Archive for the ‘Theatrical Screening’ Category

Historical Japanese Swords, as Seen in Rurouni Kenshin

*A guest editorial from our Funimation Brand Manager, Jennifu

Rurouni Kenshin Dojo Battle

 

From period samurai shows to magical combat fantasy, Japanese swords are hyper-prominent in anime, and the upcoming theatrical runs of the swordplay-packed Rurouni Kenshin live-action movies are a perfect excuse to talk about the coolness of Japanese swords!

 

Learn about the basics of Japanese swords and their historical basis as seen in the Rurouni Kenshin movies, based on the manga and anime of the same name, which take a fictional but decently researched and realistic* approach on the subject, for shounen manga.

 

(And if you’re really into sword combat, these movies have excellent action choreography from one of the biggest action directors in Asian martial arts cinema—get your advance tickets today and see it for yourself! The first movie, Rurouni Kenshin: Origins, hits theaters August 8, 9 and 10!)

 

 

Rurouni Kenshin Reverse Blade

The hero of Rurouni Kenshin, Kenshin Himura, wields a very iconic sword immediately familiar to anyone who’s read the original series. His sword is a sakabato, or a “reverse-blade”—meaning that the outer cutting edge is dull, and the inner edge is sharp, contrary to the normal construction of a Japanese sword.

(If you think about a “double-edged sword” being dangerous because there is also a cutting edge that faces you, a “reverse-blade” is even more dangerous and impractical because only the cutting edge faces you. This impracticality makes it a “pacifist sword” and also explains why Kenshin is such a badass, giving himself a huge handicap.)

 

Combat sakabato never existed (according to any known records), but actually at least one reverse-blade has been found in Japan, although it is a kogatana (small katana) rather than a full-length one.

 

 

 

As we know, Kenshin’s blade is a katana Japanese sword, but although people often use katana and “Japanese sword” interchangeably, they aren’t the same. The katana is actually a more modern style that was popularized around the 15th century.

 

Prior to the katana, longer, heavier, curved blades called tachi were the weapon of choice. As long-ranged, robust weapons, these were effective for fighting on horseback across open fields.

 

 

 

As cities became more prominent and horseback plains combat less relevant, the katana became more popular, as a lighter, shorter sword, worn cutting-edge up (as opposed to down on the tachi), meaning samurai could potentially slice an enemy upon drawing the sword, and generally wield with more agility.

 

Most importantly, katana could be used in fights in the cities, with narrow streets, or even indoors, where long tachi were at risk of getting caught in the low ceiling rafters.

 

 

 

In the Rurouni Kenshin series and movies, Sanosuke Sagara wields a huge, old and rusted zanbato, or horse-cutting sword. This type of sword is from that older era of horseback warfare.

 

Actually, a horse-cutting sword is not meant to be swung wildly with one arm—a wielder would hold the sword with both hands while perched on a horse, and taken down enemy riders. This just shows Sano’s monstrous strength and wild personality.

 

 

 

Another result of the development of the katana is the custom of samurai wearing two swords—a katana sword and a wakizashi, or a short sword. Katana were used more for combat and wakizashi for more personal use.

 

If a samurai was invited to a castle, for example, he was expected to leave his katana at the door, so as to not threaten the lord, but he could keep his wakizashi in self defense.

 

 

 

Aoshi Shinomori, who appears in the second Rurouni Kenshin movie and gets some cool action scenes in the third, wields double kodachi, which are somewhat shorter swords similar to wakizashi.

 

The reason he has to use short swords is that double-wielding long swords is impractical—there’s too much risk of cutting your own arms. (Sorry, Roronoa Zoro.)

 

 

Are you a big fan of Japanese swords? What types do like, and what are your favorite famous swords from anime, manga, or Japanese movies? Let us know in the comments!

