Japan's Heisei Era favorites

Avalon

001

"It's the ultimate live action film, made by a seasoned animator, a director who fully understands and exploits the power and appeal of an all-enveloping atmosphere."

Dolls

002

"Dolls is a tragedy wrapped up in a very stylish and atmospheric cocoon, allowing the audience to be swamped by its sadness, but without ever letting go off the beauty that surrounds it."

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

003

"Innocence is a cinematic celebration. It's an audiovisual delight, it's thematically sound and rich and it invites you to watch and enjoy it time and time again."

Tokyo.sora

004

"As far as realistic drama goes, this is as close to perfection as I've seen. If you're into Japanese dramas and you haven't seen this yet, there is no better film I could recommend."

Dead Leaves

005

"Fans of animation and high adrenaline cinema owe it to themselves to check this one out, as long as you embrace its juvenile pleasures, Dead Leaves serves pure and unadulterated bliss."

Tetsuo: The Iron Man

006

"Tsukamoto's Tetsuo is an almost perfect cyberpunk endeavor, sporting lush black and white visuals and a superb industrial soundtrack, while providing a nerve-wrecking and overwhelming experience."

Helter Skelter

007

"The entire film is an oddly compelling and insanely stylized fever dream that left me completely dazed and fully perplexed, a rare and significant accomplishment."

Genius Party Beyond

008

"Studio 4°C establishes and confirms its title of best and most interesting animation house out there and dishes out a set of short films that challenge the medium in all sorts of ways."

Symbol

009

"Symbol is a rare type of film. Extremely creative, laugh out loud funny, artistic yet easy digestible and leaving you behind with a slightly bedazzled but contented feeling. It's an experience."

The Limit of Sleeping Beauty

010

"The presentation is gobsmackingly beautiful, with soundtrack and cinematography constantly feeding off of each other. The acting is superb, the story intriguing and the pacing pretty damn perfect."

Patlabor 2

011

"A-grade Oshii material that should please his fans. It's an impressive tour de force, delivering a perfect mix of intriguing philosophy, intelligent writing and stunning audiovisual stimuli."

Ritual

012

"One of the most unique dramas I've ever seen, keeping me interested from start to finish without even a hint of boredom on the horizon. Make sure you don't miss out on this one."

Mirrored Mind

013

"A perfect score and absolutely stunning visuals transport you to a different world, only to let go of you 60 minutes later, comforted and touched by the film's protagonist's struggle."

Survive Style 5+

014

"Survive Style 5+ is an audiovisual blast, a film that gets better with each successive viewing and one that ranks as one of my favorite comedies ever. A true delight."

Su-ki-da

015

"Su-ki-da is beautiful, heart-warming and extremely delicate. It's a film that puts you at ease and wraps itself around you. One of the dearest and most delicate love stories ever told."

Blessing Bell

016

"Tanaka's gentle and loving approach and Terajima's superb portrayal of his character take you along on an amazing trip, full of endearing, funny and warm moments."

My Neighbors the Yamadas

017

"A simple screenshot cannot capture the amount of love and detail this film houses. The animation is exceptional, the music a blast and the film consists of one big succession of memorable moments."

Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade

018

"It's a very mature, accomplished and delicate film and it may take people a couple of viewings in order to fully grasp all the details, but there is plenty of beauty and wonder to return to."

Tekkonkinkreet

019

"A film with a very authentic (Japanese) anime feel, yet it benefits greatly from Arias' outside influences. It's superbly animated, sports a terrific score and tells a truly intriguing story."

Vital

020

"This is a typical Japanese drama infused and enriched with plenty of Tsukamoto goodness. The result is haunting, morbid, poetic and beautiful all at once."

Big Bang Love, Juvenile A

021

"If you want a more experimental and serious side of Miike, this film comes recommended. The film has its share of weird moments, but all the weirdness does seem to serve a higher, more artistic goal."

Talking Head

022

"One of Oshii's true masterpieces, dazzling and surprising its audience each chance it gets. If you don't mind the vague narrative, it's a succession of fun, interesting and challenging moments."

Rampo Noir

023

"An amazing collection of shorts, brought to life by superb actors and featuring strong and diverse styles. A true sight to behold and without a doubt one of the best Japanese horror projects around."

Tsuburo no Gara

024

"Not as overly energetic or chaotic as its peers, rather it creates an eerie, claustrophobic atmosphere that drags you deeper into its concrete prison with each successive scene."

Redline

025

"When looking for 100 minutes flat-out entertainment, tailored to be as goofy, crazy and mad as possible, and backed by an amazing technical accomplishment, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better film"

Visitor Q

026

"You do have to be open to Miike's disturbing sense of humor and forgiving for its technical flaws, but once that is covered Visitor Q is one of the most hilariously funny films out there."

