I’m a big fan of anime, or Japanese animation. Anime series are usually 24 or 26 episodes per season, and a series gets renewed depending on its popularity. Anime stories are usually adapted from manga, or Japanese comic books, and range from science-fiction/fantasy, to historical, and even present/slice of life. Anime are also classified according to its general audience – age, gender, topic, etc. Anyway, this is not a post about anime in general. If you want to know more about it, you can read a post I wrote about it here.
Other than anime series, there are also anime movies, which are usually excellent, and though animated, sometimes not really for children. You’ve probably seen anime movies by Studio Ghibli, which is distributed by Walt Disney in the U.S. (and in English). However, there are many other great anime movies that are not created by Studio Ghibli (although the ones created by them are also pretty good).
Anyway, here’s a list of my top 10 anime movies (including a few non-Studio Ghibli ones), in no particular order, in case you want to start getting into the whole anime thing but don’t know where to start.
1. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children – This movie is based on the highly successful video game franchise of the same name. The characters in Advent Children include protagonist Cloud, and uber-cool antagonist Sephiroth. The story is about some epidemic that is spreading throughout the land…or something like that. It doesn’t matter, Advent Children is a beautifully stunning anime, and even if you don’t understand what is really going on, it would still be worth watching for its amazing graphics and animation.
2. Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal – This is sort of a prequel to the Ruruouni Kenshin anime series and takes place a few years before the events in the series. It shows Himura Kenshin as a serious assassin and tells the tragic tale of how he acquired the “X”-shaped scar on his face. It might be worth watching this now that a “Ruruouni Kenshin” live action movie has been released, with its 2nd and 3rd installment coming soon.
3. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006) – This seemingly upbeat movie of a high school girl who comes across a mysterious device which lets her go back to the past to re-live certain events, is really a very sad sci-fi story.
4. Grave of the Fireflies – A very sad story about the everyday struggles for survival of a boy and his sister during World War II. Warning: This movie is very depressing, so if you don’t like crying in public, make sure that you watch this by yourself.
5. Spirited Away – An award-winning Studio Ghibli movie about a girl who disappears into the spirit world and encounters its strange inhabitants.
6. From Up On Poppy Hill – A quaint, movie about community, unity, identity and young love.
7. My Neighbor Totoro – A light-hearted movie about the mysterious creatures discovered by two sisters living in the Japanese countryside.
8. Hotarubi no Mori e – This is more of an OVA (Original Video Animation), or short anime, than a full length movie, about the unique friendship of a girl and a youkai which later blossoms into love.
9. Pom Poko – A story about tanukis (raccoon dogs) fighting to save their home against a suburban development project. Not so much for children although they will enjoy watching the cute tanuki creatures.
10. Robot Carnival – is a collection of 9 short films by 9 different directors with themes ranging from comedy to sci-fi to drama. This was released in 1987, so the animation is a bit old, but it’s still a pretty interesting film.
So, there you have it. There’s something here for everyone, whether you like sci-fi, drama, fantasy, or just like watching cute and cuddly, supernatural creatures. Happy viewing!