Be sure to buy your advance tickets to Rurouni Kenshin: Origins today—this limited theatrical run is only in theaters for 3 days! http://www.funimationfilms.com/movie/rurouni-kenshin/

*except, sadly, there are no historical Japanese swords that spurt flames when you swing them :(
 

FUNIMATION FILMS SECURES RIGHTS TO “SHIN GODZILLA” MOVIE THROUGHOUT THE AMERICAS

Last night in a surprise announcement to fans at San Diego Comic Con 2016, Funimation® Films announced its acquisition of the live action film “SHIN GODZILLA” from Toho Company, Ltd. The agreement includes theatrical, home entertainment, video on demand and broadcast rights for the upcoming Japanese live-action feature film and covers all of the Americas (North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean). Funimation is currently planning to release “SHIN GODZILLA” in theaters in late 2016.

 

“Funimation is extremely pleased to be working with Toho to bring ‘SHIN GODZILLA’ to audiences across the Americas,” said Gen Fukunaga, CEO and President of Funimation.

 

“SHIN GODZILLA” (“Shin Gojira”) is a Japanese tokusatsu kaiju film – a live action science fiction monster movie featuring special effects. It is the 29th Godzilla film produced by Toho. The film is co-directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi. Both directors performed double duties as writer and visual effects director respectively.  Higuchi most recently directed the live action film adaption of “Attack on Titan” (“Shingeki no Kyojin”) which was released in 2015. “SHIN GODZILLA” stars Hiroki Hasegawa and Satomi Ishihara – both alums of the “Attack on  Titan” movie – and Yutaka Takenouchi.

 

“’SHIN GODZILLA’ represents a brand new chapter in the 62-year history of this iconic science fiction monster,” said Mike DuBoise, EVP and COO of Funimation. “We’re excited to bring audiences this new vision of Godzilla from Toho as reimagined by directors Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi.”

 

For future news and information on “SHIN GODZILLA,” please register for email updates at funimationfilms.com.

The live-action Rurouni Kenshin film trilogy is coming to theaters!

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Rurouni Kenshin, one of the most beloved Japanese swordsman manga and anime the world over, has been adapted to the silver screen for a series of three thrilling, action-packed movies—and we’re bringing all three to theaters across the US this fall!

 

Movie 1: Rurouni Kenshin: Origins | August 8 – 10

Movie 2: Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno | September 12 – 14

Movie 3:  Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends | October 3 – 5

 

The three films cover some of the best stories the series has to offer (spanning the early beginnings of Kenshin meeting Kaoru, Sano, and the rest, to the end of the fan-favorite Shishio Makoto arc, if you’re familiar with the original), and you won’t want to miss a single film in the series.

 

Advance tickets for movie 1 go on sale soon! Sign up to be the first to receive updates at funimationfilms.com/rurounikenshin.

 If you have any trepidation about live-action adaptations of anime, don’t—these movies really capture the spirit of the original manga, and the casting so closely resembles the characters that it seems they’ve leapt off the page. But don’t take our word on it; Kotaku, in reviewing the films, proclaims “Rurouni Kenshin may be the single best Japanese live-action adaptation I have ever seen,” and further declares:
If you like Kenshin, see this movie. If you like anime, see this movie. If you’re curious about how to successfully adapt a work of fiction to film, see this movie. If you like sword-fighting action, see this movie. If you have a pulse, see this movie.”

 

See their glowing reviews for all three films:

 

If you’re new to Rurouni Kenshin, there’s a reason this manga series still resonates with fans over 20 years after its debut—the series combines a very universal story about personal redemption with a memorable cast of colorful characters and, of course, badass Japanese swordfighting action. These films are packed with intense swordplay action and martial arts, choreographed by Kenji Tanigaki (“one of the world’s top stunt cheoreographers” according to Time Out), who’s made a name for himself in the Asian action movie scene on many impressive action films on both sides of the Pacific, and who regularly teams up on action choreography with martial arts star Donnie Yen of Hong Kong martial arts film series Ip Man fame. Kotaku again comes back with high praise of the action direction of the films as having “some of the most amazing sword-fighting action scenes ever put on film.”

 

Look out for tickets on sale soon, and don’t miss out on seeing this jaw-dropping action on the big screen in our three-part theatrical event series!

