by Old_Anime_Lady, May 16, 2021

This is a Cheat Sheet for MDL's 2021 Watch Challenge!

This article covers 

  • ( ) Watch a drama/movie about Fantasy/Alternate past timeline The "/" is a short hand for "or".

When I first compiled the titles for this article by using the "Japan - Fantasy" search parameter, I found that a lot of the things I consider Sci-Fi or Supernatural were labeled as "fantasy". My brain with its two working braincells categorizes Fantasy as works that are similar to Lord of the Rings or the King Arthur Legend. Or even Robin Hood. All of these are Western references but I think I have made the point. Clearly set in the past, either real or fictional, but not "Historical". 

Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often inspired by real world myth and folklore. [...] Fantasy is distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the respective absence of scientific or macabre themes, though these genres overlap. - Wikipedia

Witches, Shinigami, ESP, radioactive spider-bitten superheroes are all supernatural to me. And Robots, Cyborgs, Aliens are all Science Fiction. So here are the titles I have watched that I consider Fantasy OR alternate past timeline. Time travel also has its own category.

This article contains spoilers in the forms of tags, this is your only warning.

Destiny: Kamakura Monogatari 

Genres: Mystery, Romance, Fantasy, Supernatural

Tags: Reincarnated Lovers, Adapted From A Manga, Ghost, Age Gap, Imagination, Married Couple, Train 

My Rating:  8.5/10
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 237 users

- Review by Eiga-Man Ray

I am not sure what I was expecting when I picked this up but I was pleasantly surprised at how naturally the actors interacted with the green screen. In the last half of the movie, the special effects quality went down but I still really really liked this one.

Death Trance 

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Tags: Sword-fight, Kid, Child

My Rating:  9/10
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 129 users


The soundtrack adds to the great that is this movie. You will not get oscar-worthy acting, no realistic props, or even props that make sense. What you will have is FUN. Oh and be sure to watch out for the creepy garbage pail kid zombies :D.


Genres: Action, Fantasy

Tags: Demon, Tragic Past, Adapted From A Manga, Cross-Dressing

My Rating:  7/10
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 674 users

Not to be confused with Durarara!, which is  GOOD and has no live action.  Not to say this was terrible but the ending alluded to more we never got in the LA verse. It fits all the criteria of an action adventure but nothing that makes it stand above all the others.

Garo And The Wailing Dragon 

Garo: Goldstorm Sho

Wailing Dragon
Genres: Fantasy
Tags: Sword-fight, Tokusatsu 

My Rating:  6.5/10
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 209 users

Goldstorm Sho

My Rating:  7/10
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 123 users 

These two reminded me very much of the power rangers series or very old fantasy adventure movies like Never ending Story and Dark Crystal or Labyrinth. I will watch more in the franchise but it is definitely not for everyone. The fantasy world is well established, though, and you get the feel of stepping into it.


Gintama 2: Rules Are Meant To Be Broken 

Gintama 2: Yonimo Kimyo na Gintama-chan 

Genres: Action, Friendship, Historical, Comedy,

Tags: Adapted From A Manga, Swordswoman, Parody, Strong Male Lead, Sword-fight, Eccentric Character, Eccentric Male Lead, Strong Friendship, Samurai, Alien

My Rating:  7.5/10
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 1,798 users


Genres: Action, Friendship, Historical, Comedy,

Tags: Kinki Kids, Overcoming Struggles, Flashback To Past, Strong Male Lead, Feudal Japan, Overcoming Fear, Eccentric Male Lead, Strong Friendship, Loneliness, Otaku

My Rating:
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 742 users


Genres: Historical, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Tags: Feudal Japan, Samurai, Adapted From A Manga, Alien 

My Rating:  7/10

Ratings: 7.7/10 from 278 users

The thing about the Gintama Universe is that it is Every Genre. The world is not explained, it just is. Aliens took over Japan (and probably the world) in the early Edo period. So really, anything goes and this is just the life of one detective in that universe. Comedy is on point.

Girl in the Sunny Place 

Genres: Romance, Fantasy

Tags: Adapted From A Novel, High School To Working Life, Rescue, Arashi, Workplace, Hidden Identity, Cohabitation, Childhood Friends, First Love, School Bullying

My Rating:
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,843 users


More romance than fantasy but it is there. Kindness repaid 10-fold  in unexpected ways. I cannot reveal too much as it will be very spoilery, but I can say I enjoyed the way things unfolded in the story telling. 

