Umizaru (2004)

Genres - Action  |   Run Time - 117 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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A group of Coast Guard trainees undergoes a grueling training course in the hopes of joining an elite team of search and rescue scuba divers in Eiichiro Hasumi's Umizaru (Sea Monkeys). Their drill sergeant, Hara (Tatsuya Fuji, star of Nagisa Oshima's erotic drama In the Realm of the Senses), is as taciturn and demanding as they come, and a few trainees distinguish themselves quickly. Senzaki (Hideaki Ito of The Princess Blade) and Mishima (Ken Kaito) are clearly the strongest and the toughest, while Kudo (Atsushi Ito) is the runt of the litter. Hara teams the cocksure Senzaki with clumsy Kudo, and the pair have trouble completing their missions. Kudo continually slows Senzaki down, but they share in the punishment. While the rest of the trainees openly mock Kudo, Senzaki defends him and tries to inspire him. One night on leave, Senzaki runs into Kanna (Ai Kato), a pretty local girl who works for a Tokyo-based fashion magazine. Kanna has come back to town to care for her sick mother, but she has little patience for the antics of the "sea monkeys," as the locals refer to the trainees. She gets drunk, however, and winds up in bed with the equally inebriated Senzaki, leading to much confusion and embarrassment the next morning. Kudo eventually wins over the rest of the team with his determination, but Senzaki continually butts heads with the unfriendly Mishima. Kanna's budding romance is derailed by a career crisis, and tragedy strikes the team before training is through. Umizaru, based on a popular manga, had its international premiere at Subway Cinema's 2004 New York Asian Film Festival. The film features the music of Journey.