5 Best Japanese Movies and Series Coming to Netflix in May 2022

We love dark documentaries and dystopian thrillers as much as Next Person, but you can have too much good stuff. With the exception of “Vampire in the Garden” – which sounds ultra violent – May will bring softer, uplifting features to match the joyous spring season, with slice-of-life titles like “Akebi’s Sailor Uniform and wholesome dramas like “Mio’s Cookbook.” (Note: Regional restrictions may apply.)

The stranger on the beach

Synopsis: Shun Hashimoto is an aspiring novelist who lives in Okinawa after his parents disowned him for being gay. One day he meets an orphaned high school student on the beach named Mio and the pair slowly get to know each other before Mio abruptly announces his plans to move from the island to the city on the mainland. Mio eventually returns to Okinawa at the age of 20 with the intention of professing her love for Shun, but it’s been three years since the two last met and a lot has changed for Shun in the meantime.

Insight: “The Stranger by the Beach” is a 2020 anime film adaptation based on the manga series “The Stranger” by Kanna Kii. While the original story was categorized as a BL (boys love) manga, the anime has surprising depth. It also moves away from gratuitous intimate scenes that only exist for fan service. Sweet, melancholy, and beautifully executed, it’s one of the best Japanese LGBTQ+ movies on Netflix to date.

Available May 1.


Mio’s cookbook

Synopsis: After losing his parents in a devastating flood, young Mio leaves her hometown of Osaka to pursue a life as a cook in Edo Tokyo. Although Mio has a lot of potential in culinary arts, she struggles to grasp the differences between cooking techniques and flavors she was used to in Osaka and Edo food culture. Mio is nonetheless determined to prove herself. All the while, she searches for the next chance to reunite with her childhood friend Noe, who is also in Edo and works as a oiran (high class courtesan).

Insight: Written and directed by Haruki Kadokawa, this tantalizing movie will delight anyone who loves the anime series “Kiyo in Kyoto.” Honoka Matsumoto (“Love Like the Falling Petals”) stars as Mio.

Available May 6.


Mio on the shore

Synopsis: Mio, 20, lives in Nagano and runs an old inn with her grandmother. When her grandmother falls ill and has to be hospitalized, Mio’s aunt decides to close the hostel permanently and Mio has to leave her hometown to find work elsewhere. Kosuke, an old friend of her father, offers Mio accommodation in Tokyo and she continues to help out at the public bathhouse he owns. As Mio settles into her new life, it becomes apparent that the bathhouse is in danger of being demolished to make way for redevelopment of the neighborhood.

Insight: Directed by Ryutaro Nakagawa, “Mio on the Shore” is a beautiful meditation on life, loss, and coming of age. Incidentally, Honoka Matsumoto who played Mio in “Mio’s Cookbook” also takes on a character of the same name here, although the two stories are set in completely different time periods.

Available May 15.


Akebi Sailor Uniform

Synopsis: Akebi Komichi has loved sailor-style school uniforms since she was a little girl. When she learned that she had been accepted into the prestigious Roubai Private Academy all-girls school her mother attended as a student, Akebi was eager to wear the old-school uniform hanging in her closet. On her first day of high school, however, Akebi is dismayed to find that the school has updated its uniforms to reflect a more modern style. Despite the shaky start, Akebi is able to befriend his classmates, who are drawn to his cheerful personality.

Insight: Newly released in 2022, this anime series is adapted from Hiro’s eponymous manga. This first season consists of 12 episodes and stars Manatsu Murakami as the voice of Akebi.

Season 1 available May 6.


vampire in the garden

Synopsis: Once upon a time when vampires and humans used to coexist peacefully, but now those days are long gone. The few humans who survived the long battle against the vampires live in a small community closed to the rest of the world, but the circumstances remain dire for everyone involved. Desperate to change the status quo, a young girl called Momo and the vampire queen, who are supposed to be sworn enemies, make a pact to find the distant promised land, where humans and vampires are free to make music together. .

Insight: It’s all-out war in this delightfully dark fantasy series originally slated for release in 2021. At first glance, “Vampire in the Garden” will be well worth the wait with its captivating visuals and intriguing premise that’s sure to wow audiences. on an emotional roller coaster. Directed by Ryoutarou Makihara, the anime series is created by Wit Studio, the same team behind the Attack on Titan movies and anime series (episodes 1-60).

Season 1 available May 16.

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