Andrew

Looking for Great Anime

134 posts in this topic

Only recently have I discovered the pleasures of this film genre. From Spirited Away, I've gone on to see Castle in the Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Grave of the Fireflies. With all of these, I was amazed by the beautiful artwork, while enjoying the strong narratives contained within. (Only Princess Mononoke failed to hold my interest, but I was sick and tired when I watched this, so maybe I should give it another try.)

Does anyone have further recommendations on quality anime worth seeking out?

Thanks!

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Metropolis is quite good. The ending falls apart, but the first three fourths are really enjoyable.

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Metropolis is quite good. The ending falls apart, but the first three fourths are really enjoyable.

I'd agree about Metropolis but disagree completely about the ending. I found that to be a mind-blowing, awe-inspiring leap into the void that actually pulls it off. I mean, that music is incredible! And how it interacts with the original Metropolis is powerful and interesting.

But, yeah, see Metropolis. And give Mononoke another whirl. It doesn't measure up to Spirited Away, but it's not that far behind.

J Robert

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Andrew, I note your list is only Studio Ghibli films, which is where I started with anime and hastily decided I LOVED anime. Then I started seeing non-Ghibli films and realized that what I loved was Studio Ghibli and that the distinction meant all the world. Conspicuously absent from your list is the classic My Neighbor Totoro, a definate must see. Here's my quick roundup of Ghibli films as a further reference.

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Metropolis is quite good. The ending falls apart, but the first three fourths are really enjoyable.

I'd agree about Metropolis but disagree completely about the ending. I found that to be a mind-blowing, awe-inspiring leap into the void that actually pulls it off. I mean, that music is incredible!

I agree with JRobert, word for word. The ending was absolutely mind-blowing. The whole feature has to be the greatest anime, IMO.

Ghost in the Shell has the best human vs. machine theme, and its dialogue is the most well developed in the history of these films. If you close your eyes, you might even forget that it's not a normal, acted-out feature-length film.

While Titan A.E. is not as much fun story-wise, its visuals are certainly beautiful. The worlds created are fascinating. Very believable. Deep and rich textures to the worlds. (My favorite was the planet of gas. Great idea.)

I think i've seen both of these two or three times each.

I've seen the first seven episodes of Lain, and while it's certainly not as good as anything mentioned so far, it still has a cool vibe going, and looks kinda artsy. There's the whole isolation vs. community and internet theme, as well as more imaginative ideas for what can be done with characters in this genre. The beginning theme song (i think made by someone named "Boa?") is a staple in my mind, a great tune.

-s.

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stef wrote:

: While Titan A.E. is not as much fun story-wise, its visuals are certainly

: beautiful. The worlds created are fascinating. Very believable. Deep and

: rich textures to the worlds. (My favorite was the planet of gas. Great idea.)

Agreement all around -- but surely Titan A.E. is not "anime"? (It's a Don Bluth film, isn't it?)

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I guess, technically, you're right. (Dang, isn't that twice this week?) It certainly feels like anime, though.

-s.

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...Conspicuously absent from your list is the classic My Neighbor Totoro, a definate must see.

I second that. No film I can think of so well embodies the experience of being a very young child - dread, comfort, wonder, confusion, surprise, powerlessness, resourcefulness. For a moment at the beginning I thought the film was going to be just too "cutesie" for me. But I quickly concluded that it was authentic, not pandering: not talking down, but entering in.

I don't personally like to read reviews before seeing a film, but when the time comes, Ebert writes well about MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO as part of his his "Great Movies" project. http://www.suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_review.../12/122301.html

Ron

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You guys are terrific! I really appreciate these pointers, and I'll be looking for these at the library later today. Thanks also for the link, Mike; that was a helpful summary of Ghibli films.

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Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky are Miyazaki's greatest feats of animation and imagination, but Totoro is still my favorite. It's got a deep emotional truth to it that parallels the best of A.A. Milne.

I remember liking parts of Metropolis, but the ending didn't entirely work for me either. It just went on and on with the chaos and destruction. It seemed the contrast between the complex animation and the simple Saturday-morning-cartoon-level animation was too jarring at times.

My favorite character was Fifi, the big vacuum cleaner robot.

