Netflix has revealed that its Japanese slate for the year ahead includes three films and a seven new and returning series.
The features include Drawing Closer by Takahiro Miki, a director well-known for romantic dramas such as Love Me, Love Me Not and Your Eyes Tell. It follows a young man with a terminal illness who falls for a woman who is also living on borrowed time. The cast is led by Ren Nagase and Natsuki Deguchi.
It is based on a best-selling novel by Ao Morita and is scripted by Tomoko Yoshida, whose collaborations with Miki go back to 2012’s We Were There: First Love. Produced by Nikkatsu and Django Film, it will be released in 2024 but no exact date has been set.
The streamer also highlighted two previously announced features, The Parades and City Hunter.
The Parades will be released on February 29 and centres on the ghost of a recently deceased woman, who meets with an eclectic group of fellow spirits, who participate in a monthly gathering where they attempt to reconnect with the living.
It is directed by Michihito Fujii, known for 2019 box office hit The Journalist, which won best film at Japan’s Academy Awards the following year and was spun-off into a Netflix series of the same name, also directed by Fujii.
City Hunter is set for release on April 25 and is an anticipated live-action adaptation of an iconic manga that sold more than 50 million copies. Directed by Yuichi Sato and scripted by Tatsuro Mishima, it stars Ryohei Suzuki as a gun-for-hire in Tokyo, who navigates the gritty underbelly of the city.
Speaking to Screen last year about taking on the role of Ryo Saeba, Suzuki said: “It’s going to be closer to the original manga than the animation. We’re trying to make something more authentic. The atmosphere will be a little darker… But it’s going to be very enjoyable.”
Netflix launched in Japan nearly nine years ago and has collaborated with acclaimed filmmakers including Hirokazu Kore-eda on The Makanai: Cooking For The Maiko House and Yuji Sakamoto on In Love And Deep Water. Last year, Japanese-language content became the third most-viewed non-English content on the streaming platform, behind Korean and Spanish.
Upcoming series heading to Netflix this year include House Of Ninjas, starring Kento Kaku, which explores what would happen if ninjas were still a part of Japanese society today; crime drama Tokyo Swindlers, based on Ko Shinjo’s novel about a high-stakes game of real estate deception; and The Queen Of Villains, depicting the untold story of Dump Matsumoto, the charismatic figure behind a boom in women’s professional wrestling during the 1980s.