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After Life, Kagemusha, and Sabu - my top picks for Japanese movies

Lilly Birdsong By Lilly Birdsong Published on December 1, 2015

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I have seen so many Japanese movies over the years it's hard to pick a top 3 - but I'd have to go with After Life, Kagemusha, and Sabu.  I'll probably add my Top 20 soon!

After Life is a movie from 1998 about what happens after you die.  It's an interesting concept, where you're sent to this kind of government office that reviews your life with you.  You are allowed to choose only one memory to take with you to the next life.  Which memory would you choose?

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When we go back to the classics, I've watched a lot of Kurosawa movies and it's hard to pick a favourite because he is an amazing filmmaker.  He has a great eye, wonderful cinematography, and is a great storyteller.  But I have to say one of my favourites is Kagemusha, a film from 1980.  It's a story about a dying warlord who employs a kagemusha, or look-alike, to impersonate him.  It's a story full of intrigue, plot twists, and action.  A great watch!

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Lastly I totally love Sabu, it's one of my favourites and I go back to this movie all the time.  I think it's less well known, but it's a real gem.  It's a story about friendship and the limits you'll go to for a friend.  The movie is from 2002, and it's about two guys, Sabu and Eiji, who are best friends.  Eiji gets framed for a crime he didn't commit, and sent to an island where he is incarcerated.  Sabu never believes that Eiji committed the crime, and he is determined to prove his innocence.  There's clearly a conspiracy at hand because everywhere he tries to get to the truth he is blocked.  It's a terribly moving story, makes me cry every time I watch it.

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These are some great Japanese movies to get you started, but I can certainly recommend many more! 

I am a Sci-Fi writer. I love drinking whiskey, hanging out with my 2 cats, and kickboxing. Check out Children of RIVA if you're interested in my work. Oh, and in my spare time I work ... Show More

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