Still, the K-On movie was robbed
January 5, 2017 3:10 PM   Subscribe

To celebrate Hayao Miyazaki's 76th birthday today, why not take a look at the 100 best anime movies of all time according to Paste Magazine and discover some of anime's other great directors?
posted by MartinWisse (67 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
 
How does it not even mention Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa / 君の名は)? Am I missing it somehow? Not only is it the second highest grossing anime movie in Japanese box office (and #4 movie of any kind of all time), but it's really really good.
posted by thefoxgod at 3:16 PM on January 5


I was surprised to see End of Evangelion with such a middling score.
posted by codacorolla at 3:26 PM on January 5


Thanks for posting this. I've been wanting to find more anime movies I'd like but have been too lazy to make the effort. I'm happy to see my favorite directors listed, even those without a huge body of work (Makoto Shinkai anyone?).
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:29 PM on January 5


How does it not even mention Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa / 君の名は)?

Came here to post/ask this. What a film.
posted by Sternmeyer at 3:52 PM on January 5


How does it not even mention Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa / 君の名は)? Am I missing it somehow?

Paste is a U.S. publication, no? Your Name hasn't been released in the U.S. yet.

I'm happy to see this list for viewing suggestions even though I don't get along so well with conventional anime wisdom. It blows my mind, for instance, that anyone thinks Akira is a better movie than Totoro.
posted by Mothlight at 3:56 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]


Your Name hasn't been released in the U.S. yet.

Not strictly true as I saw it in the theater in LA, and it was aired at Anime Expo as well, but it hasn't had wide release yet for whatever reason. It's had astounding success in Japan, Korea, China, etc though.

I'm surprised they didn't at least mention it --- if they haven't been able to see it yet I can understand maybe not ranking it but it should probably acknowledge what an amazing success its had.

I would put it in the top 5 for sure (I am never good at strict ordering, so #1 vs #2 etc is tough).
posted by thefoxgod at 4:04 PM on January 5


>It blows my mind, for instance, that anyone thinks Akira is a better movie than Totoro.

My understanding is that Akira was a watershed in terms of making people outside Japan aware of anime. It's like the Sergeant Pepper of anime--it occupies such a looming cultural spot that it's kind of difficult to assess it on an even footing with other movies. I wouldn't put it ahead of Totoro, either, but I don't begrudge it the top spot on these kinds of lists. I mean it IS really goddamn good...
posted by Sing Or Swim at 4:07 PM on January 5 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I've found fans in Japan are often surprised when I mention Akira as such an important historical thing. But for me and so many Americans it was the first thing we were exposed to. (Probably much less true for younger people --- I first saw Akira via a many-times-copied fan-subbed VHS tape at a scifi con, and I think that was common back then before anime was available in stores/Blockbuster).
posted by thefoxgod at 4:12 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


I find myself feeling lucky that this past September I saw Akira, dubbed, in a proper movie theater, which was full of people all of whom were blessedly silent as you should be in a movie theater.
posted by mephron at 4:16 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


Rather than go any further to tear down this list (which is amazing in that it contains some films that are actively terrible) I'll just suggest people give Princess Arete a chance. It's really good.
posted by selfnoise at 4:23 PM on January 5


The proper title should have been "Most Significant to American fandom" rather than "Best", on considering the extensive complaints the author has about many of them.
posted by ardgedee at 4:34 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


1. Akira (1988)

This list is invalid.

1. Akira (1988)
24. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

This list is ridiculous.

1. Akira (1988)
24. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
65. The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)

This list is insane.
posted by kyrademon at 4:39 PM on January 5 [18 favorites]


This list is insane.

Come on, they give their justifications right there in the article.

Akira is almost singlehandedly responsible for the early 1990s boom in anime in the West, its aesthetic vision rippling across every major art form, inspiring an entire generation of artists, filmmakers and even musicians in its wake. For these reasons and so many more, every anime fan must grapple at some point or another with Akira’s primacy as the most important anime film ever made.

