The Banana Guide to Asian Entertainment: It’s All About Japan: Part III
Then there’s everything else~
If quiet movies are too slow, or bizarre movies are just too weird, we’ve got your middle point. Sometimes they’re manga/anime live action adaptations, movies about friendship, romances, or family dramas that hit just the right notes. There’s a lot to watch in Japanese cinema if you’re willing to give it a look.
Some of the most beloved manga/anime live action adaptations are movies like Nana (ナナ), about the building friendship between two girls named Nana — Mika Nakashima and Aoi Miyazaki are great in it, or maybe something like Densha Otoko (電車男) or the super popular Nodame Cantabile (のだめカンタービレ) series (but you have to have watched the Jdrama  for that one).
I love Japanese films because they’re not always necessarily about a girl having to get together with a boy, instead they give a lot of emphasis in the building of friendships like in the underdog stories for Shinobu Yaguchi’s Waterboys (ウォーターボーイズ) and Swing Girls (スウィングガールズ), or a tear-jerking tale of a dog and its owner in Hachiko Monogatari (ハチ公物語), or something as crowd-pleasing as Lee Sang-il’s Hula Girls (フラガール).
Family dramas are also pretty popular with films like The Makioka Sisters (細雪), Academy Award winner Okuribito (おくりびと), Hirokazu Kore-eda’s heart-wrenching family drama Nobody Knows (誰も知らない), or Yoji Yamada’s Kabei: Our Mother (母べえ) or About Her Brother (おとうと), which reminds me that he is also amazing with period films like his Samurai trilogy The Twilight Samurai (たそがれ清兵衛), The Hidden Blade (隠し剣 鬼の爪), as well as Love and Honor (武士の一分), with The Twilight Samurai being my favorite of the three.
So that’s my journey through a bit of contemporary Japanese films.
If you already watch Japanese movies, how did you get started on them?
If you’re dipping your feet for the first time, where would you like to start?
Stay tune for our next post on Japanese music!