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What do you mean there are no subtitles in Japan?
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Getting a little too crafty for my liking 😂
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The 20 Best Japanese Anime Movies of the 21st Century
The anime genre is becoming more and more popular every day, and its best representatives have won the hearts of millions of moviegoers. Modern technologies and their limitless possibilities make it possible to create not only cartoons in this style but also worthy films designed for both teenage and adult audiences.
What are the best Japanese anime movies?
The best anime was included in the list of top 20. The ideal and impeccable graphics of the best films of this genre will allow you to enjoy the skill and professionalism of their creators. The clarity and smoothness of the lines, the mannered depiction of the characters, and the backgrounds used - that's what attracts anime connoisseurs. Watching the best-animated films is a real pleasure.
20. Kaze no Na wa Amnesia ("Wind of Amnesia")
The plot is quite simple but leads to interesting consequences. One day, a windswept across the world erased all the memories of humanity. This led to the collapse of civilization because people had forgotten how to control technology, think adequately and even speak. Two years after the disaster, the young man Wataru saves the disabled Johnny, who was not affected by amnesia. He teaches the guy speech and cultural behavior. But with the death of Johnny, Wataru is sent to explore a dangerous post-apocalyptic world full of madmen and relics of the past.
Thanks to the “wind of amnesia,” the author of the original novel, Hideyuki Kikuchi, did not need to create additional conditions for demonstrating the fall of man. The people in the anime film are hunted beasts, unable to defend themselves from even the slightest threat. But they are always happy to “feed” a girl to a construction machine whose processor is out of order.
But the best thing that came out of the early 90s Madhouse studio was the feeling of an almost magical journey around the world that managed to get rid of the oppression of people. The pastoral landscapes of post-apocalyptic America enchant the eye; they are full of light and bright sadness, an almost invisible but still significant longing for something forever lost.
After watching the "Wind of Amnesia," one wants to take off oneself and go to a place where civilization has not yet had time to crush everything under itself. Part of the credit goes to legendary artist Yoshitaka Amano for the look of the film. And also, Yoshiaki Kawajiri himself is a genius of animated action whose films will still be found at the top a little lower. So the fight scenes are also in order.
19. Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time)
At first glance, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time looks like a typical time travel movie. At first, the anime even pretends to be "Groundhog Day" slightly. But do not fall for such tricks because this is only a deception designed to confuse. All the machinations with time, which the main character Makoto can partly command, are needed solely to tell an unusual love story.
The love story turned out to be, in a sense, unique in its kind, since it reveals itself only in the last minutes of the picture and freezes in stasis. And Mamoru Hosoda leaves viewers with many questions that he deliberately refuses to answer. There is no traditional happy ending here, but you can't call it a tragic ending either. It's funny how just one line can completely change the experience and put the context in a different light.
18. Ninja Scroll
Almost all the director and screenwriter Yoshiaki Kawajiri's cartoons represent a chain of duels between the hero and various opponents. This is a classic “combat anime,” the plot which most often acts only as a formal, conditional pretext for another action scene that blows brains and cuts eyeballs.
At the same time, Kawajiri does not show fights in a long shot, as is customary in the best examples of Japanese samurai films and Hong Kong films about kung fu. He works in the style of Sam Peckinpah, using jagged cuts, where each movement of the combatants is given only a few frames, and the angle of what is happening is constantly changing. The difference between Peckinpah and Michael Bay is how the director keeps the picture of the action in his head and how he can convey it to the viewer. Even with this approach, Kawajiri's genius allows him to get the geography of the scene and the essence of the fighting techniques used, and the simplest and most characteristic example of his style is the first minor duel on the bridge at the beginning of Ninja Scroll, an absolute, immortal action anime classic.
