Is your movie night queue already thinning out? Here’s your sign to browse through Japanese movies available for streaming in Singapore.
Japanese films usually have a great balance between melancholy and relatability no matter what the genre is, so they provide a unique viewing experience.
Got your popcorn ready? Get ready to hit play on these titles, stat!
1. The Rurouni Kenshin saga
Based on Nobuhiro Watsuki’s world-renowned manga and anime franchise, the Rurouni Kenshin film saga is definitely one of the best live-action movie adaptations to date. It revolves around the fictional story of Kenshin Himura (Takeru Satoh), a legendary assassin nicknamed Hittokiri Battousai (sword-wielding manslayer), who became a simple wanderer after the Bakumatsu War. He bears a cross-shaped scar on his cheek which carries a huge key to the burdens of his past. He also wields a reverse-blade sword, following his vow to never kill again after being an assassin.
Why you’ll like it: The acting, the direction, the cinematography, and the overall storytelling of this film franchise are simply top-notch. Plus, we’re sure that no matter how many times you see these films, you’ll never stop being in awe of the amazing sword-fighting sequences made possible by the extensive stunt training of the cast and the enthralling camerawork that will immerse you in them. P.S. Make sure you check out our advice on the best order to view the film saga here.
Stream Rurouni Kenshin here.
Mother is a coming-of-age film about a young boy named Shuhei (whose younger version is played by Sho Gunji and the older version played by Daiken Okudaira) and his mother Akiko (Masami Nagasawa). The mother and son’s relationship is complicated; Akiko is toxically possessive of her child while also being neglectful and reckless with her choices. Despite this, Shuhei loves her as any young child does a parent and embraces his mother’s twisted love wholeheartedly. The film’s climax is definitely spine-chilling and references real-life occurrences in Japan. No spoilers, though, so you have to find out what this is for yourself!
Why you’ll like it: Despite its tragic plot, Mother is an engrossing film that puts into question some ideals and values surrounding parent-and-child relationships, juvenile punishment, and how society often views families as a functioning part of society. The performances of the cast, especially the younger cast members, will also immerse you in the story.
Stream Mother here.
3. Love Like The Falling Petals
If you love bittersweet romance stories, this one is for you. Love Like The Falling Petals is about Haruto Asakura (Kento Nakajima), an aspiring photographer who seems to have lost meaning in life. It wasn’t until he met Misaki Ariake (Honoka Matsumoto), an optimistic hairdresser whom he immediately fell in love with, that Haruto got inspired to chase after his dreams once again. Despite the rocky start of their relationship, the two eventually got together. However, Misaki gets diagnosed with a peculiar genetic condition that causes her to distance herself from Haruto.
Why you’ll like it: While this Japanese movie mainly focuses on the tragic romance between Haruto and Misaki, it also highlights themes centred on family, dealing with loss, self-discovery, and fighting for your dreams. The pivotal moments of the film also use Japanese seasons as its backdrop, with moments like spring and winter perfectly mirroring what the characters are feeling in a particular scene.
Stream Love Like The Falling Petals here.
4. You’re Not Normal, Either
Yasuomi Ono (Ryo Narita) is a private school math teacher who has been single for his entire life. His attempts to go on dates always fail, leaving him to wonder if there’s anything wrong with him. One day, his student Kasumi Akimoto (Kaya Kiyohara) tells him that he’s “not normal”. Curious about what she meant, Yasuomi asks Kasumi to teach him “how to be normal.”
Why you’ll like it: This Japanese movie may start off as a comedy, but the main characters’ search for what it means to be “normal” introduces a deeper conversation about self-acceptance and identity.
Stream You’re Not Normal, Either here.
5. Living In Your Sky
Dealing with her parents’ sudden death, Naomi (Mikako Tabe) moves into a high-rise apartment in the city. This location allows her to be close to other people she knows, but it doesn’t ease the loneliness she feels due to grief. One day, she meets Morinori (Takanori Iwata), a popular actor who happens to live in the same building. The two eventually develop a deep bond that allows them to face their feelings of sadness more straightforwardly.
Why you’ll like it: Tied beautifully by its intelligent script and nuanced acting performances from the cast, this film translates loss, grief, and moving on in such a mindful and relatable manner. It also features melodrama, romance, and sometimes even light comedy.
Stream Living In Your Sky here.
6. The Fable
Fable (Junichi Okada) has been a trained assassin since he was young. He’s a legend among his ranks, known for his exceptional skills and precise methods. One day, his sponsor tells him to live as a normal, law-abiding citizen, to hide in plain sight from a yakuza clan. He was banned from killing or harming anyone in a span of a year, as indicated in his latest contract.
Why you’ll like it: This action-packed Japanese movie is intriguing and will keep you entertained and at the edge of your seat the entire time. It combines comedy, drama, high-level martial arts sequences, and even the slightest hint of romance that will surely keep the entire family engaged.
Stream The Fable here.
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