We watched a lot of Japanese movies during 2012 and in reviewing the year, made some comparisons to previous years' best. Looking back, I fell in love with Villain, Phone Call to the Bar, Villon's Wife, 13 Assassins and Air Doll while Karen went gaga over Rebirth, The Borrower Arrietty, Dear Doctor and Confessions (which I also like a lot!). For this year, our choices are varied - a couple of drama, a horror-thriller, a light comedy, an anime, and a few coming of age. Before the Best 10 Japanese movies of 2012, here is our review of the year in Japanese movies.

A showcase for young Japanese talents: Some critics are saying 2012 is not a good year for Japanese movies, but we have to disagree. There are some very good movies which provided opportunities for young Japanese talents to shine - Shota Sometani in Himizu and Lesson of the Evil, Kento Hayashi in Blazing Famiglia, Kento Nagayama in The Cowards Who Looked Up to the Sky, Satoshi Tsumabuki and Junpei Mizobata in Fly with the Gold, Tori Matsuzaka in Tsunagu, Takeru Sato in Rurouni Kenshin just to name a few.

Part 3 of our countdown to the Top 10 Japanese movies of 2012 features an anime, a detective thriller, and two distinctly unique coming of age movies starring 2 of today's most promising actors with the same first names - Kento Nagayama and Kento Hayashi. Nagayama is the younger brother of Eita and just like his older brother, can act with passion and intensity. In The Cowards Who Looked Up to the Sky, he plays a lonely youth who had an affair with an older woman, which turned into something deeper, and ended in tragedy.

Kento Hayashi, from Lesson of the Evil, plays the son of a motorcycle gang leader who has grown old of his nasty ways in Blazing Famiglia. However, certain incident in the present compelled the father to go back to his group of gangsters to take revenge against an old rival.

As you may have guessed it already, the detective thriller is Ace Attorney, from Takashi Miike. Many have considered it a big success in adapting the highly entertaining Nintendo Game Boy video game "Gyakuten Saiban" into a live action movie. While the anime is Wolf Children which happens to be one of the most endearing anime to be released during the year. It features the voice of Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Haru Kuroki and Shota Sometani, among others.

More of these films after the jump!

Part 2 of our countdown to the Top 10 Japanese movies of 2012 features two drama and a light comedy. These movies feature some of Japan's best-known actors. Kiki Kirin is already an icon in Japanese cinema - with countless movie roles to her credit and awards and accolades through the years. She is one of the leads in Chronicle of my Mother. Compared to her, Shota Sometani is just starting his acting career but is already considered one of today's most important young talents not only in Japan but in the international scene. One of his latest movies, Himizu - from famed director Sion Sono - is a hard-hitting look at the recent Japanese tsunami and nuclear disaster.

On the lighter side, Eita and Kenichi Matsuyama played train otaku (train enthusiasts) in Train Brain Express, the last movie helmed by Yoshimitsu Morita, who passed away last year. What makes them such amazing films? Get to know why after the jump!

This is Psycho-Drama's first Top 10 countdown of the best Japanese movies for 2012. Looking back, we saw a lot of amazing (and not so amazing) movies for the last 12 months. 

While some of the movies may have been dated 2011, we refer to its international release date, hence some of them may have been shown in Japan last year. As with our past hitlist articles, we always go for the actors' spotlight - hence while we also praise the work of top Japanese filmmakers, we give highlights to young Japanese talents and their roles in these acclaimed movies.

In Part 1 of our countdown, we feature three amazing, yet completely different movies.

So here we go!

What makes a good actor? Is it the ability to transform into another character but at the same time, introduce his qualities as a person? Or is it more important to be able to touch others with his sincere and honest acting? Is it important to play different roles or stick to one type - a superhero or a romantic leading man? Perhaps it's a combination of these qualities? Heck, why do we have to make this difficult? 


In Part 2 of our 30 Hottest Japanese Actors, we're into the top 20 territories. These guys are already known in the biz and have worked with some of the best filmmakers today and made some fantastic films that both fans and critics enjoyed. However, fangirls may be surprised with the rankings - why is my idol ranked lower than someone who is known as a supporting actor? That's actually where the answer lies - we're listing actors, not stars, and that's a world of difference.

The top 20 right after the jump!


Psycho Drama list of 100 favorite Japanese films through the years.