The Best of 2001 – Poll Results

28 February 2002

The votes are in. The Midnight Eye readers have voted BATTLE ROYALE as their favourite Japanese film of 2001.

Below are the final results of our reader's poll, plus your personal comments and reactions. Thanks a lot to all of you who took the time to cast their vote. Hope to see you again at our next Midnight Eye readers poll.

Find out what Midnight Eye's own favourites of the year were in our Best (and Worst) of 2001 feature.

Ranking Title Original title Director
1. (19.1%) BATTLE ROYALE   Kinji Fukasaku
2. (16.2%) Dead or Alive 2   Takashi Miike
3. (8.1%) Pulse Kairo Kiyoshi Kurosawa
4. (6.4%) Versus   Ryuhei Kitamura
5. (5.8%) Avalon   Mamoru Oshii
Ichi the Killer Koroshiya Ichi Takashi Miike
6. (4.6%) Visitor Q   Takashi Miike
7. (4.1%) Blue Spring Aoi Haru Toshiaki Toyoda
Eureka   Shinji Aoyama
8. (3.5%) Electric Dragon 80,000 V   Sogo Ishii
Pistol Opera   Seijun Suzuki
9. (2.9%) Brother   Takeshi Kitano
10. (2.3%) Spirited Away Sen To Chichiro No Kamikakushi Hayao Miyazaki
11. (1.7%) Bad Company Mabudachi Tomoyuki Furumaya
Not Forgotten Wasurerarenu Hitobito Makoto Shinozaki
12. (1.2%) H Story   Nobuhiro Suwa
Inugami   Masato Harada
Stereo Future   Hiroyuki Nakano
Warm Water Under a Red Bridge Akai Hashi no Shita no Nurui Mizu Shohei Imamura
13. (0.6%) Firefly Dreams Ichiban Utsukushii Natsu John Williams
Gips   Akihiko Shiota
Go   Isao Yukisada
Harmful Insect Gaichu Akihiko Shiota
Hole in the Sky Sora No Ana Kazuyoshi Kumakiri
Nekojiru-so   Tatsuo Sato
Our Neighbours the Yamadas Tonari No Yamada-kun Isao Takahata
Party 7   Katsuhito Ishii
Unchain   Toshiaki Toyoda
19   Kazushi Watanabe
14. (0.0%) Acacia Walk Akashia No Michi Joji Matsuoka
Desert Moon   Shinji Aoyama
Distance   Hirokazu Kore-Eda
Family   Takashi Miike
Final Fantasy   Hironobu Sakaguchi
The Guys from Paradise Tengoku Kara Kita Otoko-tachi Takashi Miike
Hakuchi   Makoto Tezuka
Hotaru   Naomi Kawase
Human Trash Ningen No Kuzu Takshiko Nakajima
Hush   Ryosuke Hashiguchi
Limousine Drive   Masashi Yamamoto
Red Shadow Akai Kage Hiroyuki Nakano
Roji-E   Shinji Aoyama
Rush   Takahisa Zeze
Seance Kourei Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Shojo   Eiji Okuda
Stake Out Harikomi Tetsuo Shinohara
A Tender Place Yawaraka Na Hoo Shunichi Nagasaki
Tomie: Re-birth   Hiroshi Shimizu
Tokyo GP   Takashi Ishii
Unloved   Kunitoshi Manda
Uzumaki   Akihiro Higuchi
White Out   Setsuro Wakamatsu

Comments and reactions


An excellent film on girininjo that is probably difficult for anyone to really appreciate unless they have lived in Japan for at least 10 years.


Studio Ghibli, nuff' said


Actually, I was also seriously considering voting for Miike's superlative HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS, but I don't see it listed on the poll. For 2002, maybe?

--Travis Crawford (


excellent action packer from the very first minutes.


miike makes a movie that is competely transgressive but not the least bit self-marginalizing, thanks to the presence of asano, and cast. this actually ties with 'cure' for best of 2001---but only because the latter got to canada just this past year. I love you guys!!


I only saw two Japanese films this year and "White Out" was boring.


i WISH i COULD PICK TEN THERE WERE SO many great films but at leaast I can cheer for pulse and hope to see it on a screen in the us some time soon honurable mention to all about lilly chou chou for being just as interesting if not as concentrated


Pistol Opera is not a movie. It is cinema. Magnificent.


Because you have the feeling you are able to save everyone when the colours appear in the end.


Cinema, as it should be


Another Suzuki gem and another great example of what a director with real vision can pull off. Pure cinamatic entertainment.


2001 was a great year for japanese film,Its really tough to pick any one film but i vote BATTLE ROYALE (just beating INUGAMI)if anything for giving the film world a much needed kick up the ass!


It's difficult to choose only one film but I was most impressed by Bad Company. A simple story of a extremely emotional, philosophical and social depth.

Miike Takashi showed with Dead or Alive 2 how talented a director he could be and be more than just a director of violent films who can create one of the mostmoving metaphorically statements against killing I have ever seen. About Ichi the Killer and Visitor Q everything has been said but where can go from now on?

Also surprise that Imamura Shohei is still well in active but maybe his latest film lacks the freshness and challenging edge of his 60s and 70s films (including Narayama Bushiko).

Battle Royale also surprised as a very powerful (rather than violent) and moving film too in some parts even though the characterization of the students is a bit cliched.

Eureka: good film but prefer Nobuhiro Sowa's 2 Duo and M/Other.


D.O.A.2 :Simply the best film ever!


Just like to say thank's for running what is undoubtably my personal favorite site on the internet.

Best Regards, Damian Dugdale.


happiness of the katakuris


Eureka takes you on a psychological trip. A stunningly shot, comforting masterpiece


Pulse rocks! There hasn't been an atmospheric horror flick like it since Jacob's Ladder!


Tough to choose between "Pistol Opera" and "Battle Royale"--but, in the end, Suzuki wins out, in my opinion.


at least a dozen of sequels needed!!!!Bombastic!


A prettty original movie, Uzumaki alternately subverted and exceeded my genre expectations. It also "permanently scared" a couple of my friends...


"Kairo" is one of the most exceptional pieces of filmmaking I've seen in years. I've shown my R2 DVD copy to as many friends as possible, and all agree it's truly something special. I've not seen a picture that works within and transcends genre boundaries so well all at once. I shudder at the thought of the Wes Craven-backed American remake!

A close second for the year: Mamuro Oshii's "Avalon" - not a rock solid narrative, but Oshii shows he has an equally asute eye for live action as he does for animation.


I 'm quite surprised that Battle Royal had all these votes:it's not bad, but, in my opinion it's not absolutly to be mentioned like THE BEST JAPANESE MOVIE OF THE YEAR!!!!


Imamura remains true to his long-standing humanism, as ever portraying his characters in the richest detail, which is everything from passion to pettiness


A great year for Japanese cinema with outstanding efforts Takashi Miike, Seijun Suzuki, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Hiroyuki Nakano. Ultimately, I had to go for Electric Dragon because it is what any great film should be - an intense audio-visual experience that imprints itself on the subconscious and stirs a few brain cells. This young (save Suzuki) crop of directors have created some sublime movies and some high expectations for their future projects. Bring on 2002!


Unlike anything else I've ever seen. Miike Takashi has nowhere left to go in terms of sheer gleeful ultraviolence after this movie. I await his kindler, gentler take on 'Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman' with interest!