Top 100 Anime Movies of all time!
Welcome to my list of my favorite anime movies! It's been more than a full year, and the list has grown quite a bit. What started as a Top 100 has ballooned to over 125 movies with another 50+ honorable mentions. All movies listed are feature length and can be watched as stand-alone products. Hope it helps people find some great movies to watch.
If you have suggestions for the list, send me a message. Always happy to find a new movie to watch.
5 Newest Additions: Anthem of the Heart, Black Magic M-66, SF New Century Lensman, Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror, and Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva.
Full list of Honorable Mentions: http://www.reddit.com/r/anime/comments/2qycch/top_100_anime_movies_final_day_101/cnaol1q
These movies all fell a little short of making it on the main list, but are still worth mentioning. Standouts on the list are marked in bold.
Current Movie Count: 74
127: The Sky Crawlers (2008)
Director: Mamoru Oshii - This movie tells the story of a group of young fighter pilots locked in an endless war. Slow-paced, thought provoking, and beautifully animated.
126: Nitaboh (2004)
Director: Akio Nishizawa - A child stricken blind by illness inherits his mother's shamisen and struggles to become a musician. A great film for music lovers.
125: Garakowa -Restore the World- (2016)
Director: Masashi Ishihama - A story of a virtual world and the two girls that defend it. Dual and Dorothy are anti-virus programs tasked with destroying any threats to humanitys "Box of Wisdom", an archive program of all the past societies and events in Earth's history. While fighting off the latest virus, they discover a mysterious program that will turn their world upside down.
Garakowa has beautiful visuals and an interesting premise, however writing and pacing issues keep this film from reaching its full potential.
124: Asura (2012)
Director: Keiichi Saoto - "Asura is an unrelentingly dark drama that follows the struggles of a young boy who did whatever it took to survive during a time of war and famine in medieval Japan."
123: Elemi (2009)
Director: Hideto Nakata - A romance starring an anthropomorphic utility pole? Have you gone nuts, PixelPenguin?! Hey, sometimes I love strange things. Give it a shot. It's surprisingly good. And at 45 minutes, it's not a big time investment.
122: Spriggan (1998)
Director: Hirotsugu Kawasaki - An action sci-fi flick from the late 90's with a plot that sounds straight out an Indiana Jones movie. A secret organization tries to prevent an evil government from gaining the power of Noah's Ark.
121: Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1989)
Director: Masami Hata and William Hurtz: Nemo is invited to Slumberland by the king of the realm to play with his daughter, the princess. Fun and games quickly turn to fear and panic as Nemo accidentally unleashes a nightmare in Slumberland. Now it's up to Nemo to set things right.
As a joint American/Japanese production, Little Nemo is the first anime movie to see a wide release in the States. A strong western influence is very apparent throughout the film, including song and dance numbers that you'd expect to see in a Disney style movie. It's a great film to watch for anyone with children who will absolutely love the whimsical characters and fantasy settings.
120: Black Magic M-66 (1987)
Director: Masamune Shirow - Two state of the art military robots go out of control after their transport crashes in a forest. Their target... the teenage granddaughter of the scientist that built them. A reporter looking for a scoop gets swept up into the madness, and now finds herself in a desperate mission to save the young girl.
Killer robots, explosions, machine guns, scantily clad women, and everything 80's! May not be stimulating on an intellectual level, but it's damn entertaining.
119: A Wind Named Amnesia (1990)
Director: Kazuo Yamazaki - For millennia, humans have slowly shaped society to the way we know it today, each generation building off the work of the last. What would happen if it was taken all away? What if we had to start from scratch? Would we revert back to beasts, or is there something deep in our hearts that separates us? When the winds of amnesia blow, the world will find out. An action sci-fi flick from the early 90's that follow the journeys of a man in a mind-wiped world.
118: Sci-Fi New Century Lensman (1984)
Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri - From the director of Wicked City and Ninja Scroll comes an old school sci-fi jaunt through the universe. Our young hero, Kimball Kinnison, must race against time to deliver vital information to the Galactic Alliance, but the enemy forces are on his heels. Very similar to the original Star Wars movie. Fans of one are sure to be fans of the other.
117: You Are Umasou (2010)
Director: Misaya Fujimori - "A Tyrannosaurus called Heart was raised by a herbivorous dinosaur. As he grew up, he was scared by other dinosaurs. One day, Heart meets a baby Ankylosaurus and he names the baby "Umasou (looks delicious)". Umasou started to be attached to Heart and a strange family love develops between the two." Can be enjoyed by both kids and adults alike.
116: Ninja Scroll (1993)
Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri - "Prepare your mind and steel your gut for the insanely gore-packed orgy of violence that still stands alone and unchallenged as the ultimate anime action feature" A true anime classic that every anime fan should watch at least once.
115: Pyschic School Wars (2012)
Director: Ryousuke Nakamura - "Spring marks the start of another new school year at a junior high school in Kamakura. A new transfer student, Ryoichi Kyogoku joins the 8th grade. Kyogoku has a very special proficiency in telepathy and has been ordered by his father to use this ability to scan other people's minds and take over the school."
114: Welcome to THE SPACE SHOW (2010)
Director: Koji Masunari - Five elementary school students unwittingly save an alien they mistook for a dog. To show its appreciation, Pochi, their new alien friend, brings them on a trip to the moon. So begins a fantastic adventure.
113: Lupin III: Farewell to Nostradamus (1995)
Director: Shunya Ito - "After a diamond heist in Brazil, Lupin hides the gem in a doll and boards a plane headed out of the country. While on board, the doll is stolen by a little girl named Julia, whose nanny is none other than Fujiko Mine. Before Lupin can get the doll back, the plane is hijacked and the girl is kidnapped. The kidnappers are after the same thing that Fujiko is after - a book of Nostradamus prophecies hidden in Julia's father's tower. Lupin and the gang join forces to save the girl, get the diamond back, and discover the secrets surrounding the strange book."
112: Gauche the Cellist (1982)
Director: Isao Takahata - A Ghibli film before there was ever an actual Ghibli studio. A charming tale about a struggling musician getting help from the most unusual of characters.
