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Viewed at Namba Parks Cinema in Osaka, Japan.
I was vacationing in Japan and decided to take in a movie. Since I don't speak Japanese, I based my selection off of the poster art alone. "Hana No Ato" (aka "After the Flowers") was the film that looked most worthy of consideration, so I gave it a shot and it turned out to be a thrilling period piece.


The storyline, from what I gather, concerns a woman (named Ito) who trains in swordfighting with her father. Ito at one point challenges a samurai acquaintance to a friendly, competitive duel involving bamboo sticks which ignites an attraction between the two. Subsequent to this event, a few conflicts involving honor and justice are introduced that drive the rest of the proceedings.

The most apparent observation regarding "Hana No Ato" is that it feels very similar to Yoji Yamada's samurai trilogy – "Twilight Samurai" (2002), "The Hidden Blade" (2004), and "Love and Honor" (2006). So much so, in fact, that I was actually surprised to find out that Yamada did not direct this. The similarities, however, are no coincidence. The screenplay was adapted by a short story written by the late Shuhei Fujisawa, whose writings were the basis for Yamada's trilogy. "Hana No Ato" has a comparable focus on character/conflict development to effectively build anticipation for a final confrontation.

The storyline is a familiar premise, but the execution is so strong that it will almost surely impress fans of this genre. There is one training duel and one swordfight, both of which are excellent as they employ realism and proficient choreography. Acting is restrained with emotion expressed through slight mannerisms, and Keiko Kitagawa is entirely convincing as the lead. The cinematography and capturing of natural environments are also fantastic.

It's important to note that I was definitely not in the mood for this type of film when I sat down to watch it, yet it captivated me nonetheless. I plan to purchase it on DVD as soon as it's available.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Have you watched this movie? Are you a fan of Keiko Kitagawa? Let us know what you think!


Tagged in: Keiko Kitagawa
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A lot of things are happening this month! First off, happy to note that we have Lypophrenian as my site partner and admin. We have Jairah with a Thai lakorn hitlist almost ready for posting. Also, I'll be telling you about Vera and Andy who will be joining us for the Thai movies and lakorn section.

The Idol Project is on-going and more thoughts on Takuya Kimura about his films are coming up, as well as, our Fanboy diary for Ryunosuke Kamiki

Hormones, the final season is one of the best Thai drama series I have seen [ First Impressions ] and I'm doing both review and character analysis. I'm also inviting you to look at our Lovesick series reviews [ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 ]

Thanks for dropping by and hope to see you again!


Japan's Best Actors

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The 2015 edition of the Hottest Japanese actors will be updated soon, for now you can check out the top 15, and then you can browse the most promising list too!

Previously we have Masanobu Ando, Kengo Kora, Mirai Moriyama, Takumi Saito Shun Oguri and Gou Ayano

Actors and Acting style series is a must-read! Part 1 [ Satoshi Tsumabuki, Eita, Ryuhei Matsuda & Kenichi Matsuyama ] Part 2 [ Shun Oguri, Takayuki Yamada, Kengo Kora, Gou Ayano ] Part 3 [ Mirai Moriyama, Yuya Yagira, Shota Sometani,Ryunosuke Kamiki, Masaki Suda ]  Part 4 [ Tatsuya Fujiwara, Haruma Miura, Takeru Sato, Hoshi Ishida, Yosuke Kubozuka ] Part 5 [ Kento Nagayama, Masataka Kubota, Kento Hayashi, Sosuke Ikemtsu ]

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