23 June 2013 | walter-amos
full-length 2009 version
The previous reviews note that the 2009 version is longer (about 2 hours) than the 2005 version. I am only aware of this film because I watched the 2009 version as an in-flight movie on a return flight from Tokyo in December 2010. I absolutely loved it, and found it charming and quite moving. A funny mix of Japanese history, culture, and the struggles of modern-day Japan threatening loss of parts of its ancient history and natural beauty.
When I got back to the US I wanted to buy a copy and was pleased to find an English-subtitled release on amazon, but I learned that this was the earlier and shorter 2005 version. The key elements of the story are all the same, but the 2005 version, while enjoyable on its own merits, just didn't have the emotional "oomph" that I felt in the 2009 release I had seen on the plane.
Regrettably as far as I can tell there is no commercial version available outside Japan. However I am making a return visit in 2 months and have put feelers out to friends in-country to see whether it is possible to obtain the Japanese DVD or Blu-Ray. (I just hope the Japanese release may contain the English subtitles I saw in-flight!)