111: Half-Broken Music Box (2010)
Director: Keiichirou Kawaguchi - "Keiichiro lost his family in a traffic accident and retired from his band. One day, he finds an old model android in a garbage dump. He takes her home but after taking her to a repair shop he was told she couldn't be repaired so he planned to throw her away, but the next day he finds her making breakfast for him. Thus begin the summer days of a memoryless android and a dreamless boy"
110: The Boy Who Saw the Wind (2000)
Director: Kazuki Omori - Amon, the child of a brilliant scientist, was born with a mysterious power that could be the key to a new type of energy. An evil military organization wishes to turn Amon's power into a catastrophic weapon, but before they can put their plan into action, Amon and his family flee. So begins Amon's new life on the run
A fantasy adventure film with a strong anti-war theme based on the novel of the same name by CW Nicol. Strong world-building and endearing characters make this an enjoyable watch. In the animation department, Miyazaki's strong influence can be felt throughout the movie. With a more compelling antagonist it could have ranked much higher, but as it stands it's still definitely worth the watch.
109: Rakuen Tsuihou: Expelled From Paradise (2014)
Director: Seiji Mizushima - A futuristic sci-fi flick where humanity has evolved past their physical bodies and now reside in a cyberspace paradise called Deva. However, an outside force is hacking into Deva, threatening to bring down the network, and it's up to Angela Balzac to travel to real world Earth to eliminate the threat.
A fun action movie with giant robots, big explosions, and scantily clad women. For those times you just want to turn off your brain and be entertained.
108: Escaflowne: A Girl in Geae (2000)
Director: Kazuki Akane - "Hitomi Kanzaki is in a very depressed mood. She only wants to sleep and fade away. Her misery summons Lord Folken who sends her to Gaea. The people of Gaea think she is the Wing Goddess, who can call upon the legendary Dragon Armor called Escaflowne. On Gaea, King Van, the sole survior of the White Dragon Clan, is also in a depressed state. Swearing an oath to get his revenge on the Black Dragon Clan that oblierated Van's kingdom, he lives by the sword. Now that the Wing Goddess has finally appeared, she posseses Gaea's world fate in her heart. Escaflowne will either lead Gaea to peace or total ruin." An alternate retelling of the classic 1996 television series.
107: X/1999 (1996)
Director: Rintaro - A classic good versus evil storyline pits the Dragons of Heaven against the Dragons of Earth in a battle to decide Tokyo and ultimately the Earth's fate. Humanity's existence is balanced on a knife's edge, and only Kamui can tip the scale one way or the other.
This movie throws you straight into the action with little explanation. People that require a lot of upfront exposition will absolutely hate this movie. People that enjoy figuring things out slowly on their own will have a much better time. My personal favorite thing about the movie is the ending. I was on the fence with this one for a while, but those final 20 minutes earned X its spot on the list. Be warned, this is one of the bloodiest and most violent titles on the list.
106: Re-Birthday (1999)
Director: Satoshi Dezaki - Asuka's spirit is crushed by bullying at school and relentless emotional abuse at home. Left voiceless in a cruel world, can she regain her self-worth and find happiness once more?
If Lifetime Movies produced anime, this would be their final product. Strictly for fans of melodrama and tearjerkers. Not the greatest writing or animation, but it'll definitely tug at the heartstrings.
Not a big fan of the title, but I've used English titles for everything else, so I stuck with it. The Japanese title translates to something like Happy Birthday: Life's Shining Moment. Not much improvement to be had.
105: Hal (2013)
Director: Ryoutarou Makihara - "Kurumi's heart was broken by the sudden death of her boyfriend in a tragic airplane accident. Forced to carry on without her beloved Hal, she fell into a reclusive and joyless existence. Kurumi had given up on the world, but a brilliant scientist devised a plan to win her back"
104: Wonderful Days (2003)
Director: Kim Moon-saeng - A South Korean sci-fi flick set in a dark future after the collapse of Earth's climate due to pollution. It follows the tried and true formula of the under-trodden lower class rebelling against the evil powers that be. Tackles the issues of environmental destruction and social class distinctions.
103: The Little Norse Prince (1968)
Director: Isao Takahata - Horus and his father are driven from their homeland by a monstrous demon that turns kinsmen against kinsmen and destroys all in his wake. After years of isolation, Horus crosses the sea once more to find his people and confront his foe. With his faithful bear Koro and a young musician named Hilda, will Horus be able to free the world from this demon's grasp?
A fairy tale like story that takes inspiration from many past works. Almost immediately you'll see similarities to Androcles and the Lion or The Sword in the Stone. As the oldest film on the list by far, the animation will be a shock for those who have only watched newer shows. I think the story definitely makes up for it, especially if you enjoy fables or fairy tales.
102: They Were Eleven (1986)
Director: Satoshi Dezaki - "The elite Cosmo Academy attracts applicants from every stellar nation in the galaxy. One young hopeful is Tadatos Lane, an orphan esper from Terra. The final stage of the academy's entrance exam is a perilous mission simulation aboard an actual derelict starship. The applicants depart for the ships in groups of ten, but when Tada's crew arrives on the Esperanza, they are horrified to discover that they now number eleven. As the test progresses, things go awry and the atmosphere grows increasingly tense. The crew members begin to suspect sabotage, and Tada appears to be the likely culprit."
101: Swan Lake (1981)
Director: Kimio Yabuki - A beautiful retelling of the classic ballet complete with Tchaikovsky's original score. A great film for fairy tale lovers.
100: Redline (2009)
Director: Takeshi Koike - An over-the-top, adrenaline filled, racing movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Known for its gorgeous animation and non-stop action, it was 7 years in the making with over 100,000 hand drawn images.
99: Vampire Hunter D: Blustlust (2000)
Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri - "The story revolves around D, the infamous "dunpeal" (born of a vampire father and a human mother) outcast and renowned vampire hunter. His prowess at hunting the creatures of the night allowing his acceptance among humans, he is called upon to locate Charlotte Elbourne, the lovely daughter of an affluent family who has been mysteriously kidnapped."
98: Stand By Me Doraemon (2014)
Director: Takashi Yamazaki - A robotic cat named Doraemon from the 22nd century is sent back in time to the present day to aid a young boy named Nobita. Can Doraemon turn this clumsy, awkward, and helpless child's life around, or will he be doomed to a future of unhappiness?
A completely 3D computer animated reimagining of the much beloved Doraemon series. It's a sweet coming-of-age story with some light drama. Loyal fans will enjoy another chance to watch their favorite characters, while newcomers to the show can dive right in. On a side note, this film strongly reminded me of Jimmy Neutron.
97: Run Melos! (1992)
Director: Tomoharu Katsumata
Sentenced to death, Melos begs those around for a short reprieve so he could attend his sister's wedding. If one man is willing to step up in Melo's place, he'll be given a 3 day reprieve. However, if he fails to return, that man will die in his place. Will anyone step up and place their faith in Melos? A story of friendship and trust based on an Ancient Greek myth.
