Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 27th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2006
Director: Minoru Kawasaki
Writer: Minoru Kawasaki, Masazaku Migita
Cast: Kenji Kohashi, Shuuji Kashiwabara, Masatoshi Matsuo, Blake Crawford, Gregory Pekar, Arthur Kuroda, Dave Spector, Takenori Murano
DVD released: November 18th, 2008
Approximate running time: 99 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
The World Sinks except Japan is based on a short story “The End of the World except Japan” written by Yasutaka Tsutsui. Some of Yasutaka Tsutsui other notable works of fiction which have been made into films include, The Little Girl Who Conquered Time and Paprika. The World Sinks except Japan was co-written and directed by Minoru Kawasaki who’s other notable films include The Calamari Wrestler, The Rug Cop, Executive Koala and Guilala’s Counterattack: Lake Toya Summit Crisis.
The plot for The World Sinks except Japan, shows the aftermath of a worldwide disaster that sinks everything in the world but Japan. The world leaders from around the world and others fortunate enough to survive are taken in by the Japanese. As the years go by the Japanese become more hostile towards the foreigners who they once were inviting towards. Now the most powerful and only country in the world the Japanese make all foreigner refuges conform to their ways or forever be banished. While all this is going on there is a secret plot to overthrow the Japanese from a familiar foe who has been incognito and bidding their time for world domination.
Director Minoru Kawasaki is master satirist whose films defy categorizing. Visually and verbally Minoru Kawasaki meticulously creates a world that is unto its own. Many of the characters in The World Sinks except Japan, bear strong resemblances to world leaders. Some of the humor walks a fine line like the scenes were Japan exerts its new found power by treating those who once mistreated them like dogs. One of thing that is cleverly exploited in the film is the breakdown of society and governments in the aftermath of a disaster. The comedy in The World Sinks except Japan, while not as inventive as is the majority of Minoru Kawasaki other films, it is still very effective and to the point. My favorite moment in the film is a scene were a Ultraman like character named Den Ace is fighting a Godzilla like creature who like to crush American’s. Ultimately The World Sinks except Japan is a highly entertaining twist on the disaster film.
Synapse Films presents The World Sinks except Japan in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This progressive flagged transfer has lively colors that look nicely saturated and flesh tones look natural. Black levels are strong and details look razor sharp throughout.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Japanese. There is some dialog that is in English. The audio is clean and free of distortion or any other audio defects. Dialog is clear and the audio mix sound evenly balanced and robust. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
Extras for this release include a trailer for The World Sinks except Japan (1:27) and a “Den Ace” promo clip (1:01). Other extras include introductions from the cast and director Minoru Kawasaki (6:08) and a “Making of” documentary (38:02) which includes behind the scenes footage and brief comments from the cast and Minoru Kawasaki. The main extra for this release is an audio commentary with Minoru Kawasaki and actor Takenori Murano. The comments for this audio commentary are all over the place as both participants often go off on tangents that are unrelated to the film. In between their manic riffs there is some worthwhile information that they reveal about this film and its cast. Overall The World Sinks except Japan gets a fully loaded DVD release from Synapse Films that is highlighted by the bizarre audio commentary with Minoru Kawasaki and Takenori Murano.