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Gambling japes from Friten, a Tokyo gangster whose sense of humor was screened on a double bill with the diametrically opposed Osaka-based comedy of Jarinko Chie. Based on the manga by Masashi Ueda, serialized in both Modern Mahjong and Gamble Punch magazines, the seven vignettes here include Friten demonstrating his winning gambling tactic and the wrong way to play mahjong. Among the stories are more far-fetched incidents such as his trip back in time to Edo-period Japan, his attempts to get involved in real sports, and his hapless tries at seducing the pretty Ikue-chan.

From the Apennines to the Andes

1976. jpn: Haha o Tazunete Sanzan Ri. aka: 3,000 Leagues in Search of Mother. TV series, Movie. dir: Isao Takahata, Hajime Okayasu. scr: Kazuo Fukuzawa. des: Yoichi Otabe. ani: Yoichi Otabe. mus: Koichi Sakata. prd: Nippon Animation, Fuji TV. 21 mins. x 51 eps.

Italian boy Marco lives in the town of Genoa, which has been hard hit by heavy taxes and recession. His mother leaves for Argentina, where her husband runs a clinic for the poor, but Marco cannot bear to be parted from her and pursues her ship. So begins a long quest that will ultimately take him to Bolivia, in the company of the Peppino puppet theater, and Fiorina, the daughter of a local chieftain. The story was reedited into a 107-minute movie version in 1980 by Hajime Okayasu and completely remade by director Kozo Kusuba as Marco (1999). Based on part of the novel Cuore by Edmondo de Amicis, which was also adapted in its entirety as Heart: An Italian Schoolboy's Journal. The moving story was also mercilessly lampooned in the 1991 Genius Idiot Bakabon-movie 3,000 Leagues in Search of Osomatsu's Curry (1991), directed by Akira Saito, in which the quest for Mother was replaced by a zany search for a decent meal.

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Name: Friten-kun
Release Date: Jan. 1, 1981
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Rating: None
Runtime: 75 (mins)
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