TW ScreenCap: 5 Japanese Films to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

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We love movies here at TW. We’re avid Netflix consumers and theatergoers and even dabble in some celebrity gossip every once in a while between tasks.

Christmas movies, particularly ones with questionable editing and barely passable acting, are a clear sign that’s it’s OK to bring out the decorations and plaid blankets. We think you know all the American classics, so we wanted to introduce you to some Japanese films to add to your holiday watch list.

It All Began When I Met You

If you love Love Actually, you’ll love It All Began When I Met You. Without a doubt the title with the most Christmas spirit on this list, it has everything you could ask for on a Saturday night when you just want to cuddle up in weighted blankets. Awkward flirting, late dinners and all the obligatory illuminations that make the holiday season in Tokyo what it is.

Snow Prince

Though not quite a Christmas movie, the beautiful pearly white landscapes of Snow Prince might just make you hop on a train to Hakuba. In good holiday fashion, this film tells the story of two childhood friends, or perhaps a love that could’ve been, as remembered by Sayo Arima 70 years later. While Arima was born into a wealthy family, Sato was a poor village boy who’s dream was to be a painter. This season, reminisce about simpler times and relive that child-like excitement.

Until The Lights Come Back

Until the Lights Come Back is an interesting twist on the Love Actually formula, with characters and settings that are little more unsettling. Incorporating a few tropes inspired by Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the various characters lost in a dark Tokyo seize an opportunity to face their demons of the past, whether they are a lost love or repressed feelings about to burst.

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

A little bit of backstory is recommended for this one, but if you like to be thrown right in the middle of it, skip the TV series and go straight for this movie. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya takes place in the span of a few days – from December 16 to December 24 to be specific. The film is your classic Kafkaesque tale: Kyon wakes up to find himself in an alternate reality. Some of his friends are missing, others act differently. How will he deal with this new world at a time when family and friends are needed the most?

Tokyo Godfathers

An unappreciated film from Satoshi Kon, the director behind Millenium Actress and PaprikaTokyo Godfathers is set in snowy Tokyo. The film starts with three homeless people who discover an abandoned newborn while rummaging through the garbage. Both a heartwarming film filled with references to Christmas’ best-known tales and a critical view of the city’s underbelly, you won’t regret falling back into Kon’s hypnotizing animation.

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