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Alan:

I like the Record of Lodoss War series.

I rather enjoyed that series myself. Although, certainly not as much as Pokemon... tongue.gif

Also, Ghost in the Shell is fairly interesting and the second Vampire Hunter D movie is beautiful to look at, even if it lacks substance.

Oh! And, Jeffrey, Fifi was my favorite character too!

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ALL HAIL FIFI

user posted image

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smile.gif

hEH, yeah i liked Fifi too.

-s.

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I enjoyed Akira quite a bit, despite the fact that it's completely bizarre and overly violent and gory.

Also, I agree that you should check out Metropolis and also My Neighbor Totoro is a must see.

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There is a lot of anime that is ultra-violent, bizarre, and depressing. A lot of movies/series fit that description, it's almost like a sub-genre. Akira would be one, the Evangelion series another. (The Evangelion writer deliberately stopped taking prozac and took the series to a very dark place. Consider yourself warned. And the Eva movie's even worse.)

Usually those gory/depressing types are easy to spot, but if you want more info on a specific anime (or to see a list of popular animes), I suggest going to the Anipike website. Start with the "Anime/Manga Series" link -- they list popular anime along with fansites for each, and those fansites usually have summaries, screenshots, etc. A good way to get an idea of what you'll be getting with each movie or series.

Just a recommendation biggrin.gif

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Based on these recommendations, I went looking primarily for Totoro and Metropolis, which were checked out of my local library and Blockbuster. So instead, I saw a couple of other good ones mentioned in this thread:

- The Castle of Cagliostro: very exciting, kind of like Indiana Jones meets Tintin, but with much more humor than the Tintin comics

- Ghost in the Shell: a real mindbender, with elements of the Matrix and Blade Runner -- not as fun as Cagliostro, but I'm glad I saw it

(BTW, if anyone's interested, Amazon offers a Miyazaki DVD 3-pack -- comprising Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, and Kiki's Delivery Service -- for $64. I don't know how this compares to deals offered elsewhere, but thanks to the discount from a credit card deal that Amazon is offering, I'm only paying $10/DVD for this set. Woohoo!)

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Though I don't particularly like anime more than any other style of film, I did occasionally go to the Anime Club at my old school. (Hey, a free movie once a week, who cares if anyone sees you there?) For some reason we watched more TV shows than movies, so while I don't have any movies to recommend that aren't already mentioned, I do have a short list of the funniest anime shows of all time:

Dragon Half -IF. YOU. WATCH. ONLY. ONE. ANIME. THIS. SHOULD. BE. IT. It is the most surreally funny comedy you will ever see. If my memory serves me correctly, this was done while the writer was on LSD. Unfortunately, he got himself arrested before he was able to finish the series, so there are only two episodes.

His and Her Circumstances -Yes, though this is a "Be yourself" kind of show, stop your eyes from rolling because it is one of the few shows that explore self-consciousness in high school with any kind of depth. Perfectionism, vanity, and jealousy are some of the topics explored. And I must say that the romance that develops between the two main characters is quite touching. Their love is presented in a very realistic way; it is as much a melding of their brains as it is their hearts. And of course, it's uproariously funny. This is the only film/show aimed at teenagers in which I ever could relate to.

Love Hina -I actually haven't seen this one yet, but I've heard countless people claim that it is much funnier than the two shows mentioned above, so add this one to your list.

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Thank you, Mara, I'll be on the lookout for those.

I started watching My Neighbor Totoro with my 2 oldest kids tonight - what a gem! Ron, your description of its charms was dead-on.

I also picked up Jin-Roh from the library -- the 'from the makers of Ghost in the Shell' blurb on the DVD cover caught my eye. Is it worth my time and effort? Anyone?

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I loved Jin-Roh. It's got gorgeous art and a really interesting story. It's sad and dark, but not apocalyptic. However, it's fairly slow, so you have to be in the right mood to enjoy it.

Suggestions for anime movies:

Kenshin OVA's - Aka "Samurai X" my favorite anime of all time. Period. About an assassin in Japan's feudal era. It's tragic, but hopeful. Sad, but not depressing. Great artwork and direction as well.