96: Armitage III (1995)
Director: Hiroyuki Ochi -Police officer Ross Syllibus, fresh off his transfer from Earth, finds himself teamed up with Naomi Armitage, his beautiful yet deadly partner. Together they investigate a string of murders on Mars. No human lives have been lost in this case. The victims... all robots. A great cyberpunk flick guaranteed to please all action fans. No "Three Laws" to worry about in this world of cyborgs and robots. Available in both OVA and movie format.
95: Mobile Police Patlabor 2: The Movie (1993)
Director: Mamoru Oshii - "The destruction of a United Nations Labor team in South East Asia begins the build-up to a deadly terrorist plan that threatens to send shockwaves throughout Japan's military. With evidence of an impending military takeover, the scattered members of the original SVD (Special Vehicle Division) must gather to defend the city against danger." The prequel film is well worth a watch also.
94: Mai Mai Miracle (2009)
Director: Sunao Katabuchi - A touching coming of age film about a young girl with a wild imagination that brings her back 1000 years to the Heian period, and another young girl that's struggling to adapt herself to life in the country.
93: Osamu Tezuka's Buddha Movie 1: The Red Desert! It's Beautiful (2011)
Director: Kouzou Morishita - "In ancient India, the lives of the shudra are plagued by drought, famine, constant warfare and the injustices of the strict caste system. The intertwining lives of many unhappy souls are drawn together by the birth of the young prince Siddhartha, who embarks on a spiritual journey, becomes Buddha, "the Enlightened One," and attempts to bring about a spiritual rebirth of the people in this desperate age."
92: The Perfect World of Kai (2007)
Director: Masayuki Kojima - "Amamiya Shuuhei moves from Tokyo to the country side due to his grandmother's bad health. His father is a famous pianist and Shuuhei has taken strict piano lessons since he was very young, aspiring to follow in his footsteps. In school, he is teased by his classmates and is dared to play the piano in the forest. This piano is said to be cursed: if you play it, no sound will come."
91: Glass Rabbit (2005)
Director: Setsuko Shibuichi - One of many historical dramas written about the events during WWII told from the eyes of a child. Not quite as bleak and depressing as some of the more well known tales, it's still definitely worth a watch.
90: Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror (2009)
Director: Shinsuke Satou - "Your favourite teddy bear. That model kit that took so long to complete. The picture book you used to read over and over again. The shining stone you found that day in the park. Where do all your childhood's treasures go when you grow up? In this story, we meet fantastic creatures that gather all these little objects that fall into oblivion as they are forgotten by their owners when they step into adulthood. These creatures sneak into our world from a different dimension, and unseen by humans, they take all the ditched and forgotten "treasures" into their world. Here, they use their booty to build their own city, a fairy tale-like place called... Oblivion Island!"
One of the few full-CGI movies to make the list. Oblivion Island certainly isn't up to the standard of Pixar, but the animation doesn't detract from the overall story. Some great action and a very imaginative fantasy setting make this well worth the time investment.
89: Japan, Our Homeland (2007)
Director: Akio Nishizawa - "It was the spring of 1956, roughly 10 years after the end of the Pacific War. A new teacher named Rieko Sakamoto is assigned to an elementary school in Kiba, downtown Tokyo. At the same time, Shizu Miyanaga, a transfer student from Kobe, joins the class #4 of the 6th grade. Shizu is a bright, pretty girl who dreams to become a singer. Blessed with both athletic and academic abilities, Shizu quickly becomes the center of everyone's attention in the class. Akira, the son of a joiner and also the class president, starts to develop a special feeling for Shizu..."
88: Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise (1987)
Director: Hiroyuki Yamaga - "Surrounded by a cynical public and corrupt, manipulative State leaders, the Royal Space Force (RSF) is largely viewed as a joke as well as a waste of precious money and resources. After a chance meeting with a young, empathetic woman reencourages cadet Shiro Lhadatt to become the first man in space, the RSF cadets and a team of aging scientists rush to complete their epic launch before the military uses their space program as bait to start an all-out war." The animation in this film is amazing for something produced in 1987.
87: One Stormy Night (2005)
Director: Tetsuro Amino - One stormy night, a young goat named Mei took shelter in an abandoned barn. Inside lurked another, also sheltering from the rain. In the darkness, the two strike up a friendship, but what will happen when daylight comes and the two realize each other's true identities?
A delightful children's film based on the children's book series by Yūichi Kimura. It's a story of unlikely friends and the barriers they face to stay together. At times it has a Disney feel, and at others it's reminiscent of Looney Tunes cartoon. Great movie for kids, but the adults in the group won't feel left out either.
86: Giovanni's Island (2014)
Director: Mizuho Nishikubo - Another war drama told from the eye's of a child. This one tells the story of the Russian occupation of Shikotan island and the hardships faced by the natives after Japan's defeat. A touching tale with some beautiful animation.
85: Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva (2009)
Director: Masakazu Hashimoto - The iconic puzzle game makes its impressive anime debut in Layton and the Eternal Diva. The professor and his young apprentice, Luke, are contacted by a past acquaintance with a bizarre story... a dead friend has come back to life in the body of a little girl. While investigating the mystery, Layton and Luke find themselves players in a deadly game where the final prize is eternal life.
This movie's a fun adventure mystery that's sure to keep you entertained whether you're already a fan of the video game series or a complete newcomer.
84: Green Legend Ran (1992-1993)
Director: Satoshi Saga - Green Legend Ran is set in a distant future where the planet has been devastated by a mysterious alien cataclysm. Now water is scarce and most sources are controlled by the brutal Rodoist faction. Our protagonist Ran, a war orphan, struggles to survive in this grueling environment of sand and hardship until he crosses paths with a young silver-haired girl. And so begins our story.
More than 2 hours worth of glorious 90's sci-fi. The animation is a little poor even considering its age, but the story and characters more than make up for it.
83: Aura: Koga Maryuin's Last War (2013)
Director: Seiji Kishi - A film very reminiscent of Chuunibyou. Our MC used to act like the protagonist in a fantasy anime. Now at a new school, he tries to put his past behind him, but he may have to put back on the cape to save a friend.
82: The Case of Hana and Alice (2015)
Director: Shunji Iwai - Alice, a quirky and unreserved girl, transfers to a new school, but quickly finds herself ostracized from her classmates. The cause of her dilemma is a superstition about a murdered student who once sat at her desk. Research into this mystery from the past will lead Alice into a new adventure.
