Curious about the 10 best sci-fi Asian movies? Asian sci-fi movies got their start when Japanese filmmakers decided to make their creature features like “Godzilla,” “Rodan,” “Gamera” and the like. Since then they’ve offered a smorgasbord of futuristic bad guy-killing action that has never failed to thrill audiences.
- “Summer Time Machine Blues” (2005) Five college losers accidentally open a time machine by breaking its remote control. To avoid discipline, they want to go back to yesterday and bring the remote back to today. But like most young men their age, they’ve watched too many movies and fear that changing the past will change the present.
- “Avalon” (2001) A futuristic cyberpunk thriller, “Avalon” is a sci-fi Asian movie about Ash, a vicious virtual gamer without equal. When she learns that a former gaming head honcho was crippled by an elite level called “Special A,” she decides to undergo the ultimate challenge. But the only way out of Special A? To win.
- “The Machine Girl” (2009) Amil is a Japanese schoolgirl whose little brother gets bullied at school. She steps in not knowing the bullies are mobbed up. The mob doesn’t like her heroics, so they torture her and eventually cut off her arm. Amil is undeterred, however, and with some help she fashions a machine gun where her arm used to be. What comes next can best be described as a blood-fueled butt-kicking rampage.
- “Mothra (Mosura)” (1961) A giant moth is discovered in Japan and proceeds to destroy various cities, most notably Tokyo. Sure, you’ve heard the plot to this sci-fi Asian movie before, but “Mothra” is different. It stands out in the series as being lighter in tone than “Rodan” or “Godzilla”, with decidedly less anti-Americanism and focus on the harsh realities of nuclear warfare. It’s also the first Japanese creature feature with a female monster.
- “Gamera” (1965) A giant turtle is discovered in Japan and proceeds to destroy various cities, most notably Tokyo. If the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ever had a nuclear bomb dropped on them, the result would be “Gamera,” Japan’s gigantic, fire-breathing, fire-eating flying turtle. With fangs. You read that right. Fangs. When Gamera is awakened by an atomic blast, he shows his unhappiness by destroying everything in sight.
- “Natural City” (2003) In the year 2080, a war nearly extinguishes the human race, and as a result powerful cyborgs are made to help mankind rebuild. Each cyborg is programmed to be committed to one human master and feel real emotion. But when the cyborgs get tired of being bossed around, they show the humans what’s what.
- “Rodan” (1956) A giant moth is discovered in Japan and proceeds to destroy—all right, enough already. You probably get by now that the Japanese liked their sci-fi Asian movies with huge dollops of city annihilation at the hands of humongous mutated beasts. “Rodan” has a seriously spooky opening, was the first Japanese monster movie to be shot in color, and ends with some sweet pterodactyl love-making.
- “The Returner” (2002) Why can’t aliens ever invade the earth with love and peace and bundt cakes? In “The Returner,” the grumpy-pants aliens have a bad day and decide to erase humans off the face of the earth. Milly, a tough cookie of a soldier, travels back in time to stop them before they start, but not before getting caught up in a war between a mercenary and the mob.
- “Godzilla (Gojira)” (1954) Who hasn't heard of “Godzilla”? Serving as an allegory about the effects of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, “Godzilla” was a smash in its native country and is one of the best sci-fi Asian movies. Much like “Gamera,” “Godzilla” is about a radioactive mutant lizard wreaking havoc on Tokyo. Property values? What property values?
- “The Host” (2006) Remember when fishing trips with dad ended with a giant water creature kidnapping you until your family battled the beast and rescued you? Same thing happens to single father Hee-bong when his young daughter is snatched by a gigantic river monster. He and his children refuse to run the other way even as the monster attacks the rest of the city. A surprising Korean hit from 2006, “The Host” is one of the best sci-fi Asian movies.
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