We love dark documentaries and dystopian thrillers as much as the next person, but you can have a lot of good stuff. With the exception of “Vampire in the Garden” – which seems very violent – May will bring more quiet and upscale features to match the cheerful season of spring, with titles from life like “Akebi’s Sailor Uniform” and instructive dramas like “Mio’s Cookbook.” (Note: Regional restrictions may apply.)
Stranger on the beach
summary: Sean Hashimoto is an aspiring novelist who lives in Okinawa after being disowned by his parents for being gay. One day, he meets an orphaned high school student named Mio on the beach and the pair slowly get to know each other before Mio suddenly announces his plans to move from the island to the mainland city. Mio eventually returns to Okinawa when he was 20 years old with the intention of declaring his love for Sean, but it’s been three years since the last two meetings and a lot of things have changed for Sean in the meantime.
summary: The Stranger by the Beach is a 2020 anime film based on the manga series ‘L’etranger’ by Kanna Kii. While the original story was rated as a BL (Boys Love) manga, the anime has an amazing amount of depth. It also steers clear of gratuitous intimate scenes that are only there to serve the fans. Sweet, sad and beautifully executed, it’s one of the best Japanese LGBTQ+ movies on Netflix so far.
Available May 1.
summary: Having lost her parents in a devastating flood, Young Mio leaves her hometown of Osaka to pursue her life as a chef in Edo-Tokyo. While Mio has a lot of potential in the culinary arts, she has trouble understanding the differences between the cooking techniques and flavors she is accustomed to in Osaka and the food culture of Edo. Mio is determined to prove herself nonetheless. The whole time, she’s been looking for the next opportunity to meet her childhood friend Noi, who’s also in Edo and works as an expert. oiran (High class prostitute).
summary: Written and directed by Haruki Kadokawa, this delicious film will delight anyone who loves the “Q in Kyoto” animated series. Honoka Matsumoto (‘Love Like Falling Petals’) plays Mio.
Available May 6.
Mew on the Shore
summary: Mio, 20, lives in Nagano and runs an old inn with her grandmother. When her grandmother falls ill and needs to be hospitalized, Aunt Mio decides to permanently close the inn and Mio has to leave her hometown to find work elsewhere. Kosuke, an old friend of her father, offers Mio a place to stay in Tokyo and continues to help out with his bathroom. Just as Mio settles into her new life, it becomes clear that the pigeons are in danger of being demolished to make way for the redevelopment of the area.
summary: Directed by Ryutaro Nakagawa, “Mio on the Shore” is a beautiful meditation on life, loss, and coming of age. Incidentally, Honoka Matsumoto who played Mio in ‘Mio’s Cookbook’ also takes on a character of the same name here, even though the two stories take place in completely different time periods.
Available May 15th.
Akibe sailor costume
summary: Akebe Kumichi has loved the sailor-style school uniform since she was little. When she learned that she had been accepted into the prestigious girls’ school Roubai Private Academy that her mother had enrolled in as a student, Akibe couldn’t wait to don the old school uniform hanging in her wardrobe. On her first day in high school, Akibe was dismayed to find that the school had updated her uniform to reflect a more modern style. Despite a shaky start, Akebe is able to make friends with her classmates, who are drawn to her cheerful personality.
summary: Newly released in 2022, this anime series is based on the manga named Hiro. The first season includes 12 episodes, and stars Manatsu Murakami as the voice of Akibe.
Season 1 is available May 6th.
Vampire in the garden
summary: There was a time when Vampires and humans have coexisted peacefully, but those days are long gone. The few humans who survive the long battle against vampires live in a small community closed off to the rest of the world, but conditions remain dire for all involved. In a desperate attempt to change the status quo, a young girl named Momo and the Vampire Queen, who are supposed to be bitter enemies, make a pact to find a faraway promised land, where humans and vampires are free to play music together.
summary: It’s all-out war in this deliciously dark fantasy series that was initially expected to release in 2021. By its looks, “Vampire in the Garden” is well worth the wait thanks to its catchy visuals and exciting premise that is sure to take audiences on an emotional rollercoaster. Directed by Ryoutarou Makihara, the animated series was created by Wit Studio, the same team behind the Attack on Titan anime series and films (episodes 1-60).
Season 1 is available May 16th.
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