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Five Japanese films and series, new and old, to watch out for — or avoid? — on streaming services or at your local socially distanced cinema:

  • Sexism, harassment, cozy relationships that hamper reporting — Japan’s media industry is fraught with issues that are often swept under the rug. But a team of New York-based Japanese creators calling themselves Derrrrruq!!! (sic) is hoping to change that, reports Kyodo, with the release of “HodoBuzz,” a six-episode miniseries that shines a spotlight on all of the above.
  • Ten years ago, one of the most high-octane, adrenaline-pumping, flat-out fun anime films of all time raced onto the screen. “Redline” barely made a dent at the box office, but through word of mouth and robust video sales, it has become something of a cult classic in the intervening decade. Matt Schley caught up with screenwriter Katsuhito Ishii to discuss the phenomenon.
'Redline' trailer (long version) | REDLINE OFFICIAL
‘Redline’ trailer (long version) | REDLINE OFFICIAL
  • In “A Family,” Michihito Fujii delivers an homage to the classic yakuza films of the 1960s, when noble outlaws lived in fealty to the code of jingi (“honor and humanity”), meaning they were ready and willing to sacrifice themselves for their “family.” The film is not the first to try crossing a gangster actioner with a family drama, but “The Godfather” this ain’t, writes Mark Schilling.
  • “Suicide Forest Village” is set in Aokigahara, the so-called jukai (sea of trees) at the foot of Mount Fuji that has become notorious as a magnet for those looking to end their lives, writes Schilling. The forest has inspired several films, including the widely panned Gus Van Sant drama “The Sea of Trees.” Does Takashi “Ju-on” Shimizu’s do any better with his latest offering?
  • When Koharu gets married to a wealthy doctor only a month after they first meet, it’s like something out of a fairytale — with the protagonist in the wicked stepmother role, writes James Hadfield. Anti-spoiler alert: If you have any interest in watching Ryohei Watanabe’s “The Cinderella Addiction,” don’t check out the trailer. But do read James Hadfield’s (spoiler-free) review.

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