SciFi Japan

    Five Best Japanese Sci-Fi Movies

    From the 1950s to the present day, Japan has released a wide variety of fantastic science-fiction movies over the decades. Here is a look at five of the very best. THE CLONE RETURNS HOME When Japanese film critics first watched THE CLONE RETURNS HOME in 2008, it was immediately hailed as a classic, and the critics were right. Besides being a visually-stunning movie with ethereal imagery, THE CLONE RETURNS HOME is a profoundly philosophical tale that will make you think about life, death, and memories. The premise of the film concerns a clone being created from a dead person. It asks questions regarding whether the clone can have a deceased person’s personality and memories. BATTLE ROYALE Just because a movie is controversial, it does not always mean it is a fantastic film. But BATTLE ROYALE is both. The 2000 movie follows a group of high-school students who are forced to fight to the death by the fictional Japanese totalitarian government. It is one of the highest-grossing Japanese-language international movies of all time. Indeed, BATTLE ROYALE has become so popular that it is regarded as one of the most influential films of recent decades. And it has become highly influential in pop culture too. The term “battle royale” is now used to describe fictional narratives that involve a group of people who are instructed to kill each other until there is a victor. The movie has inspired numerous media, such as anime, manga, and video games. BATTLE ROYALE online multiplayer video games include the likes of FORTNITE BATTLE ROYALE and CALL OF DUTY: WARZONE. A multitude of fantastic battle royale games can be found online, as can many other fun games, like Casumo (???) casino’s wide variety of slots and table games.

    BATTLE ROYALE © 2000 The “Battle Royale” Production Committee.

    THE FACE OF ANOTHER Despite being a 1960s New Wave art movement film, THE FACE OF ANOTHER remains one of the most popular Japanese sci-fi films of all time. The 1966 movie’s plot concerns an employee who has had his face burnt off at work. He visits Dr. Hira to get a mask that can make him look normal again. Although the doctor agrees to create the mask, he warns the employee that he could end up losing his ethics because he will be living as another man. The movie looks at the emphasis humans place on looks and asks what happens if people could change themselves to look perfect. As well as being deeply thought-provoking, THE FACE OF ANOTHER is, fittingly, beautifully-filmed. GODZILLA You are sure to have seen a Godzilla movie at some point in your life. But have you seen the original 1954 Japanese film? Far more than a simple monster movie, the original black-and-white GODZILLA movie sees Japan’s authorities trying to deal with the sudden appearance of the massive dinosaur-like creature, fearing that the monster could trigger a nuclear holocaust in post-war Japan. The social commentary aspect of the original picture may have been lost in subsequent remakes and sequels. But Godzilla has become a global pop culture icon. The original movie spawned a franchise that the Guinness World Records recognized as the longest-running film franchise of all time. GODZILLA is undoubtedly the most famous Japanese sci-fi movie of all time, and it is also one of the best. TETSUO: THE IRON MAN The 1989 movie TETSUO: THE IRON MAN is hailed as the very first cyberpunk film ever made. The low-budget, arthouse masterpiece launched director Shinya Tsukamoto’s international career. The bizarre plot concerns a businessman who accidentally kills a metal fetishist. As a result, the businessman finds himself slowly turning into a grotesque hybrid of flesh and rusty metal. With its horror, raw emotion, and visually-stunning cinematography, the film questions how technology is used by society, and whether it is used too much. Before the release of TETSUO: THE IRON MAN, Japanese movies were generally ignored by international film festivals. But its huge success prompted a revival of Japanese independent film in the 1990s and beyond. If you have not yet seen this classic dystopian sci-fi, it is about time you did.

    TETSUO: THE IRON MAN. ©Shinya Tsukamoto

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