The Best of 2004 – Poll Results
- 6 March 2005
Three films clearly stood out from the crowd this year, but it's Takashi Miike's IZO that runs off with the honour of being Midnight Eye readers' favourite Japanese film of 2004.
Below are the final results, plus your personal comments and reactions. Many thanks to everyone who voted!
Find out what Midnight Eye's own favourites of the year were in our Best (and Worst) of 2004 feature.
|1. (13.78%)||IZO||Takashi Miike|
|2. (12.99%)||Zebraman||Takashi Miike|
|3. (12.01%)||Innocence||Inosensu||Mamoru Oshii|
|4. (9.25%)||Nobody Knows||Dare mo Shiranai||Hirokazu Kore-eda|
|5. (7.48%)||Vital||Shinya Tsukamoto|
|6. (6.10%)||Doppelgänger||Kiyoshi Kurosawa|
|7. (3.94%)||Casshern||Kazuaki Kiriya|
|8. (3.15%)||Hana and Alice||Hana to Arisu||Shunji Iwai|
|Three Extremes: Box||Takashi Miike|
|9. (2.95%)||Tokyo Goddofazasu||Satoshi Kon|
|10. (2.36%)||Survive Style 5+||Gen Sekiguchi|
|11. (1.97%)||Josee, the Tiger and the Fish||Joze to Tora to Sakanatachi||Isshin Inudo|
|12. (1.77%)||Cutie Honey||Hideaki Anno|
|Howl's Moving Castle||Hauru no Ugoku Shiro||Hayao Miyazaki|
|Mind Game||Masaaki Yuasa|
|Taste of Tea, The||Cha no Aji||Katsuhito Ishii|
|13. (1.18%)||One Missed Call||Chakushin Ari||Takashi Miike|
|14. (0.98%)||Calamari Wrestler||Ika Resura||Minoru Kawasaki|
|Day on the Planet, A||Kyo no Dekigoto||Isao Yukisada|
|Dead End Run||Sogo Ishii|
|Godzilla Final Wars||Ryuhei Kitamura|
|Kamikaze Girls||Shimotsuma Monogatari||Tetsuya Nakashima|
|15. (0.79%)||Antenna||Kazuyoshi Kumakiri|
|Ramblers||Riarizumu no Yado||Nobuhiro Yamashita|
|16. (0.59%)||Appleseed||Shinji Aramaki|
|Blood and Bones||Chi to Hone||Yoichi Sai|
|Swing Girls||Shinobu Yaguchi|
|17. (0.39%)||Drugstore Girl||Katsuhide Motoki|
|Flower and Snake||Hana to Hebi||Takashi Ishii|
|Godzilla Tokyo SOS||Masaaki Tezuka|
|Hotel Venus||Hideta Takahata|
|Iden & Tity||Tomorowo Taguchi|
|Yoshino's Barber Shop||Barber Yoshino||Noako Ogigami|
|18. (0.20%)||Akame 48 Waterfalls||Akame Shijuha-taki Shinju Misui||Genjiro Arato|
|Fireflies: River of Light||Hiroshi Sugawara|
|Heaven's Bookstore||Tengoku no Honya: Koibi||Tetsuo Shinohara|
|Hidden Blade, The||Kakushi Ken: Oni no Tsume||Yoji Yamada|
|Jam Films 2||various|
|Koi no Mon: Otakus in Love||Koi no Mon||Suzuki Matsuo|
|Tange Sazen||Tange Sazen||Toshio Tsuda|
|19. (0.00%)||815||Shoichi Chugoku|
|Bottled Fools, The||Gusha no Binzume||Hiroki Yamaguchi|
|Gakincho Rock||Tetsu Maeda|
|Jam Films S||various|
|Nin x Nin||Ninja Hattori-kun The Movie||Masayuki Suzuki|
|Out of This World||Kono Yo no Soto e||Junji Sakamoto|
|Owl, The||Fukuro||Kaneto Shindo|
|Parasite Dolls||Naoyuki Yoshinaga|
|Sexy Drink||Ryuichi Honda|
|Stranger from Afar, The||Marebito||Takashi Shimizu|
|Tokyo Noir||Masato Ishioka|
|Tracing Jake||Densetsu no Wani Jeiku||Isshin Inudo|
|Walking with the Dog||Inu to Arukeba||Makoto Shinozaki|
Comments and reactions
Very heart-warming and funny at the same time.
