TOP 5 EDIT: Romance minus the cheese. Really?
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This is a film review and film edit by staff member Pochi—the entirety of JFF may not agree with her opinions but we’re interested to hear what you think of these films! Head to our Facebook page or tag us on all social media with #jff2015au.


For fans of the romance genre, JFF 2015 is the year to invite your friends or your significant other to a romance flick that’s not cheesy. After all, there’s a reason why we decided to label the romance category as Romance & Relationships this year. Our romance picks for this year’s festival go beyond the overused sappy plot lines.


Initiation Love

Think 500 Days of Summer but with more mystery and slightly darker.


Clever and sneaky are some of the words we’d associate most with Initiation Love. The story revolves around a male lead character and has a twist that you probably won’t be able to predict – unless you read spoilers! This film is a ‘story about romance’ more than just a simple ‘romantic story’. It also stars the very cool Shota Matsuda and Japan’s sweetheart Atsuko Maeda, who was also in Kabukicho Love Hotel, and is set in the eighties!

Light-hearted     – – – – – ★ – – – –   Dark
Crowd-pleaser   – – ★ – – – – – – –   Niche


Piece of Cake

Work, life, romance and all the tricky bits in between.

© 2015 George Asakura/SHODENSHA/POC Film Partners

Piece of Cake is peppered with reality checks and convincingly tells us about relationships like how it really is. The style of the film would appeal to fans of the art house/indie style, but the story itself has a mainstream appeal. The fact that it’s directed by Tomorowo Taguchi (lead actor in cult favourites Tetsuo and Tetsuo II, also stars in Gantz) makes it interesting!

You’ll catch on screen some of the hottest actors in Japan right now such as Mikako Tabe as the lead character, Go Ayano as the charismatic male love interest, Masaki Suda as the sleazy co-worker, and Tori Matsuzaka as the struggling theatre actor-slash-gay bff.

Light-hearted    – – ★ – – – – – – –   Dark
Crowd-pleaser  – ★ – – – – – – – –   Niche


Three Stories of Love

Utterly depressing, raw and confronting…

© Shochiku Broadcasting / Arc Films

Love lost and love found… Three Stories of Love has wonderful character studies, backed with superb acting by a cast of largely unknown actors. We won’t say anything more about the film except that it’s a fantastic film if something more indie and niche is what you’re looking for. Regular film festival goers will likely appreciate this film.

Light-hearted    – – – – – – – – ★ –   Dark
Crowd-pleaser   – – – – – – – – – ★   Niche


Poison Berry in My Brain

About an indecisive woman, romance, and overthinking

Image © Setona Mizushiro / Shueisha © 2015 A Fuji Television Network, SHUEISHA and Toho

This film revolves around a woman and the different characters inside her head who make decisions for her. It oddly sounds like the film Inside Out, which did cause some fans of the original comic book to criticise the Pixar film – but rest assured that it’s not going to be a live-action of the Disney Pixar film. Poison Berry in My Brain is a romantic comedy with an independent, stylish female lead who doesn’t have much luck when it comes to romance. A lot of the film also takes place in the fashionable neighbourhood of Nakameguro in Tokyo.

Light-hearted     – – ★ – – – – – – –   Dark
Crowd-pleaser   ★ – – – – – – – – –   Niche

No Longer Heroine

We lied, this film is a typical love story but it’s too hilarious (and sweet) to not include in this romance edit.

Image © 2015 "No Longer Heroine" Film Partners © Momoko Kouda / SHUEISHA

If you’re up for watching an entertaining rom-com, or simply want to shamelessly unleash the giddy highschool girl within, then look no further. No Longer Heroine ticks all the crowdpleaser boxes in the comedy category, and also packs in the romance storyline. There’s no shortage of eye candy in this film either, with the adorable Mirei Kiritani as the daydreaming heroine, Kento Yamazaki (L in the 2015 TV series Death Note) as the clueless childhood friend and Kentaro Sakaguchi (Our Little Sister, at Home) as the guy intent on winning the heroine’s affections.

Light-hearted    ★ – – – – – – – – –   Dark
Crowd-pleaser   ★ – – – – – – – – –   Niche

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