 

Synopsis:

In the wake of a brutal civil war, Kenshin Himura, once a feared killer, turns his back on bloodshed and vows to carry a reversed-edge blade for the rest of his days. But Kenshin soon finds that the world around him is greatly changed. Rapid modernization has given rise to new villains driven by power and greed—and from the shadows of the past, the famed assassin Makoto Shishio has returned to wreak havoc across Japan. Together, with the beautiful kendo instructor Kaoru and a colorful cast of allies, Kenshin embarks on a quest to protect the innocent from those that would do them harm. In a staggering display of swordplay and martial arts mastery, Kenshin will attempt to survive his promise to face his own blade—before spilling the blood of his enemies!

FUNIMATION ENTERTAINMENT ACQUIRES EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TO THE FIRST JAPANESE FEATURE-LENGTH ANIME FILM “MOMOTARO, SACRED SAILORS”

Newly Digitally Restored WWII-Era Film Premiered at 2016 Cannes Film Festival

 

Momotaro_Sacred Sailors_Still

 

FLOWER MOUND, TEXAS – May 31, 2016. Funimation Entertainment is proud to announce its acquisition of the restored edition of Mitsuyo Seo’s “Momotaro, Sacred Sailors” – the first feature-length animated film produced in Japan. Written and directed by Mitsuyo Seo (1911-2010), “Momotaro, Sacred Sailors” was a propaganda film produced in 1944 by Shochiku Co. Ltd. and released in 1945 during the final months of World War II.  Earlier this year, with the financial support of Funimation and others, Shochiku restored the 74-minute, black and white film, which premiered during opening weekend of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival in the Cannes Classics program. As part of its agreement with Shochiku, Funimation has secured exclusive rights to the theatrical, digital and home video distribution of the film in both the U.S. and Canada.

 

“Mitsuyo Seo was a key figure in the development of Japan’s anime industry and were honored to have been part of the restoration of ‘Momotaro, Sacred Sailors’ – one of his most famous works,” said Gen Fukunaga, CEO and founder of Funimation. “This wonderful black and white film was created using almost 50,000 cels and offers superb animation, music and entertainment that is on par with any classic Disney film of the same era.”

 

Seo based the film’s story on the classic Japanese fairy tale of a boy named Momotaro, who was born from a peach and defeats monsters with the help of his animal friends. In Seo’s movie, Momotaro and his friends are now Japanese naval paratroopers and the monsters represent the Allied Powers.

 

“This digitally restored version of Mitsuyo Seo’s ‘Momotaro, Sacred Sailors’ is truly captivating,” said Mike DuBoise, EVP and COO of Funimation.  “Anime fans, film buffs and animators alike will not want to miss this seminal and historic work of Japanese animation.”

 

Backed by Japan’s Ministry of the Navy, Shochiku produced “Momotaro, Sacred Sailors” with a select crew of 70 that included Japanese animation pioneer Kenzo Masaoka (1898 – 1988) as director of shadowgraph. With a big budget at that time, the film was an animated epic on an unprecedented scale and was composed using almost 50,000 animation cels. Few saw the movie in theaters when it was released as most of Japan was fighting a war that would be lost just five months later. To create the restored print, Shochiko scanned a 35mm master print and internegative in 4K and restored it in 2K.

 

Short Synopsis

 

On the eve of a parachute mission during the war in the Pacific, a group of navy paratroopers, a monkey, a dog, a pheasant, and a bear, go home for a brief visit before heading off with their squadron to their base in the South Pacific. Lead by boy warrior Momotaro, the squadron prepares to attack the enemy on Devil’s Island.

 

On the eve before the attack, we learn why Momotaro and his squadron are called “sacred sailors.” A story is told of a ship with white men arriving at a beautiful island. The captain tricks the king into thinking they are merchants and he welcomes them on the island. Quickly thereafter, the crew reveal themselves as pirates and then plunder the island.  All that remained was a legend that “sacred sailors will come from the east” who will “free the people.”  Momotaro and his compatriots are these sacred sailors.

 

The attack on Devil’s Island finally begins. The paratroopers quickly overpower the horned, white devils, who then surrender to Momotaro unconditionally. Peace returns to the South Pacific.

