Alone during the holiday season? Or do you like to watch a nice ‘feel good’ film or romantic drama series? Then you’re in luck because here is a list of Japanese films and series for you to indulge yourself with while enjoying a romantic scenery or even shed a tear from either happiness or sadness.
1. Cafe Funiculi Funicula (2018) (Before the Coffee Gets Cold)
Funiculi Funicula is the name of the coffeeshop Kazu Tokita works at which is owned by her family. Rumour has it that the shop is a place where you can travel through time by means of choosing a special seat that will send you back to a moment of your choice. The women in Kazu’s family are the only ones that know the formula to make the coffee in such special way to make travelling in time possible, sadly all of them have passed on and there is no way for her to learn the method. But since miracles can happen, there might be a way for Kazu to learn how to make the time travel coffee for her costumers.
Even though the possibility is there, there are some rules if you want to travel to your moment:
1) The moment of your choice has to have taken place in the shop
2) The present won’t change if you make other choices in your moment
3) There is only one seat with the possibility to travel through time
4) When travelling in time, you must stay in your seat
5) The time you have is as long as your coffee is hot
Get carried away in this fun film that will show you many nice moments in time.
Genre: Mystery, Romance, Fantasy
Duration: 1hr. 56 min.
Director: Satoko Okudera
2. Demo Kekkon Shitai! (2017) (Wedding Bells for the Otaku?)
Haruko is a 34-year-old single lady and aside from that, she is a BL manga artist. She realizes that the life she’s living doesn’t lead to a future path. She’s doing what she likes and having fun but she also would like to get married one day, that’s why she decides to participate in events and parties where the goal is to find a marriage partner. Sadly, her past of being rejected because of her job leaves her insecure and shy. Will Haruko succeed in finding a person that will accept her and her job?
Enjoy this short film based on the manga Demo Kekkon Shitai! – BL mangaka kojirase konkatsuki (でも、結婚したいっ！～BL漫画家のこじらせ婚活記～).
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Duration: 1hr. 7 min
Director: Toshimitsu Chimura
3. HapiMari: Happy Marriage!? (2016)
This is the story of Chiwa Takanashi, an electric store employee by day but a hostess by night. She works the extra job to help her father pay off his debts. One evening she gets into trouble with a client in the hostess club and is fired, the next day her daytime boss calls on her in his office where she discovers the client that had caused her trouble is there and appears to be the famous IT boss Hokuto Mamiya. He proposes a contract marriage which Chiwa accepts to make sure she is able to help her father out of debt. Now married, Chiwa and Hokuto have to get to know each other better. Will true romance blossom from this contract marriage?
This drama consists of 12 short episodes.
Genre: Romance, Drama
Duration: 35 min. per episode
Director: Kentaro Ohtani
4. I Wish (2011)
Koichi and Ryunosuke are brothers whose parents recently got divorced. Because of this Koichi lives with his mother and grandparents in Kagoshima while his brother is with his father in Fukuoka.
The brother dream of the moment their family will be reunited and it makes them extra joyful when they hear the Kyushu Shinkansen is ready. This train will make it easier to see each other and since they heard a miracle will happen when the trains meet the boys will do everything to make sure their wish will come true.
A beautiful film that shows the importance of family relations.
Genre: Family, Friendship, Drama, Life
Duration: 2 hr. 7 min.
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
5. I’m Home (2015)
Hisashi Ieji is a man that only barely avoided an explosion during his work in another city at a construction site and because of this accident, he suffers memory loss. He doesn’t recognize his family anymore and is conflicted about who he really is. Without him realizing, he is confronted with his past relationships, family and old friends that give him clues and an idea of who he used to be. The big question now is if he’s happy with the answers he found and content to live like that again or if he will choose other paths in his life so he can live a satisfying life, for himself and his family.
A thrilling drama series of 10 episodes that will keep you curious.