Petal Dance

027

"Playfully poetic, magically serene and pleasantly dreamy, watching this film is a calming experience that puts you right in there with the characters while providing a superb aesthetic frame."

The Whispering Star

028

"It's original, quirky, stylish and otherworldly, which is quite a feat considering Sono's track record. A tough cookie on the outside, but incredibly rich in taste and texture on the inside."

Colonel Panics

029

"It's a wonderfully stylized, strongly realized and often completely baffling film that has both heart and brains and lacks any kind of commercial filter."

Ghost in the Shell

030

"Oshii's film remains a monument of film making that still knows to impress and entrance. It's a superb sci-fi film, boasting tons of highly atmospheric scenes and a good story to boot"

Hells

031

"One of the most uniquely satisfying animes ever released. A film that can only be compared with a very concise selection of otherwise incomparable animation projects."

Short Peace

032

"Short Peace proudly honors the the rich tradition of Japan's animated anthologies. It's up there with the very best, bustling with innovation and creative freedom."

That's It

033

"That's It is a blast. Energetic, mysterious, fun, wild ... it's just one big entertaining mess. The film looks great, sounds great and the actors are all on top of their game."

Yakuza Apocalypse

034

"Yakuza Apocalypse is the kind of Miike I adore. The film looks good, sounds good, is stacked with crazy ideas and even weirder characters and dares to cross the line of common sense more than once."

Tokyo Tribe

035

"That said, it didn't make the film any less enjoyable, on the contrary even. Tokyo Tribe is a killer ride from beginning to end. It's brutal, outrageous, funny, weird and it has a terrific drive."

Kizumonogatari I: Tekketsu-hen

036

"You may think 64 minutes is rather short, but it's perfect for a film like this."

Monday

037

"Monday is entertainment in the purest sense of the word."

Miss Zombie

038

"Once it picks up steam it never falls back, propelling itself to an inevitable climax that left me perplexed and impressed. "

Blame!

039

"They left Nihei's appeal and style intact, the action sequences are brutal and the megastructure looks as cool as it does in the manga."

Antiporno

040

"Antiporno is a great example of why Japan's pinku films enjoy such a peculiar status among film fans and why it's been such a fertile breeding ground for young, talented directors."

Tag

041

"Whatever the case though, Tag is a unique film. It kept me guessing the entire way through, there are some very memorable scenes and the acting is spot on."

The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters

042

"The film is smart, looks and sounds great and is filled to the brim with creativity. It is immensely funny, even if you can't catch all the details on the first viewing."

The Taste of Tea

043

"The Taste of Tea is a lovingly executed ode to laziness, boredom and feeling at ease."

The Clone Returns Home

044

"The Clone Returns Home is one of the most impressive dramatic films I've seen in a long time. It lingers, it surprises, it impresses and it leaves you in a daze."

Confessions

045

"That said, Confessions is definitely one of the best 2010 films I've seen so far. It's an audiovisual masterpiece, bearing an interesting plot, powerful emotions and some poignant social commentary."

Electric Dragon 80000V

046

"With only 55 minutes between start and finish, Electric Dragon 80000V is a quick watch. That said, if you don't appreciate what Ishii is doing here it might still feel like a two hour hell."

Kikujiro

047

"Kitano's humor is simple, somewhat childish and often improvised, but thanks to the typical editing and his superb comical body language it works wonders."

5 Centimeters per Second

048

"Some people won't really pick up the film's bitter core, for them there are still the lovingly detailed visuals and the stunning atmosphere."

Perfect Blue

049

"Here's to hoping we'll ever see Kon's final film (Dream Machine) completed."

Izo

050

"Needless to say, this turns Izo into a pretty tough experience. As the minutes pass and the bodies pile up, the film starts to weigh on its audience."

Dead End Run

051

"Overall Dead End Run is a fun, varied and classy anthology film where Sogo Ishii allows himself to show his more experimental side while leaving room for some softer touches."

My Man

052

"With a superb soundtrack, two killer leads and some visual punch he delivers a film that has the power to linger. That is, if you can stomach what Kumakiri has to show."

Why Don't You Play in Hell?

053

"Watching Why Don't You Play In Hell? will tell you a few things about Sono's dreams and aspirations as a young director."

Woman of Water

054

"The mix of drama and mystery is brilliantly executed. The symbolism might lack subtlety, but Sugimori goes a long way in compensating that with strong imagery that will burn itself deep in your mind."

The World of Kanako

055

"There is a clear possibility of oversaturation though. The World of Kanako isn't subtle and doesn't offer much in the way of breathers."

Godzilla: Monster Planet

056

"Seshita is quickly making a name for himself. Making an entrance like this into the Gojira franchise is pretty daring, but it's a bet that paid off."

