Tokyo Zance

tokyo-iidaTsunku is best known as the svengali behind the Morning Musume empire (also known as Hello Productions), but he also dabbles in other things, one of them being film production. Until last year, he was running an independant film production company called Tsunku Town Films, which was accompanied by a TV show. What was so interesting about the show is that it gave you a look at every single aspect of the moviemaking process, from the budgeting, casting, pre-production, etc. It was fascinating, and funny as well as he had a group with him that included one of the producers of MECHA MECHA IKETEIRU, a long-running comedy show starring my favorite comedians, 99. One of the things that first got me interested in the show was the fact that it was always subtitled in English, something you never ever see on broadcast TV. Unfortunately, the show (as well as the production company I suppose) ended last year. The reason I mention all of this is because I finally got a chance to see one of those productions, TOKYO ZANCE. Most of the projects were very, very indie, and often featured first-time directors, mostly in anthologies (they made 2 or 3 I think). TOKYO ZANCE is one of those anthologies, and it features a bunch of wacky storylines by mostly first-time directors (and it’s worth noting that one of the shorts was directed by Hong Kong star Kelly Chan). I really, really liked this, as much for its zaniness and sometimes amateur direction as for its fun takes on very Japanese things. There’s a Hong Kong version of the film that has English subtitles (no such luck with the Japanese edition). Watching the film also made me nostalgic for the old Tsunku Town TV show, and I’m still hoping that one day they’ll make it back on air.