7 Best Japanese Movies On Netflix | The Art Of Japanese Cinema!

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There is magic in Japanese cinema, as they have done real wonders through their animated genre. Till this time, I believe that there is no one other than the Japanese film industry who has given such an enormous amount of successful animated films. Now if you have never experienced the magic of the Japanese animated films here l have listed some of the best Japanese movies on Netflix that will make you fall in love with Japan. 

I have always been a fan of entertaining Hollywood’s animated movies, but it all changed when I was suggested by a friend to watch Paprika (2006). This animated film was not like the others that I watched earlier; it has something unique in its storytelling. The movie didn’t have a unidirectional flow, and the transitions from one scene to another were not that simple. Well, I can’t explain the film’s complexity here. Since Paprika is not available on Netflix, but there are a few Japanese movies on Netflix that have redefined the meaning of animated films. Let’s know these films in detail. 

7 Best Japanese Movies On Netflix | Deep Dive In The World Of Japanese Animated Films

Here I have listed the must-watch Japanese animated films that reshaped the modern animated genre. In this article, I have also mentioned the storyline of the various movies along with their IMDb rating, run time, and director’s name. So, what are you waiting for, start exploring!

Also, Read | [Animated] Best Action Movies on Netflix for Kids in 2021

#1 Spirited Away (2001)

7 Best Japanese Movies On Netflix | The  Films That Shaped The Modern Animated Genre

One of the best Japanese movies of the 21st century and the winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away is a fantasy animated film released on July 20, 2001. The film was acclaimed as one of the highly grossed movies in Japanese history that did a box office collection of $ 398.5 million.  

Spirited Away is the story of a 10-year girl named Chihiro Ogino who gets trapped inside a brave world called Kami with her parents. The whole story starts when Chihiro and her parents move into their new house. As they head towards their new residence in their car, his father takes a shortcut to reach the destination and, on their way, discovers a closed theme park. 

Curious to see the whole park, they start their exploration and come across a restaurant that had some freshly prepared food in the park. As they were starving, Chihiro’s father and her mother start eating the food at the restaurant and soon fall under a spell that converts them into pigs. Now that Chihiro saves her family from this spell and makes her way out from the spirited theme park, all her adventures are packed in Spirited Away.

Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

IMDb Rating: 8.6/10

Run Time: 125 minutes 

Stream On: Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video

#2 A Silent Voice (2016)

#2 A Silent Voice (2016)

A Silent Voice is a Japanese animated drama film released on September 17, 2016. The movie tells the story of a socially outcast man who was once a bully and is now trying to reconnect with a deaf girl he bullied during his school years. The Film won the Japanese Movie Critic Awards for the Best-Animated Feature.

The story starts with a depressed loner high school student named Shoya Ishida. Stressed about his life, Shoya tries to kill himself but then changes his mind and decides to correct his past mistakes. A flashback reveals that he, along with his friends, bullied a deaf girl named Shoku, and when the news reaches the principal, Shoya becomes the common name for all the bad things that happen in the school. Later all of the class’s bullying gets redirected towards him, and he was left alone by his friends and became lonely. 

When Shoya becomes an outcast, he develops a problem where he can’t look into other people’s eyes and envision an X mark on their faces. To correct what he did wrong in the past and change his life, he apologizes to the deaf girl, Shoku. What happens next in his story, and how does he correct everything? All the answers are in the movie A Silent Voice. 

Directed By: Naoko Yamada

IMDb Rating: 8.2/10

Run Time: 130 minutes

Stream On: Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video

Also, Read | 6 Best Japanese Dramas To Fill The Void | Enjoy While You Are Stuck At Home!

#3 My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

#3 My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

My Neighbor Totoro is a Japanese animated fantasy film released on April 16, 1988. The movie tells the story of two young sisters and their interactions with a friendly spirit named Totoro. The film is a winner of the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize and Blue Ribbon Awards.

The whole story starts when a professor named Tatsuo Kasakabe and her two daughters move into an old house. They moved there because it was nearer to the hospital where the girls’ mother was recovering from her long illness. They didn’t know that the house was inhabited by the small tiny creature called Susuwatari- small, dark spirits that move from light to dark.

Soon when these creatures were leaving the house, one of the daughters named Mei followed them. The two small spirits lead her into a hollow camphor tree, where she befriends a big giant ghost named Totoro. What happens next in the story, and does the giant spirit reveal himself to Mia’s family? All you need to do is watch the movie My Neighbor Totoro to get the answer.

Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

IMDb Rating: 8.2/10

Run Time: 86 minutes

Stream On: HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video

#4 The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya (2013)

#4 The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya (2013)

One of the most expensive Japanese films to this date, The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya, is an animated historical fantasy film released on November 23, 2013. Many critics acclaimed the film as one of the greatest animated films of all time that also was nominated for the Academy Award for The Best Animated Feature at the 87th Academy Award.

