Japanese media have been making waves around the world since before most of us can remember, and it’s not slowing down.
Certain movie categories are simply dominated by Japanese media, like supernatural horror and anime. However, beneath the shallow surface of Ju-On and Spirited Away is a plethora of movies with unique plotlines, complex and relatable characters, and incredibly addictive action beyond what we can imagine.
As people eat up more and more Japanese dramas and movies, we’re constantly on the hunt for the latest and greatest titles to consume.
Let’s have a look at some Japanese movies coming out in 2022 that you should not miss!
1. Dai Kaiju no Ato Shimatsu (Feb 2022)
Most of us are aware of the kaiju genre, where colossal, sometimes intergalactic, monsters wreak havoc upon cities around the world until they’re taken down by a special forces group.
However, have you ever wondered what happens after they’re defeated?
Similar to the second Avengers movie, where the Avengers are forced to deal with the death and destruction that lays waste on their cities after they defeat evil, this movie gives us insight on how people deal with the aftermath of kaiju killing.
This comedy follows an unconventional team who have been put together to clear the fallen kaiju off the streets.
2. Hell Dogs in the House of Bamboo (Autumn 2022)
This nitty gritty movie about vengeance and crime is the perfect one for a rainy night in.
Former law enforcement officer Shogo Kanetaka loses faith in the justice system after witnessing it failing time and time again.
Instead, he infiltrates the Yakuza and takes it upon himself to get revenge.
Read More: Best Movies About Yakuza.
3. Tonbi (2022)
This melodrama is about a single father who is forced to raise his young son himself after the death of his wife. If you love having a good cry, this is the perfect choice.
It’s completely devoid of any action but is full of raw and emotional scenes that will pull heavily at your heartstrings.
4. Suzume no Tojimari (2022)
Since releasing his first masterpiece ‘Garden of Words’ in 2013, Makoto Shinkai has since been reaching for the skies with his incredibly heart-warming and addictive movie releases every year.
‘Your Name’ in 2016 thrusted him into the global spotlight, and ‘Weathering With You’ in 2019 proved that he was staying there.
This year, we can all look forward to ‘Suzume no Tojimari’.
This movie will be based on 17-year-old Suzume from Kyushu. She somehow meets up with a mysterious time-traveller who is seeking a door. The currently released poster, featuring Shinkai’s signature blue skies, has many people waiting in anticipation.
5. Shin Ultraman (May 2022)
Did you grow up in the kaiju world, alongside Godzilla and Gidorah? Well then you must have seen a few episodes of Ultraman, the ultimate hero who has defeated kaiju monsters in droves!
Since 1966, thousands of kaiju monsters have been created just for the titular Ultraman to beat back down. And now, it’s being re-imagined by the famous Hideaki Anno of global hit Evangelion.
Not much is known about it yet, but if his past dark and human emotion-focused works are anything to go by, it’s going to be raw and unforgettable.
6. Bubble (April 2022)
Bubble is definitely one of the most anticipated Japanese movie in 2022! It offers a bizarre plotline that’s never been done before, so if you’re after something to really get you thinking, this is the one.
Bubble is set in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo world where mysterious bubbles rain down from the sky and give people parkour abilities. Obviously, the director of the acrobatic scenes is Tetsuro Araki of ‘Attack on Titan’ fame.
The trailer gives us a tiny glimpse at some of the stunning animation that will have you reeling for more.
7. The Last 10 Years (March 2022)
If the Japanese were good at one thing, and only one thing, it’s how to make grown men cry (‘1 Litre of Tears’ Japanese drama, anyone?).
The Last 10 Years follows the remainder of the life of a girl who finds out she only has 10 years left to live, and thus swears off love.
However, as fate would have it, she almost immediately comes across a man who changes her life.
As incredibly cliche as this sounds, this movie boasts some seasoned actors and an incredibly well-respected director so you know you’re in for a treat.
8. Ox-Head Village or Ushikubi Village (Feb 2022)
Horror director Takashi Shimizu of ‘Ju-On’ fame, is set to make his mark with yet another supernatural masterpiece.
Ox-Head Village is the final instalment of the ‘village trilogy’, succeeding ‘Howling Village’ and ‘Suicide Forest Village’.
This trilogy follows the storyline about a village that ‘holds a grudge’, and Ox-Head Village specifically focuses on haunted places that will delve into the mystery of three missing high school girls.
9. Noise (Jan 2022)
In a world where remote communities are experiencing mass population departure, economic revitalisation, agriculture failure and even murder, there’s got to be some silver lining, right?
Tatsuya Fujiwara’s character is breeding a new type of fig that he is banking on saving the future of his rural community. Kenichi Matsuyama’s character discovers a threat to their island that he must deal with before it’s too late.
These two seasoned actors previously worked together as L and Light in the first two live-action Death Note movies, so fans are jumping at the chance to watch them together on screen again.
10. BL Metamorphosis (2022)
This movie tells the story of the unlikely friendship between a shy high-schooler and a lonely 78-year-old widow.
But this isn’t just any high-schooler with common interests – she’s a ‘fujoshi’ high-schooler, a girl who loves boys who love boys, i.e., homosexual love.
Yuki Ichinoi is lonely after the death of her husband. She happens across a BL novel at a bookstore one day and decides to purchase it out of curiosity. This piques the interest of Urara Sayama, the shy high-schooler clerk at the store. A beautiful friendship blossoms out of an unexpected common interest.
With such a wide variety of amazing Japanese movies in 2022 (with some already released!), we just know it’s going to be a big year for cinema. We hope you enjoy some of these releases, and would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
For more inspiration about what to watch, you can also read our blog post about the best Japanese movies of all time.