Genre: Family, Mystery
Duration: 54 min. per episode
Directors: Go Shichitaka, Naomi Tamura
6. Katagoshi no Koibito (2007) (Over The Shoulder Lover)
It starts when 30-year-old Moe Hayasaka is on her best friend Ruriko Murono’s wedding, who is marrying Moe’s ex-boyfriend, and gets together with Ruriko’s former boyfriend Yusuke but for only one time. She works at an import company and has a tough time finding romance in her life on top of that she suddenly loses her job. Because she met Yusuke she ends up in a gay bar owned by his best friend Bun-chan. Even though they were supposed to have met for only one time and he is married, Yusuke and Moe continue to see each other. This is only one of the issues she encounters in this strange time, meeting highschool kid Takashi, who is struggling with himself and developed romantic feelings for Moe turns out to give her a whole set of new issues to deal with in life.
A very remarkable drama series of 9 episodes long, as one of the few in the Japanese genre, this series combines the world of heterosexual and the LGBT community in a positive way. Based on the Book Katagoshi no Koibito 肩ごしの恋人.
Genre: Comedy, Romance, LGBT+
Duration: 54 min. per episode
Screenwriter: Noriko Goto
7. One Million Yen Girl (2008)
Suzuko Sato is young and not very remarkable, she doesn’t have it easy if it’s about finding a place in society. Contrary to her little brother she has no outstanding talents and her family and people around her don’t have much to say about her. When she gets the chance to move out of the house to rent an apartment with her colleague, she takes it but little does she know that her colleague was planning to have her boyfriend move in for a while. On the day of the move the colleague doesn’t show and she’s stuck living with a guy she does not know. This doesn’t go well and Suzuko ends up going to jail. Once released she decides to save up 1 million yen and move out of the city. From now this is her choice of life which will take her to different places in Japan to find her place in the world.
A much-appreciated film that has been shown at different festivals.
Genre: Romance, Life, Drama
Duration: 2 hr 1 min.
Director: Yuki Tanada
8. Watashi ni Unmei no Koi Nante Arienaitte Omotteta (2016) (My Long Awaited Love Story)
Working as a love simulation game planner, Riko Shirono has no high expectations if it’s about ever finding a man in her life. When a company that creates apps consults her about a new romance game, she meets Soichiro Kurokawa. He’s almost perfect but comes across as being very arrogant at first which in turn makes it hard for the two to like each other until Soichiro starts asking Riko for advice concerning his crush of many years on his employee Momose. Riko’s help works but to her own surprise, she finds herself developing feelings for Soichiro while still helping him and working together. How will this tough situation end up for Riko?
This film seems perfect for days you might feel alone and crave a beautiful, warm story.
Duration: 1 hr 31 min.
Director: Takafumi Hatano
9. Tokyo Tarareba Musume (2017) (Tokyo What-if Woman)
Rinko Kamata is 30, single and a scriptwriter that seems to have trouble finding the right projects to write for and keep at it, her love life is also a mess. With her friends Kaori and Koyuki, she forms a trio that likes to have a girls night out drinking and fantasizing about ‘What if..’. They made a goal to have their lives together and on track, by the time the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will take place. On one of their famous nights out a handsome young man that happened to have heard too many of their stories firmly speak up to them being tired of their ‘What ifs’ which confronts Rinko with what it is she could still achieve at her age concerning work and love and what she would want. Not only Rinko is affected by this, but Kaori and Koyuki both also have their own challenges to face and they will have an important influence on their life.
A nice fresh series of 10 episodes that is relevant because the Tokyo 2020 Olympics still have to happen. Based on the eponymous manga.
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Friendship, Life
Duration: 45 min. per episode.
Directors: Seiichi Nagumo, Naoko Komuro, Yuma Suzuki
10. Kugatsu no Koi to Deau Made (2019) (Until I Meet September’s Love)
Shiori Kitamori just moved and works as an office lady. Next to her lives a man names Susumu Hirano who is an aspiring author. One night Shiori notices she’s hearing a male voice through her wall telling her to follow her neighbour Susumu. After that one occurrence, she never hears the voice again but since she is curious she decides to trail Susumu as asked of her. Following him has a special effect on Shiori and she starts to feel attracted towards him.
The casting and the description are convincing enough that this film is the right addition to this list.
Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Duration: 1hr. 45 min.
Directors: Shogo Kusano, Toru Yamamoto
I hope that I was able to put together a few nice films and series for you to watch and enjoy during your leisure time this holiday season, be it alone, with friends, family or a loved person.