A prequel to a live action movie, Hana and Alice is animated using a rotoscope technique with watercoloresque backgrounds. The overall look is simple yet effective. Truthfully there isn't a whole lot of story to be told in this one. It's mainly slice of life with a bit of drama tacked on. What makes this worth watching are the delightfully quirky and entertaining main characters. Alice's antics especially will leave you grinning.
81: Yobi: The 5 Tailed Fox (2007)
Director: Sung-gang Lee - The second Korean anime to make the list. This quirky tale about Yobi, a shape-shifting, 5-tailed fox, and several stranded extraterrestrials is one of the stranger films listed so far. When one of the aliens gets captured, Yobi's forced to enter the human world to rescue him.
80: Castle in the Sky (1986)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki - "This high-flying adventure begins when Pazu, an engineer's apprentice, finds a young girl, Sheeta, floating down from the sky wearing a glowing pendant. Together they discover both are searching for a legendary floating castle, Laputa, and vow to unravel the mystery of the luminous crystal around Sheeta's neck. Their quest won't be easy, however. There are greedy air pirates, secret government agents and astounding obstacles to keep them from the truth, and from each other." Our first true Ghibli title of the list!
79: Who's Left Behind? (1991)
Director: Arihara Seiji - And once again, we have another historical drama set during WWII. "Kayoko is a young girl in 1940, just starting first grade. She's a bit of a crybaby, which is no secret to those around her. She loves playing with friends and singing cute schoolyard chants, and occasionally having fun with her three older brothers. Her mother is pregnant, and so she looks forward to being a big sister, only partially understanding the responsibility that might bring. Meanwhile, the war effort is growing, and it`s only the natural thing to do to be patriotic and support the country...
Kayoko goes so far as to contribute her favorite dolly, whose materials could help build explosives. Time passes, and as she grows older, Kayoko sees how the war has affected her life and those around her. Nothing can prepare her for 1945, however, and the bleak times that are soon to come. Based on original creator Kayoko Ebina's real life experience during World War 2 on Showa era."
78: The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004)
Director: Makoto Shinkai - "In an alternate timeline, Japan was divided after losing World War II: Hokkaido was annexed by "Union" while Honshu and other southern islands were under US sovereignty. A gigantic yet mysterious tower was constructed at Hokkaido and could be seen clearly from Aomori (the northernmost prefecture of Honshu) across Tsugaru Strait. In the summer of 1996, three 9th-graders had made a promise that one day they'll build an aircraft and unravel the tower's mystery, but their project was abandoned after the girl, Sayuri Sawatari, began experiencing sleeping sickness and transferred to Tokyo for better treatment. Three years later, Hiroki Fujisawa accidentally found out that Sayuri had been in a coma since then, and he asked Takuya Shirakawa to help him finding a way to revive her. What they don't know yet is that Sayuri's unconsciousness is somehow linked with secrets of the tower and the world." As with any Shinkai film, the backgrounds are gorgeous.
77: Origins: Spirits of the Past (2006)
Director: Keiichi Sugiyama - "A failed DNA experiment with plants has changed the world forever. Having demolished the moon, the intelligent and aggressive plant-life has spread to the earth and destroyed the human civilization. The few humans that remain struggle to survive, while maintaining an uneasy truce with the restless forest. One day, a villager named Agito stumbles across a stasis unit hidden deep in the forest and awakens a very cute girl from the past..."
76: Magical Sisters Yoyo and Nene (2013)
Director: Takayuki Hirao - Magical Sisters Yoyo and Nene are witches for hire, who use their powers to break evil curses and fight magical creatures. While investigating a strange structure, Yoyo gets separated from her sister and ripped from her own world into a world free from magic. But magic begins to plague the denizens of this world as well, and Yoyo must solve the mystery. A fun fantasy film for the whole family.
75: Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011)
Director: Makoto Shinkai - "Strange sounds in the darkness... Unearthly music from an old crystal radio... These are all the warning Asuna Watase has before a simple walk to her clubhouse catapults her into a nightmarish adventure that will take her beneath the Earth to a lost land beyond the realm of legend! Attacked by a strange monstrous creature, rescued by a mysterious stranger and pursued by a relentless enemy, Asuna finds herself enmeshed in a centuries old mystery that will bind her to a strange young defender and lead her inevitably, towards a secret that may hold the key to life itself!"
74: Aachi and Ssipak (2006)
Director: Jo Beom-jin - Fossil fuels gone. Nuclear power non-existent. Not a river to be found for hydroelectric. To what do you turn to power your town? Shit of course! And how do you keep the townsfolk motivated to keep producing a steady flow of brown gold? Reward them with highly addictive juicy bars for every adequate load achieved. Welcome to Shibal, a town entirely fueled by human excrement. Our story follows Aachi and Ssipak, two street hoods out to get their chunk of the shit and juicy bar powered economy.
An absurd comedy with over the top action. It's an ode to violence and debauchery and everything perverse. Easily one of the most sick and twisted titles on the list. It makes Dead Leaves look tame in comparison.
Note: The English version features a different soundtrack from the original Korean version and also cuts a few minutes off the length.
73: Steamboy (2004)
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo - "Ray is a young inventor living in the U.K. in the middle of the 19th century. Shortly before the first ever Great Exhibition, a marvelous invention called the "Steam Ball," behind which a menacing power is hidden, arrives at his door from his grandfather Lloyd in the U.S. Meanwhile the nefarious O'Hara Foundation has sent men to aquire the Steam Ball so that they can use its power towards their own illicit ends."
72: The Tree of Palme (2003)
Director: Takashi Nakamura - "Palme is a puppet created by a man to care for his sickly wife. After her death Palme becomes paralyzed with sorrow, that is, until a woman being pursed happens to cross paths with Palme and his creator and ask them to deliver something precious to a sacred place called Tama. Palme, mistaking her for his masters late wife, accepts the request. This becomes his first step to becoming more human in order to understand his own feelings." Don't be fooled by the artwork. It may look like a children's film, but you're greeted with a decapitation 5 minutes into it.
71: Nasu: Summer in Andalusia (2003)
Director: Kitarou Kousaka - "Pepe is a Spanish cyclist competing in an multi-stage Iberian cycling race similar to the Tour de France. He is a support rider for one of the teams competing in the race, and his role is to assist the team's top rider in winning the overall race. As the story unfolds, the racers are set to ride through Pepe's home town in Andalusia on the same day as the wedding of his elder brother Angel to his former girlfriend Carmen. Their relationship was a factor in his decision to leave the town to pursue professional cycling, and the wedding is a frustrating reminder that his career hasn't turned out as he would have liked. Now, with the sponsor planning to drop him from the team and his family and friends cheering him on, Pepe abandons his assigned role and strives for glory." Don't miss the OVA sequel either!