The Tale of The Princess Kaguya is the story of a tiny nymph found inside the bamboo stalks that grows into a young woman. So when a bamboo cutter named Sanuki No Miyatsuko found the miniature girl inside the bamboo shoot, he and his wife decided to raise her. The girl quickly grew up and was nicknamed Takenoko. Later the bamboo cutter finds a fine gold cloth inside the Bamboo shoot the same way he saw the girl. This made him believe that this girl was none other than a princess.

Soon the whole family relocates to the mansion where she is given the formal name Princess Kaguya and is forced to learn the ethics of Noblewomen. She decided to run back to her old village, saddled with all this, but all went in despair. Now, was she able to free herself from the burden of becoming a princess, and what happened next in her magical tale? All the answers in the film The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya.

Directed By: Isao Takahata

IMDb Rating: 8/10

Run Time: 137 minutes 

Stream On: HBO Max, Netflix

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#5 Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

#5 Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

Howl’s Moving Castle is a Japanese animated fantasy film released on November 20, 2004. The film was nominated for the Academy Award For The Best Animated Feature at 78th Academy Awards and was a big commercial success that gained a box office collection of 236million dollars. Also, the film won The Tokyo Anime Awards and Nebula Award For Best Script

The movie is set in a fictional world where the technology of 21 century prevails in the magical old world and tells the story of a young girl named Sophie. Sophie is a young content milliner who encounters a Wizard named Howl, and soon they both fall in love with each other. Seeing the closeness between Sophie and Howl, a jealous witch casts a curse on Sophie that turns her into a 90-year-old woman.

Now Sophie has to find a way to break the curse, and in all this, she is helped by Howl’s friends named Calcifer and Markl. The film is themed on the values of love, personal loyalty, and the destructive effects of War. 

Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

IMDb Rating: 8.2/10

Run Time: 119 minutes

Stream On: Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video

#6 Princess Mononoke (1977)

#6 Princess Mononoke (1977)

The highest-grossing film of 1977, Princess Mononoke, is a Japanese epic historical fantasy film released on July 12, 1977. The film was a big blockbuster that’s plotted on a young protagonist named Ashitaka, cursed by a giant demon. The film did a box office collection of $169.7 million.

In Japan, a village named Emishi is attacked by a supernatural shapeshifting demon creature, bore/god. The animals possess people and cause suffering, pain, and death. When the beast attacks the village, the last prince of Emishi, Ashitaka, kills him but injures his arm in return. The creature bit his arm and gives him the curse of immense pain that eventually would kill him, but the curse also blesses him with some superhuman strength.

A wise woman in the village tells Ashitaka to cure it as soon as possible. She tells him to leave the town and head for the wasteland where the demon comes from because only there, he will find the cure. In his travels, he seeks a cure from a deer-like creature, Shishigami, and discovers a great war between forest inhabitants and iron humans exploiting the forest resources. The story then follows Ashitaka and the princess Mononoke (a human raised by wolves) to stop humans from ravaging the earth.

Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

Run Time: 133 minutes 

Stream On: Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Videos 

Also, Read | How to Watch Naruto Movies | Best Watch Order for the 11 Movies from the Franchise

#7 In This Corner Of The World (2016)

#7 In This Corner Of The World (2016)

Released on October 28, 2016, In This Corner of the World is a Japanese Animated wartime drama film based on the manga of the same name. The movie tells the experiences of a young girl named Suzu who marries a man she barely knows and spends the rest of her life living in Hiroshima during WW II.

Suzu is an 18-year-old cheerful girl who lives in a seaside town called Eba. Soon she gets married to a man named Shusaku, who she only met once in her childhood. After the marriage, she joins his family in Kure City, i.e.,15 miles away from Hiroshima. As Suzu starts to adjust to her new family, the threat of the Pacific war begins to hold the dark shadows on the townspeople.

The War created conditions like food shortages because of which the government implemented food rationing. Now Suzu takes turns overseeing food distribution and various other jobs to help her family out of the worst situation.  Also, note that the film depicts culture, tradition, and actual incidents of the people at Hiroshima just before the atomic bombing in Hiroshima.

Directed By: Sunao Katabuchi

IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

Run Time: 129 minutes.

Stream On: Netflix, amazon prime video, Vudu

Final Words 

If you can’t watch these movies on Netflix, it’s undoubtedly because of the restricted content in your region. Now to solve that problem relaunch Netflix by using a VPN service. If that doesn’t work, don’t worry, because you can find these movies on YouTube.

Sushant Pal
A physics graduate with his energies resonating with words and not Newton’s law forces us to believe that he can bring a change with his content. Sushant is a quiet soul who makes noise with his thoughtful ideas and suggestions. He is a little moody but balances it out with his creative writing. What makes him stand out as a writer is his attitude to learn from his surroundings.

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