Gozu

057

"Don't expect a typical horror/mystery flick (despite many claims of Lynch-like scenes), Gozu is a superb comedy meant for people who like their slice of cinema a little different."

Chasuke's Journey

058

"It seems Tanaka is back where he belongs, after going through some rougher patches in the late 00's. Chasuke's Journey is visually stunning, well acted, original and most of all unique."

Fireworks

059

"Fireworks is a real delight. It's a simple, accessible film but with enough unique elements to keep you surprised and interested. The film is also the perfect showcase for Kitano's versatility."

Air Doll

060

"It's a tough choice deciding whether it's Air Doll or After Life that ranks as my favorite Koreeda film, but I'm glad he finally cashed in on the potential he showed in After Life."

Kizumonogatari III: Reiketsu-hen

061

"The Kizumonogatari experience is impossible to recommend, rather it has to be experienced. Reiketsu-hen provides perfect closure to this film series and conjures up the genius of the first film"

High & Low: The Movie

062

"That said, I loved every minute of High & Low: The Movie. The action superb, the styling is just insane and the pacing is pleasantly fast."

Big Man Japan

063

"A must see this one, if only to marvel at the insane creations and the wacky surreal scenes that come from a silly subject turned serious."

Bitter Honey

064

"It's lush looking, well acted, aptly scored and surprising at every turn. It's quirky and giddish, but at the same time it's also dark, brooding and lingering."

Tetsuo: The Bullet Man

065

"Usually negative feedback lowers people's expectations (which is a good thing), in this case many potential viewers seemed to dismiss this film completely without even giving it a fair chance."

Mind Game

066

"Yuasa delivers a wildly original, splendidly executed and surprisingly emotional animation that defies categorization and comparison. Mind Game is a film that needs to be experienced."

Memories

067

"Time is slowly taking away some of the impact of Memories, but there is still plenty of beauty here to keep you amazed for the entire running time."

Millennium Actress

068

"The animation is detailed, the direction solid and the film avoids any kind of filler, keeping the running time below the 90-minute limit."

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea

069

"Ponyo is a feast for all fans that were wishing Miyazaki would return to his pre-Mononoke era, and for those people it might even reach the same heights as Totoro did."

Genius Party

070

"The best thing about this anthology is that you really can't do justice to the visual beauty with simple screen caps."

In This Corner of the World

071

"Sunao Katabuchi crafted a gentle, warm and endearing film, but not without its share of sharp critique and gut-wrenching drama."

Steamboy

072

"Steamboy is a treat for animation fans everywhere. Simple enough to not alienate Western audiences, superbly animated and spilling over with lush details."

Takeshis'

073

"The good thing is that it's not all just an ode to himself, Kitano doesn't mind making some fun of himself or the people around him."

Suffering of Ninko

074

"Suffering of Ninko is the kind of film that made me fall in love with Japanese cinema all these years ago. It's different, fun, it looks great and its overall very creative."

Party 7

075

"The film looks good, sounds great, sports an incredible opening animation sequence and boasts a list of superb actors."

1778 Stories of Me and My Wife

076

"Hoshi creates a wonderfully magical drama, serving just the right amount of drama, geekiness, magical realism and love for his characters."

Funuke, Show Some Love You Losers

077

"It's this exact balance that makes Funuke a truly special experience."

Memories of Matsuko

078

"The blend of an explicit and vibrant stylistic signature and upbeat musical numbers with a deeply tragic narrative is impossible to explain, it just has to be experienced first-hand."

Mutant Girls Squad

079

"If you still haven't seen enough bodily mutations, strange nose guns or creative ways to slice people in half (or more parts), this is a film that cannot be missed."

Casshern

080

"While Kiriya does his best to make that happen, his approach simply isn't popular enough to turn Casshern into a universally revered film."

The Wind Rises

081

"The Wind Rises is more than worthy closing act. It's one of Miyazaki's best films, a stunning ode to passion and perseverance in the face of a looming war."

The Mole Song

082

"There's enough madness here to fill 3 or 4 separate films."

Trava: Fist Planet

083

"I used to compare Trava: Fist Planet to Dead Leaves, nowadays I'm not sure if that's a fair comparison."

Glasses

084

"There are moments of blissful comedy, moments of utter relaxation and moments of simple wonder."

Isn't Anyone Alive?

085

"Ishii truly reinvents himself here and comes with a film that's just as unique as his previous work, only very different in tone."

Norwegian Wood

086

"It's beautifully shot, wonderfully scored and aptly acted. It scores well in just about every department, showcasing the progress Tran has made as a director."

Sonatine

087

"Even though the films Kitano made prior to Sonatine aren't bad at all, Sonatine is the first true testament to his genius."