 

TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR PROJECT ITOH’S “HARMONY”

Second in Series of Film Adaptations to Screen in U.S. on May 17 & 18

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FLOWER MOUND, TEXAS – April 21, 2016. On the heels of yesterday’s limited theatrical engagement of “The Empire of Corpses,” Funimation® Films announced today that advance tickets are now available for the movie “Harmony,” the second in the series of three animated films adapted from Project Itoh’s novels. The film, produced by award-winning Studio 4°C, is co-directed by the duo of Michael Arias and Takashi Nakamura. Presented in both Japanese with English subtitles and English dub versions, “Harmony” will screen in more than 60 theaters across the United States on May 17 and 18, 2016. Local theater listings will provide specific dates and times for subtitled and dubbed screenings. Tickets are available for purchase at funimationfilms.com/harmony.

 

“If response to the first film is any indication, fans will truly enjoy ‘Harmony,’” said Gen Fukunaga, founder and CEO of Funimation. “Project Itoh’s ‘Harmony’ will transport moviegoers on an epic science fiction voyage – to a world, once ravaged by war and disease, that has been transformed to ‘perfection’ by nanotechnology.”

 

To coincide with today’s ticket sales announcement, Funimation Films also released the full-length theatrical trailer for “Harmony.’” The trailer is available for viewing through an exclusive partnership with IGN.com, the top gaming and entertainment website. Click the image below to watch!

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 1.37.52 PM

 

“Fans will not want to miss the futuristic world that Studio 4°C has brought to life in ‘Harmony,’” said Mike DuBoise, EVP and COO of Funimation. “Whether anime or sci-fi fan, there are options for both subtitled and dubbed versions of the film, and we encourage everyone to purchase advance tickets to this limited, two-day release.”

“Harmony” was the second novel by Japanese science fiction writer Project Itoh, pseudonym of Satoshi Ito, who died at the early age of 34 from cancer. Published in 2009, the novel was very well received by readers and was awarded the coveted Japanese Science Fiction Grand Prize, which recognizes the best in science fiction works spanning novels, movies, animation and manga. The novel was also nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award for distinguished science fiction in 2010.

 

“Harmony” producer Studio 4°C has been producing films, OVAs and shorts for more than 30 years. The animation studio is most well-known for its 2006 release “Tekkon Kinkreet,” which received numerous awards around the globe including the Japanese Academy Prize for Animation of the Year and Best Animated Film at Fantasia, both in 2007. Harmony co-directors Michael Arias and Takashi Nakamura are well known in their own rights as well. U.S.-born Arias rose to prominence as the first non-Japanese director of a major anime film with “Tekkon Kinkreet.” Nakamura has animated or directed more than a dozen films during his career, including the cult classic “Akira” – one of the most well know anime films of all time.

 

Film Synopsis

 

In a future ruled by an unwavering dedication to good health, three high school girls led by the defiant Miach Mihie attempt suicide as the ultimate act of rebellion. Tuan Kirie survives, but can’t shake the hatred she has for the “perfect world” she lives in.

 

Years later, a simultaneous mass suicide rocks the globe and sends society into a state of shock. A small group stands up to take credit for the event, claiming they’ve hijacked the consciousness of every person on the planet. Everything about the terrorists’ message sounds too familiar to Tuan. She suspects her old friend Miach might be involved, but how could that be when she’d supposedly killed herself years earlier? Desperate for answers, Tuan launches an investigation that takes her across the globe chasing the ghost of her old friend. But what is Miach’s end game? Will she finally wake the world from its monotonous slumber? Or, end it all for good?

 

For more information on “Harmony” and to purchase tickets, please visit funimationfilms.com/harmony.

 

Project Itoh’s ‘The Empire of Corpses’ – Cast + Trailer!

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The US theatrical launch for the English dub of Project Itoh’s ‘The Empire of Corpses’ is right around the corner — and we’ve got the cast list and trailer for you! Plus, you now find your nearest theater and buy tickets ahead of time at FunimationFilms.com!

 

Cast 

John Watson – Jason Liebrecht
Burnaby – J Michael Tatum
Hadaly – Morgan Garrett
M – Sean Hennigan
The One – R Bruce Elliott
Aleksei – Mike McFarland
Nikolai – Micah Solusod
Yamazawa – Kenny Green
Friday – Todd Haberkorn
Grant – Greg Dulcie

 

Crew

ADR Director: Mike McFarland
ADR Script: Mike McFarland
Asst ADR Script: J Michael Tatum
ADR Engineer: Peter Hawkinson

English Dialect Advisor – Kit Buss
Russian Dialect Advisor – Lauren Conn

 

 

Trailer

 

 

 

Synopsis


From the studio that produced Attack on Titan comes a captivating historical action thriller based on a Phillip K. Dick Award winning novel by Project Itoh. In an alternate version of 19th century London, the world has been revolutionized by “corpse reanimation technology” creating armies of undead who serve the living as laborers across the globe.

