Top Story: 18.August 2006
"Always: Sanchome no yuhi" DVD edition surprises
I recently got Always: Sanchomo no yuhi DVD box (Shogakukan VPBT-15328 6,800 yen) and got positively surprised. Unlike most recent DVD editions of movies, this box is really filled with interesting details and extra material. Only the original soundtrack is missing! And the DVD itself is fantastic- the picture is sharp and colour is vivid and natural - one of the best quality DVD's I've seen in NTSC format.
In this article I show the box contents itself as well as take a quick look into the movie.
The movie is set in Tokyo in postwar Japan 1958, when the Tokyo Tower is under construction. Japan is under fast paced development and economy is on steady rise. People are purchasing modern accessories such as fridgerators and ofcourse TV is just coming! Third street is filled with humanity and vivid characters. Atmosphere is very nostalgic.
Always Sanchome no yuhi is directed by Takashi Yamazaki, who's earlier productions were Heat Guy J (2002), action packed thriller Returner (2002) and the Juvenile (2000) . Many say that Always Sanchome no yuhi is so far the best of his production - and its hard to disagree on that. Returner was such a straightforward (although pretty successfull) copy of Hollywood action movies. This movie however, is totally original. We here in Hanami Web are excited to see Yamazaki's next productions!
I got chance to watch this movie first time in JAL plane. Next to me was sitting this old Japanese lady who commented that the old time fridgerators in Japan were really powered by massive ice blocks which had to be replaced. Food was often spoiled.
The cast is wonderfully chosen. The great Hidetaka Yoshioka (Mr. Literature Ryunosuke Chagawa) and Shin'ichi Tsutsumi (Suzuki Norifumi Auto repairshop owner) makes a great pair of opposite kind of characters, that both develop during the film. Charismatic and funny Motai Masako (who also appeared in Kamome shokudo) and beautiful Koyuki are fantastic as well.
The crew seemed to truly enjoy making this film, at least it seems so in the second DVD "making of movie". And needless to say, the CGI is best ever seen in Japanese cinema and even higher in detail than most of the Hollywood productions. Computer generated images seamlessly blend into the movie and you never get the feeling "oh this background isn't real". Especially the detail of making the Tokyo Tower under construction was very fascinating. Details of the tower construction are illustrated both in the book and extras disc.
The DVD is standard NTSC (region 2) disc.
The DVD box
Unwrapping the DVD box was surprising. There are the original DVD, extras DVD, illustrated book about making of the movie (129 pages), Always Sanchome no yuhi multimedia disc, 3D glasses and images, postcards featuring family of Suzuki auto and mr. Bunkaku, and illustration & the movie poster. Everything is made very well and printed on high quality paper.
Here is the DVD box package details:
The extras DVD introduces extra footage of the movie, such as representing one fictional family living in the street, extensive making of the movie documentary (about 60 minutes) , and then, very interestingly - real footage from the 50's of building the Tokyo Tower. Also there is Before - After section which illustrates the usage of CGI - you can see which parts where the CGI and which was real by two simultaneous video screens. Too bad there is no English subtitles in the extras DVD.
It appears that the parts of the movie displaying the screet scene and trams were shot in Chiba prefecture, perhaps in Abiko city. The moving tram is CGI in most scenes, but they had to construct a tram which Junnosuke boards with his friends. Also the locomotive in in Ueno station scene is real.
The most breathtaking scene indeed perhaps was the Ueno station. The historical detail is outstanding, says the people who experienced the 50's.
Illustrated making of the movie book
Book about making of the movie (129 pages) mostly concentrates to the wonders of the CGI. Interesting for those who are interested of it. But the book also offers a lot of background detail of Tokyo in 50's and general making of the movie details. Also there are parts of the Junnosuke's scifi novel, and interesting wireframe models.
It's all in Japanese, but there are some interesting background details of the actors and actresses and director. Also there is (sadly short) soundtrack in MP3 which you can put to your iPod. The Multimedia CDROM is a basic flash+html construct which naturally requires a web browser from your computer.
3d glasses & images
This one is amazing! As I opened the box I was wondering first "what's this" but then I soon discovered that you can assemble a small 3D viewer and put the 3D stereo images inside the box. When you take a peek inside the box through the lenses, it seems truly, real 3D! And the images provided are great - and makes a nice immersion. Also the 3D photos illustrate the high details which almost every scene in the movie has.
Post cards & images
There could have been even more of these as 6,800 yen is quite expensive. But even these few ones are nice!
Fans of this movie ought to buy the disc for all the extra materials. Ofcourse 6,800 yen is kind of much, double than the original DVD. But it is really worth it for those who want to take a peek in the set of the movie. At the moment movie's rating in IMDB is 8.0 and it's well deserved.
[Always Sanchome no Yuhi DVD Special Edition Shogakukan VPBT-15328 6,800 yen]
See also: Always san-chome no yuhi in IMDB.