The Best of 2003 – Poll Results

10 March 2004

The votes are in, and Hideyuki Hirayama's A LAUGHING FROG receives the honours as Midnight Eye readers' favourite film of 2003.

Below are the final results, plus your personal comments and reactions. Many thanks to everyone who voted.

You can find out what Midnight Eye's own favourites of the year were in our Best (and Worst) of 2003 feature.

Ranking Title Original title Director
1. (22.46%) A LAUGHING FROG Warau Kaeru Hideyuki Hirayama
2. (18.27%) Gozu Gokudo Kyofu Daigekijo Gozu Takashi Miike
3. (11.54%) Zatoichi   Takeshi Kitano
4. (10.90%) Bright Future Akarui Mirai Kiyoshi Kurosawa
5. (6.41%) A Snake of June Rokugatsu No Hebi Shinya Tsukamoto
6. (5.13%) Azumi   Ryuhei Kitamura
7. (3.85%) Twilight Samurai Tasogare Seibei Yoji Yamada
8. (3.21%) Juon Juon Takashi Shimizu
9. (2.56%) Vibrator   Ryuichi Hiroki
10. (1.92%) Battle Royale II - Requiem   Kinji & Kenta Fukasaku
11. (1.60%) Doppelganger   Kiyoshi Kurosawa
12. (1.28%) Moon Child   Takahisa Zeze
Tokyo Godfathers   Satoshi Kon
When the Last Sword is Drawn Mibugishiden Yojiro Takita
13. (0.96%) Kakuto   Yusuke Iseya
14. (0.64%) 2LDK   Yukihiko Tsutsumi
9 Souls   Toshiaki Toyoda
Battlefield Baseball Jigoku Koshien Yudai Yamaguchi
Shara Sharasoju Naomi Kawase
Wild Berries Hebi Ichigo Miwa Nishikawa
15. (0.32%) Bayside Shakedown II Odoru Daisosasen 2 Katsuyuki Motohiro
Blue   Hiroshi Ando
Bokunchi - My House Bokunchi Junji Sakamoto
Borderline   Lee Sang-Il
Cop Festival Deka Matsuri Makoto Shinozaki, et al
Doing Time Keimusho No Naka Yoichi Sai
Jam Films   various
Madness in Bloom Kyoki no Sakura Kenji Sonoda
The Man in White Yurusarezaru Mono Takashi Miike
No One's Ark Baka No Hakobune Nobuhiro Yamashita
Peep "TV" Show   Yutaka Tsuchiya
Resurrection Yomigaeri Akihiko Shiota
Woman of Water Mizu no Onna Hidenori Sugimori
16. (0.00%) Aiki   Daisuke Tengan
Antenna   Kazuyoshi Kumakiri
Aragami   Ryuhei Kitamura
Bijokan   Masaya Kakehi
The Blessing Bell Kofuku No Kane Sabu
Blood Brothers Ryuko Kyodai Hitoshi Ozawa
Concent   Shun Nakahara
A Day on the Planet Kyo no Dekigoto Isao Yukisada
Dead End Run   Sogo Ishii
Egg   Yukihiko Tsutsumi
G@me   Minoru Isaka
Juon 2 Juon 2 Takashi Shimizu
Iden & Tity   Tomorowo Taguchi
Ikka   Akira Kawai
Kisarazu Cat's Eye   Fuminori Kaneko
Nasu - Summer in Andalusia Nasu Andarushia No Natsu Kitaro Kosaka
Out   Hideyuki Hirayama
Ramblers Riarizumu No Yado Nobuhiro Yamashita
Rock 'N' Roll Mishin   Isao Yukisada
Robocon   Tomoyuki Furumaya
Rockers   Takanori Jinnai
Samurai Resurrection Makai Tensho Hideyuki Hirayama
SF Whip Cream   Takahisa Zeze
Skyhigh   Ryuhei Kitamura
Trick   Yukihiko Tsutsumi

Comments and reactions


Gozu - Mind-bending, surreal, confusing but throughly enjoyable movie!


dear midnight eye staff: let us each vote for a top 5? choosing one is too hard.

0)sympathy for mr vengeance is korean but tops my list!!!

1)snake of june

2)bright future



5)cure finally gets a release amidst a glut of passed over miike films and bad schoolgirl gorefest flicks suddenly out on region 1


A Snake of June


simply sublime.


Bright Future

Despite the huge expectations, Bright Future did not disappoint. It's a difficult movie, sure, but I don't think it's even meant to be understood. Feeling it is more important.


A Laughing Frog! This movie is terrific. Sometimes we realise that for some people our death would be the perfect solution... And so the only thing to do it's laugh...


I've just got to say that Grudge (Juon) was the absolutely WORST film I saw last year.

Unlike Tom I quite enjoyed Woman of Water.

The Blessing Bell was passable for Sabu but didn't impress as much as other of his work.

Blue was forgettable for me.

Bokunchi- My House held my attention with captivating performances.

Gozu disappointed compared to his earlier work; but that still leaves a wide margin for most others.

Jam Films, I don't have many memories of except that the first story looked very glossy.

So that's all I've viewed of this year's crop; so by default I would pick Bokunchi- My House if I felt it was fair to vote.



I voted for "Bright Future", but really I also wanted to vote for "Tokyo Godfathers" and "Gozu"


I got to see Charisma this year (a bit late I know) and was blown away by it.