Your Name

088

"The real-world setting mixed with slight fantasy elements makes the film a bit more accessible compared to Shinkai's earlier films."

Getting Wild with Our Monkey

089

"Getting Wild With Our Monkey is a seriously demented, yet absolutely fun trip. A film that needs to be experienced rather than understood."

Hellevator: The Bottled Fools

090

"What Yamaguchi lacks in budget he makes up in inventiveness and creativity. The result is a highly entertaining film that contains plenty of treats to keep you interested throughout."

Heaven's Door

091

"Arias' sense of humor is considerably different from Kitano's, but Heaven's Door could be mistaken for one made by a Kitano apprentice."

Rubber's Lover

092

"Still, the feeling remains that at times Rubber's Lover could've been just that little bit more insane."

The Most Beautiful Night in the World

093

"Tengan's Sekia is a little gem."

Tokyo Gore Police

094

"Tokyo Gore Police is gory, fun, funny, weird and insane, but at the same time the realm in which it exists start to grow on you."

The Case of Hana & Alice

095

"Iwai found the right balance between Japanese live action drama and the magic of animation. The film looks great, the story is moving, the characters quirky but lovable."

The Forest of Love

096

"Sono's latest is another wild experience, full of energetic performances, manic camera work and excessive events. A fever trip that holds you prisoner and dazzles all the way through."

Versus

097

"For a while Versus was one of my all-time favorite films, but the recent wave of Japanese splatter films changed things a little."

Bunny Drop

098

"Bunny Drop is a lovely film with lots to smile about. Wonderfully acted, creatively visualized and aptly scored, you can't really go wrong with this one."

Toy Reanimator

099

"It's a cute and interesting fantasy tale with a darker edge, never outstaying its welcome and leaving a fresh impression."

Monsters Club

100

"Monsters Club is my favorite Toyoda so far. The film is a beauty, the atmosphere is tangible and the imagery unique."

Oblivion Island

101

"A true fantasy film that betrays I.G's struggle with full-CG animation, but makes up for that with excellent art direction and bucket loads of creativity."

Outrage

102

"The first hour or so provides a solid setup, introducing all characters and factions related to the Yakuza gang, while the final 30 minutes are the icing on the cake."

Only Yesterday

103

"Takahata is one of the absolute masters of animation."

Late Bloomer

104

"It presents a whole new way of applying cyberpunk aesthetics to a film subject, mixing it with a documentary take on one of the most interesting characters I've ever seen in film."

Sky Crawlers

105

"Beautifully animated and scored, sporting a strong cast of characters, an intriguing plot and a fair selection of interesting themes, Sky Crawlers is Oshii's most complete film to date."

Smuggler

106

"Smuggler is an extremely entertaining slice of dark entertainment. Littered with weird and freaky characters, the four chapters play out well and make for an interesting finale."

Garden of Words

107

"Garden of Words is everything you'd expect from a Shinkai film."

Hana and Alice

108

"It's a very sweet, very natural and naive little film that has charm aplenty and feels particularly short for a film that runs well past the 120-minute barrier."

After Life

109

"After Life is about enjoying and appreciating the good things you have. Warmly recommended for everyone who doesn't mind the modest pacing and styling."

A Snake of June

110

"Tsukamoto went through his own transformation when the previous millennium ended, A Snake of June is one of the films that illustrates that pretty well."

It's Only Talk

111

"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"

Cold Fish

112

"Cold Fish is a film that will sit well with those who appreciate awkward, cruel and excessive Japanese cinema."

Killing

113

"Killing is very much in line with Tsukamoto's more recent work. A little more subdued and in control, slightly more accessible, but in its own way still very punk, very pure and completely unique."

Paco and the Magical Picture Book

114

"My favorite Nakashima film so far. His next project looks more like a regular Japanese drama, but after such a sugar rush that doesn't really come as a surprise."

Ninja Kids!!!

115

"Ninja Kids!!! is the perfect example of demented Japanese kids entertainment that's weird enough to appeal to adults, at least those with some memories of their lost childhood."

Tokyo Fist

116

"Tokyo Fist is somewhat of a forgotten Tsukamoto film, which is weird considering its many qualities."

The Place Promised in Our Early Days

117

"For a 10-year old animation film The Place Promised in Our Early Days still looks and feels remarkably fresh."

Glory to the Filmmaker

118

"Glory to the Filmmaker is one big happy mess of filmmaking, referencing many other directors, resembling many more, but defying them all by making something totally unique and totally Kitano."

19

119

"Even though its appeal might be limited to a rather small group of film fans, I still feel 19 is undervalued (and incredibly underwatched)."

Helldriver

120

"Nishimura adepts can rejoice, Helldriver is up there with the best, sporting roughly two hours of madness, hilariously out-of-place social criticism and tons and tons of liters of blood."

