Japanese Movies, Anime and J-Dramas on Netflix with the Highest Review Scores
Best Japanese Dramas on Netflix
Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories
Izakaya refers to traditional Japanese night club which offers wine and midnight meals until 7 a.m.The chef acts like the diners’ psychiatrist by helping his customers to go through their life troubles. The customers build connection in the tiny restaurant. Altogether, it’s a heart-warming Japanese drama.
Life is not all roses. Life is rife with challenges, tears and frustrations. People seek food pleasures to comfort their souls. Life revolves around tedium, uncertainty and surprises. People are dread of boredom. However, people refuse to take risks. People can’t bear boredom as well. Ironically, staying in the comfort zones are not absolutely guaranteed with inner peace. People are being greedy for life and people are being impatient for what they want out of life. It’s worth noting that there’s a cost by giving up a life-altering chance.
People believe in luck and people tend to deny God’s existence and God’s mighty power. If you do believe in luck, be aware of the seven deadly sins. To repent and to love.
Best Japanese Movies and Animations on Netflix
Romance Movie, Heavenly Forest
Japanese Title : Tada, Kimi o Aishiteru (I Love You, Only)
Plot : Makoto (Tamaki Hiroshi) is not good at socializing but he feels comfortable being with Shizuru(Miyazaki Aoi). Makoto ends up having a crush on another classmate named Miyuki, One day, Shisuru tells Makoto that she wants to take a photo of them kissing in the forest. After that, Shizuru stop showing up in his life. Makoto was devastated at her leaving and he ultimately realizes that the one he actually loves is Shizuru. Years later, he is invited to Shizuru;’s photography exhibition.
Margaret W. Lavigne: Women desire to be beautiful. However, beautiful women want to be loved because their soul rather than their outward appearance.
Film, Paradise Kiss
Plot : Hayasaki Yukari (Kitagawa Keiko) is a High School Student, who try hard to please her mother by studying hard. She encounters some students who are designers preparing for their Graduation’s Fashion Show and they are seeking for models. They tend to persuade her to be the model.Koizumi Jouji (Mukai Osamu), the leader designer of the group will the one who changes her life.
Margaret W. Lavigne: Life remains much the same and you get bored. Ultimately, someone shows up and changes your life effortlessly.
Film, From Me To You
Japanese Title : Kimi Ni Todoke
Plot : Kuronuma Savako (Tabe Mikako) is a introvert with long black hair. Her classmates tend to link her wit the leading lady in the Japanese horror movie ‘The Ring’ by naming her ‘sadako.’ Sawako lives with the motto “do one good thing once a day.”Savako is not good at socializing wither others.Being a low-key and good-hearted person, she fails to build connection with others. Kazehaya Shouta (Miura Haruma) is the most popular boy in the school. He helps Savako to interact with others. Indeed, he is in love with her.
Margaret W. Lavigne: It’s the film for the audience to explore the mindset of the introverts.
Film, Snow Flower (2019)
Plot/ Synopsis : Miyuki Hirai (Ayami Nakajo) has been diagnosized that she doesn’t have much time to live.She dreams of going to Finland to see the Northern Lights. One day, Miyuki Hirai was attacked by a thefta and stranger Yusuke Watabiki (Hiroomi Tosaka) shows up.
Japanese: 雪の華（Yuki no Hana ）
Director: Kojiro Hashimoto
Script Writer: Yoshikazu Okada
Producer: Toshihisa Watarai, Ikumi Taguchi
Cinematographer: Yoshinori Oshima
Margaret W. Lavigne: I would like to set a love contract before dating so as to assure that both parties reach consensus to a certain extent.
Romance Movie , Blue Spring Ride
Japanese Title : Aao Haru Raido
The movie script is based on the Manga of the same title.
Plot : Yoshiyoka Futaba (Honda Tsubasa) encounters a boy who resembles her first love, Tanaka Kou. They both harbor affection to each other without confession. Tanaka Kou and Yoshiyoka Futaba promised to meet up for a fireworks festival, but Tanaka Kou did not show up. Indeed, he moved from Tokyo to Nagasaki due to episodes in life.
Margaret W. Lavigne: No one is born to be cynical. Things happen for a reason. Trauma occurs as we give something a terrible negative meaning or tag on it.
Margaret W. Lavigne: Trauma does alter or reset our personality to a certain extent. Mental wounds change what we perceive the world and the original interpersonal relationships. Mental wounds might take away our hope for a better future and change what we used to believe. For instance, those who experience betrayal from the beloved ones are more likely to suffer from trust issues.
According to studies, people are more likely to change their character through highly traumatic experiences than by pleasurable moments in life. In truth, a vast volume of evidence suggests that corporal punishment and scolding make children more aggressive and antisocial. It’s worth noting that some traumatic painful experiences might produce permanent changes in the brain and corresponding shifts in intelligence, sociability and so forth.
Romance Movie, I Give My First Love to You
The movie script is based on a manga by Kotomi Aoki. Takuma and Mayu are friends since childhood. Takuma has heart disease which limit his life span on earth.
