UDON (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2
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YesAsia Editorial Description
Kosuke (Yusuke Santamaria), the son of an udon shop owner, is from a tiny rural town in Kagawa prefecture known for its udon noodles. Kosuke, however, is sick of his hometown, and even more sick of udon. He decides to try his luck in New York, only to return six years later in debt-ridden disappointment. Back at home, he meets flighty food column editor Kyoko (Konishi Manami, Orange Days), and the two happen upon a bowl of delicious udon noodles that will change their lives.
An udon enthusiast and Kagawa native himself, Motohiro did extensive field research to find the best shops and recipes to showcase on screen and help spread the love for the noodle. The filmmakers even took their mission abroad by opening an udon stand at the 2006 Cannes film market. An earnest yet tongue-in-cheek celebration of life and food, Udon is a mouth-watering joy to watch. After all, home is where the udon is.
The two-disc Standard Edition comes with a booklet and includes the following bonus features:
|Product Title:||UDON (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) UDON (DVD) (Standard Edition) (英文字幕) (日本版) UDON (DVD) (Standard Edition) (英文字幕) (日本版) ＵＤＯＮ スタンダード・エディション スタンダード・エディション UDON (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)|
|Artist Name(s):||Yusuke Santamaria | Konishi Manami | Suzuki Kyoka | Matsumoto Tortoise | Masu Takeshi | Kaname Jun | Katagiri Jin | Kohinata Fumiyo | Kiba Katsumi 中山裕介 | 小西真奈美 | 鈴木京香 | Tortoise 松本 | 升毅 | 要潤 | 片桐仁 | 小日向文世 | 木場勝己 中山裕介 | 小西真奈美 | 铃木京香 | Tortoise 松本 | Masu Takeshi | 要润 | Katagiri Jin | 小日向文世 | Kiba Katsumi ユースケ・サンタマリア | 小西真奈美 | 鈴木京香 | トータス松本 | 升毅 | 要潤 | 片桐仁 | 小日向文世 | 木場勝己 Yusuke Santamaria | Konishi Manami | Suzuki Kyoka | Matsumoto Tortoise | Masu Takeshi | Kaname Jun | Katagiri Jin | Kohinata Fumiyo | Kiba Katsumi|
|Director:||Katsuyuki Motohiro 本廣克行 本广克行 本広克行 Katsuyuki Motohiro|
|Publisher Product Code:||PCBC-51094|
|Country of Origin:||Japan|
|Picture Format:||NTSC What is it?|
|Region Code:||2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?|
|Shipment Unit:||1 What is it?|
|YesAsia Catalog No.:||1004602260|
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features
Professional Review of "UDON (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)"
Udon seemed destined to be the ultimate crossover comedy from Japan. The team behind the film built an exhibit at the Cannes Film Festival, complete with udon stands to attract attention. They even billed udon as the "soul food of Japan" on the film's international posters. I don't blame them for trying - after all, udon is one of Japan's favorite foods. Yet many people still believe that sushi is the representative Japanese cuisine, when it's actually considered a luxury item in its homeland. If anyone could make udon the next big thing, I thought Katsuyuki Motohiro, director of three of the Bayside Shakedown films and probably my favorite commercial director working in Japan today, would be the man to do it. But, while Udon is much like the dish itself - warm, slick, and easy to consume - the film doesn't really do that much.
Udon opens in New York City, where Kosuke has spent six years trying to become a stand-up comedian. The good news is that Kosuke is played by real-life Japanese comedian Yusuke Santamaria, who found his way into the lead role after the success of Negotiator, one of the Bayside Shakedown spin-off films. The bad news is that Kosuke wants to be a stand-up comedian in English. After six years of failure, he finally decides to return home to the small town of Sanuki, also known as "Udon Country" because of the concentration of udon shops. Considering that he left home swearing off the family's udon shop, Kosuke's return doesn't exactly please his father (Katsumi Kiba). One day, on a random trip to the woods, Kosuke's car breaks down. Luckily, he runs into the clumsy Kyoko (Manami Konishi), but a bear causes them to be stranded at the bottom of a cliff. Eventually, they manage to find civilization in an udon shop, and there they have the best udon that they've ever tasted in their lives. What does that have to do with the plot, you ask? Just wait.