Izo-I loved it,a zen buddest splatter film. I mean Miike is a great director that alot of people appiciate (besides the people here and at Varied Celluloid.)think of him as just a man who makes movies that are weird but this shows that he can make it unusually intellectual. lets hope Tom Mes updates his Agitator book with more of his stuff. -Ian Rummage
pure & fantastic left me speachless
Although I also loved "Nobody Knows" and "Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence", I'm casting my vote for Satoshi Kon's "Tokyo Godfathers". I think it suffered, unfairly, in comparison to "Perfect Blue" and "Millennium Actress". It was an excellent film, easily as good as Kon's other work.
i only saw like three of them and this was the best one...although it wasnt really that great :S
Nothing can even come close, in my opinion, to Mamoru Oshii's masterwork this year, except for the Paranoia Agent series, which is as outstanding, but in a completely different way.
Howl's Moving Castle. for the golden age of miyazaki...
Quill is just superb.The labradors that played Quill deserve oscars.Beautiful and touching story of Man's Best Friend
I loved this feature. The characters are real and believable. Even I digged Satoshi Tsumabaki this time. More Japanese movies should be made liked this.
CASSHERN- How this stunning film can end up on anyone's "Worst" list boggles my mind. Yes, it's "overwhelming", but it's not just CGI flash (but on that note, it looks much better than most 100 million dollar Hollywood blockbusters). It's a potent anti-war movie, and it sends a message we need right now, and does it more powerfully than most proper war movies. I think the people who had such a negative reaction to this film ought to give it one more shot. I really don't think it deserves the bashing it's getting.
Understated, beautiful, & disquieting, and by far the best Japanese film of 2004. Kore-eda's post-Ozu meditation on family and isolation makes me remember why I fell in love with Japanese cinema in the first place (something that has become harder to rekindle in recent years). A masterful creation by a great director who, sadly, is often overshadowed by more prolific & pandering filmmakers. (Mitch Cullin)
While many, including almost the entire midnight eye staff, casshern was succeded on every level. Entertainment that knew what it was but still tried to say something. As heavy handed as that statment was, there is no other way to wake people up unless its a swift kick to the head (casshern) or the balls (izo).
its got tadanobu asano what else do you want?
'Akame Waterfall' since I didn't see Kawase Naomi's 'Shara Souju' on the list.
Unexpectedly perfect in everyway. This would become one of the great classics.
However much the more highbrow viewers than I hated Casshern, for me it was easily the finest Japanese film of the many I saw last year, with a deep emotional resonance that is not dimmed by repeated viewings. A truly heartfelt film.
Nobody Knows balanced precision filmmaking with achingly poised acting.
Kurosawa can do no wrong. The man is a genius.
So much fun! Beautifully made and plain weird...very entertaining
I'm voting for Iden & Tity because I don't think enough people saw this movie. It's like Sideways but without the booze. This is a strong film that seems to be grounded in reality and its character strives for integrity when you least expect it. Great first-time directing from Tomorowo Taguchi, the man with a drill for a penis
As far as I'm concerned, the best movies of the year have come from Hong Kong and China. From Hong Kong there's One Nite in Mongkok from director Derek Yee, a story about the futility of hope and the inevitable violence that stems from human actions. Though an excellent movie, Running Karma came out in 2003, not 2004. From China there's Kekexili from young director Lu Chuan, about a journalist who joins an ill-equipped mountain patrol group as they pursue poachers in China's deadly but beautiful mountainous region known as Kekexili. Lu Chuan's eye for real human emotions and documentary style approach to filmmaking elevate Kekexili above most, if not all, films of the year.
Izo, just seen at Rotterdam Filmfestival, proves that samurai-slashing is the metaphor of persistent violence and that the people killed are not real. Neither is Miikes image play. Repetitive, you say? Watch the news instead. True celluloid IZO-lation of the driving force of mankind - Pain and Agression (ARCY, Berlin)
A Wonderful picture!
what to say about Innocence? An orgy of visual mastery AND the dog out of Avalon! cool by any standards. I didn't mention the plot as I am still getting to grips with that. Just like Lynch's Mulholland Drive, I just know it will all make sense if I watch it one more time...
