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Ichi the Killer / B2 / style A / Japan

08.02.16

Poster Poster
Title
Ichi the Killer
AKA
Koroshiya 1 (Japan - English title - means 'Hitman')
Year of Film
2001
Director
Takashi Miike
Starring
Tadanobu Asano, Nao Ômori, Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Paulyn Sun, Susumu Terajima, Shun Sugata, Toru Tezuka, Yoshiki Arizono, Kiyohiko Shibukawa
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Tadanobu Asano, Nao Ômori, Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Paulyn Sun, Susumu Terajima, Shun Sugata, Toru Tezuka, Yoshiki Arizono, Kiyohiko Shibukawa,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
2001
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is one of two styles of Japanese B2 posters printed for the release of director Takashi Miike‘s controversial 2001 film Ichi the Killer. A notably prolific director, Miike released 6 other films in the same year as Ichi alone, although it would be this one that would gain the most international notoriety. Based on the manga series of the same name by Hideo Yamamoto, the film focuses on the machinations of rival yakuza gangs within a crime syndicate and their interaction with Ichi (Nao Ômori), a shy and seemingly meek loner with a very dark side.

The film begins with the supposed disappearance of the gang boss Anjo, who vanishes from his apartment with millions of Yen, much to the confusion of his men. The audience sees the bloody aftermath of the fate that Anjo suffered at the hands of Ichi but a clean up crew led by Jijii (Shin’ya Tsukamoto) returns his apartment to a spotless state before his henchmen, led by the sadistic Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano) arrives.

The hunt for Anjo begins and Kakihara wastes no time in kidnapping a rival gang leader, Suzuki (Susumu Terajima) and hangs him from meat hooks to try and get him to confess. When it becomes clear he’s got the wrong culprit, Kakihara is forced to apologise and then cuts off his own tongue as a punishment. After being kicked out of the syndicate, the gang continues to hunt for Anjo. The audience learns that Jijii has been psychologically manipulating Ichi for years and has trained him in preparation to be used as a kind of weapon against whoever he decides to target. Suzuki has offered Jijii a large sum of money to take out Kakihara and his gang in revenge for their earlier attack and they must hunt for Ichi before he can get to them first.

It’s fair to say that, in true Miike style, the film doesn’t shy away from violence and sadistic torture and there are some truly brutal sequences. It’s not hard to see why it attracted controversy and was even banned outright in a few countries soon after its release. Despite some very ropey CGI there are several scenes that still shock today and Miike uses editing and sound design to great effect.

This poster, which I’ve named ‘Style A’ features the standout character of Kakihara (here with the number 1 seen on the back of Ichi’s killer’s outfit projected onto his face). The other style also features Kakihara but in a very different situation.

Sonatine / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Sonatine
AKA
Adrenalina Máxima (Brazil)
Year of Film
1993
Director
Takeshi Kitano
Starring
Takeshi Kitano, Aya Kokumai, Tetsu Watanabe, Masanobu Katsumura, Susumu Terajima, Ren Ōsugi, Tonbo Zushi, Ken'ichi Yajima, Eiji Minakata
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Takeshi Kitano, Aya Kokumai, Tetsu Watanabe, Masanobu Katsumura, Susumu Terajima, Ren Ōsugi, Tonbo Zushi, Ken'ichi Yajima, Eiji Minakata,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1998
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 40 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The mob put the finger on him...so he gave them the finger back - curled tight around a trigger!

Steamboy / B0 / DVD release / Japan

05.08.16

Poster Poster
Title
Steamboy
AKA
Suchîmubôi (Japan - original title)
Year of Film
2004
Director
Katsuhiro Ôtomo
Starring
Anne Suzuki, Masane Tsukayama, Katsuo Nakamura, Manami Konishi, Kiyoshi Kodama, Ikki Sawamura, Susumu Terajima, Osamu Saka
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Anne Suzuki, Masane Tsukayama, Katsuo Nakamura, Manami Konishi, Kiyoshi Kodama, Ikki Sawamura, Susumu Terajima, Osamu Saka,
Type of Poster
B0
Style of Poster
DVD release
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
2004
Designer
Toshiaki Uesugi (AKA Mach55Go!) | Mitsuhiro Sato (Digital composition)
Artist
Katsuhiro Ôtomo
Size (inches)
39 6/16" x 55 9/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is an incredibly scarce B0 poster that was printed to promote the 2004 DVD release of Katsuhiro Otomo‘s 2004 anime, Steamboy. It features two illustrations of the main character James Ray Steam by the director himself. The film was Otomo’s first full-length anime to be released since the landmark Akira in 1988. Otomo had been busy in the intervening years, writing and illustrating several manga and contributing to other films, including the 1995 anthology Memories as well as the screenplay for the 2001 anime Metropolis. Steamboy was over 10 years in preparation and was apparently one the most expensive anime movies made at that point. The film has a steampunk theme and is set in an alternate 19th Century Britain.

The poster was designed by Toshiaki Uesugi, a graphic designer and musician who has regularly collaborated with Otomo, and who is also known as Mach55Go! for his musical work. Uesugi’s official site is here and is significantly out of date, but this page features a list of his work, which includes other Otomo collaborations as well as his work on anime like Cowboy Bebop and Macross.

During a 2014 trip to Japan I was lucky enough to be able to visit an exhibition that was dedicated to Otomo’s poster design and I first saw this poster there along with the ultra scarce Akira B0 DVD release poster that can be seen on Film on Paper here. I assumed I would never get the chance to add the Akira B0 to my collection but almost a year later the poster appeared on Yahoo auctions Japan and I was lucky to win the auction with the help of a Japanese friend. This Steamboy poster came from the same seller. The white sticker on the bottom right corner was placed there in 2004 by the company that controls advertising on the Tokyo Metro and details when it should be taken down from display. Take a look at the last picture which displays some hand-stamped marks found on the back side of the poster.

During a 2012 visit to Tokyo I went to a retrospective exhibition of Otomo’s work called Genga (A Japanese animation term for keyframes, literally ‘original pictures’), which featured hundreds of pieces of his artwork and the original hand-drawn pages for the Akira manga. I was also able to wear Kaneda’s jacket and sit on the legendary red bike!

Hana-Bi / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Hana-Bi
AKA
Fireworks (USA)
Year of Film
1997
Director
Takeshi Kitano
Starring
Takeshi Kitano (as 'Beat' Takeshi), Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Osugi, Susumu Terajima
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Takeshi Kitano (as 'Beat' Takeshi), Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Osugi, Susumu Terajima,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1998
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Hana-Bi / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Hana-Bi
AKA
Fireworks (USA)
Year of Film
1997
Director
Takeshi Kitano
Starring
Takeshi Kitano (as 'Beat' Takeshi), Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Osugi, Susumu Terajima
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Takeshi Kitano (as 'Beat' Takeshi), Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Osugi, Susumu Terajima,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1997
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--