The remainder of the list is a lot of pretty deep cuts.
posted by GuyZero at 4:55 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Akira is a film that people have heard about but may not have seen. You can't really say that about any of the other films.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:08 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Spirited Away is one of the great, magical experiences of my life. It arrived at the exact moment when I most needed something to re-ignite my sense of wonder.

In contrast, 5 Centimeters per Second came into my life as a perfect depiction of the experience of a specific, personally relatable kind of loss - something slipping away for bland reasons that are just barely out of our ability to stop.

Akira I found simply stressful to watch, in a way that precluded lasting affection.
posted by Caxton1476 at 5:14 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Akira is a film that people have heard about but may not have seen. You can't really say that about any of the other films.

I could certainly say that about Spirited Away as it won an Academy Award.

(Or Howl's Moving Castle, The Wind Rises, When Marnie Was There and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya because they were nominated.)
posted by Hamusutaa at 5:14 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


I think if you aren't interested in a lot of tedious violent wankery or shallow philosophy you can make a lot of space on this list.

96. Dallos (1983) - The argument is that it's a bad movie but was marketed to Western audiences. OK?

93. Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: The Conqueror of Shamballa (2005) - I liked the show but this is just kind of there.

90. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000) - Tedious violent wankery.

87. Venus Wars (1989) - I actually really like this movie. But the idea that it "but manages to be a thoughtful exploration of what it means to watch one’s home transformed into a police state during a time of war"? No, it really doesn't. It's dumb fun.

86. Origins: Spirit of the Past (2006) - Great animation, generic philosophical claptrap.

72. Fist of the North Star (1986) - Tedious violent wankery.

71. Wicked City (1987) - Tedious violent wankery.

63. Spriggan (1998) - Totally forgettable.

60. Blood: The Last Vampire (2000) - Violent wankery. Not tedious because it's like nine minutes long. Features a grossly racist black person!

55. Battle Angel (1993) - Tedious violent wankery. Also a pale imitation of the manga, so hard to justify.

41. Steamboy (2004) - Somehow manages to be an Otomo production and also super, super dull.

36. Vampire Hunter D (1985) - Tedious violent wankery. I mean, yes, my friends and I used to watch this film in high school at 2am after getting stoned, but mainly so we could redub it on the fly.

22. Ninja Scroll (1993) - The glorious father of all tedious violent wankery.

15. Metropolis (2001) - I actually am OK with this film on the list.. maybe not 15 though. The animation is incredibly beautiful but I thought it lacked heart.

7. Perfect Blue (1997) - Nah, I'm just fucking with you. This movie's great.

And I didn't even go at Evangelion on the above list, because let's not get into that argument.

Anyway, if you like any of these films, I regret my words and deeds.
posted by selfnoise at 5:14 PM on January 5 [9 favorites]


I confirmed I stopped watching anime in like ~2001... which is about accurate...
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:26 PM on January 5


Glad it got these covered:
The Garden of Words
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
5 Centimeters Per Second
Ghost in the Shell(s)
The Girl Who Leapt through Time

Missing:
Your Lie in April
Sound of the Sky

Still, it gives me some leads on other anime I might like.
posted by forforf at 5:38 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Considering fandom etc I though this list was pretty good. The top three, in some order, were expected. Personally Spirited is not my favorite Miyazaki but it seems the one that really was the break-out hit for him. In America. Good point upstream folk about this being pretty Americo-centric. But that's fine. Everything is always something-centric.

I was glad to see Metropolis get some love. I really liked that film and it just felt like it was cool and odd experience.
posted by bfootdav at 5:45 PM on January 5


It obviously wasn't a "break-out hit" in Japan for him since he was very well known and loved, but Spirited Away would probably get the most votes as Miyazaki's best in Japan too. Its also the #1 movie of all time in Japan.