70: Mind Game (2004)
Director: Masaaki Yuasa - Descriptions of Mind Game do it no justice. You just have to watch it. It's one of the most surreal movie experiences.
69: Lupin III: The Secret of Mamo (1978)
Director: Sōji Yoshikawa - "Lupin, the master thief/spy/Jack of all Trades, has been executed, but he is still alive, and not even Lupin himself knows how that is possible. While trying to figure out, however, he and his gang are thrust into a conspiracy involving clones, Lupin's un-trustworthy rival Fujiko, and a miniature madman's plot to take over the world." One of the oldest Lupin movies, but also one of the best.
68: When Marnie Was There (2014)
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi - In a beautiful park, surrounded by the laughter of children, we're introduced to a decidedly unhappy girl named Anna, a 12 year old foster child. Alone and struggling with her self esteem, she feels as if she has nowhere to belong. In an attempt to help, Anna's foster mother sends her to the countryside for a change of scenery and a fresh start, but Anna only feels further alienated. That is until a fated meeting with a special little girl...
A very worthy addition to Studio Ghibli's fantastic library. It's beautifully animated and the story is quite heartwarming. And sadly, Marnie is perhaps the last feature length film Ghibli will ever produce.
67: One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island (2005)
Director: Mamoru Hosada - Luffy and his pirate crew travel to a distant island famed for its world class cuisine and luxurious spas. However, the Straw Hat crew quickly find out that the island isn't all it's cracked up to be.
With plenty of action, comedy, and drama, this film is guaranteed to satisfy a wide variety of tastes. Prior knowledge of the series is not necessary to enjoy this one. I personally never watched a single episode of the One Piece tv series, and I thought this movie was great.
66: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki - "A thousand years after a global war, a seaside kingdom known as the Valley Of The Wind remains one of only a few areas still populated. Led by the courageous Princess Nausicaä, the people of the Valley are engaged in a constant struggle with powerful insects called ohmu, who guard a poisonous jungle that is spreading across the Earth. Nausicaä and her brave companions, together with the people of the Valley, strive to restore the bond between humanity and the Earth"
65: Rainbow-Colored Fireflies: The Eternal Summer Vacation (2012)
Director: Konosuke Uda - "Yuuta was 12-year-old boy, who had lost his father in the traffic accident one year ago. In the summer vacation, he visited a deserted dam deep in the mountains, where he had a good time with his father before. Suddenly a thunder storm occurred and he slipped on the ground. He lost consciousness and woke up to find a girl and an unfamiliar village. He time-traveled 30 years and reached a village, which sank at the bottom of the dam. This is Yuuta's precious memory of "another" summer vacation."
64: The Phoenix - Space Chapter (1987)
Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri - Four astronauts wake to the sounds of blaring alarms and the acrid smell of smoke and fire. They rush to the bridge, and find the pilot dead, the victim of a foul murder. While struggling to survive, can they uncover the culprit?
Space Chapter is the final installment in The Phoenix trilogy, originally created by Tezuka Osamu, creator of the famed Astro Boy. The preceding Karma and Yamato chapters are recommended viewing and can add extra layers to the final chapter, but are not prerequisites for watching. Anyone that enjoys science fiction and mysteries will enjoy this film.
63: Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1998)
Director: Hiroyuki Okiura - "After witnessing the suicide bombing of a terrorist girl, Constable Kazuki Fuse becomes haunted by her image, and is forced to undergo retraining for his position in the Capital Police's Special Unit. However, unknown to him, he becomes a key player in a dispute between Capital and Local Police forces, as he finds himself increasingly involved with the sister of the very girl he saw die." If you like dark stories, it doesn't get much better than this.
62: Blue Submarine No. 6 (1998-2000)
Director: Mahiro Maeda - A post-apocalyptic sci-fi film about a scientist gone rogue that floods the world and introduces a new sentient race of beings to the planet. Now humans are on the brink of destruction after a long war with these creatures of the sea. The Blue Fleet stands alone as humanity's last hope. A must-watch 4 part OVA film.
61: Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki - "After a successful robbery leaves famed thief Lupin III and his partner Jigen with nothing but a large amount of fake money, the so called "Goat Bills", he decides to track down the counterfeiter responsible - and steal any other treasures he may find in the Castle of Cagliostro, including the 'damsel in distress' he finds imprisoned there. However, as usual, Inspector Zenigata is hot on his trail." Sadly, the last of the Lupin films to make the list.
60: Oseam (2003)
Director: Sung Baek-yeop - Based on a Korean fairy tale, it tells the story of 2 orphans taken in by kindly monks. Be ready for a real tearjerker.
59: The Wind Rises (2013)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki - Miyazaki's critically acclaimed last feature length film. It gives a fictionalized account of the life of Dr. Jiro Horikoshi, a famous engineer responsible for the designs of many Japanese aircraft. Lovers of romance and historical movies will enjoy this film.
58: Chie the Brat (1981)
Director: Isao Takahata - "Chie Takemoto is a dependable girl who struggles to help her troublesome father run a small tavern in Osaka. Unbeknown to her dad, she occasionally visits her mother who left him not too long ago. She plans on trying to reunite them, but not until her father gets a job."
57: 5cm Per Second (2007)
Director: Makoto Shinkai - "Tohno Takaki and Shinohara Akari, two very close friends and classmates, are torn apart when Akari's family is transferred to another region of Japan due to her family's job. Despite separation, they continue to keep in touch through mail. When Takaki finds out that his family is also moving, he decides to meet with Akari one last time.
As years pass by, they continue down their own paths, their distance slowly growing wider and their contact with one another fades. Yet, they keep remembering one another and the times they have shared together, wondering if they will have the chance to meet once again."
56: Garden of Sinners (2007 - 2009)
Based on a light novel written by Kinoko Nasu - "Garden of Sinners follows the story of Shiki Ryōgi, a teenage girl who possesses the "Mystic Eyes of Death Perception", a supernatural ability that allows the user to see the inherent mortality of everything." An epic 7-part movie series.
Part 1: http://myanimelist.net/anime/2593/Kara_no_Kyoukai_1:_Fukan_Fuukei
55: Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Director: Mamoru Oshii - "In the year 2029, the barriers of our world have been broken down by the net and by cybernetics, but this brings new vulnerability to humans in the form of brain-hacking. When a highly-wanted hacker known as 'The Puppetmaster' begins involving them in politics, Section 9, a group of cybernetically enhanced cops, are called in to investigate and stop the Puppetmaster. The pursuit will call into question what makes a human and what is the Puppetmaster in a world where the distinction between human and machine is increasingly blurry." The ultimate cyberpunk classic.