The anime in the action genre tells about the adventures of the wandering ninja Yagyu Jubei and his meetings with other Japanese folk heroes, which can also be seen, for example, in the Samurai Shodown fighting game series (you can even play as a blind samurai there). A rather complicated plot about palace intrigues, spy gambits, and a hunt for gold in a plague village is presented through dialogues. As is often the case in unprofessionally written historical works, it is unnecessarily confusing. But Kawajiri managed to isolate a love story and a couple of really unexpected and great dramatic moments from the feudal turmoil, which are enough to make the picture memorable, not only duels of ninjas with other ninjas and samurai.
The fights themselves are dazzling and insane as they are flawlessly built; they can and should be reviewed several times. And the final battle scene of the cartoon in terms of the intensity of the action cannot be compared with anything at all - with the finals of the best action films by James Cameron, perhaps.
17. Mind Game
Masaaki Yuasa is a director well known for his crazy series: Kemonozume, Tatami Galaxy, recent Devilman Crybaby. However, his career was launched in 2004 by the full-length movie Mind Game, which is very difficult to describe without spoilers.
It is an adaptation of the manga of the same name by Robin Nishi, in which Nishi wants to become a manga artist. He also wants to win the girl's heart, but he has failed in this because of his spinelessness. Mind Game starts as a simple story about a love triangle. Still, from the first minutes, it refuses to pretend to be something ordinary: visual styles are replaced by one another, the camera takes crazy angles, and even the banal dialogue remains open-mouthed.
And then the film takes and turns towards crime, does a double somersault through supernatural elements, embraces action, dives into the abyss of phantasmagoria, finds in them the ground for something simple, tangible, human, leaning on it, jumps up to the open window of the ending and flies through it without stopping.
Some overly expressive paintings suffer from narrative inconsistency, leaving the viewer with questions like “What is happening now and why?” For all its eclectic visual styles and where the story turns, The Mind Game remains remarkably consistent: no matter how crazy it is on the screen, we can always answer what is happening and what led to it. It’s as if we are following the flight of the author’s imagination, who does not forget what is left in the past and does not think about the future – until the ending, in which this suddenly happens—a very unusual experience.
Film connoisseurs will immediately say that Metropolis is a 1927 silent German film by Fritz Lang. He is considered one of the peaks of the development of expressionism, and there are plenty of quotes and references to him in other works. The outstanding manga artist Osamu Tezuka was also inspired by him when creating the Metropolis manga, even though he strenuously denies this fact. But the anime "Metropolis," allegedly made from the manga, takes a lot from the German film.
There are enough problems in the vast city of Metropolis. Here you have demonstrative executions, intrigues of corporations, and general decadent moods. But that doesn't stop detective Ban Shunsaku and his nephew, Kenichi, as they search for international criminal Lawton. During events, Kenichi encounters a mysterious girl, Tima, who is a cyborg. The guy decides to protect her from dangers, and in the meantime, the mood in society is heating up.
To some, it may seem that Metropolis is a classic cyberpunk. Still, here you have both high tech and low life. The situation is much more complicated because, through the prism of robots and people, screenwriter Katsuhiro Otomo (author of Akira) explores the problems of social and racial segregation. Robots are oppressed and hated, and people are left without work and livelihood because machines replaced them. Everyone suffers here, and even the president of a vast company cannot carelessly walk the earth because he has enough mental anguish and pressing problems.
Animation and graphics were handled by the Madhouse studio, which moved a little towards dark, gloomy pictures at the beginning of the 2000s. Because of this, Metropolis seems to hang over the audience, threatening to crush it with its multi-ton constructions. The theme of industrialization, in principle, is adored by Japanese creators; therefore, in separate full-length anime, they try to embody both its greatness and boundless irrational horror.
Metropolis is a story about unbridled human anger that can destroy everything in its path. And weak, almost hopeless attempts to oppose something to him. The story is too plausible and relevant today to at least not be impressed.
15. Kizumonogatari (History of Wounds)
When we first started compiling this top, we were ready to defend Kizumonogatari with all my might. True, it's hard to promote an anime in which the protagonist's girlfriend gives him her panties as a keepsake to a list where there are works by Miyazaki, Shinkai, and Kon. Any attempt to justify this with “bold screenwriting” or “postmodernist escapades” would pass for an effort to somehow shade perversity. Therefore, Kizumonogatari should not be discussed again - a trilogy of films must be watched. And there is something to look at.