Actually I'm always a bit surprised how popular it is in America given how deeply it references Japanese culture / myths. Even without getting all that, people still love it.
posted by thefoxgod at 6:10 PM on January 5


I think that may have something to do with why people like it so much over here. Because it doesn't slide through the deep grooves of western mythology and fantasy tropes, it feels fresh, creative and novel. The film is full of surprises for us, even if some of that is due to our ignorance.

One of the reasons why Miyazaki is so much fun for me is the way he treats Western art and aesthetics. He has great love for a certain sort of slightly antique European look, whether its in Porco Rosso or Howl's Moving Castle or Kiki's Delivery Service, but he always attacks it with a fresh eye that's unmoored from our expectations.
posted by selfnoise at 6:20 PM on January 5


Mind Game (#20) if you try to describe it in terms of plot, like the author does here, it sounds like a bunch of nonsense. I think the throughline is more of an emotional/philosophical one. Sort of ... experimenting with different attitudes towards life? I've seen it twice, will probably watch it again.
posted by RobotHero at 6:26 PM on January 5


No Urotsukidoji? Shaaaaaaame.

(Glad to see Castle of Cagliostro, though.)
posted by delfin at 6:46 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Don't agree, obviously.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 6:51 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


Totoro at 9 is just, huh, wow. I watch the movie behind a scrim of happy tears.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:54 PM on January 5 [6 favorites]


I don't really know objectively how good a movie Totoro is. It played such a large role in the early years of our family though that it is basically part of the fabric of our lives.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 7:03 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


Boingboing just recently shared a link to this list, which feels appropriate:
THE 20 BEST ANIME MOVIES NOT MADE BY STUDIO GHIBLI

I also stopped actively watching anime sometime around 2002. If a film is showing at my local independent theatre, I'll go see it. Otherwise, I don't really try to keep up.

A few of the films that made it onto both lists have caught my eye. Might be time to catch up on the last 15 years.
posted by Telf at 7:08 PM on January 5


91. Golgo 13 The Professional (1983)
This seems like a movie that exemplifies winding up in the 90s of a 100-film list.

64. The End of Evangelion (1997)
I've spent half my life feeling that the TV ending was better, I'm not changing that now. After-the-fact tinkering with Evangelion has only exacerbated its problems. But when I was 17, Eva was perfect. (And no, I know with more experience that Eva is not perfect.)

62. Macross Plus (1995)
Only moderately justified at being this low because the full OVA was much richer and better. The music was amazing, though. Seriously, it holds up as really oddball pop.

55. Battle Angel (1993)
I love this far out of proportion to it being #55. Also it's an OVA and not a theatrical movie.

54. Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
This movie got me into an obsession with Lupin III that wound up with piles of fansubbed tapes. It's still a terrific piece of adventure filmmaking - the car chase down the mountainside alone! - although its Lupin is of course hardly the Lupin of the manga or of Series 1. And it's my favorite Miyazaki, which I'm pretty sure is heresy, but I mean it's one of my 10/10 movies, and I don't grade on a curve.

42. Galaxy Express 999 (1979)
This is simply a style that anime lost as it went through the 80s, and that is a damn shame.

22. Ninja Scroll (1993)

This was not better than any of the movies that I picked that fall above it.

17. Millennium Actress (2001)
It's hard to be as good as Perfect Blue, and this wasn't. Still a good try.

16. Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? (1984)
This is a good summation movie of an even better series, which I can say even though I saw the Macekered version. (I have a dualistic view of Macross: on the one hand I think the original was great and Robotech did not do right by it; on the other, Robotech was a great series from my youth and I love it as its own thing, separately.)

12. Princess Mononoke (1997)
I think this was better than 12.

11. Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise (1987)
Most of this film was so sublimely good that the one humongous flaw mentioned (the not-rape scene) was particularly jarring.