In an attempt to revive his dearly departed friend, young medical student John Watson becomes obsessed with replicating the work of Dr. Victor Frankenstein—the legendary corpse engineer whose research produced the only re-animated corpse to possess a soul. But when his illegal experiments put him at odds with the British government, Watson is drafted into a worldwide race to find the lost research notes of Victor Frankenstein before the secrets of the human soul fall into the wrong hands.

 

Get your tickets today!

TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR PROJECT ITOH’S “THE EMPIRE OF CORPSES”

Film Based on Award-Winning Novel to Screen in U.S. on April 19 & 20

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FLOWER MOUND, TEXAS – March 29, 2016. Funimation® Films announced today that advanced tickets for the English dub release of Project Itoh’s “The Empire of Corpses” are now available for purchase at funimationfilms.com/theempireofcorpses.  The film is the first in a series of three movies based on novels by award-winning writer Project Itoh and is directed by Ryotaro Makihara.  “The Empire of Corpses” will screen in more than 50 theaters across the United States on April 19 and 20, 2016.

 

“We’re pleased to bring this first in the series of films based on Project Itoh’s novels,” said Gen Fukunaga, founder and CEO of Funimation. “‘The Empire of Corpses’ is a truly captivating sci-fi action thriller – perfect for the big screen – and one that fans will certainly enjoy.”

 

“Moviegoers will be transported to Itoh’s steampunk vision of an alternate 19th century world occupied by Frankenstein-like laborers,” said Mike DuBoise, EVP and COO of Funimation. “Anime and sci-fi fans alike won’t want to miss this limited, two-day theatrical release and we encourage them to purchase tickets in advance.”

 

Project Itoh was the pseudonym of popular, Japanese science fiction writer Satoshi Ito.  His first novel “Genocidal Organ” was published in 2007 and was followed by “Harmony” in 2009. Both were well received by fans; with the latter winning the 2009 Japanese Science Fiction Grand Prize. Itoh’s brief writing career of 3-years was cut short when he died of cancer at the age of 34. Two of his works were later published posthumously – a novel adaptation of “Metal Gear Solid 4” and “The Empire of Corpses.”

 

“The Empire of Corpses” was produced by the wildly successful, independent animation house WIT STUDIO. Founded by former Production I.G producer George Wada in 2012, WIT STUDIO has already gained fame, in just three short years, for producing two hit anime series – “Attack on Titan” and “Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign.”

 

Film Trailer & Synopsis

 

In an alternate version of 19th century London, the world has been revolutionized by “corpse reanimation technology” creating armies of undead who serve the living as laborers across the globe.

 

In an attempt to revive his dearly departed friend, young medical student John Watson becomes obsessed with replicating the work of Dr. Victor Frankenstein—the legendary corpse engineer whose research produced the only re-animated corpse to possess a soul. But when his illegal experiments put him at odds with the British government, Watson is drafted into a worldwide race to find the lost research notes of Victor Frankenstein before the secrets of the human soul fall into the wrong hands.

The Boy and The Beast Advance Tickets on Sale NOW!

Advance tickets are on sale NOW for Mamoru Hosoda’s The Boy and the Beast, in theaters across the nation beginning March 4! Find a theater near you now and buy your tickets today at funimationfilms.com/theboyandthebeast. Lots of anime theatrical screenings sell out in advance, so don’t get caught at the theater ticketless—we strongly suggest buying your ticket as soon as possible.

 

 

Plus, check out the debut of the long-awaited English dub trailer (plus the original Japanese trailer, subbed into English)!

 

 

If you’ve loved Hosoda’s other films, you definitely need to experience The Boy and the Beast, which Twitch Film calls “as charming as The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, as exhilarating as Summer Wars and as touching as Wolf Children”.

