Films, so make sure to grab your order today through the link below. For those of you that prefer streaming, you can also view this film collection over on Vimeo through the same link below. The people over at TWF have put in some immense work to get this collection released and it is stunning just looking at the physical edition. Although some of the films were not to my liking, the overall release gets top marks in my humble opinion.