If your quarantine routine has you feeling jaded and uninspired, these zesty new features on Netflix will lift you right out of that rut. Sailor Moon fans outside Japan will be delighted to see the return of their childhood heroine after a 26-year break in a brand new two-part film. Meanwhile, 90s kids can rejoice over the addition of the classic 'Hana Yori Dango' anime.
Feeling too cynical for happy-go-lucky storylines? Netflix has you covered on that front too, with a black comedy film about a serial killer girlfriend. Well, what are you waiting for? Here are the most promising Japanese films and series to check out this June. (Note: regional restrictions may apply.)
Hana Yori Dango
Synopsis: Tsukushi Makino is a new student at the Eitoku Academy, a prestigious private school where most pupils come from wealthy families. Tsukushi, however, comes from a middle-class background and has a difficult time getting along with her snooty classmates.
Determined to stay in the academy, Tsukushi is able to keep her head down and maintain a low profile until she gets in a petty dispute with the Flower Four – a clique of four boys who come from the school’s wealthiest families. Though the Flower Four usually use their status to torment other students who try to stand up to them or get in their way, Tsukushi eventually finds herself stuck in a complicated love triangle with the entitled gang.
Overview: Based on the hit manga by Yoko Kamio, this anime adaptation of Hana Yori Dango was easily one of the most popular series of the 90s. As a shoujo anime (marketed towards young women), it draws viewers in with an opposites-attract trope while the range of personalities makes the story memorable. Available June 1.
I was a Secret Bitch
Synopsis: 26-year-old Hiromi has no problem getting guys – she relishes the fact that she can effortlessly draw men in with her deceptively shy persona. The only catch is, she loses interest and dumps them as soon as they fall in love with her. Hiromi doesn’t feel very conflicted about the wanton way she plays with other people’s feelings, until she begins developing genuine feelings for a colleague and re-evaluates her dating habits.
Overview: Yui Sakuma is delightful to watch in this quirky film that begins like a rom com and ends like a sobering drama. The film, directed by Koichiro Miki, gives you a little bit of everything from lighthearted laughs to existential introspection and lives up to its punchy title with a less than predictable storyline. Available June 1.
My Girlfriend is a Serial Killer
Synopsis: During a failed suicide attempt, depressed young man Kurosu accidentally creates a small hole in the wall of his apartment. Kurosu discovers he can see into the next apartment, and ends up spying on his pretty neighbour Miyachi. As it happens, Miyachi is a serial killer, and though Kurosu is shocked at first, he resolves to try and win her over anyway.
Overview: As known as ‘Love and Murder of Sheep and Wolf’ this offbeat romantic drama is quirky and unsettling in equal parts. Not unlike the Netflix hit series ‘End of the F***ing World’, the film leans into a problematic love story with a touch of dark humour. Starring Yosuke Sugino (‘Good Morning Call’) and Haruka Fukuhara (‘Coffee & Vanilla’), this is an offbeat movie for the anti-rom-com crowd who can’t stomach typical teen romances. Available June 1.
Life: Love on the Line
Synopsis: Nishi and Ito randomly cross paths on the way home from high school one day. Though Ito has a serious and straight-edged personality and Nishi, in contrast, is more care-free and spirited, the two boys get along well and eventually develop romantic feelings for each other.
Overview: Too many BL romance dramas like to drive fans up the wall with a will-they-or-won’t-they dance – a series often concludes the moment the core protagonists end up together. ‘Life: Love on the Line’ spares you all the mind-numbing anticipation and establishes a clear bond early on. As the boys complete high school and enter the working world as adults, viewers see the relationship between Nishi (Raiku) and Ito (Jin Shirasu) flourish over time with the chemistry between the two actors making this a better love story than anything you’ll see from Hollywood these days. Available June 1.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie
Synopsis: During a spring solar eclipse in Tokyo, Usagi and Chibiusa encounter a mysterious Pegasus called Helios who delivers a prophecy of a young maiden who must save the world. Later, when a menacing group of villains called the Dead Moon Circus descend on the universe to spread nightmarish incantations, Usagi and the other Sailor Guardians must fight to protect the Legendary Silver Crystal and save the Earth.
Overview: This newly released two-part film marks the return of Sailor Moon after the franchise took a 26-year hiatus. Much like the blockbuster hit 'Demon Slayer: Mugen Train', 'Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie' serves as a direct sequel to the most recent episode of the Sailor Moon series. It may have been a while since you last revisited this childhood favourite, but, with work by the franchise’s original character designer Kazuko Tadano and appearances from all the core characters, this Sailor Moon film will be as dazzling as you remember. Sadly, it seems both parts will be available on Netflix everywhere in the world except Japan. Available June 3.
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