Culture

What to Watch on Netflix Japan in 2020: 10 Recommendations

Add these to your watch-list in preparation for Japan’s upcoming humid summer.

By 10 min read

There are countless original series, classic blockbusters, and new releases added to the Netflix library every month. It feels like we spend half our movie night just mulling over our options. To narrow it down for you, here is my list of recommended titles on Netflix Japan.

This list is not limited to only Japanese titles. From sci-fi and fantasy to Korean dramas and anime, there is something for everyone.

Netflix is constantly changing their library and these titles can be removed at any time, so be sure to check them out as soon as you can!

1. My Husband Won’t Fit

What to Watch on Netflix Japan in 2020

My Husband Won’t Fit is one of the few Japanese series that openly discusses sexuality. It’s about a young couple that struggles to have sex because their “parts” don’t fit well together.

Set in the late ’90s to early 2000s, the story follows a country bumpkin named Kumi, who moves away from her family home to attend college. She befriends the eccentric Kenichi, and their relationship progresses quickly. They move in together and get engaged, despite never being able to make love.

While that short synopsis sounds like the intro to a situational comedy, My Husband Won’t Fit presents a story about a couple that has marital issues. Sometimes the problems at hand are presented humorously, but beneath the surface is a serious story that presents issues such as cheating, neglectful parents, and career troubles.

Genre(s): Comedy, drama, romance
Good For: People learning Japanese and those who want to know more about Japanese culture
Languages
Audio: Japanese
Subtitles: English, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and simplified Chinese

2. The Could’ve Gone All the Way Committee

What to Watch on Netflix Japan in 2020: 10 Recommendations

The Could’ve Gone all the Way Committee is one of the most inventive television series I’ve seen in a long time. In the series, three experts known as the “Could’ve Gone All the Way Committee” listen to peoples’ stories of missed connections. In each episode, the club responds to people’s emails asking for advice on their cases. The people visit the Could’ve Gone All the Way Committee and tell their stores, while the three experts ask questions and analyze the story.

At the end of each episode, the three experts vote on whether the contestant could have gone all the way. Each expert gives their reasoning for why they believe the contestant could have or couldn’t have scored if they had taken the leap or acted differently at the time.

The Could’ve Gone All the Way Committee is a great mix between comedy, absurdity, and relatable human stories. While the show presents itself as an absurd comedy, it’s more about people who are going through large changes in their life and are hung up on one regret, one anticlimactic night that could’ve become so much more.

Genre(s): Comedy, drama, romance
Good For: People who want to know more about Japanese life and dating culture
Languages
Audio: Japanese
Subtitles: English, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and simplified Chinese

3. Gosick

What to Watch on Netflix Japan in 2020

Travel back to 1920 Europe to a fictional country known as Saubure. There, you will find a Japanese exchange student named Kujo and a tiny, doll-like girl detective prodigy named Victoria. Both just 15 years old, the two make up an unlikely pair, akin to the detective duo of Sherlock Holmes and Watson, but more romantic and less mature.

While the series begins in a light-hearted manner… it is definitely an anime for more mature audiences.

While the two goof off and have silly adventures in their school lives, they often find themselves swept into horrific situations. Relying on their own bravery and wits, the pair solve mysteries and discover murderers and perpetrators of heinous crimes.

A short and sweet series with a surprisingly deep story, Gosick is perfect for fans of murder mysteries and classic whodunit stories. While the series begins in a light-hearted manner, towards the end the story becomes quite serious. It is definitely an anime for more mature audiences.

Genre(s): Anime, alternate history, gothic fiction, mystery
Good For: Those who enjoy murder mysteries and anime like Death Note
Languages
Audio: Japanese
Subtitles: English, Japanese

4. Crash Landing on You

What to Watch on Netflix Japan in 2020

Korean filmmaking has produced some of the best films I’ve ever seen, but when it came to TV dramas, I always found them cheap and formulaic. That was before I fell in love with Crash Landing on You.

Starring veteran actors Hyun Bin (Spin Kick) and Son Ye-jin (A Moment to Remember), this romantic drama is full of laughter, tears, and cheesy moments. Crash Landing on You is about a rich South Korean heiress who finds herself stuck in North Korea. To survive and escape back home, she befriends a North Korean soldier who finds her in the forest. While both agree to help each other out of duty, they begin to care for each other in a deeper way than they are willing to admit.

If you like cheesy romance, don’t hesitate to give Crash Landing on You a shot. There are 16 total episodes, each lasting over an hour. It’s plenty of content for a weekend-long binge session.

Genre(s): Comedy, drama, romance
Good For: Those who like rom-coms and those interested in Korean culture and pop culture
Languages
Audio: Korean
Subtitles: English, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and simplified Chinese

5. Kingdom

What to Watch on Netflix Japan in 2020

As a die-hard fan of the zombie horror genre, I’ve watched countless zombie films and television shows from various countries. The Korean Netflix series Kingdom quickly shot up to the top of my list of the best zombie shows of all time.

Best described as Korea’s take on Game of Thrones, this series is a must-see for zombie fans and those who like political dramas.