7. Perfect Blue (1997)
There are not six anime films better than Perfect Blue. (I'd have it at #2 because of Castle of Cagliostro.) This is a movie you shouldn't watch before midnight, because if you do, it won't register in your brain in quite the right way. It breaks down its protagonist's mind in a way that outdoes most non-animated horror flicks.

4. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
So I love this because I love cyberpunk and philosophy in anime and it has scads. But I feel like it's cheating to put it this high because I don't think I'd have felt that way if I hadn't encountered it as a freshman in college.

3. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
2. Spirited Away (2001)
These are the only entries in the top 6 that have any reason to be above Perfect Blue.

1. Akira (1988)
This had astonishing style and visuals, and atmosphere, and is why I like anime and cyberpunk and psionic powers and giant spherical explosions. But #1? The storytelling is painfully out of sorts and doesn't even vaguely deserve that.

Not Listed: Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space
The whole original Gundam trilogy is some of my favorite anime, but particularly Encounters in Space, which is a terrific anti-war war story (and not nearly as choppy as Soldiers of Sorrow, which had some great moments but far too much Guntank). A Bao A Qu, as rendered in the movie, is the best space battle in any science fiction anime.
posted by graymouser at 8:01 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Also in honor of Miyazaki's birthday: this photo of cats in totoro costume just posted on the Studio Ghibli facebook page.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:08 PM on January 5 [7 favorites]


Grave of the Fireflies is one of those movies that I'm glad I saw, but I will never ever watch it again.
posted by Eikonaut at 8:49 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]


My wife's favorite anime movie is Paprika. I think she is so much fun, too...

Mine is Totoro, because it is neither too slow nor too fast, creepy but never scary, religious and spiritual without being preachy, and there are stories within stories within stories being told, sometimes without a single word said.

And the ear of corn with "For Mommy" scrawled on it gets me every time. Magic medicine is the best medicine sometimes.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:53 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


Oh, ABSOLUTELY. God, I probably don't even remember half the film anymore, but I was so traumatized hat looking a hard candies makes me choke up.

Your Lie in April was a movie as well as a series?
posted by maryr at 8:55 PM on January 5


Oh, Possessions from Short Piece is FANTASTIC. Ugh, so good, so so so sos ososos good.
posted by maryr at 8:57 PM on January 5


I don't see a US bias tilting anything here too radically from what most critics would say (USian or otherwise). For a more international list, here is how a poll of (mostly Japanese?) animators ranked full length Japanese films from the 2003 Laputa Animation Festival.

#1 My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
#2 Little Prince and the Eight Headed Dragon (1963)
#3 The Great Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun (1968)
#4 Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
#5 Castle in the Sky (1986)
#6 Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
#7 Spirited Away (2001)
#8 Akira (1988)
#9 Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
#10 Puss in Boots (1969)
#11 Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1999)
#12 Panda and the Magic Serpent (1958)
#13 Wings of Honneamise (1987)
#14 Patlabor 2: The Movie (1993)
#15 Kenji Miyazawa's Night on the Galactic Express (1985)

As you might expect, they give much greater weight to the 1960s animation that inspired them. But probably also more ephemeral than the Paste choices.
posted by dgaicun at 9:57 PM on January 5 [5 favorites]


One of my favorite Miyazaki movies has been Porco Rosso. The Casablanca-type vibe the movie gives off is just palpably cool and the settings are gorgeously rendered.

Imagine my surprise when I actually visited the Adriatic Sea in Croatia many years after watching this movie and felt like I already knew the place - the sky, the sea, the calm of it. It deepened my appreciation for Miyazaki and Porco Rosso even more.
posted by lubujackson at 10:31 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


I've spent half my life feeling that the TV ending was better

Because that's the objectively correct position.

(And no, I know with more experience that Eva is not perfect.)

Ah well, you got it half right, which isn't so bad.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:38 PM on January 5


Spirited Away is a wonderful film, and Totoro is beautiful, and Nausicaa is haunting and so brilliantly original.

But the best Miyazaki is The Wind Rises, a perfect capstone to an amazing career.

