Alice in Borderland
Photo: Kumiko Tsuchiya/NetflixTao Tsuchiya as Usagi in season two of Alice in Borderland

5 best Japanese films and series coming to Netflix in December 2022

The long-awaited second season of Alice in Borderland is here this month, plus a show about Japan’s laziest egg and more

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen

Most of us are glued to our screens following the excitement unfolding at the Fifa World Cup. But when you’re not cheering for your favourite teams, consider catching these buzzworthy titles coming to Netflix this December. Coming up, we’ve got a curious new show starring Sanrio’s lethargic egg character Gudetama, as well as a new ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’ spin-off for anime lovers. 

And then, of course, there’s the long-awaited second season of ‘Alice in Borderland’. It’s been two years since the show made its Netflix debut in December 2020 and we’ve been on the edge of our seats waiting to know what comes next for Arisu in this dark dystopia. The new episodes won’t be released until December 22, so you’ve still got time to refresh your memory by restarting the show or checking out these behind-the-scenes titbits from season one.

Bear in mind that not all of these movies and shows will offer English subtitles and regional restrictions may apply.

Gudetama: An Eggcellent Adventure

Synopsis: Gudetama is a lazy egg who feels untroubled by the prospect of ending up on someone’s plate and is happy to spend the rest of their existence lounging around, doing nothing in particular. Gudetama’s hatchling companion Shakipiyo, on the other hand, is determined to take control of their fate and leave the fridge in search of something more meaningful. Together, Shakipiyo and the reluctant Gudetama set out on a quest around Tokyo to find their mother, meeting an eccentric band of characters along the way.

Overview: When Sanrio first introduced the world to Gudetama in 2013, the masses instantly fell in love with the absurd depiction of an egg with well-defined buttocks and a comically slothful disposition – a trait that millennials declared to be refreshingly relatable. This new series promises to show fans a new side of Gudetama, with an inspiring adventure that’s sure to lead to some character development.

Available December 13. 

Alice in Borderland (season two)

Synopsis: Ryohei Arisu (Kento Yamazaki) has found himself in a real-life video game where players must compete in a dangerous set of challenges in order to stay alive. The surrounding dystopia looks a lot like Tokyo, but Arisu and his new companions haven’t managed to uncover how they ended up there in the first place. As they race to track down the designers behind the game, Arisu and the other players must fight to survive an increasingly sinister round of challenges. 

Overview: Live-action Netflix adaptations of manga or anime are typically poorly received by audiences, but this series packs a punch. Directed by filmmaker and video game designer Shinsuke Sato, this second season of ‘Alice in Borderland’ looks to be a promising follow-up to the first season with more nail-biting action and eerie depictions of a deserted Tokyo. 

Available December 22. 

It’s a Flickering Life

Synopsis: Goh (Kenji Sawada) is a deadbeat father who spends more time gambling than he does with his family. Though his wife Yoshiko (Nobuko Miyamoto) has given up on their relationship, Goh still has a passion for his first love: cinema. It is only when he is visited by the so-called ‘god of cinema’ (like the ghost of Christmas past, but for movies) and reflects on the young aspiring filmmaker he used to be fifty years ago that Goh re-evaluates the person he has become. 

Overview: Japan Academy Prize winner Yoji Yamada ('Tokyo Family') directs this heart-tugging drama based on Maha Harada’s deeply personal novel inspired by her own family and life experiences. With strong performances from screen legends Kenji Sawada and Lily Franky, this timely film commemorates 100 years of production giant Shochiku’s family-oriented features.

Available December 1.

The Seven Deadly Sins: Grudge of Edinburgh (part one)

Synopsis: Tristan has inherited the powers of his parents, Meliodas and Elizabeth, and must now use his supernatural abilities to protect Brittania from sinister forces. Despite the weight of this overwhelming responsibility, Tristan stands a good chance of winning the battle with the support of his new friends from the fairy and giant clans.

Overview: The latest spin-off of this franchise, adapted from a popular manga series by Nakaba Suzuki, bridges the stories of ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’ with ‘Four Knights of the Apocalypse’. This is the first portion of a two-part film, with the second half of the story expected to be released on Netflix at a later date. 

Available December 20. 

Photo: Wowow

No Matter How Much the Night is Dark

Synopsis: Michinari Shiga is a diligent investigative journalist notorious for his work in uncovering scandals. Then one day, Michinari is thrown into his own media frenzy when his son is accused of a committing a murder-suicide. He vows to clear his son’s name, but with accusations and rumours quickly growing out of hand, Michinari struggles to gain control of the story and begins to question how well he really knew his own son.

Overview: Takaya Kamikawa stars opposite Yui Okada in this story about pain, loss and reconciliation. This four-episode miniseries, which was originally broadcasted in 2020, was adapted from the eponymous novel by Shichiri Nakayama by Screenwriter Tetsuya Oishi.

Available December 5. 

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