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Japanese Cinema: The Essential Handbook, 4th Edition Paperback – May 1, 1996

2.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Japanese Film Critic
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 397 pages
  • Publisher: Vital Books, Inc.; 4 edition (May 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1889288500
  • ISBN-13: 978-1889288505
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,710,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There is _alot_ in this book that can (and will!) captivate you about Japanese cinema. While the Weissers, like most critics dwell a lot on their personal favorites, the bulk of the book is left with brief 2 and 3- paragraph summaries I found all too brief for the movie(s) in question.
Occasionally I also ran into outright errors.
Here's one of those that I would not expect in a 4th edition. Example: Entry for NIGHTHEAD: Actor Toyokawa Etsushi's name is misspelled, the summary and analysis are _totally_ wrong. NIGHTHEAD: The Trial was a sequel/conclusion to the TV series, NOT re-edited snippets as they say in the review. The brothers are NOT therapists, they are working with the research group that trained them and fighting a corporation that wants to enslave psychics, the girl is not retarded, et cetera). I would have to say that 10% of the book contains these 'drive by' reviews that have very little to do with the movie in question, or that contain significant translation/spelling errors. I have to wonder if this book really is a 4th edition, or if it is the fourth time that it went to press....
Second beef: If you pick up this book, and then obtain one of the Weissers' 'Japanese Cinema Encyclopedias,' be prepared for redundancy. Basically, the movie reviews found in _Essential_ copied and pasted verbatim. (I found this to be true in the JCE of Horror, Fantasy, and SF).
Errors (when present) and all.
To be fair though this book does cover a lot of ground, and for those of us who are either first timers or old hands, it is great for introducing movies that would perhaps remain unseen to the general (non-Japanese-speaking) public. However, in my humble opinion the title should have been 'A Survey of Japanese Cinema.' For the sheer volume of movies surveyed, this book is (probably) unique, and worth a look.
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By A Customer on December 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
First I apologize for my English. As a Reference book it can be good, but I don't think this is a "gap-filling" reference, as someone say. The listing is complete, but the critique is too short; I expected much more. There are some mistakes in text and lack of data (for instance, where is the review of "Tokyo Decadence" ?)
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By A Customer on December 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
For an introduction to the odder end of Japanese cinema this is pretty good. There are a lot of films covered, though the descriptions are somewhat sparse, and in certain cases downright misleading (ie 'Bounce Ko Gals' is described as "a respectable sex film"). Also a lot of typos and internal consistencies, and some startling omissions ('Kamikaze Taxi' and 'Tokyo Decadence' for exammple). This seems to be more of a catalogue for Weisser's own semi-legi 'Video Search of Miami' business. Also, it misses out on a lot of films which are covered in his other books, but once you've got one of these books, you're not going to want them all. The writing style is somewhat 'head-in-the-trough' and sensationalist. Similarly it is poorly laid out, though if all this sounds a little negative, it is the only conclusive coverage of Japanese cinema at its price range.
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