Ma-re is an enthusiast writer about Korean and Japanese culture.
Live-action adaptations of manga stories are becoming popular nowadays, especially in the shoujo romance genre. Lately, a lot of good movie adaptations have been made, and among the many created, I've listed the top 15 as of 2016 in the article below. Take a good look to see if you're familiar with these "best of the best" movies, and let me know in the comments whether you agree with my selections.
Top 15 Live-Action Shoujo Romance Movies
- Heroine Shikkaku
- Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride)
- Strobe Edge
- Your Lie in April
- Sukitte Ii Na Yo (Say, I Love You)
- Kimi ni Todoke
- Senpai to Kanojo
- Beyond the Memories
- Kanojo Wa Uso Wo Aishisugiteru (The Liar and His Lover)
- Lovely Complex
- Bokura Ga Ita (We Were There)
- Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu (Today I'll Start Our Love)
- Wolf Girl and Black Prince
Read more about each of these films below.
15. Wolf Girl and Black Prince
As one of the most anticipated live-action movies of 2016, Wolf Girl and Black Prince was adapted for the big screen and was very successful in theaters. The cast included Fumi Nikaido as 16-year-old Erika Shinohara, and Kento Yamazaki as the sadistic prince. Seeing these two terrific actors work together in this film is a spectacle to see: Nikaido's excellent acting skills and Yamazaki's hitherto unknown dark side makes for a top-notch performance.
Visually speaking, the cinematography isn't perfect. If you are a movie enthusiast and have an eye for photography, you'll agree there are some scenes that are framed very awkwardly. Still, the story and the acting makes up for it. It's still worth a watch!
- Fumi Nikaido as Erika Shinohara
- Kento Yamazaki as Kyouya Sata
- Noboyuki Suzuki as Nozomi Kamiya
- Mugi Kadowaki as Ayumi Sanda
- Ryusei Yokohama as Takeru Hibiya
14. Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu
Emi Takei and Tori Matsuzaka star in this live-action adaptation of Kanan Minami's shoujo manga, Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu, which, in English, translates to Today I'll Start Our Love.
It tells the story of Tsubaki Hibino (Emi Takei), a girl who loves doing her younger sister's hair every morning, but doesn't think that kind of style suits herself. At her high school's opening ceremony, she finds herself sitting next to the top student, Kyouta Tsubaki (Tori Matsuzaka).
At first, Kyouta seems like a very diligent, level-headed student, but this turns out to be untrue: he's actually arrogant and rude. After the two encounter each other, they seem to put their differences aside. Takei's portrayal of the shy Tsubaki is praiseworthy. Her braided pigtails and nerdy glasses along with her demure character is simply perfect. And when she's being transformed from nerd to chic, her chemistry with Matsuzaka becomes simply hot!
- Emi Takei as Tsubaki Hibino
- Tori Matsuzaka as Kyota Tsubaki
- Fumino Kimura as Nana
- Sho Aoyagi as Hananoi
- Kento Yamazaki as Nishiki Hasegawa
- Yua Shinkawa as Sakura Hibino
13. Bokura Ga Ita
Also known as We Were There, this live-action film stands out from the rest of the shoujo romance adaptations. With one of the best actors in Japan, Toma Ikuta, playing the role of Motoharu Yano, and Yuriko Yoshitaka playing Nanami Takahashi, this movie is one of the most charming in the history of shoujo live-action films.
The movie is filled with heartwarming scenes and great cinematography. The story is also well presented, and you can easily understand it without reading the original manga. This film is less cheesy compared to most shoujo movies.
- Toma Ikuta as Motoharu Yano
- Yuriko Yoshitaka as Nanami Takahashi
- Sosuke Takaoka as Masafumi Takeuchi
- Yuika Motokariya as Yuri Yamamoto
- Ayaka Komatsu as Nana
12. Lovely Complex
As one of the funniest shoujo romance stories of all time, Lovely Complex is a love story about a tall girl, Risa Koizumi (Ema Fujisawa), and her shorter lover, Atsushi Otani (Teppei Koike).
The two lovebirds are teased and called "Hanshin-Kyojin" because of their dramatic height difference. They start as friends who help each other gain the attention of their crushes, but it turns out they are destined to be together all along. There's something wrong with Otani, though: he's very dense when it comes to love.