A History of Wounds is the prequel to the long-running Monogatari series that has been delighting audiences for ten years now with everything that can please. The plot, graphics, ecchi moments - there is almost no dissatisfaction, except that, in principle, you cannot accept such a wild mixture. But even against the background of other seasons, Kizumonogatari stands out unconditionally. How to say… Have you seen any trailer yet? What's going on there is VISUAL MADNESS.
There are also gorgeous girls in Kizumonogatari (precisely two, but there are already four versions of one), which will be a definite plus for fans of “waifu.” There is also fantastic music here, coupled with some animation solutions, referring us to the animation of France. But the anime would not have made it to the top of it was just great because of the above merits.
"History of Wounds" is an excellent feature of the entire trilogy because even though everything on the protagonist Koyomi heals instantly, some wounds cannot be cured by any regeneration. The anime tells about the desperation of a simple guy who, on a trip to get porn magazines, was embroiled in events that changed his life forever. It is impossible to call them otherwise than "strange," but in Monogatari, everything revolves around oddities anyway.
However, suppose in the anime series, they diluted a boring life and served more as a way out of the situation than a direct problem, then in the feature films. In that case, strangeness is a way out of control, a sharp fall into almost physically palpable darkness. And it's impossible to get out of it.
Think about it the next time you see haughty discussions of Kizumonogatari fanservice scenes. And you will understand that this is a great anime, without five minutes, a modern classic that will be remembered through the years.
14. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
If Yoshiaki Kawajiri's Ninja Scroll is a classic combat anime, then his Vampire Hunter D is a colossal add-on to the cliches of this kind of animation, a tower of mysticism, fantasy, and even natural science fiction that goes into the black orbital heights.
Formally, we have a post-apocalyptic. The action takes place so far in the future that not only human civilization is dying out, but also the society of immortal vampire lords that has come to replace it. One of these ghoul lords kidnaps a human girl, and the protagonist, a vampire-human hybrid known only as Dee, is hired to deal with the issue. The carriage with the girl and the vampire leave through the desert, and the bloodsucker hunter pursues it.
The black hearse's journey through the badlands sets the stage for mind-blowing Mad Max-style action scenes - not only melee but also chases, shootouts, and all sorts of on- and off-road stunts and ambushes. The chain of duels this time is the responsibility of a brigade of (literally) motley vampire hunters, and these are no less creative and witty fights than in The Ninja Manuscript, only this time using weapons in the spirit of Fallout.
The studio's peak dwarfs most of their action-themed work, with background work and location architecture phenomenal. In addition, these are not just decorations; all their features, the very structure of the environment, are ironically tied to the plot; the life or death of the characters depends on them. Separately, it is worth noting the best, in my opinion, soundtrack in full-length anime - gothic-industrial instrumental anthems from Marco D'Ambrosio.
13. Millennium Actress
In this top, you'll find three of Satoshi Kon's four feature films (the fourth, "Paprika," previously hit our top feature films) — and for a good reason. While Miyazaki is remembered for his movies for the whole family, Kon made films for adults - not in the vulgar sense that lovers of euphemisms attributed to this phrase, but in the literal sense.
Cohn's works are connected by the motive of unreality: in "Agent of Paranoia," the line between truth and fiction blurred; in "Paprika" - between dream and reality, in Perfect Blue, the life of the actress intertwined with her roles and turned into a nightmare. “Actress of the Millennium” is a tear-squeezing melodrama ... filmed in the spirit of Satoshi Kon with all the ensuing consequences.
Chieko Fujisawa is in her eighth decade: in the middle of the twentieth century, she was one of the most famous actresses in Japan, but in recent years she has been shunned by the public, which, it would seem, has long forgotten about her. But not her longtime fan, and now director Gen Tachibana, who dreams of making a documentary about her, a biopic that will tell the world about her life.
