The Best of 2006 – Poll Results
- 16 January 2007
You, the Midnight Eye readers, have spoken... These Japanese films are your favourites of 2006.
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 2006 feature.
|1. (10.9%)||LINDA, LINDA, LINDA||Nobuhiro Yamashita|
|2. (7.92%)||The Funky Forest||Naisu no Mori: The First Contact||Katsuhito Ishii et al|
|3. (6.93%)||Paprika||Satoshi Kon|
|4. (6.43%)||Big Bang Love, Juvenile A||46-Oku Nen no Koi||Takashi Miike|
|Rampo Noir||Ranpo Jigoku||Hisayasu Sato, Akio Jissoji et al|
|5. (5.44%)||Tokyo Zombie||Sakichi Sato|
|Hanging Garden||Kuchu Teien||Toshiaki Toyoda|
|6. (4.95%)||Strange Circus||Kimyo no Sakusu||Sion Sono|
|7. (4.46%)||Eli Eli Lema Sabachtani?||Shinji Aoyama|
|8. (3.96%)||The Great Yokai War||Yokai Daisenso||Takashi Miike|
|It's Only Talk||Yawarakai Seikatsu||Ryuichi Hiroki|
|9. (3.46%)||Always - Sunset on Third Street||Always Sanchome no Yuhi||Takashi Yamazaki|
|10. (2.97%)||Memories of Matsuko||Kiraware Matsuko no Issho||Tetsuya Nakashima|
|11. (2.47%)||Haze||Shinya Tsukamoto|
|12. (1.98%)||Canary||Kanaria||Akihiko Shiota|
|Who's Camus Anyway?||Kamyu nante Shiranai||Mitsuo Yanagimachi|
|13. (1.48%)||Loft||Kiyoshi Kurosawa|
|Love and Honor||Bushi no Ichibun||Yoji Yamada|
|Moon and Cherry||Tsuki to Cherri||Yuki Tanada|
|Train Man||Densha Otoko||Shosuke Murakami|
|Yaji and Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims||Mayonaka no Yaji-san Kita-san|
|14. (0.99%)||Dead Run||Shisso||Sabu|
|Death Note||Shusuke Kaneko|
|The Place Promised in Our Early Days||Kumo no Muko, Yakusku no Basho||Makoto Shinkai|
|Suite Dreams||The Uchoten Hotel||Koki Mitani|
|The Whispering of the Gods||Gerumaniumu no Yoru||Tatsushi Omori|
|15. (0.49%)||Crickets||Korogi||Shinji Aoyama|
|Dear Pyongyang||Yonghi Yang|
|Girlfriend: Someone Please Stop the World||Ryuichi Hiroki|
|Green Mind, Metal Bats||Seishun Kinzoku Batto||Kazuyoshi Kumakiri|
|Heart Beating in the Dark (new version)||Yamiutsu Shinzo||Shunichi Nagasaki|
|The Milkwoman||Itsuka Dokusho Suru Hi||Akira Ogata|
|Noriko's Dinner Table||Noriko no Shokutaku||Sion Sono|
|Scrap Heaven||Lee Sang-Il|
|Starfish Hotel||John Williams|
|Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters||Tachigui Retsuden||Mamoru Oshii|
|Water Flower||Mizu no Hana||Yusuke Kinoshita|
|What the Snow Brings||Yuki ni Negau Koto||Kichitaro Negishi|
|Yamato||Otokotachi no Yamato||Junya Sato|
|16. (0.00%)||Analife||Kenji Goda|
|Arch Angels||Warau Mikaeru||Issei Oda|
|Bambi ♥ Bone||Noriko Shibutani|
|Big River||Atsushi Funahashi|
|Black Kiss||Macoto Tezka|
|Christmas in August||Hachigatsu no Christmas||Shunichi Nagasaki|
|Creeping Under the Mosulin Bridge||Mosurinbashi no Tamoto ni Hisomu||Toru Hano|
|DV Domestic Violence||Shun Nakahara|
|Executive Koala||Koala Katcho||Minoru Kawasaki|
|Gamera the Brave||Chiisaki Yusha-tachi Gamera||Ryuta Tasaki|
|God's Left Hand, Devil's Right Hand||Kami no Hidarite Akuma no Migite||Shusuke Kaneko|
|Hi-Bi: Days of Fire||hibi||Banmei Takahashi|
|In the Pool||Satoshi Miki|
|Little Birds||Little Birds: Iraq Senkai no Kazoku-tachi||Takeharu Watai|
|Love on Sunday||Koi Suru, Nichiyobi||Ryuichi Hiroki|
|Maison de Himiko||Isshin Inudo|
|Meatball Machine||Yudai Yamaguchi|
|Memories of Tomorrow||Ashita no Kioku||Yukihiko Tsutsumi|
