Best Japanese Live-Action Movies Based on Shoujo Manga

Best Japanese Live-Action Movies Based on Shoujo Manga

Jaoanese Live-action Shoujo

In the Philippines, if you talk about anime and manga, what comes first to mind are the action-packed stories about characters with superpowers. But in shoujo manga, it’s the opposite. What it offers are heart-warming and romantic tales catered to female readers.

Shoujo manga tells the lives of female heroines in their search for their one true love. Despite being less popular compared to manga aimed for boys like Rurouni Kenshin, One Piece, or Attack on Titan, it is always the most successful genre to cross over to live action movies. Of course, they do not need that much money to produce and the CGI effects is not needed.

Regardless, not all Japanese live-action movies based on romance shoujo manga are good, some can be terribly wrong as well. If you want to see the best ones, check these must-watch movie list:

Sand Clock Poster

Sand Chronicles

The fact that this movie is based on a Shogakukan Manga Award (2005) winner for shoujo manga, it is no wonder that Sand Chronicles has a great story to tell. This 2008 movie tells the life of Ann Uekusa who met Daigo Kitamura when she and her mother moved to a small town of Shimane after her parents had a divorce. Their sweet relationship however is tested when Ann’s tragic past keeps on haunting her.

Liar and His Lover

The Liar and His Lover

The Liar and His Lover is based on manga written by Kotomi Aoki. It tells the story of a composer named Aki, who is also the mysterious ex-member of a famous boy band; and Riko, a high school student gifted with a beautiful voice. The film is void of over-the-top acting you often see in live action adaptations and become more of an entertaining musical film.


Blue Spring Ride

Wouldn’t you feel a bit curious as to what happened to your crush who suddenly went away and then returned having a new name and attitude? That curiosity lead the heroine Futaba Yoshioka to know more about Kou Mabuchi, her high school crush. Just like spring, this movie is light and also has deep anchor to the emotions of the characters. The actors Tsubasa Honda and Masahiro Higashide breathe life into the characters and that is shown in their on-screen chemistry.

READ  6 Japanese Live-Action Movies to Watch Out For

Strobe Edge Live Action Poster

Strobe Edge

Written by Io Sakisaka, the same mangaka who made Blue Spring Ride, Strobe Edge is another great live action movie to watch in a lazy Friday evening. Starring Japanese stars Sota Fukushi and Kasumi Arimura, Strobe Edge tells the story of Ninako and her harbouring feeling towards the most popular guy in his school, Ren. This movie adaptation isn’t deep, knowing that the shoujo manga itself is light. But it is still a worthwhile film that would make you fall in love with the characters.

Say I love You

Say “I Love You”

If you fell in love with Sota Fukushi and his portrayal of Ren in Strobe Edge, then you should also check out Say “I Love You,” based on a shouju manga written by Kanae Hazuki. The movie’s plot is typical but the characters Mei Tachibana and Yamato Kurosawa have a certain charm that fans of this genre adore. If only the kissing scenes are more natural and less awkward, this movie might be rated better.


We Were There

Unlike other live-action adaptations, We Were There (Bokura Ga Ita) considered the length of the manga leading to a two –part movie. This made the film clear even to those who haven’t read the original material. The movie is filled with heart-warming scenes and is far from the fluffy cheesiness most shoujo stories tell. This adds to the charm of the movie that is why it is considered as one of the best romance movies based on a manga.


Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You

Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You came after a successful manga and anime hence there was high expectation from this movie before it came out. Good thing it turned out well, and became one of the most successful live-action adaptations. Despite a few boring scenes, the movie expressed the poignant story of friendship and romance well.

READ  6 Japanese Live-Action Movies to Watch Out For


Beyond the Memories

The heaviest live-action movie in the list, Beyond the Memories digs into the naive veneer of love and tells the pain that comes along with it. Here director Takehinko Shinjo masterfully tells the story of Kanna Seto and Rokou Akasawa who both carry the burden of losing someone important. The opening line: “If a person loses someone important, will that person fall in love again?” is the testament of how profound the movie is.

Japanese live-action adaptations are often frowned upon by fans, these romantic movies however are the ones that you should check out!

Did we miss your favorites? Recommend them below.


  • Maria Erica Molina
    June 24, 2016

    SO TRUE!!!!!

  • Gillian O'meagher
    July 5, 2016

    Great list.

  • Maico Aliazas
    July 17, 2016

    Hmm…. I think you should add the Koizora movie even if there are also boring scenes there (^v^)v

  • Kimpee Olivar
    July 17, 2016

    Hello Maico. It's just my preference that is why I did not add it on this list. I did not enjoy it as much as these movies. But I know some people who enjoyed watching it.

  • Razpyon
    September 19, 2016

    Anohana Live action is also good.

  • Kiko-chan
    October 16, 2016

    when you realize if you’ve watched all of them…

    You have no life•••

  • Aileen Abigail Apostol
    October 24, 2016

    Heroine Disqualified!

  • Pat
    March 6, 2017

    Just finished watching Heroine Disqualified and twas indeed a great movie but I think it would be way better if they didn’t try to make it a comedy or was it a way to show the heroine’s personality?

    • Manillenials
      March 14, 2017

      Couldn’t agree more. I just hope that the heroine wasn’t as animated to make her more realistic.They are supposed to act as humans not anime characters. Other than that it was a fun movie to watch.

  • Vivi
    April 27, 2017

    L-DK, Kyou, Koi wo Hajimemasu, Say I Love You are also good 🙂

    • Manillenials
      May 13, 2017

      I did not enjoy L-DK, but I will definitely check out the other two. Thanks for stopping by. ^_^

  • Saloni
    July 17, 2017

    Please add the following to make the list more informative and long. These are really nice movies. You must watch them.

    Okami shoji to kura ouji
    Shigatsu wa kimi no uso
    Heroine shikkaku
    Kenkyori renai
    Enoshima prism
    My tomorrow, your yesterday

    Ps- the first 5 movies are of Kento Yamazaki. I totally adore him and his acting. His movies are a must watch.

  • Jennifer Spires
    January 20, 2018

    You know you are building a list for others to watch.
    So leaving out good live-action movies just because you didn’t enjoy them?
    Tells me that you’re kind of small-minded. Even I would have put others on the list that I didn’t like because it’s NOT about me.
    It’s about others and what they might enjoy.

    Can’t really be a well rounded site to gather information on live-action movies if the one controlling the site says, well I didn’t like it so I won’t add it.

    Both Koizora and L-DK are really good.

    P.S. I am not judging you for not liking them, I’m judging you for making the decision to not add them whether you liked them or not.

    Because others would like to simply have that information and that option. How can they when your so bias?

    What a pity for the site to be so limited.

    • Manillenials
      January 21, 2018

      Hi Jennifer! Thank you for your insights. We don’t claim to be experts, and we cannot claim that we’ve watched all the live action films out there. It’s impossible for us to include all the live action movies, even if we want to. We try to be as inclusive as possible and to give the best recommendations to our readers. After all, this article is supposed to be the list of live action shoujo movies we consider as the best ones. We want to recommend the ones we think everyone should watch. We’ll try to be more encompassing next time to cover more recommendations. Thank you!:)

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