Also: where's the Takahata love? Some of my favourite Ghibli films are his: Only Yesterday, My Neighbours the Yamadas. (Not to mention Grave of the Fireflies, of course).

As for some of the other things on the list - Wicked City is nothing but disgusting, rape-filled garbage. I have no problem with violence - Ghost in the Shell is brilliant - but Wicked City is the fantasy of a misogynist psychopath.
posted by jb at 10:44 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


dgaicun's list is the one I want to print out and immediately watch all the ones I've missed.

also (gloaty moment): I'm seeing the Red Turtle next week, yay!
posted by jb at 10:47 PM on January 5


But for real, spriggin' Spriggan is in there? The 63rd best anime movie of all time?
posted by No-sword at 11:56 PM on January 5


Yeah... I feel like this was compiled by a few different people, one of whom was a 16-year old American teen boy from 1997. As I outlined above, those movies can just... all come off! Then it's a fine list.
posted by selfnoise at 3:51 AM on January 6


Kiki's, alongside Porco Rosso and Lupin are the most underrated of Miyazaki's movies. Same thing happened with the list, they're better than 30th, 40th and 54th. Kaguya should also be higher on that list. I'd also put GitS over Akira, but that's more down to personal taste.

Animatrix was perhaps where the series should have ended. Maybe a second movie, if it fit the second and third dullfests into one. Either way, it had some gorgeous animation (Final Flight of the Osiris was incredible then, but now it shows it's age. Almost 15 years is like a century is CGI) of different styles and expanded the universe of the first movie, right on time to set us up with massive disappointment. Also, good to see Interstella 5555 on the list. It was a pretty incredible concept at the time (helped the music was actually good, which is more that I can say of Daft Punk recently) and along the pilfering of 70s and 80s samples, the old-school visuals of the anime match it perfectly.


Also, if there are any lazy Letterboxd users, here you go.
posted by lmfsilva at 3:52 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


Still, it gives me some leads on other anime I might like.

On that theme, The Verge just put out a list of The 11 best anime series for newcomers to stream: basically a list of great anime from the last 2-3 years and available on Crunchyroll.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:46 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


Happy to see Robot Carnival on that list at all (#32)...it was my introduction to anime, and I've looked for it for years with no success. "Cloud" alone qualifies it.

Surprised to see Pom Poko ranked so highly, however (#13). Perhaps it makes more sense to Japanese audiences, but to me it just kind of rambled for far too long. And part of its surreality seemed unintentional.

Ponyo didn't make the list at all? It was flawed, but it was still leaps and bounds better than some of the other entries (Dragonball Z? I tried watching a few episodes of the show with my niece...I just couldn't understand the appeal or why she found it so enthralling).
posted by tully_monster at 4:47 AM on January 6


If you’ve always yearned in your heart of hearts for a Studio Ghibli film where a pack of anthropomorphic raccoons use their gigantic testicles as bludgeoning weapons in a last stand against police officers, rest assured because your prayers have been answer

If you haven't seen Pom Poko you really should. This part of the movie has become legend between me and my son hahahaha.

This is a great list to reference from. And yeah, Akira number 1? How about a list that is "With Akira as the obviously BEST ANIME OF ALL TIME* here's another 100 instead!"

*disputed fact
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:18 AM on January 6


Ponyo is 77th.

DBZ's biggest problem are the filler scenes. A cut with shorter energywave battles and charging power scenes would last about half as long, but would be far more watchable.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:20 AM on January 6


Kiki's, alongside Porco Rosso and Lupin are the most underrated of Miyazaki's movies.

I'm not sure Lupin can be. 15 years ago, my daughter was a teenage girl who went everywhere in her Lupin t-shirt.