And then everything merges: the real story of Tieko is intertwined with her film roles and documentaries, the scenes flow into one another as if there is no difference whether it was true or not. And indeed, if some person helped young Chieko in his time, why not fulfill his role in the memories of the devoted Gen, who is always ready to support her? After all, Chieko's life was indeed no less impressive than the stories told in her films.
“Actress of the Millennium” is a phantasmagoric kaleidoscope of images, eras, and genres, a vivid excursion into the history of Japanese cinema, and an incredibly talentedly staged story that can stir even a person who is not touched by almost anything.
12. Lupine III: Cagliostro no Shiro ("Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro")
Even in our time, Hayao Miyazaki's first feature-length cartoon is known for its insanely beautiful picture using "total animation." One can only guess how Japanese viewers were struck in the late 70s by this cartoon, where the characters and the background turned out to be alive and super-detailed, in which any restrictions of early (and late) anime are not felt at all.
The story of the adventures of Arsene Lupin III, a noble thief of international stature, is a typical job for hire. This is not even the first full-length cartoon about this hero; they managed to write a manga about Lupine III and release two seasons of the anime series. Miyazaki's "Drobo-same" and several other animated series characters save the girl from the castle, but it doesn't work on the first try. With the second, however, too. It's an Ocean's Friends heist cartoon, an Indiana Jones (or Uncharted)-style star-struck action game.
More precisely, the action of the stars from the sky would not be enough - if it were not for Miyazaki's trademark handwriting, but rather a flourish that speaks to us from this very starry sky in fiery letters. The beginning of the cartoon is not a noisy action but lyrical passages through pseudo-European landscapes, where one cannot but pay attention, say, to the shadows of clouds floating across the fields. The primary opponents of the protagonist are completely wild ninja hybrids with armored knights - and each subsequent scene of the cartoon only sticks out more strongly the combination of Western and Japanese, quotes from Hitchcock, and echoes of Maurice Leblanc with the design and steampunk elements of the castle's internal structure, which can only be seen and exclusively in anime.
Working solo, under a contract, the future great storyteller brought an incredible, unthinkable quality to every frame and every plot detail, finalized the character to his level, turning Lupin into a touching fool-fool from a cold-blooded swindler (which, by the way, made the fans wildly burning original series). Also included in Lupin is the most unique and unforgettable shot in Miyazaki's work - the heroine in a fluttering white dress, standing at the very end of a giant clock hand.
11. Kimi no Na wa ("Your Name")
Makoto Shinkai is often put on the same line next to Hayao Miyazaki. And, even though the director himself and many longtime Miyazaki fans disagree entirely with this, they have at least one thing in common that cannot be disputed - their stories remain in the heart forever. Let the images fade over time, and the details blur, but the emotions you experienced at the first viewing remain unchanged.
And although there are many more parallels between the two creators, Shinkai has his philosophy, which he improves from film to film. So I'm not afraid to say that Your Name is a masterpiece. Yes, this is another love story. But how it is furnished! Two lonely souls, living in different periods, pass through space and time to be together. And at the same time, save the whole town from disaster.
10. Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies)
More than post-apocalyptic, the Japanese do not like only the military genre. Still, no one canceled the nation's pride, and Japan will probably never recover from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, "Grave of the Fireflies" is not even entirely about the horrors of World War II. Instead, it is about the general despair of human existence.
From the first frames of the anime, we are given to understand that there will be no happy ending. The war fell like fire (in the literal sense) on the heads of the young Seita and Setsuko too early, depriving them of their homes and families. Seita is convinced that he must protect Setsuko's sister, even if he is entirely unable to. And no one in the world will help them.
And through the childish naivete and playfulness of little Setsuko, the nightmares of war are even more frightening. Around only hunger, devastation, hopelessness, and unfriendly faces. Two children cannot survive in such conditions, and no one intends to help them. They are like fireflies, in their naivety, flying towards the fire to crumble into dust. It cannot be otherwise.
