One is “Office Royale,” whose title references the 2000 Fukasaku Kinji classic “Battle Royale,” but is an action comedy scripted by popular funnyman Bakarhythm and directed by TV drama veteran Seki Kazuaki. Nakano Mei (“Park”) stars as an ordinary “office lady” (OL or clerk) in a humdrum company. But when a punkish new hire (Alice Hirose) appears on the scene, the heroine’s company become a target for tough-as-nails OLs from all Japan, who bring a new meaning to the term corporate infighting. Warner Bros. Japan will release in May.
Another is “Tokyo Revengers,” a manga adaptation that also features martial arts action albeit with a time-traveling twist. A 26-year-old part-timer (Kitamura Takumi is stunned to hear that his middle-school flame Hinata (Mio Imada) and her brother were killed by gangsters. Soon after the hero survives a near fatal accident – and finds himself ten years in the past. His first thought: Save Hinata from her future fate. But his rescue attempt turns into a mission of revenge. Hanabusa Tsutomu, whose credits includes everything from comedy (“Handsome Suit”) to horror (“Sadako 3D”), directs. Warner Bros. Japan will release in July.
Carrying the biggest box office expectations, however, is “Masquerade Night,” the follow-up to “Masquerade Hotel,” a thriller based on a Higashino Keigo bestseller that earned $43 million following its January 2019 release in Japan. Once again, the stars are Kimura Takuya and Nagasawa Masami, the former reprising his role as a Tokyo police detective, the later playing a concierge at a hotel where a big party, Masquerade Night, is set to unfold – and a wanted murderer is expected to arrive. Somehow the detective must sort out the criminal from 500 masked guests. Toho will release in September.