Haze

121

"Haze is a landmark in Tsukamoto's oeuvre. The possibilities of DV allowed him to go back to his roots."

Labyrinth of Dreams

122

"Those who really want to see the film will be required to be a little adventurous, but fans of Ishii and/or Asano would do good to go through the trouble."

Kotoko

123

"Kotoko is another work of love."

Strange Circus

124

"Strange Circus is a stellar film that still counts as one of Sono's absolute best efforts to date. The subject matter is rather risqué though and Sono's approach is far from subtle."

Postman Blues

125

"It was more than 10 years since I first watched this film and so I wasn't quite sure if it would still hold up after all this time."

Death Trance

126

"Death Trance didn't perform very well internationally, possibly explaining why this is Shimomura's only film to date."

Porco Rosso

127

"Porco Rosso remains one of my favorite Miyazaki films. Personally I prefer his softer, smaller films over his big epics, as they are more aimed at atmosphere and less at getting a message across."

Achilles and the Tortoise

128

"A must for Kitano fans and probably art fans alike (as all paintings were made by Kitano himself and are apparently based on existing paintings)."

Breathe In, Breathe Out

129

"If you think it all sounds rather dull than that's perfectly understandable. The thing is, it really isn't. Breathe In, Breathe Out is a beautiful, pure, subtle and heart-warming drama."

Gemini

130

"Gemini could be considered a good entry-level Tsukamoto since his typical style isn't as demanding as in his other films."

Pistol Opera

131

"Pistol Opera is not the easiest of films. You have to accept that the story is a mere hook for some cinematic fun while Suzuki takes a little run with his audience."

About Love

132

"If romance isn't your thing this anthology probably isn't going to persuade you, but within the genre this is definitely one of the better offerings out there."

The Great Yokai War

133

"The Great Yokai War was Miike's first venture into big budget cinema aimed at a younger audience."

Until the Lights Come Back

134

"Somehow Until the Lights Come Back never found its way into the mainstream, even though it's a pretty accessible film. It's sweet, upbeat, feel good, a tad long maybe but never slow or boring."

Fires on the Plain

135

"This is not a very happy film, nor is it very subtle."

This World of Ours

136

"Nakajima's first film is not for everybody. It combines the rawness of films like Pornostar and even Irréversible with the poetry and drama of films like Tokyo.Sora."

Himizu

137

"The first fifteen minutes where a little though, but once Sumida starts his descent into madness the film never back down."

Goth

138

"Goth is a strong film, elegantly transporting its audience to the universe of two unique individuals finding each other in a world that isn't really their own."

964 Pinocchio

139

"It's one of the few films that manages to have a physical effect on its audiences, something I can truly appreciate. To endure is to overcome, and once the film is finished you do feel somehow reborn."

Ten Nights of Dreams

140

"A wonderful collection of shorts, visually pleasing, fun to watch and from time to time refreshingly weird."

The Girl Who Leapt through Time

141

" If you're in the mood for action or lots of plot twists, there's little here for you. But if you're up for a little variation on the Ghibli magic, this film might be a pretty good bet to make."

Gantz:O

142

"Gantz:O is brutal, action-packed and a bit mad in the head."

Love/Exposure

143

"Don't let that hold you back though. Love Exposure is a great experience, offering lots of weirdness, fun and shock while never boring its audience."

Mozu

144

"If you like 120 minutes of stylish showdowns, explosive action scenes and over-the-top characters, Eiichiro Hasumi delivers one of the best films in ages."

Blood of Rebirth

145

"I still need to see Hanging Garden and Unchain, that said I believe Blood of Rebirth belongs to Toyoda's best output to date and could be the start of something beautiful."

Sakuran

146

"Sakuran is a cool film, if only because it gives you something worth looking at for its entire running time."

Our Little Sister

147

"It's a welcoming, soothing and comforting drama that's just all too rare in cinema. Hopefully Koreeda continues this upward trend, I'm already looking forward to his next film."

Blue Spring

148

"Blue Spring is well-balanced, featuring a great cast, intriguing characters and a director with not only a clear vision, but also the ability to execute that vision flawlessly."

Goemon

149

"Kiriya serves a roller-coaster ride, but one that makes sure that the better moments can be relived late at night while lying in bed with your eyes closed."

The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl

150

"After Welcome to the Space Show, The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl is somewhat of a return to form for Yuasa."

A Bride for Rip Van Winkle

151

"With this film he returns to his core style, picking things up right where he left off back in 2004. Strong acting, an intriguing plot and a warm, dreamy atmosphere make this an easy recommend."

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

152

"The Tale of Princess Kaguya is still a marvel to behold and definitely worth your time, but it's also a film that feels like a natural end to Takahata's career."