Kingdom tells the story of Prince Lee Chang, who worries that his mother-in-law might not have the country’s best interest in mind. At the same time, an unknown plague is sweeping through the land, killing many of the citizens. When the prince is framed for murder, it becomes clear that his mother-in-law is planning a hostile takeover of the realm. Fleeing for his life, the prince learns that not only is the plague killing his subjects, but it’s also bringing them back to life as rabid monsters. Best described as Korea’s take on Game of Thrones, this series is a must-see for zombie fans and those who like political dramas.

Genre(s): Action, historical period, horror, political drama
Good For: Those looking for a unique take on the zombie genre
Languages
Audio: English, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and simplified Chinese

6. I am a Hero

What to Watch on Netflix Japan in 2020: 10 Recommendations

I am a Hero is a testament to the greatness of Japanese horror films. Based on the manga of the same name, this zombie apocalypse film is about a failed manga artist named Hideo whose relationship is falling apart. When a mysterious virus spreads through Japan, all hell breaks loose. As luck would have it, Hideo is one of the few people in Japan who owns a gun and he embarks on a quest to become the hero he always wanted to be.

I am a Hero illustrates a perfect blend between grotesque character design, gory battle scenes, and terrifying situations. For those of you who love zombie films or the horror genre in general, this film is a must-see.

Genre(s): Apocalypse, horror, zombie-horror
Good For: People interested in Japanese horror and zombie films
Languages
Audio: Japanese
Subtitles: English

7. Giri/Haji (Duty/Shame)

What to Watch on Netflix Japan in 2020: 10 Recommendations

For those interested in the criminal underworld of Japan, Giri/Haji is a crime drama set in both London and Tokyo. The series follows a Tokyo detective named Kenzo Mori whose brother goes missing after he is accused of killing a high-ranking Yakuza member’s nephew. Under the ruse of attending a forensics class, Kenzo travels to London in search of his missing brother who was involved with the Yakuza.

While the film isn’t entirely set in Japan, a large portion of the dialogue is done in Japanese with English subtitles. This is a good series for those looking to increase their Japanese listening skills. Giri/Haji currently retains a 100% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Genre(s): Crime drama, mystery
Good For: People who like stories about the Yakuza and the Japanese criminal underworld
Languages
Audio: English, Brazilian Portuguese
Subtitles: English, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and simplified Chinese

8. Love Death + Robots

What to Watch on Netflix Japan in 2020

Love Death + Robots is a sci-fi anthology of live-action, CGI, and animated shorts, all featuring stories of love, death, and futuristic robots. From an anime about farmers in mech suits to a live-action short film about a couple that discovers a lost civilization in their refrigerator, every episode is unique and creative.

Even if you aren’t a huge sci-fi fan, I urge you to give Love Death + Robots a shot. It is one of the most outrageously strange television series on Netflix, and the short runtime of each episode means you can figure out if the series is for you in just 10 or 20 minutes. It’s important to note that while the series consists of animated shorts, almost every episode has gory scenes and sexual themes. Love Death + Robots is definitely a show for mature audiences only.

Genre(s): Action, adult animation, anthology, comedy, sci-fi
Good For: Those who like animation, dark comedies, and stories about parallel worlds
Languages
Audio: English, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese
Subtitles: English, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and simplified Chinese

9. Beastars

What to Watch on Netflix Japan in 2020: 10 Recommendations

Beastars is an incredibly unique anime set in a world where anthropomorphized herbivores and carnivores coexist peacefully. The anime follows Legoshi, a grey wolf at Cherryton Boarding School. While the animals seem to live together peacefully, beneath the surface tensions begin to rise at the school after an alpaca is murdered. Carnivores struggle to fight their carnal nature and herbivores assume all carnivores look at them as prey.

This inventive anime presents themes of discrimination in a 100% original way. The soundtrack is mesmerizing and the pacing of the story is perfect. While the animals all look cute at first, it’s quite jarring (in a good way) when they start talking about sex, social hierarchy, and other mature topics. Make no mistake, while the anime looks like a cute title reminiscent of Animal Crossing, Beastarsis a mature anime for older audiences only.

Genre(s): Coming-of-age, drama, fantasy
Good For: People looking for an artful and mature anime with serious themes and undertones
Languages
Audio: English, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese
Subtitles: English, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and simplified Chinese

10. Violet Evergarden

What to Watch on Netflix Japan in 2020

Set after the end of a long and brutal war, Violet Evergarden is a beautiful anime about love and human compassion. The story follows Violet, a survivor who lost both of her hands in the war. Using metal prosthetics, she can go about her daily life. However, because Violet spent most of her childhood as a soldier, she knows nothing about regular human life.

With the help of a former military officer, she begins a new career as a memory doll, professional writers who are paid to write other people’s letters.

In addition to a heartbreaking and timeless story, Violet Evergarden has one of the best anime soundtracks of all time and incredibly beautiful visuals. It is a coming-of-age story unlike any I’ve ever seen before, told largely through the letters of strangers.

Genre(s): Anime, coming-of-age story, drama
Good For: Anime lovers and those looking for a good cry
Languages
Audio: English, Japanese, and Brazilian Portuguese
Subtitles: English, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and simplified Chinese

These are just some of the best shows currently streaming on Netflix Japan. As the unbearable heat of Japan’s summer quickly approaches, there is no better time than now to build up a good Netflix watch list to stay indoors and escape the impending humidity.

What is your go-to Netflix series in 2020? Let us know in the comments below.

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