Izô is not a simple movie, is a real kinematic experience. The ones who hate it cannot understand very well the higly provocative and, in this case, disillused vision of our society... W Miike Takashi
Why don't you have "Ima Aini Yukimasu" in the list? That was a really touching movie.
Why isn't "The Loved Gun" on this list?
I thought "Zebraman" was a hilarious film! Action, comedy, drama... it's a family film, really, and Miike proves once again that he can pretty much do any film of any genre that he wants to do!
Innocence is beyond the animation and cinema "live"
I would actually vote for "The Complete Showa Songbook" over "Tokyo Godfathers" but it's strangely absent from this list.
I liked INNOCENCE (Oshii) and NOBODY KNOWS (Kore-eda) very much...two great contemporary japanese film makers with their strongest work yet...
Sure, no one bothers to explain a giant metallic lightning bolt. And yeah, maybe Kiriya wanted to cram everything he ever thought of into a film...but it's literally got something for everyone. I know guys who just replay Casshern's fight scenes, and then people who enjoy rewatching the whole movie because they enjoy piecing the story together.
Whether you love it or hate it, everyone finds something they like about this. As for me, watching Casshern try to stop the walking bomb is one of the funniest scenes ever.
Casshern as Tarkovskij's and Sokurow's films
Oshii is a genderbender director, from animation to "live"
Survive Style 5+, because it's visually stunning, weird and funny but don't forget Cafe Lumiere that in some mysterious way keeps you glued to the screen although almost nothing significant happens...
Iden and Tity without a doubt. Any film with a Bob Dylan guardian angel and Ichi the Killer on bass has to be doing something right!
Three... Extremes: Box
light hearted family fun but still full of miikes trademarks. classic
Izo is the best philosophical splatter movie ever made. And probably the only one. Brilliant!
I vote Cutie Honey, simply because it made me smile.
For me, it was a toss up between "Casshern" and "Hana and Alice" for the best film from Japan. Despite its flaws, "Casshern" was a trumpet blast of imagination. I can't wait for Kiriya's next film. "Hana and Alice" was a return to form for Shunji Iwai after a long lay off. Why a lot of the reviewers on this website don't like his films I'll never understand. It's probably because his films don't have any gratuitous nudity and violence (aka Miike).
Zeburaman uber alles. Sorry....where's, in this Miike movie nudity and gratuit violence? Maybe you've seen only 1/5 of his movies...
Lunchbox was certainly the best new Japanese film I saw last year.
Also the only one.
Izo - smart and bloody
Innocence is a audiovideo arcaic vision's performance of dolls, simulacra ed existence.
My reason for voting Cutie Honey: http://www.livejournal.com/users/fuseji/55384.html
Surprisingly funny, great decors and outfits! One of the most refreshing films this year!
It sounds pretentious I know - but perhaps that is fitting with this film - but for me Casshern was really the only film that felt like it mattered this year - enormously grand and ambitious and by the end extremely powerful.
But that doesn't mean there weren't a bunch of other films that I really liked - films that tended to be gentle and comical - Zebraman, Hana and Alice, Kamakazee Girls, Survive Style 5+, Josee, The Tiger and The Fish were all small personal films that really hit a chord with me. Two films that seem to be getting lots of votes but that I didn't care for are Izo - rarely have I felt so put off by a film - perhaps there is some deep message behind the continuous violence but as a viewing experience it was headache inducing. Then there is Nobody Knows - saying anything bad about this film feels nearly criminal - but once I "got it" the film felt like it would never end and the children became more and more annoying so that by the end I could have cared less about the "tragedy" - an extremely manipulative film full of adorable urchins that bored me to tears. I feel like the Grinch! (Brian Naas)
Survive Style 5+, crazy! absurd! funny! gay! flashy! stylish! Vinnie! cool!
Can I change my vote later if I see one I like better?
The restrictions of the short make "Box" one of Miike's most focused works to date. Excellent images, sound design and a very 'Miike' ending make it one of his best.
amazing aisthetics, kitano reminds me of pedro almodovar,becomes better with time. the most mature work from one of the most talented directors on this planet
Izo.... what a great movie!
The most exciting animation I've seen in years.
Not really an Anime fan so me ranking this the best really means something.
godzilla tokyo sos
All the ways in Kiyoshi Kurosawa's artistic career lead to Doppelgänger. A great film, which you appreciate even more if you know Kurosawa's filmography.