When it comes to animé we have had some of the most beautiful animated movies of all time, usually coming Japan we have decided to pick the our favourites from the amazing cinema that just doesn’t get the praise or chance in mainstream cinema.
So far we have only ever done Best of films but for the next Opinion battles we are going to pick Worst Sequel, if you want to take part email firstname.lastname@example.org by 20th September 2015
Darren – Movie Reviews 101
The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
I have to pick this one because even though I do feel certain films could be more complete films but this one could easily be the most fun I have had watching an animated movie. The action adventure side is so perfect for animation while the comedy is nailed down brilliantly. To further my case for this to win I give you the fact that Steven Spielberg himself called the film one of the greatest adventure movies of all time.
Tim – Filmfunkel
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Princess Mononoke is a visually gorgeous spectacle with a commanding – mythologically Shakespearean – story that doesn’t clearly take sides. All parties have a reasonable agenda that’s in conflict with everyone else’s.
It’s a time when man and gods shared the planet and the gods, eventually, had to give way citing the origin of demons and many modern beliefs. Wonderfully rich, complex, and mesmerizing – a quilt work of enthralling fantasy.
The production resonates like something ancient and somehow true. Few anime attempt such a monumental narrative scope. Even fewer with such visual brilliance. And none like this with the legendary hand of Hayao Miyazaki’s genius.
Kim – Tranquil Dream
My Neighbor Totoro
My Neighbor Totoro is very much a personal choice. It is a fantasy and fun little adventure about miracles and mystical beings and just believing in better things. Not to mention, who doesn’t think about sleeping on Totoro’s furry belly. Totoro is caring and cute. He’s protective and massively big. He’s one with nature and has his crew of little Totoro’s that help him in his deeds. And while he can’t say much, he will always help you when you need him like take you around in his CatBus. My Neighbor Totoro is charming Japanese animation full of creativity and heartwarming moments along with a good bit of laughs. Its definitely a staple of Studio Ghibli’s awesomeness among its sea of winning anime choices!
Spirited Away – 2001
I don’t know if Spirited Away truly is the best anime around but to be perfectly honest with you, the only anime films I’ve watched have been from the Studio Ghibli collection. And Spirited Away – at a push – is my favourite (now if anyone says The Cat Returns, I won’t know who to vote for…!)
I still remember the first time I watched it, on DVD in my grandad’s living room. It blew me away, I had never seen anything like it and I guess really – I still haven’t! The music and artwork are both lovely but it’s the story that really got a hold of me. Being an English girl brought up on Disney and Macaulay Culkin, this unforgettable kids movie really struck a chord. It’s utterly amazing.
Khalid – The Blazing Reel
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
There are two things you should know about me (1) I don’t cry and (2) I don’t like anime. I’ve seen a lot of movies but never has a film impacted me so much that it made me cry. That was until I saw Grave of the Fireflies and the movie just left me in tears. Isao Tahakata’s masterful anti-war masterpiece is just such an emotionally affecting film that it doesn’t matter if you are a fan of anime or not, it will affect you. Resonant and utterly incredibly powerful, this movie holds up today just as well as it did twenty-seven years ago.
The Girl Who Leapt through Time (2006)
I have chosen this one for best anime movie two reasons:
1) I love time travel movies and it was really interesting seeing how this one played out.
2) I have only seen 2 anime movies in my life and this was the better of the two. Hopefully, comparatively this is a very good one, but we shall see if I end up getting any votes for this. Maybe one day, I’ll end up trying out some more J
My Neighbour Toroto
Technically, this is the only Anime that I could choose as it’s the only Anime that I have seen. I don’t even have an awareness of any others to establish if I would potentially like them better but this film really hit home for me so I can imagine it will always be high on my list. These children and in the middle of dealing with the possibility of losing their mother. There lives could be downtrodden and miserable and they could spend day after day crying and missing out on so much of their childhood but no. Their Father (although works a lot) spends his time with his children, making them laugh and telling them magical stories that their imaginations bring to life in the Totoro, Soot Sprites and the cat bus. There coping mechanism for this very scary and real situation is to be children and jump in puddles, get dirty and imagine a magical world where they can forget the ‘grown up stuff’ for a while. My Mother was ill for most of my childhood but it was never sad, I never even realised what was happening, my childhood was filled with laughter, parties, mud pies, cake making, singing, shopping trips, face paints, dancing, Happy Meals, play houses and tooth fairies.
Maybe there is a lesson here but for the grown ups rather than the kids 🙂
S.G. Liput – Rhyme and Reason
Whisper of the Heart (1995)
I thought about nominating Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke or My Neighbor Totoro (one of which will probably win this round), but none of them touched me personally like Whisper of the Heart. Somewhat of an outsider among Studio Ghibli films,Whisper of the Heart still bears the studio’s trademarks of marvelous animation and endearing characters but stays far closer to the real world than its more fantastical brethren. The only film directed by Yoshifumi Kondō (and also written by Hayao Miyazaki), it follows the experiences of a schoolgirl named Shizuku, an avid reader who becomes intrigued by Seiji Amasawa, a boy who has previously checked out all her library books. Through her everyday interactions at school and at home, we watch her relationships grow and her goals mature. I readily identify with her dreams of being a writer and her fear of criticism, and the encouragements given her have likewise inspired me. I especially admire how the story follows the typical “follow-your-heart” message while prudently adding that, if things go south, “you’ll only have yourself to blame,” a practical caveat that so many other films ignore. Realistic and gentle, Whisper of the Heart is an incredibly underrated gem that also makes brilliant use of one of my favorite songs, John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” It may not appeal as strongly to everyone else, but this is my personal favorite anime film.
Summer Wars (2009)
There are plenty of classic anime films to choose to choose for this category, but I’m going to mix it up and pick something fairly recent: Summer Wars. The premise is pretty simple: Every network in Japan, personal, business, security, etc., runs through a type of virtual reality and social network called OZ. A rogue program seeks to take over OZ and begins causing mayhem all over Japan and it’s up to math genius Kenji to fix it. My favorite thing about this movie is there is a distinct style for both the real world and the computer world of OZ. The real world style is more subdued and flat colors, whereas OZ is vibrant. There is a lot of action in the film but family is at the heart and center of the movie as well. Summer Wars is unique and enjoyable and gives a great social commentary about where our world seems to be heading in the digital age, making it one of my more recent favorite anime.
James – Back to the Viewer
I was tempted to enter Paprika into this week’s battle, in part because it is an obscure Japanese anime that gets very little attention but mostly because I thought this week was the Anime Battle. Having been informed that this week is in fact the Ghibli battle I feel less guilty for entering Spirited Away.
When Chihiro and her parents venture into a seemingly abandoned town their journey is plagued by more than gluttony and greed. After her parents are transformed into pigs by the witch Yubaba, Chihiro seeks the help of Haku to return her parents to human form and escape the spirit world. With wonderful characters, beautiful animation and stunning set pieces each exploring different themes and Japanese culture Spirited Away is a true celluloid delight that is more enjoyable in its subtitled form than a poor english dubbing.