|Negotiator||Koshonin Mashita Masayoshi||Katsuyuki Motohiro|
|One Missed Call 2||Chakushin Ari 2||Renpei Tsukamoto|
|The Pavilion Salamandre||Pavilion Sansho-Uo||Masanori Tominaga|
|Princess in an Iron Helmet||Korogare! Tamako||Kaze Shindo|
|The Sinking of Japan||Nihon Chinbotsu||Shinji Higuchi|
|The Sinking of the World Except Japan||Nihon Igai Zenbu Chinbotsu||Minoru Kawasaki|
|Ski Jumping Pairs: The Road to Torino 2006||Ski Jump Pair||Masaki Kobayashi, Riichiro Mashima|
|Spring Snow||Haru no Yuki||Isao Yukisada|
|The Strange Saga of Hiroshi the Freeloading Sex Machine||Himo no Hiroshi||Yuji Tajiri|
|Sun Scarred||Taiyo no Kizu||Takashi Miike|
|The Suspect||Ryoichi Kimizuka|
|Tales from Earthsea||Gedo Senki||Goro Miyazaki|
|A Volatile Woman||Kihatsusei no Onna||Kazuyoshi Kumakiri|
|Waiting for the Flood||Teibo wa Kozui o Matte iru||Masafumi Yamada|
|A White Ship||Shiroi Fune||Yoshinari Nishikori|
|Yokohama Mary||Takayuki Nakamura|
Comments and reactions
On 16-01-2007 'anonymous' voted for 'It's Only Talk'
Human cinema at its best.
On 16-01-2007 'Berend Jan' voted for 'Big Bang Love, Juvenile A'
Because it redefines cinema. Big time.
On 16-01-2007 'logboy' voted for 'Hanging Garden'
agree and disagree with many choices made in the 'best of's : hated 'strange circus', thought 'negadon' had its moments but generally fell flat, "got" 'funky forest' and really enjoyed it, have seen the site (but not the trailer) for 'matsugane potshot affair' and its caught my imagination, thought 'the great yokai war' was miike in the worst possible situation - too much money, too much time on his hands - the 'pinky violence' set is a must-have and theyr'e quite rare, 'rampo noir' is great IMHO, 'reincarnation' was superb and i feel sadly that its overlooked because it's a genre movie that seems familiar until you experience it (helps if you avoided 'ju-on' though)...look forwards to 'tekkon kinkreet', 'paprika', 'love and honour' (for some reason, dont quite know why...), 'nightmare detective'
On 16-01-2007 'jolly-old-jokichi' voted for 'Big Bang Love, Juvenile A'
This film is brilliant and quite possibly Miike's masterpiece!
On 16-01-2007 'miike fan' voted for 'Big Bang Love, Juvenile A'
miike is amazing!
On 16-01-2007 'Aidan' voted for 'Linda, Linda, Linda'
granted, I didn't see many films from 2006 this year, but I enjoyed this film the most out of all the Japanese ones
On 16-01-2007 'Haarman' voted for 'The Great Yokai War'
Excellent lists from the midnighteye writers! Thank you so much for including Takashi Shimizu's "Reincarnation", which was a wonderful flick!
On 16-01-2007 'Miike Enthusiast, Jr.' voted for 'Big Bang Love, Juvenile A'
This is quite possibly my favorite Miike film of all time! Without a doubt, the best Japanese film of the year...no, the decade!!!
On 16-01-2007 'Nicke Bergman' voted for 'Strange Circus'
Strange Circus took me 100% off guard and continued to do so for the entire movie. It did exactly what it feels like it wanted to do. It was very hard to watch, not because it was a graphical movie or scary but because it had my brain going in circles around itself. It put out smoke screens throughout the entire movie that didn't make any sense until the ending when it all got cleared out exactly as much as you wanted things to get cleared out, a mark of a good movie!
