10 Must-See Japanese Movies That Aren’t Kurosawa, According To Reddit

Akira Kurosawa (1910 to 1998) is considered by many to be one of the most influential and important filmmakers in Japanese cinema. Be responsible for films, including Rashomon, Seven Samuraiand Kagemushahe has created some of the world’s most famous films.

RELATED: The 5 Best (& 5 Worst) Movies From Japanese Cinema Master Akira Kurosawa

However, many Japanese films received critical acclaim and developed their own worldwide fanbases, of which Kurosawa was not one. And as users on Reddit have shared, there’s definitely plenty to choose from.

shin godzilla

Two titles for the Japanese Godzilla The franchise has made it onto Redditors’ lists, and while both are entertaining kaiju movies, they’re also very different from each other. Directed by the creator of the hit anime Neon Genesis EvangelionHideaki Anno, shin godzilla was inspired by the Tohoku tsunami which triggered explosions at a nuclear power plant. This tragic real-world event led to the idea of ​​one of the most mutant and gruesome versions of Godzilla again.


And it seems Reddit user LastBlankSpace agrees, saying the movie was “haunting, beautiful, and downright terrifying at times.” Fans of the recent American Godzilla movie buffs or fans of the original Japanese movies surely won’t want to miss this one. It is definitely one of the best Godzilla movies for beginners too.


Asami holding a needle in the 2000 horror film Audition.

One of the most shocking films released in the 90s, Hearing gained a lot of western appeal after being screened at several film festivals across Europe with only very few Japanese horror films to compete with. It’s no wonder he was popular, with a twisted love interest and a series of scenes showing inventive and gruesome torture scenes for all to see.

RELATED: The Best Japanese Horror Movie Of Every Year From The 1990s

jv3rl0ov states that they can handle “any kind of gore thrown at me”. But when they wrote their review for Hearing, they said “it really threw me off balance and almost put me off.” Certainly not a movie for the faint-hearted, but brilliant nonetheless.

your name

Mitsuha and Taki on your behalf

Whether you’ve seen this movie or not, anime fans have definitely heard of this one. only beaten by Taken away as if by magic and Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, your name is the third highest-grossing animated film in the world, and its success even inspired Paramount Pictures to adapt it into a live-action version.

The film’s emotional story and tone certainly struck a chord with ODMAN03. “I can feel a warmth inside of me when I look at him.” It seems like it’s not a typical anime movie or a romantic story and for that, it should definitely be on the must-see animation list.

battle royale

battle royale movie

Netflix’s 2021 hit South Korean series, squid game certainly made an impact on audiences with a gruesome twist on childhood games and turning torture into entertainment. And if it hadn’t been for the Japanese success of Kinji Fukasaku in 2000 battle royale, we may not have learned how terrifying Red Light Green Light can be. Some might also say it was one of the films that inspired the hunger games.

And it seems FoxenTheBright thought the movie was a damn good time, too. They said “It was disturbing, twisted and heartbreaking. A true action-adventure masterpiece.”


Ringu 1998 Sadako Close-Up Eye

Perhaps one of the best-known Japanese supernatural horror films, Ringu (also known as the ring) has opened the doors for Western audiences to experience many films in this particular genre, including Ju-On: The Grudge and A missed call. Plus, it spawned a successful string of American remakes that Western moviegoers may be more familiar with.

RELATED: 10 Japanese Animation Masterpieces You’ve Probably Never Seen

Speaking of the American remake, it seems there are still some fans who prefer the original, especially MiracleBenBunny777. In a post to show their opinion, they said “the 1998 movie Ringu is better and scarier than the American version of the ring.” Whichever you prefer, there’s no denying how much of an impact the Japanese version has had on cinema all over the world.


Katsuhiro Otomo created the Akira manga series, and when it was going to be adapted into an animated film, he came on board as a director to bring his cyberpunk dystopia to life. With a team of talented animators, he was able to make one of the most famous sci-fi movies and one of the scariest body horror anime of all time with Akira.

While it may not be as widely celebrated today compared to Studio Ghibli and Toei Animation productions, it was able to continue to be discovered and loved for its quality animation and unique scenes. Remixmark seems to be one of those new fans, as they were “blown away by the art style, the music, the story.”

History of Tokyo

Considered alongside Kurosawa as one of the finest filmmakers in Japanese cinema, Yasujiro Ozu (1903 to 1963) was famous for directing some of the country’s best dramas. And in a poll by the British publication Sight and soundfrom Ozu History of Tokyo became number one in the 100 greatest films of all time.

Many have cited the film as his greatest work, and this classic film was also an introduction to Ozu for Carlislegendary. Although they state that it is not as thrilling or as action-packed as the more famous samurai films when it was originally released in 1953, they found that it “wields broad appeal by focusing on a topic relevant to all cultures: the human condition.”


It’s hard not to talk about a samurai film during the 20th century without mentioning Kurosawa, who is considered one of the greatest directors of such films to this day. But Masaki Kobayashi (1916 to 1996) was able to do one of the best with Hara-kiriwhich focuses on a ronin (a masterless samurai) recounting his previous journey that led him to his current destination.

Reddit user kidclutch thought he “didn’t think he would be that invested in it” before watching it. But afterwards, it was another story. “The direction was brilliant and every scene was executed fantastically.”


Black and white photo of Godzilla from the 1954 film

The King of the Monsters himself has made the Redditors list twice. The originator of the popular kaiju films and the first of what would become a worldwide series, Godzilla is certainly one of the most iconic cinematic monsters in the world. And, with Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla vs. Kong being a huge success and the recent Japan shin godzilla drawing a crowd, it looks like the juggernaut is bigger and better than ever.

Davetek463 finally sat down to watch the 1954 original and “really dug it”. Although they pointed out that parts of the film had aged like “sometimes what thumbnails were” and yet they “still really dug it”.

Princess Mononoke

San sits on top of the Moro wolf in Princess Mononoke

This list could very easily have been made up exclusively of animated films from legendary animation company Studio Ghibli. And fans might be disappointed that their favorite movies from this studio aren’t on the list.

Corn Princess Mononoke is considered by many to be one of the best Studio Ghibli films of all time and certainly one of the most beloved, being the first animated film to win the Japanese Academy Award for Best Picture in 1998 and him paving the way to reach a global audience. And it looks like TMB2006 agrees, saying it “definitely met, if not exceeded, my expectations and is the best Ghibli movie I’ve seen so far.”

NEXT: Yasujiro Ozu’s Best Movies and How They Help Us Understand Japanese Cinema


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