Japan's Heisei Era favorites

Avalon

001
Avalon review

"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 review

"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
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence review

"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
Tokyo.sora review

"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
Dead Leaves review

"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
Tetsuo: The Iron Man review

"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
Helter Skelter review

"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
Genius Party Beyond review

"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 review

"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 Limit of Sleeping Beauty review

"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
Patlabor 2 review

"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
Ritual review

"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
Mirrored Mind review

"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+ review

"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 review

"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
Blessing Bell review

"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
My Neighbors the Yamadas review

"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
Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade review

"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
Tekkonkinkreet review

"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
Vital review

"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
Big Bang Love, Juvenile A review

"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
Talking Head review

"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
Rampo Noir review

"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
Tsuburo no Gara review

"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
Redline review

"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
Visitor Q review

"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
Petal Dance review

"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
The Whispering Star review

"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
Colonel Panics review

Ghost in the Shell

030
Ghost in the Shell review

"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
Hells review

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

Short Peace

032
Short Peace review

"There's no weak link here, no bad parts or boring bits. It's a celebration of animation as an art form and it stands in stark contrast to other contemporary feature-length animation films."

That's It

033
That's It review

"A blast. Energetic, mysterious, fun and wild, it's one big, entertaining mess. The film looks amazing, sounds great and the actors are all on top of their game. Up there with Ishii's best"

Yakuza Apocalypse

034
Yakuza Apocalypse review

"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
Tokyo Tribe review

"A killer ride from beginning to end. It's brutal, outrageous, funny, weird and it has a terrific drive. If you dismiss films that are pure escapist fun, you shouldn't even venture near it."

Kizumonogatari I: Tekketsu-hen

036
Kizumonogatari I: Tekketsu-hen review

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

Monday

037
Monday review

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

Miss Zombie

038
Miss Zombie review

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

Blame!

039
Blame! review

"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 review

"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
Tag review

"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 Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters review

"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 review

"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 review

"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
Confessions review

"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
Electric Dragon 80000V review

"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
Kikujiro review

"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
5 Centimeters per Second review

"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
Perfect Blue review

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

Izo

050
Izo review

"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
Dead End Run review

"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
My Man review

"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
Why Don't You Play in Hell? review

"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
Woman of Water review

"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
The World of Kanako review

"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
Godzilla: Monster Planet review

"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
Gozu review

"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
Chasuke's Journey review

"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 review

"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
Air Doll review

"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
Kizumonogatari III: Reiketsu-hen review

"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
High & Low: The Movie review

"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
Big Man Japan review

"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
Bitter Honey review

"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
Tetsuo: The Bullet Man review

"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
Mind Game review

"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
Memories review

"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
Millennium Actress review

"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 on the Cliff by the Sea review

"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
Genius Party review

"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
In This Corner of the World review

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

Steamboy

072
Steamboy review

"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
Takeshis' review

"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 review

"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
Party 7 review

"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
1778 Stories of Me and My Wife review

"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
Funuke, Show Some Love You Losers review

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

Memories of Matsuko

078
Memories of Matsuko review

"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
Mutant Girls Squad review

"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
Casshern review

"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 review

"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
The Mole Song review

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

Trava: Fist Planet

083
Trava: Fist Planet review

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

Glasses

084
Glasses review

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

Isn't Anyone Alive?

085
Isn't Anyone Alive? review

"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
Norwegian Wood review

"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
Sonatine review

"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
Your Name review

"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 review

"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
Hellevator: The Bottled Fools review

"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
Heaven's Door review

"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
Rubber's Lover review

"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
The Most Beautiful Night in the World review

"Tengan's Sekia is a little gem."

Tokyo Gore Police

094
Tokyo Gore Police review

"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
The Case of Hana & Alice review

"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
The Forest of Love review

"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
Versus review

"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 review

"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
Toy Reanimator review

"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 review

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

Oblivion Island

101
Oblivion Island review

"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
Outrage review

"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
Only Yesterday review

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

Late Bloomer

104
Late Bloomer review

"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
Sky Crawlers review

"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 review

"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 review

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

Hana and Alice

108
Hana and Alice review

"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 review

"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
A Snake of June review

"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
It's Only Talk review

"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 review

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

Killing

113
Killing review

"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
Paco and the Magical Picture Book review

"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!!! review

"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 review

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

The Place Promised in Our Early Days

117
The Place Promised in Our Early Days review

"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 review

"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
19 review

"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
Helldriver review

"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 review

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

Labyrinth of Dreams

122
Labyrinth of Dreams review

"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 review

"Kotoko is another work of love."

Strange Circus

124
Strange Circus review

"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
Postman Blues review

"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 review

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

Porco Rosso

127
Porco Rosso review

"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
Achilles and the Tortoise review

"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
Breathe In, Breathe Out review

"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 review

"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 review

"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
About Love review

"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 review

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

Until the Lights Come Back

134
Until the Lights Come Back review

"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
Fires on the Plain review

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

This World of Ours

136
This World of Ours review

"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
Himizu review

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

Goth

138
Goth review

"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
964 Pinocchio review

"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
Ten Nights of Dreams review

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

The Girl Who Leapt through Time

141
The Girl Who Leapt through Time review

" 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 review

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

Love/Exposure

143
Love/Exposure review

"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
Mozu review

"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
Blood of Rebirth review

"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 review

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

Our Little Sister

147
Our Little Sister review

"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 review

"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
Goemon review

"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
The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl review

"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
A Bride for Rip Van Winkle review

"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 review

"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 review

"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 Light Shines Only There review

