Matt Schley
For Matt Schley's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
A young man (Ayumu Nakajima) argues over trivial matters with his love interest in “This Hamburger Has No Pickles.”
Feb 17, 2024
‘This Hamburger Has No Pickles’: A hefty helping of awkward heart-to-hearts
Satoshi Kimura’s rambling rom-com offers a peek into the lives of entangled adults struggling to communicate with each other.
“Metallic Rouge” centers on android assassins on Mars and explores classic science fiction tropes like whether robots have souls.
CULTURE / TV & Streaming
Feb 4, 2024
You're spoiled for choice with new anime to watch this winter
From the fantasy series "Delicious in Dungeon" to the sci-fi offering "Metallic Rouge," nearly 50 new shows are airing this season.
A teenage boy (voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya) discovers he has been changed into a vampire in “Kizumonogatari.”
Jan 11, 2024
‘Kizumonogatari’: The weirdness is back and better than ever
Tatsuya Oishi combines three anime adaptations of Nisioisin’s book into one edit that retains the gore and humor of the original.
Japan Times
Dec 29, 2023
20 Questions: The best answers of 2023
Our interviewees this year gave a lot of advice for living a good life and paying attention to the things that matter most.
Holiday classic "Tokyo Godfathers" centers on three homeless people who have formed a makeshift family.
Dec 23, 2023
Satoshi Kon’s unexpected anime classic for the holidays
The late director and animator's "Tokyo Godfathers" celebrates 20 years with new screenings.
A young girl’s imaginary friend, Rudger (Kokoro Terada), is separated from his grieving “owner” in “The Imaginary.”
Dec 21, 2023
‘The Imaginary’: Flight of fancy could have soared even higher
Animation studio Ponoc’s feature is a visual treat with some poignant moments, but it won’t be taking on the mantle from Studio Ghibli just yet.
A still from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
PODCAST / deep dive
Dec 14, 2023
Big in Japan 2023: Anime, Murakami and The Legend of Zelda
Our guests tell us why anime dominated in 2023, which books stood out among a lackluster crowd and why the Zelda franchise is experiencing a renaissance.
Hayao Miyazaki came out of retirement this year with “The Boy and the Heron,” which opened to critical acclaim and has so far earned ¥8.56 billion — a good showing but not enough to take the top spot at the box office for the year.
CULTURE / Film / 2023 in Review
Nov 30, 2023
The year that defined the post-Miyazaki era
The success of “Oshi no Ko,” “Detective Conan” and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” proved that anime is the mainstream now.
A young news editor (voiced by Kensho Ono) is assigned to cover a distillery helmed by a rising star of the Japanese whisky scene (Saori Hayami) in “Komada: A Whisky Family.”
Nov 16, 2023
‘Komada: A Whisky Family’ has the complexity of a bottom-shelf bottle
Anime studio P.A. Works’ film centered on whisky production takes the fun out of delving into what unfolds behind the scenes in a workplace.
Japan’s most famous monster attacks Tokyo just as the city is rebuilding itself from the destruction of World War II in “Godzilla Minus One.”
Nov 9, 2023
‘Godzilla Minus One’: Legendary monster levels up visually
Admirable visual effects bring the beast to life in the franchise’s newest entry, which looks more like the 1954 original than anything in decades.
Meiji University professor and cinema expert Lindsay Nelson writes about 
J-horror (Japanese horror) in her book, “Circulating Fear.”
Oct 28, 2023
‘Horror has always been a vehicle to talk about social problems’
A J-horror expert gives her take on the essence of the genre and the cultural roots of its creative choices.
A concierge-in-training (Natsumi Kawaida) learns the ins and outs of working at an upscale department store in “The Concierge.”
Oct 26, 2023
‘The Concierge’: Frivolous fun with vintage charm
Yoshimi Itazu’s anime set in a department store for animal clientele offers a glittering experience with fluid animation and a vivid color palette.
Japan-based DJ and broadcaster Peter Barakan invites artists from around the world to perform at his two-day roots music festival, Peter Barakan’s Live Magic!.
Oct 19, 2023
Peter Barakan’s Live Magic! festival celebrates 10th edition
The two-day roots music festival in Tokyo features sounds from around the world with acts such as Minyo Crusaders, Jon Cleary and Oreka TX.
Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo star as Mario and Luigi in 1993’s “Super Mario Bros.,” the first big-budget, big-screen attempt at a video game adaptation.
Sep 13, 2023
The critics were wrong. The ’90s ‘Super Mario’ flick is awesome.
On the film’s 30th anniversary, the box-office bomb is back in Japanese cinemas for a limited time with a new 4K remaster.
Veteran broadcaster and DJ Peter Barakan has been a fixture in Japanese music media for decades. He is now in his third year as curator and namesake of Peter Barakan’s Music Film Festival, which kicks off in Tokyo today.
Sep 1, 2023
Peter Barakan's Music Film Festival celebrates cinema and song
The three-week event kicks off its third edition with 31 films including documentaries, concert films and narrative films centered on music.
Koenji-based dance troupe Tengu-ren performs at an Awa odori event in Tokyo's Kagurazaka neighborhood a month before the Koenji Awa Odori.
CULTURE / Longform
Aug 26, 2023
The party returns to Koenji
While the COVID-19 pandemic put a temporary pause to one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals, its dancers never stopped practicing their steps.
A demon prince named Beelzebub (voiced by Mutsumi Tamura) steals much-needed water from an evil ruler for the thirsty citizens of a desert world in “Sand Land.”
Aug 17, 2023
‘Sand Land’: Summer fun with a bad-boy prince
Akira Toriyama's anime adventure is a straightforward romp, but it's also an entertaining ride through a post-apocalyptic future with lovable demons.
A woman takes a picture of the poster for the new Hayao Miyazaki film, “The Boy and the Heron.”
PODCAST / deep dive
Aug 2, 2023
Hayao Miyazaki’s confusing new masterpiece
Our critics Thu-Huong Ha and Matt Schley discuss what they thought of the new Hayao Miyazaki film, “The Boy and the Heron.”
A theater-goer takes a photo of the promotional poster for Hayao Miyazaki’s new film, “The Boy and the Heron.”
Jul 18, 2023
‘The Boy and the Heron’: It’s so good to be back in Hayao Miyazaki’s world
Studio Ghibli’s latest film takes viewers on one last journey to the familiar world of a master animator who has captivated audiences worldwide for decades.
Japan Times
Jul 13, 2023
Will doing 'nothing' be yet another marketing coup for Studio Ghibli?
Studio Ghibli"s Toshio Suzuki has a history of taking unconventional approaches to promoting the work of anime director Hayao Miyazaki.


Hideo Shimoju points to a possible site that his fellow neighbors may relocate to. Such relocations have happened before, but not preemptively.
In disaster-prone Japan, some communities consider major moves