Because the scene with dead fireflies embodies the whole essence of the film, Setsuko's question about why such beautiful little creatures had to die is actually "why do we have to die?". And there is no answer to this question. Why wars are unleashed, why millions of people die, and the survivors envy the dead - if you cut off emotions and turn on cold-blooded calculation, some sluggish conclusion can still be put forward. But what does it matter to two children doomed to death?
That war is hell. And it will always be like that.
9. Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa (Laputa Castle in the Sky)
Hayao Miyazaki's most overtly steampunk cartoon, with a single cutscene featuring more weird Jule Verne constructions with pipes, boilers, and propellers than all the rest of the anime combined. This is the first painting found by Miyazaki in 85 Ghibli. The elements used in his early solo Nausicaa and Lupine 3 are finally resonating in that triumphant, slender, flawless symphony with which we used to associate the studio's name in 2019.
Laputa the undisputed best film of Miyazaki's career, mainly because of his work with the story. The story of the boy Pazu and the girl Sita, who went on a fantastic journey in search of the heavenly Atlantis and found themselves in the middle of a conflict between two warring factions, begins with action and continues without pause or sagging until a stunning, flurry, action-packed finale. At the same time, in terms of the touchingness of the revealing relationships of the characters with each other, secondary characters, and the surrounding world, Laputa is inferior to the late works of the great Japanese audiovisual storyteller.
As in the best examples of world cinema, the action on the screen reaches peaks and abysses simultaneously as the emotions of the characters - and, accordingly, the audience. This is the closest analog of Star Wars, Three Villains in a Hidden Fortress, or Hunters of the Lost Ark in Japanese animation - a dashing, non-stop adventure story with fights, chases, and gunfights that makes you sincerely worry about everyone appearing on the screen characters. Yes, even for extras and villains.
By the beginning of work on Laputa, Miyazaki had not yet managed to escape from the steel grip of anime canons when telling such stories - take away the fantastic picture, music, work with details, plot, characters. We will be left with an elementary JRPG story about a simple guy from a miner's town saving the world from an ancient superweapon. But this picture only benefits. Miyazaki's later cartoons, in which he relied on nothing but personal fantasy and his ideas about an exciting story, suffer from general toothlessness, cloying, sentimentality. They lack that sense of danger, the sense of vulnerability and mortality of child heroes against the background of an available meat grinder with dozens of corpses that make Laputa such an outstanding work of art.
8. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica: Hangyaku no Monogatari
The original anime series combined the ideas of Goethe's Faust and the deconstruction of the Maho-shoujo genre. But the "History of the Rebellion" (a funny reference to the Monogatari cycle) stepped even further. She combines stories from the Middle Ages, religious motifs, and a modern approach to tragedies to create a real revelation.
What in other anime would be the last battle in "The Story of the Rebellion" occurs almost at the very beginning. What would have been the culmination of the whole plot in less chic cycles, in the adventures of the girl Homura turns out to be just the seed for even more significant upheavals. Anime is constantly growing in scale, leaning on you with a massive pile of images and meanings. And it is all the more striking that it does not lose its structure, does not fall apart from attempts to think about what is happening. On the contrary, the more you think about the local story, the more intelligible and, pardon the vulgarity, it becomes DEEP.
And how the "History of the Rebellion" looks, how it sounds! As if Hieronymus Bosch himself had risen from the dead to stage local battles. The public orgy in other anime would only be embarrassing, but not in Madoka. The Shaft studio intentionally collides the Renaissance and the information age, traditions and innovations, a romantic past, and an alluring future in the visual. It's almost physically satisfying to watch.
And when you think that nothing will surprise you anymore, the actual ending of "Magical Girl Madoka" comes, not those pathetic excuses are shown in the series. And he finishes you off. After all, the last third of the full-length film ideally took over the spirit of the tragedy genre, in which high throwing leads only to bottomless abysses of despair.
The last seconds of the "History of the Rebellion" will remain in your memory forever as vivid pictures. It is a fragmented world that has survived so much that it is impossible to count. A fractured protagonist pursuing the greater good only made her part of a greater evil. And you are fragmented, gradually realizing that you have touched a living masterpiece, which they will never be able to repeat.
