Hello there fellow readers of this blog! This is Andy and today I brought with myself, in my opinion, a couple of Must-See-Before-You-Die anime films. Let’s cut to the chase and get right on to it, shall we?
–This list is not in any particular order. Seventh place is not meant to be worse than first place, nor better. No one is supposed to be “better” than the others (although you’ll sure have preferences among them).–
Number 7: Spirited away
What’s this movie about: Have you ever heard of the expression “Fairy tale”? Well, forget everything you know about it, because this films re-writes it in a dazzling, unique and marvelous way. This “Fairy tale” takes place on an apparently normal old-fashioned Japanese town, a place where our protagonist (Chihiro) ends up because of a wrong-turn her father took while driving. They soon discover that this old Japanese town is far from being “normal”…
Expect some surreal fantasy right off the bat, marvelously designed landscapes that fall on their own accord to the outstandingly fleshed-out characters and an overall artwork that catches your eye as soon as you press “Play” on your movie player.
This movie is a gorgeous ride through Japanese folklore that can be (and actually is) both humorous and frightening.
What’s to love about it: Every single thing of it. The design, the characters, the “eye candy”, the overall artwork, the voice acting, the animation… I would keep going on, but I believe you got the point. Simply, a Miyazaki’s masterpiece.
What’s to hate about it: Nothing. I seriously mean it, there is nothing “bad” within this movie. Well, maybe you can find things to hate if you’re relative of the Grinch, or something.
Number 6: Akira
What’s this movie about: 1988, a huge nuclear apocalypse has landed on Japan’s feet with a bomb being detonated in Tokyo. World War III ended up being inevitable, and civilization was never the same after that. Thirty years after, over the ruins of old Tokyo, the megapolis of Neo-Tokyo arose: An oppressive and inhuman society filled with unemployment, violence, terrorism and drugs. Religious cults, taking advantage of all of this, cultivate the myth of Akira: A kid whose absolute energy could mean the birth of a new era.
What’s to love about it: It’s kind of a cult-favorite, so I guess is not for everyone. There is a lot of deep sociological issues covered in this movie. Think about it as a punk/rock n roll styled and extremely violent dystopian universe, if that makes any sense.
What’s to hate about it: It’s DANG confusing. You could read the manga if you want to understand this universe a bit more.
Number 5: The grave of the fireflies
What’s this movie about: Picture yourself inside a Post-War Japan, days before American troops set foot on it. There, on a train station, young Seita dies alone. The rest of the movie is all about how things ended up this way. I’m not going to tell anything more to avoid spoilers but trust me, there’s a LOT to tell about this film.
What’s to love about it: I believe it’s one of the most powerful movies ever made. Period. This is Takahata’s masterpiece, I’m telling you. It is one of the strongest Anti-War statements to ever been brought to cinema.
What’s to hate about it: I actually couldn’t find anything to note here.
Number 4: Princess Mononoke
What’s this movie about: This movie brings us to around XIV and XV century Japan. It’s an epic tale about the battles between Humans and the Animal Gods of the forest.
The last prince, Ashikata, saves his village from the assault of a Tatarigami, a demon that destroys every living thing only by touching it. After watching the demon’s corpse, Ashikata realizes it is actually the body of a wild boar called Nago, an animal god, whose suffering and hate evolved into a curse which made it turn into a Tatarigami. Ashikata pays a high price for saving his village, because when his arm got injured he got cursed, and the curse threatens to consume his entire body. He then embarks himself on a journey to the land where Nago came from, trying to find a cure that could save his life.
What’s to love about it: AMAZING-OUTSTANDING-MARVELOUSLY looking visuals. And everything else, actually. This is about as close to perfection you’ll ever achieve on an animated film. I believe this IS Miyazaki’s masterpiece.
What’s to hate about it: Could you really find something to hate about this film? I dare you. I double dare you.
Number 3: Voices of a distant star
What’s this movie about: A high school girl is called to help fight off an alien invasion. After doing so, she leaves her boyfriend back. By using her cellphone, she keeps in touch with him. The thing is that, due the effects of time dilation, the passing of months for her are years for him. Even then, they can never be truly apart…
What can I say about this? Actually, not much. You HAVE to see it. There aren’t words to express what I’ve felt after watching this film.
What’s to love about it: If Shinkai Makoto has something to be proud of, it has to be this film. My words can’t express how touching it is.
What’s to hate about it: Nothing. N o t h i n g.
This last two ones are films that either compliment or give an end to a series, so I kinda separated them from the rest. To fully enjoy this two movies, I’d highly recommend you to watch the series they are based on. I’m sure you won’t regret it.
Number 2: The disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
What’s this movie about: There’s a LOT going on in the Haruhi Suzumiya universe: Aliens, time travelers, people with magic powers, and our protagonist, who is kind of your normal high-schooler from any everyday anime. Although the series could seem a little “boring” at first, there is more than meets the eye. But I’m not here to talk about the anime series (which deserves an article for itself, actually). Assuming you’ve already watched the anime (and if you haven’t you should go and do it right away) then all that’s left for you is this movie.
You could label it, and also the whole series, as Sci-Fi. So, after comparing them to other sci-fi works out there, you can say that this series doesn’t have too much to offer. The thing is that this series is not about those elements at all. Sure, there are typical things like aliens, people with powers and all, but the point of the series is not all that. The point is how the characters react and cope with all of those things. That is the whole point of the Haruhi Suzumiya series.
Besides from that, the art is beautiful and the characters have been somewhat re-done with pleasant results (compared to the series).
What’s to love about it: If you have enjoyed the first season and the bareable bits of the second one of this series, then you’ll definitely LOVE this movie.
What’s to hate about it: If you don’t like this series at all, then don’t waste any of your time on this movie.
Number 1: Steins;Gate Burdened Domain of Deja Vu
What’s this movie all about: The Steins;Gate anime series deserves an article for itself because it’s one of the best series I’ve ever seen, but I’m going to focus on the movie here.
Have you ever found a film that compliments the series it’s based on so well? This movie is the ending that a series the magnitude of Steins;Gate deserves and more. In the movie, fully fleshed-out characters get to their final moment of growth when they find another (and perhaps not their last) obstacle that proves being decisive to their story. The way they overcome it and finally wrap things together is epicly done. I mean it, if there is a perfect ending for this series, it’s this movie.
What’s to love about it: If you like Steins;Gate, every single part of it. If you don’t like Steins;Gate…
WHAT THE HELL’S WRONG WITH YOerr, I mean… If you don’t like it, you’re not going to like this movie either.
What’s to hate about it: Same as up there.
There’s a LOT of movies that I would’ve liked to put here, but I didn’t. Don’t worry, I’m aware of that and I’ll be probably doing more of this “MUST SEE” pretty often. If you’d like me doing so, of course.
And, as always, thanks for reading.