If you aren’t familiar with Hosoda’s works yet, you’re in for a real treat. “Mamoru Hosoda ranks first among the Japanese animation directors seen as successors to now-retired industry giant Hayao Miyazaki — and for good reason” according to the Japan Times, so watch his latest movie in theaters to see anime history being made.

Plus, like Hosoda’s other films, The Boy and the Beast is highly accessible and great for families—the perfect gateway movie for your parents or friends who might not know much about anime.

 

 

The theatrical run is available in both English dub AND Japanese audio with English subtitles; check your local theater for the specific language showings. If you want to see more theatrical screenings with dual language and multiple showings, buy your tickets early to show your support for this format! Tickets are available at some locations– additional ticket sales will be added soon.

 

BoyandtheBeast-Facebook-Ad-TicketsOnSale

 

 

The Boy and the Beast Synopsis:
The latest feature film from award-winning Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars, Wolf Children): When Kyuta, a young orphan living on the streets of Shibuya, stumbles into a fantastic world of beasts, he’s taken in by Kumatetsu, a gruff, rough-around-the-edges warrior beast who’s been searching for the perfect apprentice. Despite their constant bickering, Kyuta and Kumatetsu begin training together and slowly form a bond as surrogate father and son. But when a deep darkness threatens to throw the human and beast worlds into chaos, the strong bond between this unlikely pair will be put to the ultimate test—a final showdown that will only be won if the two can finally work together using all of their combined strength and courage.

 

FUNIMATION ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES NORTH AMERICAN THEATRICAL DATES FOR “PSYCHO-PASS: THE MOVIE”

Climactic Film Based on TV Series to Screen in U.S. and Canada on March 15 & 16

 

FLOWER MOUND, TEXAS – February 5, 2016. Funimation® Entertainment announced today the North American theatrical dates for the release of “PSYCHO-PASS: The Movie.” This climactic feature film is based on the 33-episode, hit TV series of the same name and marks the return of renowned script writer Gen Urobuchi, who wrote the original story for the first season of the anime series.  “PSYCHO-PASS: The Movie” will screen in more than over 100 theaters across the United States and Canada on March 15 and 16, 2016.  Advance tickets for the movie will be available for purchase beginning February 18 at funimationfilms.com/psychopass.

 

“We’re excited to bring the climactic story of ‘PSYCHO-PASS: The Movie’ to fans across the U.S. and Canada,” said Gen Fukunaga, founder and CEO of Funimation. “The animation style of ‘PSYCHO-PASS: The Movie’ along with its characters, tech and story are meant to be experienced on the big screen.”

 

“Fans will truly enjoy this film and its visual homage to a number of live action movies and anime series,” said Mike DuBoise, EVP and COO of Funimation. “Since this is a very limited, two-day theatrical release, we are encouraging fans to purchase tickets in advance so they don’t miss out.”

 

“PSYCHO-PASS: The Movie” was produced by the celebrated studio – Production I.G. The “PSYCHO-PASS” anime series premiered in October 2012 and was followed by a second season in October 2014. The popularity of the show has resulted in multiple manga and novel adaptions. Series Chief Director Katsuyuki Motohiro and Director Naoyoshi Shiotani reprised their directorial roles for the movie.

 

Film Synopsis

 

In a futuristic Japan, the Sibyl System is charged with keeping the peace. Using extensive surveillance and biological monitoring to gauge the likelihood that individuals will commit a crime, the police are able to use weapons called Dominators to remove potential criminals from the population before they become a problem. Confident with the success of the System within their own borders, the Japanese government has begun to export the technology to other countries, planning to ultimately spread the System across the globe.

 

When the state of SEAUn brings the Sibyl System in to test its effectiveness, it becomes a haven of peace and safety—for a time. Eventually, terrorists from SEAUn begin appearing in Japan, somehow slipping through the System’s security and attacking from within. Desperate for answers, Inspector Akane Tsunemori is sent overseas to bring the terrorists to justice. But when her investigation forces her into a standoff with an old ally, will she be able to pull the trigger?

 

For more information on “PSYCHO-PASS: The Movie” and to purchase tickets, please visit funimationfilms.com/psychopass.

 

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