Still ripping off Japanese cinema

<i>The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.</i>

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

Take a sword-wielding samurai, add a beautiful geisha in an exquisite kimono with milky white skin and only one component is missing for a killer Japanese film.

That’s right, Godzilla. An anime Godzilla.

To be fair, Japanese films aren’t always about metropolis-trampling monsters. Think Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film Ikiru, a must-see.

Yet even Kurosawa employed samurais as main characters. But calling the Japanese out for using traditional Japanese characters would be like criticizing Hollywood for casting cowboys, cheerleaders and chupacabras. OK, maybe not chupacabras. My point? Japanese films kick ass and have always captivated Americans. Take Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai, which was turned it into the Wild West version called The Magnificent Seven.

This weekend’s Japanese film fest at the Crest Theatre will feature samurai and anime, as well as some pretty heavy subject matters. Most Honorable Son tells of a farmer from Nebraska whose parents were Japanese immigrants. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and flew missions over Europe and the Pacific, garnering the Distinguished Service Medal in 2006.

<i>A Stranger of Mine.</i>

For those in the mood for classic anime, check out The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. The film uses Japanese animation to discuss the world-shattering complications that can arise from changing the past for personal gain. Somehow, parables always seem more noteworthy when they come from the Japanese.