Japanese series get a little bit overshadowed by its more popular cousin—Korean dramas—but that doesn't mean there aren't a number of noteworthy ones that you should give a try. In fact, Japanese cinema has always been a powerhouse from the early days of Akira Kurosawa, the prime of Japanese horror to the visually stunning animated works of Hayao Miyazaki. And this greatness extends to its drama series. Lucky for us, Netflix has a lot to offer.
While most of them tend to be adapted from manga (Japanese comics) series, that doesn't mean they aren't worth your time. In fact, because they're adapted from popular material, it's only right for them to be adapted into a series. Japanese dramas are on the rise, thanks to recent hits like Alice in Borderland topping Netflix charts and already signed up for a second season and The Naked Director which just dropped its new season.
Are you on the hunt for the best Japanese dramas to watch? From romance, thrillers to fantasy, we rounded up our top picks to watch in 2021.
See also: 30 New Must-Watch Korean Dramas In 2021
1. Alice in Borderland
Alice in Borderland reclaimed the popularity of Japanese dramas and as soon as it was released nabbed the number one spot in Hong Kong. The drama, based on a manga series is set in a dystopian Tokyo and follows directionless gamer, Ryohei Arisu (Kento Yamazaki) who finds the once-bustling city now abandoned after meeting with friends in Shibuya station. A voice directs him to a game they're required to play but it's not just any other game, it's a game they have to play in order to survive.
Despite its grim, survival set-up, the drama is also full of thrills and excitement and perhaps that's something we all need while in quarantine. Thanks to its popularity, a second season has been announced and may well be something to look forward to in the coming year.