Both Koike and Fujisawa look very cute in this film, especially when the small Koike is cuddled by the tall Fujisawa. If you like to laugh, watch this film!
- Ema Fujisawa as Risa Koizumi
- Teppei Koike as Atsushi Otani
- Shosuke Tanihara as Kunimi "Mr. Mighty" Maitake
- Nami Tamaki as Nobuko Ishihara
- Risa Kudo as Chiharu Tanaka
- Yusuke Yamazaki as Heikichi Nakao
- Hiro Mizushima as Ryoji Suzuki
11. Kanojo Wa Uso Wo Aishisugiteru
Also called The Liar and His Lover, this movie is based on a manga series written by Kotomi Aoki. It tells the story of a composer named Aki Ogasawara (Takeru Sato), who is an ex-member of a famous boy band, and Riko Koeda (Sakurako Ohara), who is a high school student with an angelic voice.
This unique movie is actually a musical, with the mangaka himself supervising the making of the film. This reflects highly on the movie, since most mangakas don't supervise film adaptations. It is not as sweet and cheesy as other movies, but the music creates a warm atmosphere. Also, Sato's portrayal of the 25-year-old music engineer is something you don't want to miss.
- Takeru Sato as Aki Ogasawara
- Sakurako Ohara as Riko Koeda
- Shohei Miura as Shun Sakaguchi
- Masataka Kubota as Shinya Shinohara
- Kouki Mizuta as Kaoru Ono
10. Beyond the Memories
One of the best drama films in this list is Beyond the Memories, which focuses on the love and pain the two lead characters, Kanna Seto (Masami Nagasawa) and Roku Azakawa (Masaki Okada), are dealing with. This film doesn't only have excellent scenes, but it wonderfully tells how the two protagonists cope with the burden of losing someone important. One of the most memorable lines in this movie is the question, “If a person loses someone important, will that person fall in love again?” A heavy sense of guilt, loneliness, pain, and uncertainty is what makes this movie one of the best.
- Masami Nagasawa as Kanna Seto
- Masaki Okada as Roku Akazawa
- Kengo Kora as Kazue Haruta
- Chizuru Ikewaki as Manami Sakuraba
- Haru as Tomomi Kawaguchi
9. Senpai to Kanojo
Senpai to Kanojo is a cute love story about Rika Tsuzuki (Kyoko Yoshine), a first-year high school student, and her senpai whom she falls in love with. Inside the school, our heroine meets third-year high school student Keigo Minohara (Jun Shison) and is immediately starstruck. Just like a cute kohai looking upon her beloved senpai with hearts in her eyes, Rika is motivated to see him everyday. However, things don't go very smoothly for her. Her beloved Minohara-senpai is secretly in love with another person, Aoi Okita (Riria). Aoi went to the same high school and is now a first-year university student. This cute movie is perfect for a kohai who is secretly in love with her senpai.
- Jun Shison as Keigo Minohara
- Kyoko Yoshine as Rika Tsuzuki
- Riria as Aoi Okita
- Junji Tozuka as Tetsuo Yada
- Kaho Mitzutani as Yuko Momodani
8. Kimi ni Todoke
This movie is simply superb, featuring good cinematography, a nice selection of scenes, terrific actors, and lovely chemistry throughout. One of the best live-action movies of all time is Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, which came out before this movie and after the success of both the manga and anime series. Because of this, fans had very high expectations for this movie. They weren't disappointed. Haruma Miura's naturally handsome looks fit the character of Shota Kazehaya. Miura has said himself that he felt no discomfort playing the role of the "real Kazehaya," describing it as a "tailor-made" role. And Mikako Tabe's long hair suits the Sadako-like image of Sawako Kuronuma. The cheesiness of this story can be felt in the film. It's definitely a must-watch!
- Mikako Tabe as Sawako Kuronuma
- Haruma Miura as Shota Kazehaya
- Misako Renbutsu as Chizuru Yoshida
- Natsuna Watanabe as Ayane Yano
- Mirei Kiritani as Ume Kurumizawa
7. Sukitte Ii Na Yo
Also called Say, I Love You, Sota Fukushi and Haruna Kawaguchi's brilliant portrayal of Mei Tachibana and Yamato Kurosawa brought success to this highly anticipated and hyped-up shoujo manga adaptation from 2014. Based on the original manga written by Kanae Hazuki, it tells the story of two students falling in love with each other. Although it has been considered a success, some fans say some of the kissing scenes are awkward and that there are hidden feelings in the manga that can't be portrayed in the film. Even so, many fans have come to love the real-life Mei and Yamato.
