Eclectic company

Robotic cats, vengeful samurai, time-traveling washing machines -- Toho's 2007 film slate has something for everyone.

Always: Sunset on Third Street 2
This follow-up to the 2005 production is set in Tokyo in 1958 and tells the story of a community in one district of the capital 13 years after the end of World War II. Directed and co-written by Takashi Yamazaki, it is a nostalgic look at a simpler time when the people all knew their neighbors.

Ai no Rukeichi (love never to end)
A tale of adultery between a middle-aged novelist and a beautiful housewife and the consequences of their actions, written and directed by Yasuo Tsuruhashi and starring Etsushi Toyokawa, Shinobu Terajima and Kyoko Hasegawa.

Battery
Directed by Yojiro Takita, this film is based on the best-selling novel "Battery" by Atsuko Asano and revolves around the friendship between two boys: one a pitcher and the other a catcher on a high school baseball team.

Bizan
This tale of a woman who returns to her hometown to care for her elderly mother is set in the historic city of Tokushima -- overlooked by a mountain called Bizan -- and revolves around the Awa Odori summer festival dance, filming of which reportedly involved 12,000 extras. Based on the 1970s novel by Masashi Sada, the film is directed by Isshin Inudou and stars Nanako Matsushima.

Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust
A science-fiction comedy involving a washing machine that also is a time machine. Based on a story by Ryoichi Kimizuka, the film stars Hiroshi Abe, Ryoko Hirosue and Yuko Ito.

Crayon Shin-chan
Shin-chan is an animated favorite among kids for his TV cartoon antics -- which famously include wiggling his bare bottom about -- but is less popular with parents.

Doraemon Nobita no Shin Makai Daiboken 7 Nin no Mahotsukai
The latest animated outing for Doraemon -- the rotund, blue cat-robot with a pocket full of magic tricks -- and his sidekick friends.

Dororo
Combining supernatural elements with samurai drama, "Dororo" is directed by Akihiko Shiota and features Kou Shibasaki in the lead role. It's based on the manga series from the 1960s from Osamu Tezuka ("Astro Boy") and is the story of a female warrior, raised as a man, who joins a samurai's quest to recovery body parts from a demon to "rebuild" his father.

Hero
An adaptation of the 2001 smash-hit Fuji TV drama of the same name in which Takuya Kimura -- another boy band-member-turned actor -- portrays a maverick prosecutor who hunts down bad guys. The small-screen drama attracted a record average of 34.3% of TV viewers, and director Masayuki Suzuki is hoping to build on that success.

I Just Didn't Do It
This poignant return to the screen for writer-director Masayuki Suo (1996's "Shall We Dance") chronicles the plight of a man who is wrongly accused of molesting a schoolgirl on a crowded commuter train. The issue is a genuine problem in Japanese society, along with suspects being brow-beaten into signing false confessions.

Maiko Haaaan!!!
A comedy revolving around an apprentice geisha, the salaryman who falls hopelessly in love with her after being transferred by his company to Kyoto, and a professional baseball player. Directed by Nobuo Mizuta, the film stars Sadao Abe, Shinichi Tsutsumi and Kou Shibasaki.

Marie to Koinu no Monogatari
A heartwarming children's tale -- presently being shot -- about a young girl and a puppy in the aftermath of the October 2004 earthquake that caused widespread devastation in the northern Japan prefecture of Niigata.

Monkey Magic
An adventure movie, directed by Kensaku Sawada, based on the original "Monkey Magic" TV series from the 1970s about a journey undertaken by a priest and his faithful retinue.

Pocket Monster 2007
Sure to be popular when the school summer holidays kick in, the 10th title in the big-screen series pits two new monsters against one another.

Sono Toki wa Kare ni Yoroshiku
A story of romance between the owner of a small tropical fish store and a young woman who starts working with him. The film -- which when translated means "Say Hi When You See Him" -- is based on a novel by Takuji Ichikawa and stars Masami Nagasawa and Takayuki Yamada.

Tengoku de Kimi ni Aetara
Translated directly as "If I See You in Heaven," this biopic looks at the life of the late-professional windsurfer Natsuki Iijima, who was the only Japanese man to appear in the sport's World Cup for eight straight years. Diagnosed with cancer in 2002 and given six months to live in mid-2004, the film is based on Iijima's book about his experiences.

Tsubaki Sanjuro
A remake of the classic 1963 samurai drama "Sanjuro," written and directed by Akira Kurosawa. Based on a novel by Shugoro Yamamoto, it tells the tale of a group of samurai whose efforts to rescue their master are easily rebuffed, until Sanjuro takes them under his wing. Yuji Oda takes the lead role this time around, with Yoshimitsu Morita directing the first remake of a Kurosawa title.

Unfair: The Movie
A big-screen adaptation of the TV show depicting a police woman fighting crime in the Japanese capital, directed by Yoshinori Kobayashi and based on the novel by Takehiko Hata. Ryoko Shinohara stars.

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