The Best Japanese Movies, Anime and Games

An Article by Angel Armstead

Do you love Japanese culture as much as I do?

Since I’ve been studying Japanese the longest out of the three languages I’m studying, I want to showcase some of my favorite games, shows and movies.

I'm actually still on the hunt for my favourite Japanese novel. I currently don’t have any favorite Japanese novels as I still have problems with much of the writing system. I don’t have that problem with some of my games because they typically use kana, which I'm pretty comfortable with by now. I’m also able to easily find info to help out with games that don’t rely on just kana.


I guess I should warn anyone reading this that the types of movies I watch are not meant for children. My favorite genre is Horror and was quite happy to find Horror in Japanese.

Battle Royale

This is one of the first non-animated films that I watched. I didn’t like the movie at first at all because of my bias with The Hunger Games. I did later like it the second time around as I paid more attention to specific characters.

Battle Royale is a movie in which an entire class is selected to be a part of "Battle Royale.” In it the students are drugged up and taken to an island and basically told "kill or be killed in three days". There is no other option as collars are placed on the students' necks while drugged up. The teacher in this game can eliminate anyone he wants to because of that collar. One of the things that I found good about it was the returning character Kawada. He was in a Battle Royale before and lost someone close to him. In this one he’s in, he shows that it doesn’t have to be "kill or be killed".

One Missed Call

This is one of the movies I accidentally found due to Netflix. I sometimes look up foreign movies on Netflix so I do still get the DVDs. It’s a great way to find foreign language films and watch them in their original language. One of my biases towards this was the ringtone. I like playing piano and did like learning this (Right hand only) on piano (listen here if you dare!). Plus it’s the only movie I’ve watched where your ringtone was a real ringtone of death!

In this movie your cell would ring as normal but with a strange ring tone. The caller id would show the call coming from you. In the call you’d hear your own death and what time it will take place. Almost everyone uses a cell phone. I’m a big fan of horror so using something so commonly used is what interested me in this movie.


Another movie I got from Netflix. My original reason for watching was to make sure that a story I was working on wasn’t exactly like this movie. Fortunately it wasn’t. Seeing the future is a liability for anyone in this movie.

Premonition starts off kind of regular. A man is driving his wife and kids and stops at a pay phone. He sees a piece of a newspaper clipping which talks about the death of his family and even shows the time. But before he can prevent it, the crash from the paper clipping happens. One of the things I liked about it was the idea of seeing the future through mediums like newspaper, radio, etc. It also showed seeing the future wasn’t entirely a good thing. Most would want to change a horrible future but changing it may be worse than allowing the future to take its course.


All of these games can be played in either Japanese or English.

Eternal Sonata

This is an RPG (role playing game) about Chopin on his deathbed and the strange world and unique people in it.In this game you have the option for English subtitles with English or Japanese audio. I have switched between playing this game in Japanese and in English. That’s a good point because you can switch back and forth in the game. In some games you don’t get to switch the language once you choose it.

Pokémon X/Y

First Pokémon game that I know that allows you to pick the language that you can play in. Before this game, I would import the games to play them in Japanese. If you pick Japanese you can switch between kana and kanji. You cannot change to English or any other language once you select the language you want to play in. Unfortunately it does not have my other two target languages as an option. I’m still happy that I can play it in Japanese.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Worldwide Edition: Stairway to the Destined Duel

This was the first game I ever got that was multilingual. For language learners, the downside is you cannot choose between kana or kanji. The Japanese is written correctly so I do have problems with the kanji but I’ve gotten a lot better than when I first played it. You can change the language within the game anytime that you want, even during a duel, which is brilliant.


I don’t watch anime as much as I used to. I think once I moved on to games in Japanese and Horror movies I kind of forgot about anime. So these shows aren’t the newest.

Ah! My Goddess

This was the first anime that I watched for more than 5 minutes. This was back when I couldn’t stand anime. A boy accidentally calls a Goddess hotline and asks the Goddess to stay with him. It’s a comedy. I don’t remember how I found this anime since it wasn’t on TV. I originally got the VHS tape and didn’t have subtitles as an option. It was also my first year of Japanese class and didn’t understand most of it. I still liked what I saw.


Inuyasha is an anime starring your average teenager Kagome Higurashi. Everything changes on her fifteenth birthday when she is dragged to the past and forced to continue in a life she lived in the past. There is a lot of fighting in this show with random monsters but there is also a lot of comedy in it. Even though the story is kind of serious, it still has times where it’s fun and light.

Probably the second anime that I watched and liked although it was also one I turned off originally within five minutes. I decided to give it a second chance after seeing the main villain in the show. I had taken classes a little bit longer by the time I got into this show and I watched it in English & Japanese. Though most times I still prefer the Japanese version. I like to hear a target language as much as possible.

Listen to my piano rendition of Inuyasha on YouTube.


I'll confess something: I hated this show so much at first. A friend of mine got me into the video game so I decided to watch the show again. I wanted to learn the names of the cards. I eventually found a way to watch it in Japanese. Typically shows like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! are hard to find in thier original language, so by the time I started watching this show I could understand a lot more Japanese. Maybe that’s what helped me like it eventually - the confidence booster in showing me that I understood a lot more Japanese than even I realized.

I liked this show because of the emphasis on Ancient Egypt, pharaohs and Egyptian deities.

What's your favorite language show?

So that’s my list, but there are many more great Japanese games and books out there. What are your favorite movies, games, books or shows that you’ve watched in your target language?