54: Galaxy Express 999 (1979)
Director: Rintaro - A young orphan and his mysterious companion travel across the length of the galaxy on a journey of vengeance. A coming of age drama wrapped in a sci-fi package.
53: Tales from Earthsea (2006)
Director: Goro Miyazaki - "Based on the classic Earthsea fantasy book series by Ursula Le Guin, Tales from Earthsea is set in a mythical world filled with magic and bewitchment. Journey with Lord Archmage Sparrowhawk, a master wizard and Arren, a troubled young prince on a tale of redemption and self discovery as they search for the force behind a mysterious imbalance in the land of Earthsea; crops are dwindling, dragons have reappeared, and humanity is giving way to chaos."
52: Sea Prince and the Fire Child (1981)
Director: Masami Hata - Sirius is the prince of the water children, Malta the princess of the fire children. Their love is forbidden, but their hearts cannot be denied. Romeo and Juliet meets The Little Mermaid in this classic fairy tale about star crossed lovers.
AKA: The Legend of Sirius
51: The Boy and The Beast (2015)
Director: Mamoru Hosoda - From the creator of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Wolf Children comes the story of a young boy named Ren on an otherworldly adventure. With the death of his mother and the absence of his father, Ren finds himself all alone in the world. His fate changes after an encounter with Kumatetsu, a beast from an alternate realm, who takes him under his wing as his new pupil. But in this relationship between boy and beast, who is the pupil and who is the teacher? It's a fun, colorful, and imaginative fantasy story about the coming of age of a boy.
50: Porco Rosso (1992)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki - Ghibli graces the list once. This comedic adventure follows the exploits of a high-flying pig as he battles sky pirates and takes part in a daring race where true love is on the line.
49: The Fake (2013)
Director: Yeon Sang-ho - A village is threatened with destruction when developers push forward a dam project that will flood the valley. Taking advantage of the situation, a conman accompanied by a gullible priest prey on the confused villagers, using their religious devotion and fear against them. One man is not fooled though, but will his past prevent him from saving his future?
The Fake is a slow moving, dark, and brutal film. There are no heroes to be found here. If you are tired of high schools, child protagonists, and moe characters, then this is the film for you.
48: Junkers Come Here (1994)
Director: Junichi Sato - Both slice of life and drama, this story tells the tale of a young girl named Hiromi and her pet dog, Junkers. With her grandmother recently deceased, her mother working deep into the night, her father constantly away on business, and a lack of friends at school, Hiromi finds herself struggling with loneliness and a feeling of abandonment. Junkers is her only constant companion, and we quickly learn that Junkers is no ordinary dog... Junkers can talk! A great coming of age story. Latchkey kids should especially connect with it.
47: Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Director: Yoshifumi Kondō - "During summer vacation, a schoolgirl named Shizuku, who longs to discover her true talents, observes an ordinary-looking cat riding by himself on the train. Intrigued, she decides to follow him. This chance encounter leads her to the mysterious Seiji, a boy who is determined to follow his dreams, and The Baron, a magical cat figurine who helps her listen to the whispers in her heart. Soon, Shizuku's exciting adventures carry her far beyond the boundaries of her imagination."
46: Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki - "Sophie, a quiet girl working in a hat shop, finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl. The vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste, jealous of their friendship, puts a spell on Sophie. In a life-changing adventure, Sophie climbs aboard Howl's magnificent flying castle and enters a magical world on a quest to break the spell."
45: Princess Arete (2001)
Director: Sunao Katabuchi - "Confined in the castle tower by her father, princess Arete spends her days watching the world outside her window. Sometimes she seeks out to watch the common people at work. The knights of the kingdom compete for the right to marry her and rule the land by competing to see who can find powerful magic objects made by a long dead race of sorcerers. Arete wants none of this. She longs to meet the common people and travel to exotic lands she has only seen in the books she keeps hidden under her bed. One day the sorcerer Boax arrives in a fantastic flying machine and offers to take Arete as his wife and transform her into a proper princess."
44: Patema Inverted (2013)
Director: Yasuhiro Yoshiura - "In an underground world where tunnels extend everywhere, even though they live in dark and confined spaces, people wear protective clothes and lead quiet and enjoyable lives. Patema, a princess in her underground village, loves to explore the tunnels. Her favorite place is a "danger zone" that her village prohibits people from entering. Even though she's scolded, Patema's curiosity can't be held back. No one ever explained what the supposed danger was. On her usual trip to the "danger zone," Patema faces unexpected events. When hidden secrets come to light, the story begins to unfold." They did an amazing job with the gravity concept. I imagine if you got to watch this in theaters, you'd feel as acrophobic as Patema did.
43: Metropolis (2001)
Director: Rintaro - "In the great city of Metropolis, severe community structures and prejudice dominate a world where humans and robots live together. Unrest and violence increase with each new day.
Searching for the scientist Dr. Laughton, suspected to violate human rights by trading organs, the Japanese detective Shunsaku Ban and his nephew Kenichi arrive at Metropolis. In the scientist's laboratory, Kenichi discovers a girl without any memory of her past life. He decides to help her, so they run away together. His uncle follows him and penetrates the dark secrets of the city to find Duke Red, the man ruling from the shadows. Meanwhile, Kenichi desperately tries to protect the mysterious girl from the people hunting her. However, Duke Red and his adoptive son have their own deep reasons for chasing the girl. These reasons are connected to her true identity and the struggle for the domination of Metropolis..."
42: R. O. D. (Read or Die) (2001-2002)
Director: Koji Masunari - "Yomiko Readman is a lovable, near-sighted bibliomaniac working as a substitute teacher at a Japanese high school. Her real identity, however, is that of a secret agent for the British Library Special Operations Division. Her codename: "The Paper." The moniker denotes her supernatural ability to freely manipulate paper into any object she can imagine, including tools and weapons in her fight against the powerful and self-serving IJIN (Great Historical Figure) Army! Along with her partner, the enigmatic "Ms. Deep," Yomiko travels across the world in attempt to solve the mystery behind the reincarnation of historical figures and their attempt to control the world."
A fun action movie with great animation and endearing characters. Avoid the disappointing television series follow-up however.