The leading actor Masaki Okada won the award of the Newcomer of the Year at the 2010 Japanese Academy Awards for his role in the film.
Japanese Movie, Last Letter ( 2020)
Japanese title : ラストレター
Director and scriptwriter : Shunji Iwai
Runtime: 120 min.
Plot/Synopsis : Yuri Kishibeno (Takako Matsu) is a housewife with two children. Yuri attends her sister Misaki Tono’s funeral and she meets her niece Ayumi (Suzu Hirose) , who fails to accept her mother’s death.
There wasa letter left behind by Misaki Tono. Yuri Kishibeno attends her sister’s reunion to inform the death of her sister. Yuri Kishibeno meets her first love Kyoshiro Otosaka (Masaharu Fukuyama) who mistakes her as Misaki Tono. Kyoshiro Otosaka becomes a novelist . One day, Yuri receives a message from Kyoshiro which writes”can you believe that I am still in love with you?”
Margaret W. Lavigne: When we were young, we hold dignity high. What I learn from life, regrets torture me most for unsaid words.
#One of the best Japanese romance movies
The Chinese version of the film.
Film, The Memories of a Teenage Amnesiac
Japanese Title : Dareka ga watashi ni kiss wo shita (Someone Kissed Me)
Plot : Due to an accident, Sukuse Naomi (Korikita Maki) wakes up in Hospital with amnesia.There are three boys claim to be her Boyfriend , incluidng Ace Zuckerman (Anton Yelchin),Miva Yuji (Matsuyama Kenichi) and Hazegawa Mirai (Tegoshi Yuya).
The movie script is based on the English Novel ‘The Memories of a Teenage Amnesiac’ by Gabrielle Zevin. It leads the audience to get close to the mindset of those who go through a traumatic event and those who suffer from depression.
Margaret W. Lavigne: According to Casa Palmera Staff in her article “How Trauma Affects Your Memory,” memory loss, particularly dissociative amnesia is the result of natural survival skill and defense mechanism because people to shield themselves from “psychological damage.” Casa Staff explicates that people with PTSD “often suppress memories of a traumatic event until they are able to handle them, which may never occur.” Studies also found that avoidance of negative emotions help people from falling apart or breakdown, but also keep them in constant vigilance. Significantly, researchers have identified abnormal changes of brainwave activity in people with dissociative amnesia.
From Up on Poppy Hill (2013,コクリコ坂から／こくりこざかから )
Set in Yokohama in 1963, after World War II, the film tells the story of a budding romance. The romance between Shun and Umi begins to blossom. However, a hidden secret from the last generation twists their relatoinship. Beyond that, the film expose the issue between the old and the new.
Director: Goro Miyazaki
script writers: Keiko Niwa and Hayao Miyazaki
Those who truly understand love are not afraid of their love being denied, for all they really want is for the other person to be happy.- Inspirational movie quote f (From Up on Poppy Hill), 2011
Anime Movie,The Anthem of the Heart (2015)
The main character, Jun Naruse, always ends up hurting others when she express her inner thoughts. One day her mouth was being sealed by magic power and she stops talking.
Director: Tatsuyuki Nagai
Script Writer: Mari Okada
Margaret W. Lavigne: According to the Bible, “The tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21). God holds anger against anyone “who stirs up conflict in the community.” (Proverbs 6:12-19). The Bible reminds us that “The lips of fools” bring “strife” (Proverbs 18:6-7). God expects us “To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:2 ESV).Malicious rumors and bias are virus, which potentially lead to violence, bullying and persecution. God hopes us to “be reverent in behavior” and in words (Titus 2:3). That’s why the Bible says those who do “not keep a tight rein on their tongues…their religion is worthless” (Proverbs 20:19) .
Anime Movie, Only Yesterday (2016)
Set in 1991, Takeo, beinga single lady in Tokyo,decides to visit her relatives in the countryside. The memories of childhood flood in, including he frustrations of mathematics and her first love.
Margaret W. Lavigne: Some old songs and some old items can easily stir our emotions and old memories. Will you grasp the most beautiful memories or those who hurt you most?
Director: Isao Takahata
Script Writer: Isao
Anime Movie, The Garden of Words (2013)
Plot: A Teenager Takao Azuki dreams of becoming a shoemaker. A stranger changes his life. A woman who lives in solitude seems to connect to his heart but she hides her sorrow and secrets from him.
Director and scriptwriter : Makoto Shinkai
Margaret W. Lavigne: It’s never easy to reveal our mental wounds and it’s never easy to reveal what use terribly. And it might do us no good for retelling traumatic experiences in life.
Animation, ‘A Silent Voice’ (Koe No Katachi )
Rotten Tomato Score: 94%
This Award-winning anime film unveils campus bullying and the retribution of the oppressor. The newly transferred student is a girl with a hearing disability. Shoya, being a naughty boy, tends to trick Shoko. It’s a thought-provoking film by unmasking the mindset of the abused and the abuser. It’s true that the abuser might turn into the abused due to certain scenarios. Shoya was surprised that Shoko attempts to befriend with him.
