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Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers [DVD] (2005)

Juri Ueno , Y Aoi , Miki Satoshi    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: 5.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers [DVD] (2005) + Fish Story [DVD] [2009] + Funuke, Show Some Love, You Losers [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Juri Ueno, Y Aoi, Ry Iwamatsu, Eri Fuse, Jun Kaname
  • Directors: Miki Satoshi
  • Format: PAL, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Third Window
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Feb 2009
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001MK9ZIA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,998 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Suzume Katakura is an ordinary housewife. Her husband has been sent overseas on business, and although he phones her regularly, he is more concerned with the heath and welfare of his pet turtle. The days pass monotonously; it is though no one pays her any attention, not even her husband. The ordinariness of her life is interrupted one day when she spots a flyer in a stairway advertising for spies. Intrigued, Suzume phones the number. Three days later she is instructed to go to a run down apartment. She is greeted by a man and woman, he is unemployed, she is a shopping mall announcer. They claim to be working for a foreign state, and just like Suzume they are ordinary people with ordinary lives. The couple persuade Suzume to become a secret agent too. They virtually force 5 million yen onto Suzume, and so begins her life as a spy!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FAB! 6 Mar 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have been into Japanese films and TV for a good few years now, but this has to be the funniest I have ever seen.
It's a nice, gentle comedy with surreal moments and hilarious flashbacks chucked in for good measure.

Suzume (the heavenly Juri Ueno) is a bored young housewife stuck at home with her husband's exotic turtle while he is working overseas.
One day she sees an stamp-sized advert for spies stuck to a lamp post.
Intrigued she calls the number on the ad and arranges to meet the spies at their HQ - a shabby flat.
The couple who live here are odd (I recognise them from the Jo Odagiri series "Time Limit Detective") and enlist her - forcing 5 million Yen into her hands for expenses.

What follows is a very funny, knockabout story of daft goings on and even stranger people.

Juri Ueno is perfect as the young housewife (19 when she made it, playing a 23 year old), and has a nice blend of looks and acting ability... as well as spot-on comic timing.

If you want a break from the Japanese ghost stories and the endless yakuza flicks try something less obvious - and buy this and put a smile on your face.

I give it 10/10 easy.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Having watched a large number of Japanese movies, I am in awe of the beautiful, heart-breaking, brutal and disturbing dramas and romantic tragedies which put Western cinema to shame. However, this spectacular art has created the unfortunate stereotype that the Japanese 'Have No Sense of Humour.' And no matter how much I try to explain that this simply isn't true, pointing to other light Japanese movies such as "Swing Girls" and "Lovely Complex," when I bought this DVD, even my own girlfriend kept insisting that it was a Korean film, repeating over and over again that "The Japanese Aren't Known For Their Comedies."

Now that we've both watched this DVD however, she has finally accepted the truth. Because unlike too many Korean films in which the so-called 'Comedy' is far too sadistic, the drama and romance are tacked on and unable to mesh with the rest of the film, this wonderful little movie flows like water from a fountain and everything blends together perfectly.

An ordinary housewife leading an ordinary life is recruited as a spy for a foreign power, precisely because she is so unremarkable. As a matter of fact, she is specifically ordered to be 'Inconspicuous' and to 'Keep a Low Profile.' So all of a sudden, her mundane existence becomes exciting in her own mind.

In short, it's not a question of how other people treat her, it is simply a matter of perspective.

The opening sequence of this film, showing the title credits and cartoons of her daily life as a 'Flip-Paper' animation practically deserves an award in itself. And after that, the mere sight of a turtle wearing a parachute is proof that Japanese comedy can rival that of any other nation in the world.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute + funny 17 Jan 2010
By BusyB
A cute sort of sitcom film with plenty of smiles, some giggles and a few good laughs. Loads of interesting ideas, characters, situations and philosophies, not all of which were meant to be taken seriously, as well as a clever psychological sub-text.

I enjoyed it but I couldn't help asking myself if it would also have worked set in Bournemouth or Berlin. Well, possibly Berlin.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Surprisingly Enjoyable Movie 4 Dec 2010
By Oblomov
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
There are no belly laughs but this slightly surreal tale of a bored, lonely and slightly eccentric housewife who is drawn into a world of bored, lonely and slightly eccentric "spies" is enjoyable. There are number of good running gags, particularly the relationship between the principal character and her friend who leads a rather racy life. The secret life of the Tofu seller is also rather funny. If you enjoy offbeat Japanese movies you will probably like this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dont let the title fool you. 1 April 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I love this gentle, mad, endearing little film, full of surprises and that wonderful Japanese sense of humour that I have grown to love.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fun but leaves you wondering 20 Jan 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Japanese films are rather like Japan itself. Somethings sometimes happen and you never understand what. If you been there you will understand that and this film is similer. The plot has been mentioned previously so no point in going over that. The story is fun but don't ask for explantions. At the end you will be left wondering as to what all of it was about and what was the point of it all. But then that is Japan, it's the experience that counts rather then the conclusion. It doesn't matter that the film provides no answers, (something in our culture we need), instead it concentrates on the experience. Frustrating to us, but totally acceptable to Japanese.

Other then that the film is fun, funny and a great insight on City life in Japan. The characters are well drawn and the film itself very well done.
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