Japanese Critics & Viewers Offer Opinions About Netflix’s Kate

Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars in the Netflix original Kate.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kate wears a t-shirt purchased from a vending machine.
Screenshot: Netflix

Have you ever seen Kate yet? Folks in Japan have, they usually have opinions. Let’s take a look!

The Netflix original debuted last Friday. Set in Japan and starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, it tells the story of a deadly assassin out for revenge. Internationally, the reviews for Kate have been not great. As of writing, the film holds a 43 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Generally, when Hollywood or other film industries portray Japan, they have a tendency to get a bunch mistaken, or drag out old, drained clichés and stereotypes. Hello, Kate.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kate makes a getaway. Or tries to.

Could there not be a more conspicuous automobile to steal if you’re attempting to escape?
Screenshot: Netflix

It may be easy to choose apart these movies, kick the legs out from underneath them for all they do mistaken, however it’s also equally fascinating to see how Japanese domestic audiences respond.

Tokyo Ghoul debuted as a manga before being adapted into a popular anime.

That’s Tokyo Ghoul being projected on the constructing within the background.
Screenshot: Netflix

That is the newest in a long-line of girls assassin movies, a subgenre defined by Lady Snowblood and La Femme Nikita. It’s also the newest foreigners-versus-the-yakuza flick, a fair narrower crime subgenre that kicked off with Sydney Pollack’s The Yakuza and has gone on to incorporate movies like Black Rain, Kill Bill, Wasabi, and even, to an extent The Wolverine—the last of which added mutants, ninja, and samurai.

But what did people online in Japan consider Kate? Below are excerpts from Japanese movie web sites in addition to online user reviews.


Cinema Drake 3/10

Kate’s concept does closely resemble Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 film Kill Bill, but here’s a movie that clearly displays the dearth of progression within the depiction [of Japan] over the past 18 years. This is actually a Japanese stereotype extravaganza as thought up by a foreigner.’


CineMag 81/100

‘When Japanese actors forged in foreign movies speak Japanese, for some reason, they often overact and speak in unnatural Japanese (I’m assuming that it’s because when foreigners hear native Japanese, they’re not capable of understand the sentiment). Nevertheless, there wasn’t any of that type of discomfort, and Jun Kunimura and Tadanobu Asano were normal Japanese yakuza.

‘If could be great if plenty of movies mixing Japanese and Western styles were made!’


Kyou mo Eiga desu ka? (A Movie Today, Too?) 3/10

‘Half-baked spy motion.

‘Inevitably, when Japan appears in Hollywood movies, it quickly becomes cyber punk. It’s as if a little bit of Blade Runner has been added to reality, and this [type of movie] is already on the way in which of becoming a genre called Unsuitable About Japan.’


Kikuhi Movie 6/10

‘The primary problem I had was that it doesn’t seem to be touching a one who has been exposed to radiation exposes one to radiation, because Kate, who has been exposed to radiation, physically touches a variety of people, they usually don’t appear to get exposed in the interim. Nevertheless…. what’s puzzling is what would occur with all of the blood and whatnot that’s getting everywhere.

‘…All of the Japanese music that was picked for the film was just an awful selection.

‘…The music is within the movie was so fucking uncool.’


Eiga.com 2.9/5 (Average user review)

‘ this, you get the sensation that Japan hasn’t modified previously twenty years.’ 2.5/5

‘It’s sort of like Kill Bill meets gyaru culture, and as for the motion, it was quite cool.’ 3.5/5

‘When will Japan’s image be updated? The image of projecting an animation on your complete face of a constructing has never been updated for the reason that era of Japan-as-cyberpunk (for instance, Blade Runner).’ 3/5


Filmarks 3.1/5 (Average user review)

‘It was fairly interesting. It was a bit like Kill Bill.’ 3/5

‘That is nothing greater than foreigners’ delusions of Japan’s underworld society and underground culture. There’s zero character depth.’ 2.5/5

‘It felt like an anime dropped at life. Really useful to those that like John Wick style motion.’ 3.5/5

‘The movie is how Japan is seen by foreign countries. There are plenty of movies set in Tokyo made by foreigners, but I ponder if there aren’t higher places… The story wasn’t so complicated and straightforward to know. It was pretty interesting. The motion was also cool.’ 3.5/5

‘Tokyo is the setting, and I’m glad there was on-location photography in Tokyo.” 3/5

‘This was like Blade Runner meets Tokyo Drift meets The Skilled. It’s a movie that goes together with developments and elements you’ve seen before.’ 2/5

‘This can be a weird movie. But, it was enjoyable. The motion was improbable.’ 3.8/5

‘I feel like watching it as a Japanese person is uncomfortable, however it’s interesting for foreigners watching it.’ 2.5/5

‘Overseas sure likes Japan at night. Hey, make some morning scenes. The motion was good… The story was unfinished.” 3.1/5

‘The story was not deep, however the Neo Japan world view as seen from overseas was interesting!’ 3.4/5

‘It felt like Liam Wong’s photos of Tokyo.’ 3.5/5

‘The story was easy, the ending was meh, but I just like the look of it and was pulled in.’ 4.8/5

‘I liked the gap between cyber punk Tokyo and the uncouth atmosphere of the yakuza.’ 3.5/5

‘The old stereotype for Japan was samurai, ninja, and sushi. Now, perhaps, it’s yakuza, maids, and vending machines.’ (No rating)

‘This just isn’t a movie made for Japanese people to look at. I suppose when foreigners watch it, they don’t feel that anything is misplaced. At the beginning, it says the scene takes place in Osaka, however the license plate reads Tama. [Note: Tama is located in Tokyo. Another clearly visible license plate in that same scene reads Shinagawa, which is also in Tokyo. The scene, however, is in Osaka, which is a six hour drive away from Tokyo.]’ 2.1/5

‘I felt a love for Japan.’ 2.8/5

‘The flashy neon image of Japan hasn’t modified since Blade Runner, I suppose…’ 4/5

‘No way Japanese yakuza could get Polonium. It’s way too hard to get their hands on that. haha’ 1.2/5

‘The black and white battle scene was good.’ 3/5

‘I liked the music.’ (No rating)

‘As expected, the depiction of Tokyo was strange. I imagine the director is a fan of Ghost within the Shell.’ 2.6/5

‘Japan has that much neon? lol It’s a mystery why everyone [in Kate] can speak English. But, I did watch it all of the technique to the tip!’ 3/5

Chu-hai and Calpis make an appearance in a fake Japanese vending machine.

This just isn’t a Japanese vending machine. (I told you it was easy to choose apart these movies!)
Screenshot: Netflix

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