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The 2024 edition of the Japanese Film Festival Online features 20+ films—for free

The 2024 edition of the Japanese Film Festival Online features 20+ films—for free

J-movie fans, it’s time to plan those watch parties because the Japanese Film Festival is back online starting June 5 until July 3. The month-long online film festival is free—and if you missed the first leg of the festival four months ago, fret not, you can catch the same festival films and more this time around.

This is the third edition of the Japanese Film Festival Online, and it’s their biggest one yet. For the first two weeks of the festival, 20 films will be screened online, while the final two weeks will feature two TV drama series. To access all these films for free, you simply have to register on their website.

If you missed the festival last February, you can catch the featured films “We Made a Beautiful Bouquet,” “Anime Supremacy!,” and “Father of the Milky Way Railroad” online. Looking for something specific? We got you. Here’s a guide to this year’s featured films for streaming.

If you’re into: Coming-of-age flicks

“Single8” (2023)

Retro vibes, check. Group of friends, check. Meta story about making a film? Check. “Single8” follows a group of “Star Wars”-obsessed high school friends in the 1970s who, after picking up an 8mm camera, attempt to make a sci-fi film of their own. If you can relate to that desire to create after seeing something so inspiring, this might just be your film.


“The Lines that Define Me” (2022)

Art becomes an avenue for healing in this film, which revolves around a young man who, in his period of grief and mourning, discovers the world of Japanese traditional ink painting called sumi-e. 


“Baby Assassins” (2021)

We love to see kickass girlies in action, and in Japan’s signature quirky fashion, we get to see a pair of high school girls who also turn out to be highly skilled assassins. This action flick gets a comedic spin as the two high school assassins are forced to become roommates by the agency that hires them.


If you’re into: Love, in all forms!

“The Handsome Suit” (2008)

This fantasy rom-com may quite literally be the story of our dreams: It follows Takuro, a talented chef who unfortunately isn’t blessed in the looks department. In preparation for a friend’s wedding, he heads to a local tailor to get a suit—unaware that he just picked out a magical one that would make any wearer handsome.


“BL Metamorphosis” (2022)

A tale of unlikely friendship built on “boys love” or BL, “BL Metamorphosis” is a cute tale of a 17-year-old high schooler Urara who, at the bookstore she works for, meets a 78-year-old widow named Yuki. Yuki ends up buying a BL manga for its eye-pleasing cover, which becomes the spark that starts her friendship with Yuki.


“I am What I am” (2022)

There’s nothing wrong with being a woman uninterested in romance, and this 2022 film is all about that journey of “being your own cheerleader.” If you ever need validation for being a strong independent woman, this might be it.


If you’re into: Japanese food

“School Meals Time Graduation” (2022)

If you’ve ever been curious about what school culture is like in other countries, this is a fun introduction. Set in a Japanese public school, it follows the fun competition between a teacher and student on how they improve the taste of their school meals. Threatened with a new system that aims to promote “healthiness” at the cost of taste, they work together to protect the flavor of their beloved school meals. 


“The Zen Diary” (2022)

Providing a different glimpse into Japanese food culture, “The Zen Diary” revolves around a writer who moves to the mountainside and creates simple meals out of crops he grows himself. Having grown up at a Zen monastery, the recipes he uses are ones he learned directly from the monks. As his editor pays him a visit, the two enjoy the zen of these simple meals and reflect on the true luxury of being able to live a quiet life surrounded by nature. Honestly, goals.


[READ: 4 films to watch if you love Japanese food via]


If you’re into: Office drama

“Kiba: The Fangs of Fiction” (2021)

Leave it to Japan to create stories about the most niche workplaces, but “Kiba” revolves around the rivalry between a young female editor at a traditional literary magazine and a charismatic male editor-in-chief of a culture magazine, both published by the same company. Amid the challenges of keeping their magazines afloat, they also have to deal with internal conflicts and power struggles.


If you’re into: Crazy ensemble comedy


“Wedding High” (2022)

A wedding is both a beautiful and stressful affair, especially with all the preparations that go into it. (Mis)adventures with the motley selection of guests—from family to co-workers to eager friends—plus an ex-boyfriend plotting to disrupt the wedding all come together to make a film filled with laughter-inducing moments.


“We’re Broke, My Lord!” (2023)

Don’t let this historical setting fool you. This “period piece” follows a young clan prince who, upon being made head, is told that his family has a 10 billion yen debt. With the threat of hara-kiri looming over his head, the young prince and his servants then desperately find ways to cut costs and sell items to earn money. As a fellow broke girl, I’m taking notes.


If you’re into: Tearjerkers


“The Lone Ume Tree” (2021)

Nothing hits quite as hard as a family drama, especially if it’s something as heart-wrenching as this. “The Lone Ume Tree” revolves around an aging mother and her son with autism, as they both try to adapt and connect with their community. 


“I Go GaGa: Welcome Home, Mom” (2022)

Fond memories with our loved ones are often what we hold on to to keep going on. But when the one dearest to us is losing her memory, how do we cope? This documentary follows the director, Nobutomo Naoko, as she records her mother who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease as well as her father who has been supporting her. With the documentary being produced by a member of the family itself, “I Go GaGa: Welcome Home, Mom” is a unique and intimate record of the experience of Japan’s aging society.


“My Broken Mariko” (2022)

Adapted from an award-winning manga, “My Broken Mariko” is a heartbreaking tale of female friendship. It follows Tomoyo who, to honor her recently deceased best friend Mariko, takes her bones to the sea, where Mariko had always wanted to go. On this journey, Tomoyo reflects on both hers and Mariko’s lives, especially the latter, who had been abused and hurt by the men closest to her when she was still alive.


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