If you're done watching our 6 must-watch Netflix shows to learn about Japan then we have some new recommendations for you! Get your favorite Japanese snacks ready, make sure your Coca-Cola clear is chilled, gather your friends and start watching these feel-good, comedy and drama classics! I feel like especially girls will appreciate these but I'm sure some guys too. The following movies revolve around music, fashion, badass girls, time travelling and more!
1. Nana (2005)
This 2005 live action movie was based on the manga and anime by Ai Yazawa, a shojo manga author famous for her realistic stories and beautiful art. Nana is about a friendship between two girls who coincidentally meet on a train to Tokyo and coincidentally share the same name: Nana! Besides these similarities they have absolutely nothing in common though. While Nana Komatsu is a sweet but naive girl who follows her boyfriend to Tokyo without any ambitions, the tough-looking Nana Osaki is determined to make her dream to become a famous punk-rockstar come true! Rather than on romance, this movie focuses on the friendships between the two girls. The collision of two different worlds make an interesting story and is in combination with amazing music one of my favorite movies!
Watch the trailer (In Japanese) here:
2. Paradise Kiss (2011)
Paradise Kiss was also based on a manga by Ai Yazawa, the same writer that made Nana. Paradise kiss is a story about a high school girl, Yukari who is tired of devoting her life to her studies. When she bumps into fashion designer George on the streets he tries to scout her as a model for his clothing brand. Yukari initially refuses but is eventually persuaded by the charming George. Together with his group of designers they aim to become number 1 with their design for their school's fashion show. The characters in this show are all unique yet somehow relatable. This movie is definitely worth watching if you love fashion and has similar vibes as Nana!
Watch the trailer here with English subtitles:
3. Time Traveller - The girl who leapt through time (2010)
The Time Traveller is also inspired by an existing anime but has a quite different story line. Akira is a high school girl living a normal life. Her mother is a scientist who has developed a potion to travel back in time with the hope of finding her one true love back in high school in 1972. When Akira's mother's falls into a coma after a car accident, Akira decides to take the potion and find her mother's high school love and bring him back to change her mother's fate! However, Akira ends up in 1974 instead and soon discovers that changing the past also has unforeseen consequences for the future. The Time Traveller is a great movie because it's not over the top romantic, it's a great mix of romance, drama, and sci-fi and keeps you in suspense!
Watch the trailer with English subtitles here:
4. Girl's Life (2009)
The protagonist of Girl's life is famous gyaru fashion icon Sakurina which was reason enough for me to want to watch it! The story is about a girl named Haruka who's trying her luck in Tokyo after being betrayed by her boyfriend and abandoned by her family. She takes dozens of interviews but she keeps being rejected because of her flashy hair, makeup and clothes. When she sees a flyer of a Japanese cabaret club she decides to start working as a cabaret or hostess; a girl who talks to and drinks with men at fancy clubs. This movie gives you a look into the life of a young Japanese woman working in the night entertainment industry, the hardships she experiences but also how she finds herself. If you like Japanese subcultures, gyaru in particular you should check out Girl`s life!
Watch the trailer in Japanese here:
5. Kamikaze girls - 2004
Kamikaze girls is another classic movie about friendship that is in some ways similar to Nana. Momoko is a girl who lives in the countryside, she is obsessed with lolita fashion but has no friends. She doesn't care though, she believes her clothes is all she needs to be happy. However lolita clothes are expensive and as Momoko runs out of money she decides to sell her father's old bootleg clothes. Ichigo, a biker yanki girl is interested in the clothes and keeps coming to Momoko's house to buy the stuff for her biker gang. It's the start of an interesting friendship. You can learn a lot about Japanese culture from Kamikaze girls, especially about biker gangs, lolita fashion and the life in the countryside. This movie is hilarious, exciting and fast-paced, check it out!
Check out the trailer with English subtitles here:
Have you ever watched any of these movies? What was your favorite? Do you have any Japanese movie recommendations? Let us know in the comments below!
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