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<i>City Hunter</i> and other Japanese movies releasing in 2024

Japanese films have long held an exalted position in the hearts of cinema enthusiasts. This is why there is always an interest in the upcoming Japanese movies, be it 2024 or beyond.

Among the top Japanese films that fans are eagerly awaiting to watch in theatres or on streaming platforms in 2024 are City Hunter and Evil Does Not Exist. The former is a fun-filled action film featuring a protagonist that was immortalised on the big screen by Jackie Chan in a Hong Kong comedy-action film in 1993. The latter is a festival favourite, wooing critics wherever it has been screened to date.

But a key difference between the Japanese film industry and all others, including Hollywood and the Korean entertainment world, is the presence of a high number of anime titles.

Indeed, the Japanese film industry produces far more anime content than live-action. Anime movies are among the highest-grossing domestic films almost every year in Japan, proving that Japanese audiences prefer watching animated content. Kingdom 3: The Flame of Destiny and Godzilla Minus One were the only two Japanese-produced live-action films among the highest-grossing movies in 2023 — a list that was topped by the anime film The First Slam Dunk followed by Suzume.

Still, Japanese films, be it anime or live-action, make the world take note year on year. Thus, while Godzilla Minus One was a box office record breaker for a Japanese movie worldwide, Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron was the hot favourite at the awards circuit, winning the BAFTA, the Golden Globe, and the Academy Award for best-animated film.

And, thus, the buzz around upcoming Japanese anime films, My Oni Girl and Look Back, is palpable. Both are coming-of-age mixed with either adventure or drama. Both films are expected to perform well at the Japanese box office, where they will be released theatrically.

Here are the upcoming Japanese movies of 2024

1 /7

City Hunter

Directed by: Yūichi Satō

Cast: Ryohei Suzuki, Misato Morita, Masanobu Ando, Fumino Kimura

Release date: 25 April

Synopsis: Private eye Ryo Saeba (Suzuki) is an infamous playboy but a genius “sweeper,” known for his incredible marksmanship and ability to solve crimes or just about any problem. He is forced to join forces with his deceased partner’s sister, Kaori Makimura (Morita), who wants answers to her brother’s mysterious death.

More about the film: City Hunter is a Japanese Netflix film based on the world-famous manga of the same name by Tsukasa Hojo. While the manga has had a French adaptation besides the Hong Kong version, this is the first time it has been adapted in live-action in Japan.

2 /7

Evil Does Not Exist 

Directed by: Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Cast: Hitoshi Omika, Ryo Nishikawa, Ryuji Kosaka, Ayaka Shibutani

Release date: 26 April

Synopsis: Takumi (Omika) lives with his daughter Hana (Nishikawa) in rural Harasawa. Theirs is a life of calm, preserved by the bucolic charm and serenity of the natural world around them. But this peace is threatened when a corporate giant decides to destroy the surroundings to build a glamping spot.

More about the film: Evil Does Not Exist has been received with overwhelming critical acclaim at film festivals. It won the Grand Jury Prize among other awards at the 2023 Venice International Film Festival, where it also competed for the Golden Lion. At the same festival, it won the FIPRESCI Award, given by the International Federation of Film Critics. It won the Best Film award at the 2023 BFI London Film Festival.

3 /7

My Oni Girl

Directed by: Tomotaka Shibayama

Voice cast: Kensho Ono, Miyu Tomita

Release date: 24 May

Synopsis: Despite his efforts to make friends, Hiiragi Yatsuse (Ono) is a lonely high school student. His life changes when he meets an Oni (demon) girl named Tsumugi (Tomita), who is searching for her mother among the humans. Tsumugi wants Hiiragi to join her in the quest and thus begins an unforgettable adventure in the boy’s life.

More about the film: My Oni Girl is a Netflix anime film from Studio Colorido. It is the second of the three films the American streaming giant is producing, with the Japanese animation studio best known for creating the acclaimed anime movie A Whisker Away (2020). The film will be available for streaming worldwide on Netflix on the same day it hits theatres in Japan.

4 /7


Directed by: Nobuhiro Yamashita

Cast: Toma Ikuta, Yang Ik-june, Nao

Release date: 31 May

Synopsis: Keisuke Asai (Ikuta) and Ryu Ji-Yong (Yang) are close friends who go on a mountain climbing expedition. Believing that he will not survive after an accident occurs on the mountain, one of them admits to a murder he did years ago. But then they find a hut where they take shelter. Thus begins a night of dread between the confessor and the only one who knows his crime.

More about the film: The film is the first live-action adaptation of the acclaimed 1998 manga of the same name by Nobuyuki Fukumoto and Kaiji Kawaguchi. One of the key differences between the manga and the live-action adaptation is that one character has been changed to a Korean in the latter.

5 /7

Teasing Master Takagi-san Movie

Directed by: Rikiya Imaizumi

Cast: Mei Nagano, Fumiya Takahashi, Yōsuke Eguchi

Release date: 31 May

Synopsis: Around 10 years after their adventures in middle school, a grown-up Takagi (Nagano) meets Nishikata (Takahashi) — now a PE teacher at their school. Takagi, who has joined as a new trainer, resumes her playful teasing of Nishikata.

More about the film: The movie is a follow-up to the 2024 live-action series based on the manga of the same name by Sōichirō Yamamoto. In the series, Takagi and Nishikata are portrayed by Rui Tsukishima and Sōya Kurokawa, respectively.

6 /7

Look Back

Directed by: Kiyotaka Oshiyama

Voice cast: Yūmi Kawai, Mizuki Yoshida

Release date: 28 June

Synopsis: Fujino (Kawai) and Kyomoto (Yoshida) are classmates in the same school, but their personalities are opposite. While Fujino is confident, Kyomoto is a recluse. Yet what brings them together on a journey of self-discovery is their common passion — a love of drawing manga panels.

More about the film: The anime film is based on the one-shot manga of the same name by Tatsuki Fujimoto, creator of the acclaimed Chainsaw Man manga series. Look Back was the winner of the inaugural Rakuten Kobo E-book Awards in 2023. Both Kawai and Yoshida are making their voice-acting debut with the anime film.

7 /7

Mononoke: The Movie

Directed by: Kenji Nakamura

Voice cast: Hiroshi Kamiya, Tomoyo Kurosawa, Aoi Yūki, Mami Koyama

Release date: 26 July

Synopsis: A mysterious entity simply known as Medicine Seller (Kamiya) in the Edo period in Japan helps people by exorcising demons and other evil forces.

More about the film: The film is based on the anime series Mononoke (2007), which is loved by fans to date for its artistic style and avant-garde animation. It was noted for showcasing the class divide of the Edo period. The first trailer of the film was unveiled in August 2023.

(Hero and Featured images: Netflix)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– Are Japanese movies worth watching?

Yes, Japanese movies are worth watching. Irrespective of whether they are anime or live-action, the movies are known for their layered stories and deep character portraits. Specifically, in the case of anime, they are also noted for their visual splendour and outstanding frame-by-frame artistic tapestry.

<i>City Hunter</i> and other Japanese movies releasing in 2024

Manas Sen Gupta writes at the intersection of tech, entertainment and history. His works have appeared in publications such as The Statesman, Myanmar Matters, Hindustan Times and News18/ETV. In his spare time, Manas loves studying interactive charts and topographic maps. When not doing either, he prefers reading detective fiction. Spring is his favourite season and he can happily eat a bowl of noodles any time of the day.

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