Desperately in need of money to repay his debts, Kosuke takes on a job peddling the local town magazine, where Kyoko works as a writer, to bookstores. Sadly, no one told him that town magazines don't sell. Right at that moment, an epiphany comes in the form of a cameo by those boys from Summer Time Machine Blues (director Motohiro's previous film), when Kosuke realizes that there are no magazines about udon shops in "Udon Country". With some help from the magazine's staff, and an old childhood friend of Kosuke's who handles advertising, Kosuke and Kyoko decide to start writing about obscure udon shops in Sanuki, starting with the one they visited after encountering the bear. Written as an adventure guide for udon seekers, the magazine proves popular and sales explode, starting a nationwide Sanuki udon craze that attracts people from all over Japan. But like all fads, the Sanuki udon fad will eventually fade, leaving Kosuke to finally confront his fractured relationship with his father.
The filmmakers of Udon pride themselves on having shot 90% on location in Kagawa Prefecture and in real udon shops. This gives the film an undeniable sense of authenticity that certainly helps the filmmakers' intentions, especially when they use bright close-ups on those smoking hot udon. For much of the way, Udon feels like a variety show on Sanuki with fictional characters added in, and it's amusing enough. However, the udon craze goes on and on, with montages of either Kosuke and co. finding new udon shops or interviews of people eating udon, and it's already 85 minutes into the 134-minute film when the dramatic portion of the film kicks in.
Katsuyuki Motohiro excels at two things that have made him the blockbuster filmmaker that he is: screwball comedies with a hint of dryness (Space Travelers and Summer Time Machine Blues) or involving big-budget blockbusters (The Bayside Shakedown films). Motohiro can handle both genres with impressive style and technique, but that style and technique seldom show up in Udon. Motohiro and writer Masashi Todayama do make use of some of those screwball comedy devices at points in the film, but Udon is first and foremost a warm human comedy, and that's not what Motohiro excels at. While Udon is effective at stirring up warm pleasant feelings (much like a bowl of udon), the dramatic and factual aspects of the film often clash and never blend into a convincing whole. One example: in the middle of the udon craze section, the characters suddenly decide to sit down for a heart-to-heart conversation on accepting their predestined future. The moment not only seems contrived, but the emotions are unearned. Not so surprisingly, writer Todayama also wrote Transparent, Motohiro's only other attempt at a warm human comedy before Udon.
Udon's most creative moment comes during a fantasy sequence where one of the staff creates a comic character called Captain Udon. The sequence blends computer animation with live action, anime, and comic technique to create something that's visually dazzling, but its connection to the plot is minimal, and only slightly hints at the comic craziness Udon could've been. Nevertheless, while Udon's human dramedy didn't attract many audiences to the big screen, the film will probably find its audience on the small screen, as its structure better resembles a television drama (it was, after all, produced by Fuji TV) than a blockbuster. Udon has its heart in the right place, but blockbuster status was just not meant to be. Still, while it may not start another udon craze anywhere in the world, Udon will convert just about any viewer into an udon fan. It sure worked for me.
By Kevin Ma
Customer Review of "UDON (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)"
See all my reviews
February 3, 2008
This customer review refers to Udon (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
A movie about soup? Well, not really. "Udon" has bigger fish to fry, so to speak. It really is about the search for the kind of career that imparts a sense of fulfillment, a sense of having done something consequential. It also is about growing to appreciate the legacy of one's parents.
Kosuke (Yusuke Santamaria) fled his backwater prefecture (and his father's noodle shop) to seek stardom as a stand-up comic in America. Years later, he returns to his hometown under a cloud of debt and failure. Desperate for work, he finds a job selling an unsuccessful local magazine. Together with the quirky staff of the magazine, he seeks to increase its circulation by including reviews of the prefecture's multitude of udon noodle shops. They develop a unique conversational style of writing their reviews and seek to turn the search for these obscure noodle shops into a kind of adventure by describing their location only by means of cryptic clues.
The idea catches on; the magazines sell. Soon a udon craze develops that captivates Japan, turning this backwater prefecture into a vacation destination. Like all crazes, this too must come to an end. When it does, Kosuke must confront the question he has been postponing: What will he do with his life? Will he take over his father's noodle shop or seek greener pastures? Mr. Yusuke is terrific as the restless Kosuke, as is the lovely Konishi Manami as the writer and fellow researcher of the udon shop reviews.
"Udon" tells its story in a whimsical and often wildly humorous style. The film borrows liberally from previous Japanese movie classics, including Yamada Yoji's Tora-San series and Itami Juzo's "Tampopo". (Check out the scene in which Kosuke first returns to his home from New York; it is a carbon copy of scenes of Tora-San returning from the road to his aunt and uncle's sweet shop.) "Udon" also captures something of the lilting charm of those old films. It manages to be sweetly sentimental without becoming soupy (forgive the pun!). I recommend it very highly.