On 16-01-2007 'Ian Williams' voted for 'Strange Circus'
I mainly watched much older Japanese films this year and loved Blind Beast, Hausu and Crazy Lips. Of the newer films I saw though this one really connected, it looked beautiful and kept me guessing as to what was real and what was fantasy throughout the whole thing.
On 16-01-2007 'Magnus Riis' voted for 'It's Only Talk'
I only spent about 8 months in Japan this year, so I haven't seen the latest.
But I am surprised that Ichikawa Jun's "Aogeba Totoshi" is'nt listed here, since that was the best film of 2006 in my opinion.
And why is "Bashing" by Kobayashi Masahiro not here either? It was after all released in Japan in 2006. And that is the 2nd best Japanese film I saw last year.
My third choice would be "It's Only Talk", which was not as good as "Vibrator", but Terajima Shinobu did a great performance nonetheless.
So my top ten of Japanese film in 2006 would look like this:
1) Aogeba Totoshi
3) It's only talk
4) Who's Camus Anyway?
5) Eli Eli Lema Sabachtani?
6) The Whispering of the Gods
7) Hanging Garden
8) Funky Forest
9) A Stranger of Mine
10) Suite Dreams
The biggest disappointment was Sabus horrible "Dead Run" and the mediocre "Gedo Senki".
On 16-01-2007 'Andy Norton' voted for 'Paprika'
This is the only one I am really looking forward to seeing.
On 16-01-2007 'MKW' voted for 'Hanging Garden'
Toyoda does it again! Much different than his last two movies, he pulls out great performances (especially Kyoko Koizumi) from the ensemble cast.
I can't wait what his move will be.
Other honorable mentions goes to Maison de Himiko and The Milkwoman
On 16-01-2007 'Peter Nellhaus' voted for 'Linda, Linda, Linda'
I'm currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It's harder to see Japanese films with English subtitles here.
On 16-01-2007 'Steve Norwood, Controlled Burning' voted for 'Rampo Noir'
As far as texture, shading and color in cinema goes, I feel like Rampo Noir was the best thing all year, though I'll admit to watching fewer Asian films overall this year. RN was completely enthralling and as visually stunning (though much darker in tone) as Survive Style 5+. I did not see the equivalent this year of a Tony Takitani or Election, an Oldboy or The President's Last Bang, but RN reminded me how challenging and rewarding cinema can be.
On 16-01-2007 'ZenAmako' voted for 'Suite Dreams'
My actual favorite was Taiyou no Uta (A Song to the Sun) starring YUI, but that isn't listed here. So I'll go with The Uchoten Hotel, since it had both Koji Yakusho and Takako Matsu.
On 16-01-2007 'Michael Bates' voted for 'Hanging Garden'
Hanging Garden is a poignant and beautifully scripted family drama.
On 17-01-2007 'John Donnan' voted for 'It's Only Talk'
It's Only Talk featured one of the most astounding performances I have ever seen. Shinobu Terashima was completely believable, complex, and engaging, for every second she was on screen. A couple of years ago she was equally amazing in Akame 48:Waterfall...
On 17-01-2007 'Vittorio Giorgi' voted for 'Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters'
I would like to reward the courage and peculiarity of this movie.
On 17-01-2007 'Gonzalo' voted for 'Paprika'
This movie is the key to some of the happiest memories of my life.
On 17-01-2007 'Pablo Rojo' voted for 'Loft'
txs midnight eye
On 17-01-2007 'kLepTo' voted for 'Hanging Garden'
Toyoda at his best!
On 17-01-2007 'ant' voted for 'Tokyo Zombie'
A comedy zombie movie that's actually funny! Worth a vote for the wigs alone...
On 17-01-2007 'Meijin' voted for 'Strange Circus'
Good different movie
On 18-01-2007 'Sano Cestnik' voted for 'Water Flower'
Simply the best Japanese film I have seen this year.
Very close follow up is Miike's Big Bang Love, Juvenile A.
On 18-01-2007 'blue cat' voted for 'Love and Honor'
My Favorite Japanese Film of 2006 is "Taiyou no Uta" (A Song to the Sun), but it's not here... my 2nd favorite is "Tekkon Kinkreet" but that's not here either... and my 3rd favorite would have to be "Brave story", but... that's also not here either!! It's okay though, cuz I chose "Love and Honor" (Bushi no Ichibun), which I really liked and felt that Yamada Yoji did a great job on it!!