41: The Door Into Summer (1981)
Director: Mamoru Masaki and Toshio Hirata - One of the more unique titles to make the list. It explores topics that you wouldn't expect an older anime to cover such as homosexuality and underage relationships. It's actually a pretty thought provoking anime. "Marion is a young schoolboy who prides himself on his adherence to a philosophy he calls "rationalism". Because of his disdain for emotional display, he ignores anything remotely akin to affection. But when he's entangled in a romantic affair with an older courtesan, his rationalism is revealed to be little more than a cover for his own emotional immaturity. Learning to love, Marion blossoms under his older lover's care but unfortunately, Marion has yet to learn the true price of the affair."
40: The Dog of Flanders (1997)
Director: Yoshio Kuroda - Ah, the classic tearjerker that's so often referenced in other anime series. "Nello Tarth is a poor but happy orphan who lives with his grandfather Jehan in a little village nearby Antwerp. Nello has a talent for drawing pictures and has been fascinated by it since he saw one of Rubens (a famous artist) pictures as a little boy. Helping Jehan with the daily milk delivery to Antwerp, Nello one day discovers Patrash, a working dog who has been mistreated and abandoned by his former owner. He treats the exhausted animal and after a little while a close and dependable friendship develops. Alois Cojez, the daughter of the richest and hence most influential man in Blacken Village, is Nellos best friend. When Nello decides to become an artist he has to experience firsthand the ignorance and cruelty of the villagers. Especially Alois father thinks of him as a slacker who cannot earn his living by drawing pictures. Nontheless Nello perseveres and never gives up to achieve his dream and to win their appreciation and respect while strenuously struggling with his poverty." Give it a watch so you can stop wondering what's making all those characters cry. Also available as an older television series if you'd like a more drawn out story.
39: King of Pigs (2011)
Director: Sang-ho Yeon - A disturbing look at the unraveling life of a bankrupt business man. One of the most brutal, unflinching movies you'll ever watch. I don't know whether to recommend it or tell everyone to avoid it at all costs.
38: Saint☆Onii-san (2013)
Director: Noriko Takao - A comedy starring Jesus and Buddha vacationing in Japan? Sign me up! Watch as these two roommates get into all sorts of humorous predicaments while trying to perform everyday tasks like talking to the landlady, buying groceries, or visiting amusement parks.
37: Hotori: I Only Wish For Happiness (2005)
Director: Takeshi Anno - "At the Personality Plant, robots are being built and slowly outfitted with the artificial memories of real people. Suzu is one such robot, being made to replace the young boy a family has lost. By chance, he meets Hotori, a young girl suffering from progressive memory loss. The two children become friends and attempt to define themselves in the light of their changing memories."
The first scene of the film probably has one of the best hooks in anime. You can't watch it and not want to find out what happens next.
36: The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi - "Arrietty, a tiny but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper. Like all little people, Arrietty remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to "borrow" scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when 12-year-old Shou, a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty's family from the home and straight into danger." Based on the British novel, The Borrowers.
35: Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai (2015)
Director: Keiichi Hara - A brilliant artist haunted by the specter of death. His talented daughter striving to surpass her father and mentor. Her sickly sister, born into a world of darkness. Thus the stage is set for a memorable and touching slice of life story.
Miss Hokusai is an historical dramatization of the life of the famous Japanese artist, Hokusai, with a focus on his daughter, Oei, a talented painter in her own right. Set 200 years in the past when Tokyo was still Edo, we're mainly treated to glimpses into their everyday lives as they complete commissions and deal with family matters. Without much of a traditional plot, Miss Hokusai relies mainly on the strong chemistry between characters and striking visuals to hook its viewers.
34: Ponyo (2008)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki - "A young boy named Sosuke rescues a goldfish named Ponyo, and they embark on a fantastic journey of friendship and discovery before Ponyo's father, a powerful sorcerer, forces her to return to her home in the sea. But Ponyo's desire to be human upsets the delicate balance of nature and triggers a gigantic storm. Only Ponyo's mother, a beautiful sea goddess, can restore nature's balance and make Ponyo's dreams come true." Ponyo's often overshadowed by the bigger names in Ghibli's library, but this colorful and creative story definitely deserves a spot among the best.
33: Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal (1999)
Director: Kazuhiro Furuhashi - Shinta, a young boy in a brutal world, is taken under wing by a master swordsman who teaches him the way of the samurai. Disgusted by the evils of society and the suffering of the people, Shinta sets out on a mission to change the world using the training his master taught him. His ideals are soon put to the test as he learns what a bloody and gruesome path he has chosen.
A dark and gory tale that expertly mixes action and violence with a more human drama and romance. Great for anyone looking for a more mature film that avoids some of the more common anime stereotypes.
32: My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki - "Follow the adventures of Satsuki and her four-year-old sister Mei when they move into a new home in the countryside. To their delight they discover that their new neighbor is a mysterious forest spirit called Totoro who can be seen only through the eyes of a child." This film contains some of the most memorable scenes of all time. A must-watch for all anime lovers.
31: Sword of the Stranger (2007)
Director: Masahiro Ando - An action samurai film with heart. A mysterious ronin with a troubled past rescues a young boy who has been marked for death. Compelling plot mixed with intense fight scenes combine to form a very enjoyable movie.
30: Pom Poko (1994)
Director: Isao Takahata - "Faced with the destruction of their habitat due to the growth of Tokyo, a group of tanuki try to defend their homes. They decide to use their transforming talents to try to hold back the new development. Two of them, especially skilled at transforming, are sent to Shikoku to enlist the help of three sages. Meanwhile, the rest of them do their best to disrupt the construction site, at first causing accidents, and then actually haunting the site. However, the humans are very persistent, and soon the tanuki are forced to use more and more extreme measures to save their home."
29: Akira (1988)
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo - Clandestine army activities threaten the war torn city of Neo-Tokyo when a mysterious child with powerful psychic abilities escapes his prison and inadvertently draws a violent motorcycle gang into a heinous web of experimentation. This cyberpunk masterpiece is one of the most influential anime ever made.
28: Anthem of the Heart (2015)
Director: Tatsuyuki Nagai - Jun Naruse, a young high school girl, has lived her life in silence. After an early childhood trauma, not a word has escaped her lips, her voice sealed away. However, when she gets nominated to an events committee, her whole world is about to change.
Anthem of the Heart is a touching little high school drama with some romance elements to it. It's created by the same staff that produced one of my favorite series, AnoHana. It's lighter on the drama than its predecessor, but it's still of the same high quality.