Jellyfish Eyes

Genres: Comedy, Fantasy
Tags: Coming Of Age, School Bullying 

My Rating:  7/10
Ratings: 6.9/10 from 56 users

This is more of a children's movie with values and lessons geared to that angle. The  CG was great and well integrated with the live actors. 

Laughing Under the Clouds

Genres: Action, Historical, Fantasy, Supernatural

Tags: Strong Male Lead, Frenemy, Calm Male Lead, Sibling, Nice Male Lead, Adapted From A Manga, Flashback To Past, Samurai, Shonentai, Attempted Murder

My Rating:  7.5/10
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 304 users

I felt a little lost watching this movie, as I was not familiar with the Manga. The costumes, acting, and action were all standard - nothing terrible and nothing spectacular.

Minami-kun no Koibito (1994)

Minami-kun no Koibito  (2004)

Minami-kun no Koibito - My Little Lover  (2015)

Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Supernatural

Tags: Legend, High School, Transformation, Cohabitation, Student, Childhood Friends, Adapted From A Manga

My Rating:  9/10
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 11 users

Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Supernatural

Tags: Legend, Idol Actor, Arashi, High School, Transformation, Cohabitation, Student, Childhood Friends, Adapted From A Manga

My Rating:  9/10
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 493 users

Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Youth, Fantasy

Tags: High School, Childhood Friends, Cohabitation, Legend, Secret, Childhood Love, Transformation, First Love, Adapted From A Manga, Lying

My Rating:  8/10
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 4,967 users


1994 is truest to the Manga and got higher points for me. 2004 is the first one I watched and yes, I gave higher points for Nino... not gonna lie. The 2015 version changes the story almost completely, only keeping the shrinking element. I was originally intrigued by the storyline because I was a fan of the folk tale of  Thumbelina and movies like The incredible Shrinking WomanThe manga is a bit dark and the live actions made it more palatable for the people looking for romance.


Genres: Fantasy

Tags: Orphan Male Lead, Traveling, Exorcism, Ghost-seeing Male Lead, Adapted From A Manga

Your Rating:  7/10
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 368 users


I am a fan of the anime so I absolutely needed to watch this. The acting is good but the story was kinda jumpy, which is always an issue with trying to cram so much information into two hours or less.  

Nobunaga Concerto 

Nobunaga Concerto: The Movie 

Genres: Action, Military, Historical, Comedy, Romance, Drama, War, Political

Tags: Power Struggle, Sengoku Period, Oda Nobunaga, Adapted From A Manga, Time Travel, Kis-My-Ft2, Cold Female Lead, Attempted Assault, Warm Man/Cold Woman, Attempted Murder 

My Rating:
Ratings: 8.3/10 from 2,885 users

My Rating:  8.5/10
Ratings: 8.2/10 from 1,094 users

The first few episodes are shaky, not going to lie, but episode 3 onwards draws you into these fictional events that happened during Nobunaga's Time. The cast is chockful of familiar faces of the time. If you are looking to dip your toes into Japanese historicals, this is a a great way to start, but do not look for accuracy, just loosely touches of actual events. ;)

Ooku (2010)

Ooku: The Inner Chamber (2012)

Genres: Action, Historical, Romance, Drama, Family

Tags: Matriarchy, Adapted From A Manga, Gender Role Reversal, Kanjani 8, Lovers Separated, Feudal Japan, Reverse-Harem, Arashi, LGBTQ+, Samurai

My Rating:  8.5/10
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 581 users

Tags: Gender Role Reversal, Animal Death, Reverse-Harem, KAT-TUN, Older Man/Younger Woman, Samurai, Age Gap, Adapted From A Manga, Idol Actor

This story is about a disease that kills off 80 % of the males and decimates the population. That means in the beginning women in power had to pretend to be males just to hold society together. The drama takes place at the start of the plague and the special is three generations down the line in the same universe. I love both of these, the acting in the drama is great and the story in the special is corny but endearing. Note: Most males that watch this do not like it because of the improbability of the scenario. Shrug.