On 19-01-2007 'Halcyon' voted for 'Eli Eli Lema Sabachtani?'
'Eli Eli Lema Sabachtani?' turned out to be a very rewarding and unique experience, both visually and aurally. Can't wait to see Aoyama's next film.
On 20-01-2007 'Paul Kazee' voted for 'Funky Forest'
Damn! You guys get to hedge your bets by picking 10, yet you leave us to go out on a limb with just one. Still, I've decided to go with FUNKY FOREST based solely on my initial giddy WTF reaction to it, though I am certain that fantastic films such as WHO'S CAMUS ANYWAY?, IT'S ONLY TALK, SCRAP HEAVEN and THE GREAT YOKAI WAR will get quite a bit more homeplay. And sadly, looking over this list I realize that it would have been MUCH easier for me to pick a 10 WORST than a 10 BEST this year, as I disliked a great many of the films on this list (HAZE, YAJI AND KITA, LOFT), even including - I'm afraid - two of Tom's top picks... STRANGE CIRCUS and GREEN MIND, METAL BATS. Finally, the films I most regret NOT yet having had a chance to see include:
ELI, ELI LEMA SABACHTANI?
BIG BANG LOVE, JUVENILE A
THE MATSUGANE POTSHOT AFFAIR
THE STRANGE SAGA OF HIROSHI THE FREELOADING SEX MACHINE
On 20-01-2007 'stefan nutz' voted for 'Girlfriend'
Hiroki has been quite busy in the last few years. GIRLFRIEND is again an example how to make good films on video. Shot on DV the shots were still superior to many 35mm films of 06.
On 23-01-2007 'Jasper' voted for 'Dear Pyongyang'
Hell, I'll go out on a limb and say that the documentaries Little Birds and Dear Pyongyang desperately need to be screened more widely, but since no one has seen them, it's up to me to add my vote - to Dear Pyongyang.
On 23-01-2007 'Aaron Day' voted for 'Rampo Noir'
One of only three new Japanese films I had the opportunity to watch this year, and certainly the one that stands out for me. The other very good films were Canary and The Great Yokai War.
On 23-01-2007 'BrownNoisePhotos' voted for 'The Milkwoman'
Well acted subdued drama
On 23-01-2007 'Hummy' voted for 'Canary'
A real delight.
On 27-01-2007 'J R Smith' voted for 'Rampo Noir'
Having seen fewer than 15 of the titles on this list and a few others that aren't on the list, I have trouble deciding which is the best Japanese movie of 2006. Especially since I have a feeling that it's a movie I haven't seen yet like Paprika or Big Bang Love. For me it was a toss up between Funky Forest, Linda Linda Linda, Rampo Noir, Strange Circus, Stranger of Mine, and Yaji & Kita. All of these were good, but none stood out as the best. I chose Rampo Noir to posthumously pay respect to Akio Jissoji, and to celebrate the comeback of ero-guro.
Best film was hard to decide, but these were easy:
Best performance: Bae Du-Na in Linda Linda Linda
Best screenplay: Stranger of Mine (Kenji Uchida)
Another thing I noticed--2006 may be the best year ever for Japanese animated features, and I thought 2004 was good. Just look at what happened:
The comeback of the great Gisaburo Sugii with Stormy Night.
A respectable showing by Gonzo Studios with Brave Story.
Mamoru Oshii returns to experimentation with Tachigui Retsuden. I haven't seen it yet but I suspect I'll enjoy it much more than his greatly overrated Ghost in the Shell movies.
Mamoru Hosoda finally gets his chance to prove how talented he is with his adaptation of The Girl who Conquered Time.
Gedo Senki: It must be a good year for animated features in Japan when Studio Ghibli's entry is perhaps the LEAST critically acclaimed of them.
Satoshi Kon makes Paprika, which many people are calling his best film yet.
To top it all off, a new movie from my favorite of today's animation studios: Studio 4C's Tekkon Kinkreet.
On 04-02-2007 'anonymous' voted for 'Rampo Noir'
Well, though I haven't seen all the movies yet, I guess it was a rather lame year for Japan.
On 10-02-2007 'Tony Williams' voted for 'The Great Yokai War'
A grem of a movie with a very poignant ending.