Lu over the Wall

153

"Lu over the Wall is the perfect blend of Yuasa and Miyazaki. A film that feels creative and original, but is also sweet, warm and comfortable at the same time."

The Light Shines Only There

154

"The result is a strong, remarkable drama with no weak points and a few stand-out scenes that linger long after the end credits have faded from the screen."

Godzilla: The Planet Eater

155

"The film looks gorgeous, the story is smart and creative and even though there isn't that much actual action, it never gets dull."

Kamikaze Girls

156

"Above all though, Kamikaze Girls is a lot of fun. It's a crazy, creative, vibrant film that keeps a pretty strict pace and only slows down a little towards the end of the film."

A Silent Voice

157

"130 minutes is quite long for an anime feature, but Yamada need every minute of that to tell this story."

R100

158

"R100 is a crazy film, full of deadpan comedy, weird references and an internal logic that convinces without making any actual sense."

As the Gods Will

159

"As the Gods Will is a typical Miike flick in the sense that it's pretty much pointless to compare it to other films out there."

The Mole Song: Hong Kong Capriccio

160

"It's more of the same of course, just 130 minutes of that same fun, entertaining and surprising comedy that makes Miike films such unique experiences."

Call Boy

161

"Call Boy is a very direct, somewhat impenetrable yet beautiful and ultimately touching film that relies on sublime styling and great performances to craft a dark and alluring universe."

Asako I & II

162

"There's quite a lot of quirkiness to get through, but on the other side of that lies a beautifully made, emotionally touching and deeply humane drama."

The Top Secret: Murder in Mind

163

"A damn slick, sexy and entertaining film, sporting great visuals, a strong soundtrack and a solid cast while being edgy and challenging enough to stand out from the crowd"

Night's Tightrope

164

"I do think Night's Tightrope is a film that could please a broader audience, but it's pretty obvious that it's not going to get that chance."

The Tale of Iya

165

"The Tale of Iya is a film that comes with a built-in audience."

Adrift in Tokyo

166

"Adrift In Tokyo is a rather lovely film. It knows how to blend comedy and drama into a perfect mix of blanket-like warmth, covering the viewer with a world he'd somehow like to inhabit."

Stereo Future

167

"Stereo Future is a film that is starting to show its age in places, but Nakano's playful yet targeted direction makes sure it's not just an artifact of its time."

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable

168

"JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is commercial cinema done right. It's big, bold and visibly backed by a sizeable budget, but at the same time it also feels original and creative"

Wool 100%

169

"Wool 100% is a film that you just have to see. You might not like it, but at the least it's an experience worth having."

Mirai

170

"Mirai is lushly animated, features a competent score and above average voice acting , but most of all it has a strong and beautiful heart that keeps the drama both relevant and touching."

Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City

171

"Zebraman 2 is not all that easy to recommend. Depending on what you expect or demand from a sequel, it's either a missed opportunity or a definite improvement over the first film."

LoveDeath

172

"LoveDeath brings a guaranteed 150 minutes of fun if you accept it for what it is. It's all fluff, all style, no substance and utterly weird, but that's what makes these films so much fun."

Dead or Alive 2: Birds

173

"Dead or Alive 2: Birds is an important step in Miike's progression as a director. It's a well-rounded film, one that works as a drama as well as a crime flick."

Crows Explode

174

"Toyoda made an impeccable sequel to Miike's first two films."

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust

175

"With a major quality jump in animation and art style detail, a tighter focus on atmosphere and setting and some memorable, stand-out demon fights, this is a must-see for action/horror anime fans."

The Happiness of The Katakuris

176

"A film that combines a myriad of crazy ideas and styles, blending black comedy, musical and claymation as if it was the most normal thing in the world. To Miike's credit, he makes it all work."

Thermae Romae

177

"Terumae Romae is a film that survives on the comic whims of Hiroshi Abe and the excellent premise cooked up by Yamazaki."

If Cats Disappeared from the World

178

"A film that aptly blends the more serious elements of Japanese drama with some fantastical touches and a slightly more accessible front, without going full commercial tearjerker."

For Love's Sake

179

"That said, there is still plenty to enjoy here. It seems that with each new film Miike raises the bar on production level. For Love's Sake looks absolutely stunning, from start to finish."

Harmony

180

"Maybe the soundtrack could've been a little better, maybe the visuals appear a little empty at times, but that's just nit-picking."

Shady

181

"Shady is a film that takes a bunch of familiar elements, rearranges them slightly but deliberately and adds a dash of its own uniqueness."

The Neighbor No. 13

182

"There are moments of sheer genius here, hidden away in a film that comes off just a little to modest for its own good."

The Animatrix

183

"Eight very distinct and unique shorts offer plenty of stand-out material, more than enough wow moments and plenty of variety to breeze through this anthology and leave you wanting more."