7. Tokyo Godfathers ("Once Upon a Time in Tokyo")
Arguably Satoshi Kon's most down-to-earth film, Once Upon a Time in Tokyo, doesn't stumble into the surreal, unlike his other works, but fills everyday life with a vast number of random coincidences that can only be called a miracle. It was a miracle - a Christmas miracle - that became the central idea of this film.
The film begins with a miracle: a trinity of homeless people finds a child abandoned in a garbage dump - a grumpy alcoholic, a teenage rebel who has run away from home, and a drag queen who has always dreamed of becoming a mother. They set off in search of the child's mother, intending to bring the baby home at Christmas by all means.
Once Upon a Time in Tokyo is an emotional roller coaster. The film tirelessly alternates action bordering on slapstick and grotesquely comical scenes with heartbreakingly tragic and tenderly touching ones, without stopping for a minute, ironically over pathos clichés of such stories and its heroes. A good Christmas parable, executed with all the expressiveness inherent in Japanese animation by its most outstanding director, is also a miracle. Do not miss it!
So much good has already been saying about Akira that attempts to add something more intelligible will seem far-fetched and superfluous. The original manga by Katsuhiro Otomo was great, but in the form of a concentrated film, it immediately ascended to a completely different level. And so high that it remains there.
What is this fighter about? About friendship guys Tetsuo and Kaneda. Friendship is highly realistic because they are not trying to destroy the whole world with the help of the “force of camaraderie.” No, in their relationship, there is a place for envy, humiliation, and pure hatred. Very close to ordinary life, isn't it?
The motif of their confrontation runs through the scenery of dirty but high-tech Tokyo. It’s not for nothing that Akira is considered one of the founders of the principles of “visual cyberpunk,” that is, which is not about society and progress, but about uncomfortable, cramped streets, high skyscrapers, and artsy technology that seems to threaten to fall apart at the slightest touch.
5. Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)
"Swept Away" is a beautiful tale about the misadventures of a girl named Chihiro, who, along with her parents, ended up in a mysterious town. Parents under the influence of magic turned into pigs, and the girl herself had to get a job in local baths to rescue her parents from the power of the spell of an evil sorceress. On the way to her goal, the heroine has to learn the power of friendship, mutual assistance, and love. Also, grow up.
The theme of the “growing up” of the heroine generally runs through the entire film and is visible. If Chihiro was a whiny, insecure girl, then, in the end, she became strong and resistant without losing herself.
"Spirited Away" is a beautiful cartoon that deserves to be seen by as many people as possible. And of course, it deserves its place on our top - simply because it is precisely the same living classic as all the films presented here. Only now, he is a hundred - if not a thousand times - kinder than the rest of the paintings shown here. And this, it seems to me, is worth a lot.
4. Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa ("Nausicaa from the Valley of the Wind")
A turning point in Hayao Miyazaki's career and one of his most personal projects. This time he was not only the director and screenwriter but also the author of the original source - the anime "Nausicaä from the Valley of the Wind" is based on the manga authored by Miyazaki, published from 1982 to 1994. And if that's not enough, Nausicaa is also Studio Ghibli's debut film! Yes, yes, we have written the same about Laputa; how is this possible? The fact is that Ghibli Studio was assembled and designed just in the process of working on Nausicaa (it was created for this project), so the film inside the studio is still considered her debut work and was even included in official collections. An intricate story that only adds to the importance of Nausicaa in the history of Ghibli.
It's hard to recommend 80s anime to people who aren't into the genre, but Nausicaa is amazingly drawn and choreographed. The age of the cartoon can only be felt in the funny and 100% Japanese sound design. In addition, in our time, the comic has been remastered (and even shown in the cinema!), So it looks as fresh and pleasant as possible.