"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
Godzilla: The Planet Eater review

"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
Kamikaze Girls review

"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
A Silent Voice review

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

R100

158
R100 review

"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 review

"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
The Mole Song: Hong Kong Capriccio review

"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 review

"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
Asako I & II review

"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
The Top Secret: Murder in Mind review

"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
Night's Tightrope review

"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 review

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

Adrift in Tokyo

166
Adrift in Tokyo review

"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 review

"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: Diamond Is Unbreakable review

"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% review

"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 review

"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: Attack on Zebra City review

"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 review

"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 review

"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
Crows Explode review

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

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust

175
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust review

"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
The Happiness of The Katakuris review

"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
Thermae Romae review

"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
If Cats Disappeared from the World review

"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
For Love's Sake review

"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
Harmony review

"Michael Arias made a name for himself when he joined Studio 4°C to direct Tekkonkinkreet, one of the landmark animtion features of the 00s."

Shady

181
Shady review

"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
The Neighbor No. 13 review

"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
The Animatrix review

"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
Birds Without Names review

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

"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
Mukoku review

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

Mr. Long

187
Mr. Long review

"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 review

"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 review

"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 review

"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
Whispering of the Gods review

"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
Rage review

"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
Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers review

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

Miss Hokusai

194
Miss Hokusai review

"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 review

"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
Paprika review

"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 review

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

Crime or Punishment?!?

198
Crime or Punishment?!? review

"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
Crows Zero review

"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 review

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

Strobe Edge

201
Strobe Edge review

"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
The Kirishima Thing review

"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
The Insects Unlisted in the Encyclopedia review

"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
Sakigake!! Cromartie High review

"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
The Dog of Flanders review

"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
Dumbeast review

"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 and Peach Hip Girl review

"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 review

"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 review

"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 review

"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
Greatful Dead review

"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
Like Father, Like Son review

"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
My Darling of the Mountains review

"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
A Tree of Palme review

"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
Zatôichi review

"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 review

"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 review

"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
Shinjuku Swan review

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

Heavenly Forest

219
Heavenly Forest review

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

The Furthest End Awaits

220
The Furthest End Awaits review

"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
The Loafers review

"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 review

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

Drive

223
Drive review

"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
Kizumonogatari II: Nekketsu-hen review

"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 review

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

Hentai Kamen: The Abnormal Crisis

226
Hentai Kamen: The Abnormal Crisis review

"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! review

"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
Instant Swamp review

"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
Kamome Diner review

"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
The Egoists review

"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
In the Pool review

"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
Summer Wars review

"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
Snowfall in Taipei review

"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
The King of Jail Breakers review

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

Rinco's Restaurant

235
Rinco's Restaurant review

"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
New Type: Just For Your Love review

"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
Cycling Chronicles: Landscapes the Boy Saw review

"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
Once in a Blue Moon review

"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: Summer in Andalusia review

"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
Modest Heroes review

"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."

Hakuchi: The Innocent

241
Hakuchi: The Innocent review

"Quality film making, sporting a superb cast, a solid soundtrack and eye-popping cinematography. A slice of urban fantasy/retro sci-fi that mixes classic and contemporary cinema to great effect."

Your Friends

242
Your Friends review

"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."

Sukiyaki Western Django

243
Sukiyaki Western Django review

"This is a film for the typical Miike fan, he who appreciates the weirdness, the comical violence and the cinematic freedom you're unlikely to find anywhere else, especially in genre films."

Spring & Chaos

244
Spring & Chaos review

"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

245
The City of Lost Souls review

"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

246
Kai Doh Maru review

"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

247
House 475 review

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

Swallowtail Butterfly

248
Swallowtail Butterfly review

"An ambitious, raw, vibrant and energetic gem, sporting fine cinematography, a great soundtrack and some stand-out performances that all help to give birth to a unique universe."

Scabbard Samurai

249
Scabbard Samurai review

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

Grotesque

250
Grotesque review

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

Blood: The Last Vampire

251
Blood: The Last Vampire review

"It's short, it packs quite a punch and even though I had some minor gripes, the pacing, the visual quality and the kick-ass lead character make it very easy to forget about these minor quirks."

Ace Attorney

252
Ace Attorney review

"Ace Attorney is a Miike blockbuster. The weirdness is kept to a minimum, but the entertainment value is high and the film definitely has its moments of brilliance."

Outrage: Beyond

253
Outrage: Beyond review

"Outrage: Beyond falls just a little short of its predecessor. Because of the fact that it feels like the middle section of a full-blown trilogy the ending isn't as convincing as it could've been."

Thermae Romae II

254
Thermae Romae II review

"While it's probably best Takeuchi stops the series here, this second film was anything but redundant."

Crows Zero II

255
Crows Zero II review

"Crows Zero II will probably appeal to the people who liked the first film and can bear a second, almost identical, serving."

Ninja Scroll

256
Ninja Scroll review

"It's delightfully and excessively violent, sporting superb creature designs, a bold and expressive art style and brisk pacing. Everything you'd ever want and need in a gory, macho action film."

Orochi

257
Orochi review

"The addition of the fantastical figure gives Orochi a somewhat novel feel though."

Saint Young Men

258
Saint Young Men review

"It houses a pretty chill, good-natured and dry kind of comedy that felt refreshing and to the point."

Getting Any?

259
Getting Any? review

"If you take the silly premise for granted, there's actually a rather large variety of comedy on display here and even though not every joke will hit, a lot of them do. "

Girlfriend: Someone Please Stop the World

260
Girlfriend: Someone Please Stop the World review

"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."