- Haruna Kawaguchi as Mei Tachibana
- Sota Fukushi as Yamato Kurosawa
- Tomohiro Ichikawa as Kai Takemura
- Rika Adachi as Aiko Muto
Orange is a film that will make you feel heartbroken, not because of love, but because of Kakeru Naruse's (Kento Yamazaki) emotional distress and family conflicts. Orange is a fantasy drama about time written by Ichigo Takano. The movie, starring Tao Tsuchiya as Naho Takamiya and Kento Yamazaki as Kakeru Naruse, was a huge success, reaching number one at the box office during its first week in theaters. The lead actor's chemistry is something to die for: Tsuchiya's innocent and shy look is so natural, and the emotionally-laden Yamazaki puts on a masterful performance (especially in his fight scene with his mother).
Viewers can actually feel frustration and sympathy toward Kakeru, who is blaming himself for the death of his mother, emotions which he hides from his friends. On the other hand, Naho's matured image in the future shows Tsuchiya at her most beautiful, and the regret she feels is very well portrayed. If you'd like to see a movie that highlights friendship more than love, this is the movie for you.
- Tao Tsuchiya as Naho Takamiya
- Kento Yamazaki as Kakeru Naruse
- Ryo Ryusei as Hiroto Suwa
- Hirona Yamazaki as Takako Chino
- Dori Sakurada as Saku Hagita
- Kurumi Shimizu as Azusa Murasaka
5. Your Lie in April
Your Lie in April is another wonderfully-made live-action film. It tells the bittersweet, musical story of the piano prodigy, Kosei Arima (Kento Yamazaki), and the freestyle violinist girl, Kaori Miyazono (Suzu Hirose).
Kosei's mother was very strict about him winning piano competitions, and when she dies, he is suddenly unable to hear the sound of his piano. That is, until he meets a girl that changes his life, the lively Kaori, who helps him face the piano again. Their happy encounter is short-lived, though, when Kosei becomes devastated upon learning Kaori's secret.
This film became a hit in Japan after its anime adaptation, and fans had high expectations for the live-action adaptation. The chemistry between young Hirose and Yamazaki is noteworthy, with Yamazaki being the nerd and Hirose being playful and cute.
- Suzu Hirose as Kaori Miyazono
- Kento Yamazaki as Kosei Arima
- Anna Ishii as Tsubaki Sawabe
- Taishi Nakagawa as Ryota Watari
L-DK tells the cute story of Aoi Nishimori (Ayame Gouriki), a young girl with a strong personality, and her encounter with the school prince, Shuusei Kugayama (Kento Yamazaki). Aoi first meets Shuusei whens she confronts him for being rude to her friend, Moe (Rei Okamoto), after she confessed her love to him. It turns out that Shuusei is actually Aoi's new neighbor, and after a chain of accidents, they have to live under the same roof.
Ayame Gouriki's portrayal of Aoi is very similar to the manga: she's cute, strong, and at the same time, fragile. She looks so much like Aoi before the scene when she cuts her hair. Kento also portrays Shuusei very accurately: he is playful, a bit arrogant, and of course, handsome. Although there is some alteration in some of the scenes, it remains a successful adaptation because of the good characterization and cinematography.
- Ayame Gouriki as Aoi Nishimori
- Kento Yamazaki as Shuusei Kugayama
- Akiyoshi Nakao as Ryosuke Sato
- Rei Okamoto as Moe Shibuya
- Anna Ishibashi as Satsuki Mizuno
3. Strobe Edge
Written by Io Sakisaka, the same mangaka who made Ao Haru Ride, Strobe Edge is another great live-action movie to watch. Starring Sota Fukushi and Kasumi Arimura, Strobe Edge tells the story of Ninako Kinoshita (Kasumi Arimura) and her secret feelings towards the school's prince, Ren Ichinose (Sota Fukushi).