As for the content, one of the best anime ever, like all of Miyazaki's work, here we have a “blooming post-apocalypse” and a little man who finds himself in the center of a showdown between large states. "Nausicaä" is rather deep work, but if you look at it simply as a beautiful action, it will work just as well; not all Miyazaki's works can boast of this. Another critical topic is the potential environmental catastrophe. One world has already survived; the planet is covered with an endless forest with giant poisonous mushrooms and huge insects. Miyazaki's topic is of great concern and will be raised in his works more than once, so he speaks about it very carefully but in detail. Today it is only becoming more relevant? Since Nausicaa, unusual worlds have become an integral part of Miyazaki's work.
Well, Dze Hisaishi worked on the musical accompaniment and later wrote the music for almost all Miyazaki anime in general - you will not forget his music.
3. Ghost in the Shell
If you are a connoisseur of the cyberpunk genre, you love or at least respect Ghost in the Shell. Even if you don’t appreciate it very much, you still regularly encounter echoes of anime’s influence on the entire pop culture. That earlier (then), the Wachowski brothers were inspired by him during the filming of The Matrix, and now, when looking at Cyberpunk 2077 trailers, it is impossible to get rid of a sense of deja vu and light nostalgia.
A genuinely stellar team worked on Ghost in the Shell. Mamoru Oshii, Kazunori Ito, Hiroyuki Okura, and Kenji Kawai are now associated with successful and outstanding works. Studio Production I.G. it was after the release of the anime film that it became known among the people as the most advanced in technical terms. All the conditions were such that only a masterpiece for a year could turn out from a full-length film. Even so, she exceeded all expectations.
The technical breakthrough of Ghost in the Shell is apparent even to those who do not understand anything about graphics, animation, all these storyboards, and other nuances. Just one moment with the departure of Motoko Kusanagi in camouflage is enough to impress the average viewer. And this is just a few seconds from the whole feature film!
The opening screensaver with the insides of a cyborg, slow camera flights past chaotic, almost abstract skyscrapers and signs, columns flying into rubble, which seem to have been spent more time than in other seasons of modern anime - everything here speaks of how detailed work was carried out on every frame. Therefore, even today, the anime of 1995 surpasses other full-length films of 2019.
But everything written above is just a “shell,” and it is the “spirit” that captivates the “Ghost in the Shell.” Indeed, in the center of her story, almost Kantian reflections on the essence of being and human nature sparkle. The topics raised are so extensive that they can be discussed for years, and no one will give a clear answer.
Anime came out almost 25 years ago and managed to get ahead of not only its time but even ours. And no movie with Scarlett Johansson will spoil it.
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion
In the top worst anime series endings, the original Evangelion ending is a silent horror that should be avoided. The main advantage of End of Evangelion lies precisely in the changed plot of the last series—minimum reflection. There is no utterly idiotic scene where Shinji sits on a chair in the middle of nothing, and everyone around him claps and congratulates him. There is no attempt to show an alternate universe with no Evangelions or Angels. But there is a continuation of the story, where everyone finally goes crazy and kills each other.
The spectacle in EoE is also many times higher than in the series ending - here you have an epic match between Asuka's Eva-02 and serial Evangelions, and the assault on the NERV headquarters by ordinary human special forces, and Lilith, who is perfectly visible from space with the naked eye ... in a word Lots of cool moments. “The End of Evangelion” was generally pulled apart ago into separate frames, videos, and similar content. You most likely have already seen a good half of the full-length movie in the form of different structures (and memes). But nothing is surprising here - EoE, in terms of the amount of action, does, perhaps, almost the entire series (although the scene where Shinji and Ray endured Ramiel is still my favorite).
It is also worth saying that The End of Evangelion came out very, very severe and gloomy. In the original, no, no, yes, short humorous elements slipped through - rarely, but still. There is nothing like this here; the whole film, from beginning to end, is a profound story about people and the world that meet their lot.
EoE is remembered, and this is the main thing. Many anime series are then made into full-length films, but they rarely come out so good that they are not only remembered but discussed ten years later. "Eva" passed the test of time and passed with ease.