FLCL - The single most bizarre anime ever. And one of the best. About a boy whose head sprouts giant robots.

Battle Angel - a good action anime. Based on the manga.

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust - Ninja Scroll without the T&A. It's by the same director as N.S. and it shows. Great action and art, and the story makes sense (that's almost glowing praise where anime is concerned).

Voices from a Distant Star - Only a half hour, but an incredible piece of work. The entire feature was done by one guy on his home computer, and he pulled off a masterpiece. It's about a teen romance that becomes doomed and futile when one of the kids gets shipped off to space acadamy and goes to fight the war light - years away.

Memories - If you can get ahold of it. It was never liscensed for US distribution, but this series of sci-fi shorts by the same director as Akira is as good as anime gets.

Come back when your done, and I'll let you know what anime series' you need to be watching smile.gif

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I finally saw Cowboy Bebop: The Movie last night -- and wow! I enjoyed the series quite a bit -- it's a sci-fi noir anime -- but I wouldn't rave about it. The movie though, I thought was incredible. Actually, I think it's easily one of my favorites.

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This board has accumulated so many anime- and Miyazaki-related threads that I really have no idea where to post this, but I want to talk a little bit about Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky.

I saw this film for the first time a couple of weeks ago and thought it was absolutely delightful right up until the ending. I've heard some folk accuse Miyazaki of having a hard time ending his movies-- the last act of Spirited Away seems to draw a lot of criticism, as does Mononoke-- but this is the first time I've ever shared that complaint.

Quite honestly, the environmentalist message at the end of Castle just strikes me as too obvious. It might not *quite* qualify as "preachy," but it sure ain't subtle, at least when compared to some of Miyazaki's other films. It just seems to me like he's resorting to telling instead of showing.

So I guess I'm just wondering if I'm alone in this, or if I need to give the film another shot to see if my impression of the last act changes. Any takers?

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Castle in the sky is more like traditional anime endings than Miyazaki's others. However, his imagination is so innocent and gorgroues that when he introduces gun fight and machine chaos into the story it feels esepcially invasive. I agree it falls apart.

I don't have nearly as much problem with Spirited Away, but Mononoke in my opinion, became weighed down deverly in its own rules about gods and spirits dying and coming to life and the power they have.

Kiki's delivery service might bear the strongest "through line" narrative of all his films.

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I don't have nearly as much problem with Spirited Away...

spoilers1.gif

Some have remarked that, in the end, Chihiro rescues her family and escapes from the Bath House simply because of a lucky guess. At first, I agreed, and was disappointed, but, the more I watch the film, the more convinced I become that it's no lucky guess; she really does remember her parents, and that is how she saved them. (I think this can be supported by the emphasis on memory that appears throughout the film).

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I know that Satoshi Kon has been mentioned elsewhere on the forums, due to works like Tokyo Godfathers and Millennium Actress. I recently picked up the first 2 volumes of his new 13-episode series, Paranoia Agent, and have been blown away. It's quite a bit darker than his other works, almost apocalyptic in tone, but it's a very compelling and intriguing look into modern alienation, darker sides of humanity, etc.

Also, I've heard nothing but good things about Mindgame, which was ranked as the 4th best Japanese film of the year by the Japan Times. (There is a trailer available on the site, but it has some content that might be somewhat disturbing/objectionable.)

Oh, and I completely second Doug's recommendation of Haibane Renmei. Absolutely wonderful little series.

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'Castle in the Sky' spoilers1.gif

Regarding 'Castle in the Sky,' I'm in semi-agreement with the criticisms made here. On the one hand, the evil prince's monologue does get a bit preachy (but as the Incredibles pointed out, aren't villains entitled to a monologue once they believe they've achieved certain victory). It detracts from the film, but only to a minor degree in my book.

On the other, the gunfighting and weaponry don't seem invasive - Miyazaki is clearly not condoning it, as the protagonists are clearly interested in beauty and nature, etc., while the villains are only interested in technology and military power, so it's not surprising they would employ weaponry. Given the overall message of the film and the demise of the gun-toting villains, if this were the most violent film that pre-teens ever saw, we'd have a world full of nature-loving pacifists.

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