Hiroki delivers one of the most natural, confident and empathic dramas I've ever laid eyes on. On the outside it appears to be a simple film, but underneath lies a wealth of emotions
The good stuff
It's not a wildly original film but it introduces enough elements to differentiate itself from other Japanese dramas while keeping the usual traits firmly in place.
For Western audiences the themes of Last Words may be quite sad and depressing, but Nagisa's acceptance of her nearing death paints a very different picture.
If you want another character drama, M might prove to be a too big a challenge and there are plenty of other Hiroki films you could and should be watching instead.
Like most of Hiroki's films, this is small and delicate, but still manages to pack a punch. It's a very sweet, laid-back tale about moving away to a bigger city, saying goodbye to your childhood and your best friends. Things get a little trickier when secret crushes need to be confessed, but that drama is light and the mood is breezy. Very nice.
I became transfixed by the soothing island atmosphere, the laid-back pacing and the nice surroundings.
In many ways, Strobe Edge is a typical manga adaptation as much as it is a typical romance. But Hiroki builds upon that to make a sweet, cute and genuine little love story.
Hiroki made a pretty brave move here, incorporating new elements from other genres into his movies without changing anything of his trademark style.
Keibetsu turns out to be another strong addition to Hiroki's oeuvre. It's not his best film to date, but it's nice to see him try out new stuff, even when it's not all that radical.
Her Granddaughter is a beautiful, serene and heart-warming little drama with no false notes, no overt sentimentality and no obvious tear-jerking.
Thanks to its slightly magical touches and its strong shifts between feel-good and drama, Yellow Elephant rises above the majority of other Japanese dramas out there.
Girlfriend: Someone Please Stop The World is a solid, smart drama that serves as a good entry point to his oeuvre. The film showcases his talent and houses many of his trademark elements.
Hiroki's adaptation of the Gunjō manga is a tricky project. It's quite long, it doesn't feature the most accessible leads, it's rather blunt and it's set up in such a way that the intensity of the film decreases. But the performances are superb, Hiroki's lens is perfect and the core relationship intrigues from start to finish. The reception has been rough, then again that's no surprise when you release a film like this on a global platform like Netflix.
Celebration of youth. A typical Hiroki drama, that languishes in the mundane, but manages to hit several deeper themes along the way. The actors are great, Hiroki's style is fitting and the light-hearted tone makes this a very easy watch. Not one of his best films, but a very fine drama that will effortlessly appeal to Hiroki fans.
Solid drama from Ryuichi Hiroki, where he returns to the Fukushima disaster area to see how many people are still struggling with the aftermath. It's a little too disjoined for its own good, but there some poignants moments and surprising insights that make this worth the while.
Sweet and endearing drama with a slightly fantastical touch. The film is beautifully shot and feels like a warm blanket, an ideal watch for a warm and summery day. It gets a little too dramatic at times and personally I prefer Hiroki's more serious work, but this is two hours well spent.
A very solid but slightly unremarkable Hiroki. I liked the first half best, as the drama is very light and the narrative is almost fleeting. The second half is a little too heavy-handed in comparison, but Hiroki's base quality is definitely there. A few beautiful scenes, good acting and a complete lack of forced sentiment make this an easy recommend for fans of Japanese drama.
Hiroki and Ando combining forces means instant quality. Sadly neither of the two goes beyond to make this film truly special, but what remains is a very warm and touching drama with a few stand-out scenes. Ando's acting chops and Hiroki's aptitude for drama are unmistakable, an easy recommend if you're in the mood for a Japanese drama.
Not of one Hiroki's best. There are moments where his talent shines through, but the story is a bit too convoluted and the theme is handled in a way that seems to reference the manga a bit too literally. Overall it's not a bad film with a couple of worthwhile scenes, but Hiroki has shown he can do better.
Worthy but flawed
A rather poor Ryuichi Hiroki film. It lacks his knack for properly fleshing out characters and it looks a little too slick. Not too surprising since this is the film-sequel of a popular J-Drama, but still I expected more from him. It's not a terrible film, just that Hiroki could've done a lot better with this material.