Birds Without Names

184

"A powerhouse performance by Yu Aoi, some rather stylish visuals and a highly atmospheric soundtrack make this a standout entry that highlights Shiraishi's talents."

Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?

185

"The animation is abundant and on point, the voice acting is superb and the plot balances small human drama and wild fantasy perfectly."

Mukoku

186

"It's a stylish, relentless and moving drama, sporting excellent performances, a superb score and some high quality cinematography."

Mr. Long

187

"Mr. Long is visually pleasing, it features a fine soundtrack and has a stellar lead actor that carries the film with ease."

Pink and Gray

188

"Pink and Gray is a pretty great film, but some familiarity with the director will definitely help you to appreciate it to its fullest."

Battle Royale

189

"Battle Royale is still an amazing experience. It's dynamic, in-your-face, strange and more than a little bewildering, but most of all it's a hell of a lot of fun."

Batman Ninja

190

"Batman Ninja features sprawling animation, an amazing art style and some wacky action, making it a blast from start to finish."

Whispering of the Gods

191

"If you appreciate Omori's uncompromising and bleak look at our society, Whispering of the Gods is one of the purest films you'll find out there."

Rage

192

"The superb cast and impeccable styling ease you into the film while Lee's bold and contrasting touches keep you engaged throughout."

Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers

193

"It's a fun, quirky and silly film that slowly grows on you and leaves you behind with a warm smile."

Miss Hokusai

194

"Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai is a much needed entry in the anime feature film segment. It isn't based off of a big, popular franchise."

Nightmare Detective 2

195

"Nightmare Detective 2 might be his most commercial work to date, there is still plenty here to scare away the regular movie fan."

Paprika

196

"That said, Paprika is still an amazing film with plenty of memorable moments and a superb finale. If I sound a little negative that's only because his first two films are hard to surpass."

Café Lumière

197

"Café Lumière held up pretty well, which isn't even that surprising knowing its appeal lies in the mundane."

Crime or Punishment?!?

198

"Kera delivers a weird, confident and funny film that looks the part, sports some solid comedy acting and has plenty of scenes worthy of a healthy chuckle."

Crows Zero

199

"The film never slacks and even gives the viewer a nice look into the whole gang structure in between the fights, making it a little more than just another butt-kicking action flick. "

Spriggan

200

"Spriggan is a pretty fun and over the top anime feature, but only for those who can handle the silliness."

Strobe Edge

201

"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."

The Kirishima Thing

202

"While Yoshida has quite a few stories to tell and quite a few angles to explore, the film still feels like a very tight package, sporting little to no cruft."

The Insects Unlisted in the Encyclopedia

203

"Miki has a very peculiar sense of humor. The jokes can be pretty absurd and out there, but the delivery is always deadpan."

Sakigake!! Cromartie High

204

"If you don't mind a bunch of 40-year old actors playing 16-year old high school student with greasy hair and no manners to speak of, you're probably fine."

The Dog of Flanders

205

"A very touching, very dear yet very sad story about a boy that got a lot less out of life than he deserved."

Dumbeast

206

"Donju brings a special breed of humor, mixing dry deliveries, nonsensical dialogue and random interludes to a strange puddle of laughs."

Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl

207

"Shark Skin Man is starting to show its age a little. It's a bit dreary and murky for a comedy and more recent films have improved greatly on the formula."

Sound & Fury

208

"Sound & Fury is a fine anthology, with some truly stand-out entries that are executed with the highest level of craft and creativity, but as a visual album there are still a few gaps to bridge."

Guilty of Romance

209

"Guilty of Romance may not be Sono's brightest, most ambitious or most accomplished work, but it's a more than solid addition to Sono's already strong oeuvre."

Tony Takitani

210

"Tony Takitani is one of the finest exercises in balancing style and content I've ever seen. Form, narrative and characters are really one here and feed off each other the entire time. "

Greatful Dead

211

"Uchida delivered this amazing genre bender that may leave the uninitiated a little stunned, but should be required viewing for everyone with a soft spot for Japanese genre cinema."

Like Father, Like Son

212

"The characters are given ample room to thrive, the underlying drama is solid and the film features a stellar concept that intrigues even beyond the scope of its running time."

My Darling of the Mountains

213

"Well acted, beautifully shot and neatly scored, this film is for those who enjoy the more poetic side of Katsuhito Ishii, but can handle this style in a light and undemanding context."

A Tree of Palme

214

"The art style is lovely, the fantasy elements feel otherworldly and Palme's journey is grand, without ever feeling cheesy or expected, making this one of the better fantasy epics I've seen."

Zatôichi

215

"Kitano's version is playful and quirky, but also pretty badass and harsh when need be. The film looks great, sports a sublime soundtrack and Kitano himself shines as the titular character."