I never ceased to be astonished by the number of middle aged neckbeards who stopped to complement her on her good taste.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:30 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


Ninja Scroll being in the top 50, let alone the top 25 bothers me way more than it should. Like, yeah, if you're going to watch one ultra-violent and misogynistic anime movie directed at 14 year old boys then that's definitely the pick. But like, you're ranking it above Porco Rosso, Tekkonkinkreet, Tokyo Godfathers, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and I could name more.

Castle of Cagliostro is so charming it's ridiculous. It's overflowing with little Miyazaki mannerisms that you'll absolutely recognize if you've seen his other films. Not enough people have seen it and that's a huge shame, it's fantastic.

I feel like this list should have been 50 movies. At 100 the list fills way too padded with movies that I can't imagine being recommended to anyone. There's so much on here that has me scratching my head. Spriggan, Blood, Fullmetal Alchemist, Gyo? Sure, I guess?

Also The Cat Returns deserves to be so much higher than number 85. Perhaps the number 1? Or the number 2?
posted by Neronomius at 5:37 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure Lupin can be.

Well, Lupin as an whole isn't underrated - it started as a manga in the late 60s, and still gets an TV special here and there, so it surely has staying power. But Castle of Cagliostro is almost set aside from the Miyazaki canon despite being incredibly fun, both as a Lupin movie and a Miyazaki movie.
posted by lmfsilva at 6:00 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Like so many lists, it suffers from not really defining what they're going after very well. I mean, I liked Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa, but not as a stand alone movie as it would make little sense, the same goes for most of the other movies based on a anime series. You aren't just appreciating the movie, but all the hours of the series you've watched that led up to it. Comparing those to something like Kon's or Takahata's films is nutty.

When it comes down to it, there are, what? Maybe ten directors who consistently make top quality films and the rest of the list is far less compelling, with a handful of outlier works that belong in the top tier? There is a lot of filler, and still some better movies, some by those top quality directors, were left off. Kon's Tokyo Godfathers and Oshii's Sky Crawlers are better than some of the works they seemed to add just to better flesh out the selections to give an illusion of breadth. Not sure how to fit in the compilation films and shorter more experimental work, they too are of a different nature than the features. Still worthy of note, to be sure, but not really working along the same lines.
posted by gusottertrout at 6:04 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


But Castle of Cagliostro is almost set aside from the Miyazaki canon despite being incredibly fun, both as a Lupin movie and a Miyazaki movie.

In the US it has had an awful localization history. Carl Macek did the original dub, which was the only version available until the Manga release in 2000, and then it went away again until 2015.

But yes, it is a perfect adventure movie, and even though Lupin wears a green jacket, I see it as very much in the same spirit as the less gritty second (red jacket) series.
posted by graymouser at 6:21 AM on January 6


If you think the Carl Macek dub was bad, you should try the one that came before that.
posted by delfin at 6:28 AM on January 6


Probably like 5 years ago I watched the first 7 minutes or so of this anime movie and I really liked the aesthetic of the show. It opened with a view of the earth, maybe, and there was some kind of light beam, with some expositional narration, and then a kid running along pipes or pathways very high up in the air. I never went back to look for it, life got away from me. I think about it every so often and want to find it again. Hopefully it's on this list.
posted by FirstMateKate at 6:48 AM on January 6


Was it this? Tekkonkinkreet

Not exactly what you said, a literal bird's eye view I believe is the open, but pretty close and a damn fine looking film.
posted by gusottertrout at 6:53 AM on January 6


No Urotsukidoji? Shaaaaaaame.

Given the special pleading they make for Dallos, Urotsukidoji absolutely should be on this list. Waaaaaaaay more culturally/historically important in the west than Dallos, regardless of what one thinks of hentai.

Also, clearly they haven't seen Arcadia of My Youth.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:59 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Boingboing just recently shared a link to this list, which feels appropriate:
THE 20 BEST ANIME MOVIES NOT MADE BY STUDIO GHIBLI


Putting every single Hosoda film on these lists is so damn lazy, like spamming up a list of "20 cheapest laptops!" with Chromebooks.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:03 AM on January 6


If you’ve always yearned in your heart of hearts for a Studio Ghibli film where a pack of anthropomorphic raccoons use their gigantic testicles as bludgeoning weapons in a last stand against police officers, rest assured because your prayers have been answer.

