Article: Best Live-Action Japanese Series You Should Watch

Many people worldwide know Japanese animated shows, known as anime, even if they are not fans of it. Even though they are less known, they are still amazing and tend to push the limits of the imagination. These series are often based on manga and have supernatural elements and aesthetics that make them quite fascinating to watch. Some of them are entirely based on original productions, with some of them being the best Japanese live-action series.

1. Smoking

Smoking is an action crime drama released in 2018 by Gonno Hajime and Motoki Takashi. A group of homeless men perform assassinations on contract. They kill their targets and as proof of the agreement, delivers its tattooed skin. Sabe’s crew is known as Smoking, operating under a code of justice. Sabe is a former enforcer. The show has one of the most heartbreaking and shocking twists ever.

2. Tokyo Vampire Hotel

Tokyo Vampire Hotel is an action supernatural drama released in 2017 by Sono Sion. It stars Koho, Mitsushima Shinnosuke, and Tomite Ami. On her 22nd birthday Manami suddenly encounters a mass murder at a pub, and is hunted down by the Draculas and the Corvins, two warring vampire clans. She is a child of prophecy who is meant to help the Draculas overcome their enemy, Corvins. All young women and men gather at the Hotel Requiem by a Corvin named Yamada, who then informs them the hotel is the only refuge they can take, as the world is about to end.

3. The Naked Director

The Naked Director is a Japanese semi-biographical drama released in 2019 by Masaharu Take. It is based on Zenra Kantoku Muranishi Toru Den, a nonfiction novel by Nobuhiro Motohashi. The story is about Toru Muranishi, a Japanese adult video director. It follows his dramatic and unusual life filled with big ambitions as well as setbacks while trying to turn Japan’s porn industry on its head. Even though the adult entertainment subject is touchy, the show focuses on Muranishi's self-defeating ego and magnetic charisma.

4. The Forest Of Love

The Forest of Love is a Japanese mystery crime released in 2019, directed by Sono Sion. Murata Jo is a ruthless criminal, who on the surface is lively and cheeky. He can emotionally control other people, make them commit brutal crimes, and milk them for money. It is based on an actual criminal case that took place between 1996 and 1998 about Futoshi Matsunaga, a serial killer.

5. Alice In Borderland

Alice in Borderland is a Japanese fiction thriller released in 2020, directed by Shinsuke Sato. It is based on Haro Aso, the manga. It stars Tao Tsuchiya and Kento Yamazaki, two allies trapped in an abandoned Tokyo. They are forced to compete in a dangerous game, and the difficulty and type are represented by playing cards, to extend visas, those, if expired, will result in the player’s execution by lasers being shot directly from the sky.

6. Heaven And Hell: Soul Exchange

It is an action crime drama released in 2021, directed by Yuichiro Hirakawa. Ayako Mochizuki, is a thirty-five-year-old detective, who seeks out justice but lacks flexibility. From the evidence collected, she targets Haruto Hidaka as the murder suspect. Haruto is a chemistry researcher who also runs his own company. He is profiting and intelligent but is also a psychopath murderer. Right before arresting him, their bodies are switched.

7. Blazing Transfer Students

Blazing Transfer Student is a comedy youth drama released in 2017, directed by Lee Toshio. Seven transfer students appear at Tanebi Gakuen, a mysterious elite school established by Takizawa Noboru. Takizawa was once called the Blazing Transfer Student. All the seven students coincidentally have the same first name, Kakeru. They all sneak into the problematic school with the mission of improving it from the inside.

8. Mob Psycho 100

Mob Psycho 100 is an action comedy drama released in 2016, directed by Koichi Sakamoto. Kageyama Shigeo is an eighth-grader with psychic abilities. He can lift objects and bend spoons with his mind from a young age. He slowly begins to withhold using it in public due to getting negative attention. The only thing he wants to do now is become friends with Tsubomi, his classmate.

9. Re: Mind

Re: Mind is a mystery thriller drama released in 2017, starring the cast members of the Japanese girl group Hiragana Keyakizaka46. Eleven high school classmates after awaking in an old European-style room find themselves sitting at a large dining room table and have their feet shackled to the floor. They believe that their situation could be related to Miho, their classmate who had disappeared months ago. They also realize they each have a past with Miho.

10. Kakegurui

Kakegurui is a Japanese psychological thriller drama released in 2018. Gambling culture rules an elite private academy, where a student’s betting skills will determine his social status. Yumeko Jabami is a mysterious transfer student who cleverly exposes the elite's corruption and cheating by beating them at their own game. Kakegurui means gambling mad.