Paco and the Magical Picture Book 

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy

Tags: Adapted From A Play, Overbearing CEO, Mixed Live Action-Animation, Nurse, Doctor, Mental Hospital, Actor, Child, Mean Male Lead, Mental Health

My Rating:
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 82 users


I can best describe this as Tim Burton-esque but darker. Trippy visuals and story line, with a child-like message but I would NEVER let any kid under 16 watch it. But I am a weird mom about certain subjects and to expose someone without enough experience to the theme is sometimes damaging. Dark tones and themes. I would not put this in the "Family" genre.

Poison Berry in My Brain 

Genres: Comedy, Romance, Life, Drama, Fantasy, Mature

Tags: Insecurity, Shy Female Lead, Older Woman/Younger Man, Life Lesson, Writer, Age Gap, Adapted From A Manga, Love Triangle 

My Rating:  7.5/10
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 688 users


This was cute yet packed a life lesson as well. I am a fan of the bickering voices in a person's head trope and this was no exception. It's okay to be proud of your own success and if the person you are with can't deal... Well, that's their problem.

Princess from the Moon 

Genres: Drama, Fantasy
Tags: Adapted From Folklore, Contest, Adoption, Alien, Historical

My Rating:  6.5/10
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 13 users

One of the last things Toshiro Mifune appeared in and it was my introduction to this Japanese folktale. While Americans say the moon is made of cheese, the Japanese stories say this is where the royal court of magical beings live. Yes, Aliens are part of the original story. It was released in 1987 so the special effects are not super great but they serve their purpose.

Seirei no Moribito

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Tags: Female Warrior, Badass Female Lead, Bodyguard, Adapted From A Novel, Friendship 

My Rating:  7/10
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 512 users

Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this when I watched it. It felt like every other fantasy title I had every watched. Maybe I'll have a go at the other titles in this series but I was bored with this one. The female guard was kinda new but I watched Red Sonja in the eighties so it's not groundbreaking. I will say the cast is amazing, though.

Semi Otoko 

Genres: Comedy, Romance, Fantasy

Tags: V6, Hey! Say! Jump, Hidden Identity, Transformation, Interspecies Romance, Cohabitation, Innocent Man, Tragic Past, Innocent Female Lead,
 Nice Male Lead 

My Rating:  8/10
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 104 users

With only 7 days to live as a human, this cicada-- yes you read that right-- this cicada learns how to be human. His love interest, a human all her life, through him, also learns to be human. Super sweet but not sickeningly so, love story along with found family vibes with each character having their own story that weaves into everyday life over the course of these 7 days.

Shinobi: Heart Under Blade

Genres: Action, Romance, Drama, Fantasy, Supernatural, Tragedy

Tags: Lovers To Enemies, Star Crossed Lovers, Rival Groups, Female Warrior, Ninja 

My Rating:  6/10
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,468 users

I watched this DUBBED and it ruined my enjoyment of the movie so much for me. It's a Romeo and Juliet story with some Asian high flying combat and mysticism added. I did like some of the side characters, though, but that's my anime enthusiast showing again : )


Genres: Music, Comedy, Romance, Fantasy

Tags: TOKIO, Slight Romance, Afterlife, Death, Crossworlds Traveler, Reincarnation, Idol Actor

My Rating:  8/10
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 449 users

This movie is what happens if hell was like the cover of an eighties heavy metal album and you can reincarnate, but you have to earn the right to be human again. I liked the comedy and it was something new for me. As you know, "new" wins points from me. Is it an acting master piece... NO. Is there some hidden message? NO! Is this movie fun? Yes!

Yuusha Yoshihiko to Maou no Shiro

Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Tags: Satirical 

My Rating:  8/10
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 721 users 


Yuusha Yoshihiko to Akuryo no Kagi 

My Rating:
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 399 users

Yuusha Yoshihiko to Michibikareshi Shichinin

My Rating:
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 182 users
Set up as a Jrpg, our four heroes traverse the land to save it from evils. I highly enjoyed all the in-jokes and gags this series had to offer. I am a Mel Brooks movie fan and this felt just like one of those types of movies.

From China:

Legend of the Naga Pearls

New Dragon Gate Inn

Rakshasa Street

The Legend of the Demon Cat 

Now for the closing paragraph. Are you even still reading? Have your eyes glassed over? Have you wandered away when clicking the many trailers? 

If you are still here and you know a drama or movie that fits this criteria in the examples, please let me know in the comments. Any country, as I will link this article in the discussion forum for the challenge.