Pom Poko! I knew there was another Takahata favourite that I was forgetting!

That is such a great film - and the playing with real/surreality is the best bit.

Ponyo is probably my favourite Ghibli, because I love water.
posted by jb at 7:17 AM on January 6


I've been pretty selective about the anime I love but I've always found the series much more interesting than movies based on a series or movies that were then made into series. The various GiTS series are an obvious example for me and I really enjoyed the Golgo 13 series much more than the standalone film(s). It's sort of like the recent television series dynamic in the States where long form quality television series have been far more interesting than films.

Fans of any genre often have widely varying opinions on what's great and what's not but I find the anime community particularly contentious in this regard.
posted by juiceCake at 7:18 AM on January 6


Happy to see Robot Carnival on that list at all (#32)...it was my introduction to anime, and I've looked for it for years with no success.

It was re-released on a region 1 DVD last year, and totally holds up.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:21 AM on January 6


Was it this? Tekkonkinkreet

Not exactly what you said, a literal bird's eye view I believe is the open, but pretty close and a damn fine looking film.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:53 AM on January 6 [+] [!]


No, but oh my god that looks cool!!
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:21 AM on January 6


#11 Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1999)


i saw this as a random recommendation from an anime-obsessed friend of mine (i am sort of the 'christmas catholic' version of an otaku) and it would certainly be in my top five if i was the kind of fan that ranked things.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:31 AM on January 6


If I wanted to go back and rewatch some of these, where would I go? None of the streaming services seem to have any of them.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:52 AM on January 6


If I wanted to go back and rewatch some of these, where would I go?

Some of them are on niche streaming services: Funimation has Akira I think, and maybe Summer Wars. Crunchyroll has Dallos and 5 Centimeters Per Second.

All the Ghibli stuff is available on DVD/blu-ray, and a lot of libraries stock at least the Miyazaki titles. Disney has never made these available for streaming in the US.

A lot of the others are on DVD too, but may need to bought or rented.

Some of these are not officially obtainable currently: Neo-Tokyo has been out of print for a while, and the used DVD goes for a pretty penny. There are torrents of it though.

Some have never been officially obtainable here. Macross: Do You Remember Love? has never had an official English language release. Fan subs are your only option there. Momtaro's Sea Warriors too, though that is supposedly getting released sometime in the next year here.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:13 AM on January 6


This is a good list! Obviously there are gaps, not everything appeals to everyone and we can argue endlessly over the order things appear in, but on the whole, this includes a lot of my favorite movies. I have to add/talk about a few, though.

Tree of Palme: This is another one that was originally planned as a series and it kind of shows. The runtime is longer than a typical animated feature, there are multiple mostly-self-contained story arcs, the (very, very strange) world is full of details that never really come into play in the plot, etc. The thing to understand about this film is that for all its Fantastic Planet exotica, it's less of a sci-fantasy Pinnochio and more about surviving abuse. All of the central characters are abuse survivors, and the main storyline is not so much about Palme's quest to become a "real boy" as it is about various people finding ways to break the cycle of abuse, and Palme making peace with his (their) own not-neurotypical-ness. The depictions of abuse and mental illness in the film really ring true, which is honestly kind of shocking because the sorta-cutesy-nostalgic cartoon aesthetic makes one expect more of a rollicking adventure story than frank, unflinching depictions of abuse, suicide, mental illness, etc. This also has one of the most affecting closing scenes in any film: the wonderfully odd image paired with the knowledge of what it means married to the gorgeously weird music makes my heart just stop.