I knew it will be ok, I was even prepared to be disappointed by Moon Child, BUT BUT BUT... I LOVE IT!! I did not expect Gackt and HYDE to be good actors.


Twilight Samurai, along with When The Last Sword is Drawn, while they don't have the box office draw of Tom Cruise, ultimately proved to be MUCH more engrossing than the poorly conceived The Last Samurai. Stories that actually make you feel for the characters and don't make you anxious for the next sword fight.


I have to vote for Snake of June as it is the only film on the list I saw last year...I went to a party after I saw it and was met by stunned silence and frowning faces as I tried to explain the plot to people..."Well, there's this woman walking round with a vibrator in her knickers buying fruit when..." ?!&*$

Very weird and very thoughtful too.

:P aul


I'm all about Miike, honestly I've seen very few others on this list.


Gozu was my fave, but Juon was a very close 2nd. BRII was the biggest disappointment. One day I'll try to watch it again as just a movie and not compare it to the original. Maybe. But then, there a entirely too many other movies to see...


I've seen much better Japanese movies this year than Azumi, but I'm voting for it since this fun little flick (and, don't get me wrong, that's all it is) has been so unfairly snubbed on this site. Which do you guys like more: Japanese film, or saying you like Japanese film?


Japanese movies suck anyway. Dokdo is ours, chotpari's!


Miike's ride on a Lost Highway with the inner-self as final destination.


There were two Japanese films last year which are worth seeing. MIBUGISHIDEN (WHEN THE LAST SWORD IS DRAWN) and TASOGARE SEIBEI (TWILIGHT SAMURAI). The former is one of the best films to ever come out of Japan, and the latter is also a fine work, worthy of the Academy Award nomination. All the rest (including and especially the dopey ZATOICHI) are boring examples of what is wrong with the motion picture business today.



Having only seen about 10 of these im picking "WHEN THE LAST SWORD IS DRAWN"why its the best jidai geki/chambara since FUKASAKU'S 1995 "ABE ICHIZOKU"its a similar film in tone and story to "TWILIGHT SAMURAI "only its much better it has some great fighting and one of the wildest decapitaions in chambara history ,KICHII NAKAI and KOICHI SAITO are perfect as the rival SHINSENGUMI swordsmen if it wasnt for ABE ICHIZOKU id say this is the best samurai film since the early 70's (I noticed SHIN JINGI NAKI TATAKAI BOSATSU w/ WATANABE was missing from your list or was that a 2002 film ?anyway id give this an honourable mention as a worthy sequal to the FUKASAKU films) Michael Reid


The amazing acting seen in Akarui Mirai (Bright future) really opened my eyes to the next generation of great actors in japanese film. The subject matter in general, -freeters- is untouched in mainstream cinema, and I thought this film did a great job of portraying it in a somewhat interesting light.


Excellent stupidity!


GOZU - I got what I expected: an astonishing film. Thank you, Miike-san.


This is how all films should be. enough said.


Hard choice. Not because of the overall quality but because not one movie did rellay stand apart imho.

A Snake of June was beautifully shot and acted. Plis, it's always interesting to see Tskukamoto's evolution.

I hesitated with Gozu, best Miike this year, and Twilight Samurai.


zatoichi was better than 20 kill bills, and i'd say it ranks among kitano's strongest works.


Saw Shara on IFFR; a simple story about the sudden dissapearance of a young boy and it's impact on his family in a small japanese community; very real, quiet, slow and direct; breathtaking, emotional, beautiful




Vibrator was the best Japanese road movie in a long while


Gozu for the fact thats its probably the first ever ladle related death to be comitted to film. Ouch!


I saw it at a festival past year, and i can't forget the simple perfection of this work. A laughing frog it's even better than Turn! Very touching!


My favourite film of all time, Battle Royale, is by far better than this sequel - however it was the best film of 2003. The level of detail and care taken with all aspects of production is amazing especially considering that this is a first film for Kenta Fukasaku. It demonstrates such a high level of maturity, thats its astounding. Kenta Fukasaku - keep up the good work.


Gozu was a pleasant breath of fresh air. Trust me on this...


Watching Kakuto was an enthralling experience...


Sadly The Grudge is the only movie I've seen that's come out in 2003


Gozu was a great effort by Takashi Miike and offered a number of memorable scenes for the open-minded viewer.


Gozu - the most purely exhilarating film-going experience for me last year.


I dont care what anyone says, i still enjoy the BR franchise enough to place my vote on BR2. the thing i love about the franchise is the kids being placed in the certain situations. it makes me scared out of empathy.


a snake of june is a fantastic film,filled with emotion and violence and i think that tsukamoto,shinya is one of the best directors along with miike,takashi who have both inspired me in making my own films,but snake of june has got to be the best of the year. ryan lewis


I first saw Gozu at the Melbourne international Film festival. I enjoyed it that much that I picked it up on DVD. Sadly the translation was shocking, removing most of the humour. Luckily the best scene was completely visual……….


Gozu....silly, astonishing, glamour in a unique Miike style!!!!


Gozuuu, Gozuu, Gozuuuuuuuuu!!


A Laughing Frog it's the best Japanese movie i have seen this year in a festival. I also think that Gozu and Bright Future deserved much more good reviews!