Margaret W. Lavigne: It’s hard to be the excluded in the groups and that’s why people hide their voices and that’s why people fail to live on their own terms. Save regrets in life. With ears, we can’ hear. That’s the hardest truth.
The Bible says, “foolish and senseless people” have eyes “but see not” and they “have ears, but hear not” (Jeremiah 5:21). The world today is rife with traps and temptations and some righteous persons have gone astray. That’s why the Bible says, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). People fail to listen to God’s voice (Psalm 81:11). The Bible says, “declares the Lord, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer” (Jeremiah 7:13). It’s a commonplace thing that “people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed” to God’s preaching (Matthew 13:15). Self-seeking and apathy harden people’s heart. Pride and conceit make people’s ears deaf. Greed blinds people’s visions.
Animation, ‘In This Corner of the World’
Rotten Tomato Score: 97%
Plot: Set in the 1930s and 1940s in Hiroshima, it was ten years before and after the atomic bomb in Japan. It followed the life Suzu,who lived in the countryside with her devoted husband.Due to the war, the destruction of the city changed much of the lives of the masses. Life was tough and she attempted to find happiness and inner peace through painting.
Margaret W. Lavigne: It’s comforting to know that “God promises to make something good out of the storm that bring devastation to your life” if you keep being righteous, tender, self-disciplined, humble, and hopeful in any circumstances (Roman 8: 28). God expect us to “rejoice in our sufferings,” because “trials of various kinds” are training to make us “perfect and complete” in character (Romans 5:3-6, James 1:1-27).
Anime, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2016)
Story : One day, the Makoto was hit by a train. She found herself transported back to the moment right before the accident. Makoto came to realize that that she is given the power to pass through time. She utilizes her power to do many foolish things and she falls into a dilemma. As the story unfolds, Makoto realizes that she falls in love with a man who is from future.
Margaret W. Lavigne: What I learn from life, there’s no perfect life script. What I learn from life, tenderness and good will invites luck. Hot temper and blaming invites tragedies.
Animation, 5 Centimeters Per Second
Plot: Tono Takaki and Shinohara Akari were best friends since elementary School. Akari and Takaki were seemingly inseparable. However, as their families moved apart, separation was inevitable.
♣This movie was awarded for Best Animated Feature Film at the 2007 Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
Margaret W. Lavigne: Will emotional dependency alters with distance? Without seeing each other on a regular basis, will friendship last forever ?
People tend to confuse love and emotional dependency. Emotional dependency occurs when a person believes he/she needs another person to assure her happiness.
The following questions help you to check whether you demand emotional dependency from people around you: Do you have a tendency to idealize people? Do you build your happiness and self-worth totally by a relationship? Do you feel that you can’t live without someone?Are you terrified of losing someone?Do you suffer from sense of emptiness unless your partner is giving you enough attention and validation? Are you being possessive of your partner?
“Love” which roots in fear isn’t love but neediness. Emotional dependency means you expect your partner to fill your emptiness and make you feel loved and safe. By doing so, you make your partner responsible for your happiness and self-worth. Love is about giving and sharing rather than demanding and receiving.
If you do not love yourself nor value yourself, you will be trapped by the desire to get love from outside sources. By doing so, you will seek attention and approval from others desperately.
When you truly love yourself, you will have strong inner strength, and you will be be far less to be emotionally dependent on someone else. By doing so, you will have stable mental state. You receive attention and approval you need from yourself. So, your happiness and sense of well-being are chiefly controlled by yourself.
Animation, Miss Hokusai (2016)
Director: Keiichi Hara
It might take a lifetime for artists to polish their talents and skills. Set in 1814 in Edo, the storyline depicts the life of a talented Ukiyo-e painter Miss Hokusai. Living in the shadow of her father, the leading lady is a artist who wrestles with her inner struggling and grows to shape her own self-worth during the ups and downs in life.The movie script is based on historical Japanese manga series. It’s a powerfully inspirational coming-of-age story on multiple levels.
Margaret W. Lavigne: Self-criticism means a person suffers from negative internal judgments about one’s value, and self-criticism usually accompanies with mental wounds.
People seek intimacy and sense of belonging by nature. When kids fail to secure mental support from their family members, they seek comforts outside of the family. That’s why some people rush into relationships.
As to life, it’s not being perfect. It’s about being a better me step by step. Without strong mentality and self-awareness, artist are more likely to suffer from depression and vanity. As we overly value the opinions from the general public, that’s a sign of vanity. Vanity is the sign of vulnerablity by putting yourself in a passive powerless position to be judged.
Animation ‘Mary and the Witch’s Flower’
Rotten Tomato Score: 89%
Plot: It’s produced by academy-Award nominee Hiromasa Yonebayashi. It’s a tale about magic and friendship.Mary, being a curious little girl found a rare flower which blooms every seven years. Life is an adventure that she heads to a magical college by chance.
I love writing by creating something out of nothing. Words never fade.
Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade (2015)
Director: Yoh Yoshinari
Anime Movie, Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Director: Yoshifumi Kondo
Plot: It’s an animation about pure love. The lead character, Shizuku Tsukishima, is obsessed with reading and she dreams to be a writer. The encounter with Senji will change her life.