Pom Poko: This one's listed and we've talked about it before. It's my favorite Ghibli movie by a wide margin. I think Miyazaki is outstanding at beautiful imagery, but Isao Takahata is stronger at the political and storytelling aspects of things. Pom Poko is the best kind of tragedy, sadder than Grave of Fireflies by being so warm and good natured. The tanuki's graceful acceptance of their ultimate fate I think makes them morally superior to humanity: they are all of our best qualities, with almost none of our worst.

The Sky Crawlers: I have more love for Angel's Egg as a beautifully bizarre work of art, but I think this is a gentler introduction to Mamorou Oshii, and a very strong film in its own right. It's a good example of the kind of storyteling I eat up: where the plot is mostly in piecing together background details and applying them to the foreground characters and story. When the pieces click, it's both satisfying and deeply disquieting.

Wolf Children: Probably the best Mamoru Hosoda film and a strange exclusion. It's a rare perfect marriage between the magical and mundane, and just a beautiful film.

Also worth checking out: Princess Arete, Spring & Chaos, Iblard Jikan and...wow. Most other things I'd recommend are actually there; Letter to Momo, Belladona of Sadness (!), Night On the Galactic Railroad, Whisper of the Heart, 5 Centimeters Per Second, Mind Game, Summer Wars. ♥ Apparently I mostly like "elitist" anime or something. Haters can get bent.

I hate Perfect Blue, though.
posted by byanyothername at 11:59 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


> Urotsukidoji absolutely should be on this list.

Now that I think about it, Urotsukidoji (you're talking about Legend of the Overfiend, right?) was the very first anime feature I ever saw...in the theatre, no less; I was invited by a friend and all I knew about it going in was that it was a "Japanese cartoon."

It's almost certainly #1 on my list of movies I wish I could unsee.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:52 PM on January 6


As usual, most of you are dead wrong in your opinions. Now do the top 100 anime series, I want to see if Mirai Nikki makes the list and the shitstorm it would entail. Here's an online resource to watch all the episodes of it.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 6:45 PM on January 6


If we're talking about Anime series, my guilty pleasure is Eyeshield 21. It is a gloriously goofy sports anime, populated by superheroes and monsters and sublimely bizarre characters at every turn.

It's about an American Football Highschool team in a nation that Does Not Get American Football. (It was sponsored by the NFL as a way to grow their brand globally. No, really.)

This show is weird. Wholesome, rated G, but more deeply and profoundly strange than some of the adults-only series out there. It's like the American movie Dodgeball, only every team participating has straight-up superheroes with special powers. There is an insane amount of technical Football detail, some of it essential plot points. Berzerk and hyper-dramatic on-field action. Men weeping shamelessly, and not being shamed for it, because it shows their sincerity. A cute sidekick named "Cerberus" who likes to maul his friends.

There is a neverending march of grotesque and frighteningly powerful villains, each more menacing than the last... and you step sideways, and you see they are the good-guy protagonists in their own journey. They just seem villainous because you have to play them on the field. Off the field, some of them are enemies, most become friends in absurd and fun and affecting ways. Competitors, not combatants.

There is the protagonist of the story, the titular Eyeshield 21, but his story isn't even the third most compelling storyline weaving in and out and all around. (The three-way Bromance between Kurita, Hiruma and Musashi, seniors with a deep history rich with tragedy and one very last and slim chance at glory... wow. Almost as good is the discord and reconciliation among the four White Knights.)

As a downside, there are only two women regular characters, but they are very well developed as an essential and important part of the team's success. (One is the team Manager who is instrumental in developing the strategies implemented by the dangerously insane Coach/Quarterback/Linebacker, and the one of only two of his teammates completely unintimidated by him. She's too busy being awesome to be anyone's love interest, tho she develops deep and sincere friendships with a number of the men and women in the series.)

Also, this is one of the few anime that will give you quippable catch phrases - "Funnuraba!", "BUTTSUBUSU!! YA HA!!", "Ha? HA? HAHHH???" - no one will get it but you, but quippable catchphrasing is for you.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:59 PM on January 7


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