In general, if, for some reason, you haven’t watched Eve yet, but you still want to start, then don’t forget to ignore the last two episodes and instead watch The End of Evangelion right away. This approach to the question may seem heresy to the most hardened Eva fans, but at least it will not leave you in a state of terrible stupor after what you see.
1. Perfect Blue
With calculated rigidity and consistency in the visual part of the narrative, Perfect Blue is one of the shakiest reflections of reality in film or television, which can only be rivaled by the best moments of David Lynch films. The cartoon is more surreal and psychedelic than the most daring experiments (including from the same Kon); only surrealism and psychedelia are hidden here, both in the video sequence and the plot. The effect is even more substantial when you still understand what kind of story you are told.
A seemingly simple plot focuses on an Idol girl who decided to try herself in the Japanese television industry and her complicated relationship with the fans of her former "girl band" who did not understand this decision. In the video series, urbanism is striking, first of all, street-realistic depiction of the life of modern Tokyo in 1997, with small apartments and cramped streets, contrasting with giant billboards, stages, and film sets, where the idoru band performs, and the heroine takes the first steps on a new creative path.
The deepest psychologism and philosophical reflections on the nature of the relationship between the producers of art (or at least pop culture) and its consumers are hidden deep, deep into the almost unthinkably complex plot and video sequence structure. But at the same time, the cartoon works excellent as an ordinary genre thriller-horror about a maniac.
What can you believe in what you see and what can you not? Since Perfect Blue is an infinitely complex work, it can also be discussed indefinitely. The depth of the well of allusions and the abyss of references is impressive - here is a satire on the body/film industry in the spirit of Federico Fellini's Eight and a Half, and an exploration of the nature of dreams, as in A Nightmare on Elm Street or Luis Buñuel's Modest Charm of the Bourgeoisie, and visual a plot puzzle in the spirit of "Memento" or the first season of Westworld, and a colossal philosophical prank in the heart of "The Matrix," closer to the finale, forcing you to take a different look not only at the events of the cartoon but also at our natural world. In turn, Perfect Blue will already be copied by visionary filmmakers - remember the famous quote with a girl screaming underwater in Requiem for a Dream.
At the same time, Perfect Blue is also a first-rate thriller, a detective in the style of Italian Giallo about the confrontation between a disfigured psychopath and a beautiful heroine, a modern urban version of the Grimm's terrible fairy tale, in which everything is not as it seems to us. In the last couple of breathtaking suspense scenes, a deadly game of cat and mouse in the stone jungle with cyberpunk billboards, you understand that all this could only be achieved using animation, and the energy was exclusively Japanese.
Why do adults like anime movies?
Reason 1. Interesting, exciting stories
The plots of Japanese animation are really very interesting, with many intrigues, such turns of events that you will not see in any telenovela. They intrigue, attract, you want to keep watching them find out what will happen next and how the story will end.
Reason 2. Popularity
Anime has become popular. Proof of this is the numerous broadcasts of Japanese animation both on public and private TV channels. In addition, many specialized sites broadcast anime online, which makes it easier to access this kind of cartoon art. In online mode, cartoons can be watched at any time, in any quantity, and as many times as you want. Entire collections of anime are collected here, which are constantly updated with new materials, as well as rare, old cartoons. These are places on the web that anime fans love to visit, as well as people who just like to watch such cartoons.
Reason 3. Fashion
Some TV viewers watch anime because it is now fashionable. There are even whole areas in the social culture associated with Japanese animation. Fans of this art form arrange anime parties like to copy cartoon characters, in an informal setting they even dress up to look like popular characters.
Reason 4. The best cartoons that are shown on TV
Watch anime and those viewers who have not found anything better in the TV guide. It's no secret that lately there is practically nothing to watch on TV, except for news and cartoons. Even if these are Japanese cartoons, many people watch them with pleasure, as they are interesting, unobtrusive, vital, and original.
Reason 5. To become familiar with Japanese culture
Japan, Japanese culture is very rich material for study. Their way of life, social values, traditions are fundamentally different from ours. The easiest and most interesting way to learn this is by watching anime, which is what people who are interested in Japan do.