This light, heartwarming movie is a worthwhile film that will make you fall in love with the lead characters. Perceiving Ninako's honesty and good intentions, viewers can sympathize with her one-sided love. The actors are also great, with Sota playing the princely-type well and the innocent-looking Kasumi playing the pure and innocent girl, Ninako, to a tee. Together, they create good chemistry. Overall, this movie is cute and the scenes are very well made.
- Sota Fukushi as Ren Ichinose
- Kasumi Arimura as Ninako Kinoshita
- Yuki Yamada as Takumi Ando
- Arisa Sato as Mayuka Korenaga
2. Ao Haru Ride
Also called Blue Spring Ride, this movie was one of the most anticipated live-action adaptation films in 2014 because of the popularity it gained when the anime series was released. The heroine, Futaba Yoshioka, is portrayed by Tsubasa Honda. The gentle guy, Kou Mabuchi, is portrayed by Masahiro Higashide. The actors give life to the story, depicting Futaba's crush on Kou and their struggle to finally be honest with each other. Their on-screen chemistry is great, and they capture the emotions of the characters from the original story. The movie is light, cheesy, and heartwarming.
Unlike the usual shoujo romance, this film is more emotional (especially when it comes to the back story of Kou's life) than romantic. Higashide deserves high praise for executing this complicated role so well. Without a doubt, Ao Haru Ride is great all around, including story, music, performance, and cinematography.
- Tsubasa Honda as Futaba Yoshioka
- Masahiro Higashide as Kou Mabuchi
- Yua Shinkawa as Shuko Murao
- Ryo Yoshikawa as Aya Kominato
- Izumi Fujimoto as Yuri Makita
- Mitsuki Takahata as Yui Narumi
- Yudai Chiba as Toma Kikuchi
- Yu Koyanagi as Yoichi Tanaka
1. Heroine Shikkaku
The number one film at the Japanese box office in 2015, Heroine Shikkaku, is a movie that will completely satisfy your emotions. This live-action adaptation gives us a a feeling much like reading the manga. It's funny, sad, and lovable, all at the same time. Mirei Kiritani's portrayal of Hatori Matsuzaki is simply perfect: she's cheerful, self-centered, wild, and bombastic. Her wild imagination when it comes to her one and only crush, Rita Terasaka (Kento Yamazaki), is executed well. Yamazaki's role as Rita is also good, as he remains dense about Hatori's feelings. Kiritani pulled off Hatori's playful side, while Yamazaki is just as casual as he is in life. Yamazaki and Kiritani's chemistry is perfectly amazing, and it becomes even better when enhanced by good sound effects, music, and cinematography. Once you watch it, you will remember it for a long time. It's simply the best.
- Mirei Kiritani as Hatori Matsuzaki
- Kento Yamazaki as Rita Terasaka
- Kentaro Sakaguchi as Kosuke Hiromitsu
- Ayano Fukuda as Kyoko Nakajima
- Miwako Wagatsuma as Miho Adachi
Did I Miss Your Favorites? Recommend Them Below.
Let us know your favorite shoujo anime manga adaptations and your opinions in the comment box below. You can also express your insights by casting a vote in the poll.
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Questions & Answers
Question: Does "Kaichou wa Maid Sama!" have a live adaptation?
Answer: Sadly, there's no live adaptation for Maid Sama yet. So far, the only adaptation of the original manga is the anime TV series with 27 episodes.
© 2016 Mare-sensei
Arti on January 05, 2020:
Coffee and vanilla,we love, perfect crime,1 liter of teair,Hana Yori Dango,Hanazakari no Kimitachi e etc
Alice on July 29, 2019:
Alyx on June 23, 2019:
How 'bout peach girl?
gk on February 26, 2019:
yeah you missed both my favs
kurosaki kun no iinari ni nante naranai and
I am for both th Kentos- Yamazaki and Nakajima
Carmen on September 22, 2018:
Kento yamazaki seems to star in most of these movies
Fiqq on June 23, 2018:
You missed Kurosaki-Kun no linari ni Nante Naranai
KentoFan on March 20, 2018:
Kento Yamazaki is the best
yunho's admirer on January 02, 2018:
So many Yamazaki Kento, right ㅋㅋㅋㅋ
But I'm here for Haruma Miura and Fukushi Sota xD