Exte: Hair Extensions

216

"Exte: Hair Extensions might feel like his most commercial film to date, but that is mostly a disguise. It's a fun, crazy and surprisingly eerie film."

While the Women Are Sleeping

217

"While the Women Are Sleeping is a fine mystery/thriller. The film looks great, sports a good soundtrack, has a perfect cast and handles both its mystery and its audience with the proper respect."

Shinjuku Swan

218

"What Shinjuku Swan may lack in originality, it makes up for in rock-solid execution."

Heavenly Forest

219

"Tada, Kimi Wo Aishiteru is a sweet, cute, good-natured and hopelessly naive little film."

The Furthest End Awaits

220

"If you feel like watching a smooth, agreeable and warm-hearted drama on a leisurely summer day, The Furthest End Awaits is a perfect match."

The Loafers

221

"Miki has a unique, dead pan sense of humor that pushes the film forward. I can only hope he continues to make films in the same vein as his work doesn't really compare to anything else out there."

Destruction Babies

222

"Destruction Babies is a great film. It walks a fine line between accomplished cinema and maverick nihilism and succeeds with deceptive ease."

Drive

223

"Stylistically it's clear this is a film from a bygone era, but Tanaka's superb sense of humor, several stand-out performances and a couple of very memorable scenes make Drive worth your while."

Kizumonogatari II: Nekketsu-hen

224

"Nekketsu-hen is a jolly bundle of weirdness and a breath of fresh air compared to most other contemporary anime productions out there."

Jam Films 2

225

"Jam Films 2 is a strong collection of shorts."

Hentai Kamen: The Abnormal Crisis

226

"It all adds up to something quite weird and quite unique, but also quite specific and niche. Going in with a good understanding of how and what the film makes fun of is probably a prerequisite."

I'm Flash!

227

"I'm Flash isn't going to become one of Toyoda's best loved films, but it surely is a great experience that is unique to the skills of the director."

Instant Swamp

228

"He falls back to his regular weirdness and dry, absurd comedy. It all leads up to a rewarding ending, leaving you with a fuzzy feeling and a sense of chill bliss."

Kamome Diner

229

"It's a truly pleasant experience from start to finish, but the lack of dramatic events is sure to leave some scratching their heads."

The Egoists

230

"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."

In the Pool

231

"There's plenty of variation comedy-wise, Miki keeps it visually interesting and Suzuki Matsuo is a true sight to behold. The result is a very pleasant film with plenty of rewatch value."

Summer Wars

232

"From the actual animation to the behavior of the little kids, running around with their DSes, Summer Wars will come off as surprisingly recognizable"

Snowfall in Taipei

233

"The film looks great, the actors do a good job and even though the soundtrack is a little inconspicuous the atmosphere is warm and inviting."

The King of Jail Breakers

234

"Itsuji delivers a unique, quirky and mysterious little film that knows how to charm."

Rinco's Restaurant

235

"It's hard to say which of Tominaga's films is better. Rinco's Restaurant is definitely more accomplished, illustrating Tominaga's growth as a director."

New Type: Just For Your Love

236

"Hiroki made a pretty brave move here, incorporating new elements from other genres into his movies without changing anything of his trademark style."

Cycling Chronicles: Landscapes the Boy Saw

237

"A film that slows you down for the course of its running time and leaves you with something to think about while looking at impressive imagery and striking you with an impressive soundtrack"

Once in a Blue Moon

238

"The combination of strange plot twists and original turn of events with a warm but deadpan sense of humor is the true winner here."

Nasu: Summer in Andalusia

239

"Nasu is a great seasonal film. Its summer vibe is tangible, it coincides with the Vuelta and it gives one of the best depictions of cycling ever caught on (fictional) film, let alone animation."

Modest Heroes

240

"Quality across the board with touches of originality sprinkled left and right, in order to keep things interesting. It's a pleasant, easy and slightly challenging watch that leaves you wanting more."

Your Friends

241

"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."

Spring & Chaos

242

"Kawamori presents a worthy and classy tribute to the genius of Miyazawa, a film that may not be your average biography, but is much better because of it."

The City of Lost Souls

243

"It doesn't ruin a film like The City of Lost Souls, but it does take away part of the appeal. There's still plenty of fun to be had with this film though."

Kai Doh Maru

244

"Kai Doh Maru will not deliver a tight story or well-developed characters, but if you appreciate a unique art style, moody atmosphere and technical experimentation there's plenty to look forward to."

House 475

245

"This may just be Iseya's second film, but it feels a lot like the work of a confident, accomplished director."

Scabbard Samurai

246

"Matsumoto's new film is a little gem, a film that does not impress in spades but focuses on smaller details."

Grotesque

247

"Grotesque is for all those people who need a lesson in what torture porn flicks really are."