27: Leafie: A Hen into the Wild (2011)
Director: Oh Sung-yoon - Another Korean film for the list, and one of the most underwatched shows in anime. It tells the story of a factory hen that longs to leave her crowded barn and join the outside world. When she finally makes her break for freedom, she unexpectedly becomes thrust into the role of parenthood. A touching drama that more people need to watch. Leafie boasts a top 500 rating on MAL, yet is ranked worse than 5500 on the popularity charts.
26: From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
Director: Gorou Miyazaki - "Umi, a shy teenaged girl, manages a boarding house on the Yokohama seaside. Her father was killed in the war and her mother travels constantly, so in addition to attending high school, Umi must also run the family business. Her classmate Shun, an orphan unsure of his lineage, lives with a few other students in the old high-school clubhouse, a French-style, mansion that's set to be demolished as part of the current modernization project. Shun and his schoolmates refuse to let this happen."
25: Revolutionary Girl Utena: Adolescence of Utena (1999)
Director: Kunihiko Ikuhara - "In a loose retelling of the Revolutionary Girl Utena TV series, Utena Tenjou arrives at Ohtori Academy, only to be immediately swept up in a series of duels for the hand of her classmate Anthy Himemiya and the power she supposedly holds. At the same time, Utena reunites with Touga Kiryuu, a friend from her childhood who seems to know the secrets behind the duels. Utena must discover those secrets for herself, before the power that rules Ohtori claims her and her friends, new and old." The final scenes of this movie are some of my favorite in all of anime.
24: Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki - As a coming of age tradition, every young witch must leave their families, and strike out on their own. Kiki, along with her talking cat Jiji, travel to a faraway town and set up a delivery service ala speedy broomstick. A charming, straightforward fantasy tale. Proof that a simple story told well can be just as good as any complex tale.
23: Summer Wars (2009)
Director: Mamoru Hosoda - Kenji is your typical teenage misfit. He's good at math, bad with girls, and spends most of his time hanging out in the all-powerful, online community known as OZ. His second life is the only life he has - until the girl of his dreams, Natsuki, hijacks him for a starring role as a fake fianc‚ at her family reunion. Things only get stranger from there. A late-night email containing a cryptic mathematic riddle leads to the unleashing of a rogue AI intent on using the virtual word of OZ to destroy the real world, literarily. Many people may say this is ranked too highly, but I thought it was insanely entertaining.
22: Tekkon Kinkreet (2006)
Director: Michael Arias - This is the story of Black and White, two orphans that rule the streets of Treasure Town. When a gang of thugs move into town, it's up to the boys to put a stop to them. The first and only western-born director to show up on the list. It features some really unique characters and some awesome background art.
21: Macross Zero (2002-2004)
Director: Shoji Kawamori - "Taking place one year before the Zentraedi arrive on Earth, Macross Zero chronicles the final days of the war between the U.N. Spacy and anti-U.N. factions. After being shot down by the anti-U.N.'s newest fighter plane, ace pilot Shin Kudo finds himself on the remote island of Mayan, where technology is almost non-existent. While Shin stays on the island to heal his wounds, the tranqulity of the island is shattered by a battle that involves the UN's newest fighter - the VF-0." This OVA is one of the most beautifully animated and colorful titles on the list. Truly one of the best and most unique entries in the Macross series.
20: The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)
Director: Isao Takahata - An old bamboo-cutter working in the forest finds a doll-like princess cradled in a bamboo shoot. He and his wife decide to raise the princess as their own child, and so begins a touching fairy tale. Beautifully and uniquely animated, Studio Ghibli impresses once again.
19: Roujin Z (1991)
Director: Hiroyuki Kitakubo - Japan has a problem. It's population is rapidly aging, and caretakers for the old and crippled are in short supply. Enter the Z project: one man's attempt to create a machine that can handle all the responsibilities of a living, breathing nurse or doctor. An amazing sci-fi film from the creators of Akira. One part comedy, one part action, and a dash of drama.
People demanded OVAs, so this is the first. More will follow.
18: Into the Forest of Fireflies' Light (2011)
Director: Takahiro Omori - The story of Hotarubi no Mori e centers around Hotaru, a little girl who gets lost in an enchanted forest where apparitions reside. A young boy, Gin, appears before Hotaru, but she cannot touch him for fear of making him disappear. At only 45 minutes long, they manage to stuff an awful lot of story into a tiny little package. A charming little story of a romance that could never be.
17: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)
Director: Mamoru Hosoda - "What would you do if you could leap backward through time? When 17 year old Makoto Konno gains this ability after an accident in her high school chemistry lab, she immediately sets about improving her grades and preventing personal mishaps. Before long however, she realizes that even innocuous changes can have terrible consequences. Changing the past is not as simple as it seems, and eventually Makoto will have to rely on her new powers to shape the future for herself and her friends."
16: Paprika (2006)
Director: Satoshi Kon - "In the near future, a revolutionary new psychotherapy treatment called PT has been invented. Through a device called the "DC Mini" it is able to act as a "dream detective" to enter into people's dreams and explore their unconscious thoughts. Before the government can pass a bill authorizing the use of such advanced psychiatric technology, one of the prototypes is stolen, sending the research facility into an uproar. In the wrong hands, the potential misuse of the device could be devastating, allowing the user to completely annihilate a dreamer's personality while they are asleep. Renowned scientist, Dr. Atsuko Chiba, enters the dream world under her exotic alter-ego, code name "PAPRIKA," in an attempt to discover who is behind the plot to undermine the new invention." Satoshi Kon has always been one of my favorite directors and this psychological thriller was my first exposure to him. The visuals in this film are just indescribable.
15: Millennium Actress (2001)
Director: Satoshi Kon - "When Studio Gin'ei commissions filmmaker Gen'ya Tachibana to make a documentary in commemoration of its 70th anniversary, he travels to a secluded mountain lodge to interview the idol of his youth, the enigmatic Chiyoko Fujiwara, who was the studio's leading lady from the 1930s until the 1960s. As Chiyoko reminisces about her life, Tachibana and his cameraman suddenly find themselves on a rich and dazzling journey through time. Chiyoko's films and personal memories intertwine with present events and stretch the boundaries of reality."
14: Garden of Words (2013)
Director: Makoto Shinkai - "When Takao, a young high school student who dreams of becoming a shoe designer, decides to skip school one day in favor of sketching in a rainy garden, he has no idea how much his life will change when he encounters Yukino. Older, but perhaps not as much wiser, she seems adrift in the world. Despite the difference in their ages, they strike up an unusual relationship that unexpectedly continues and evolves, without planning, with random meetings that always occur in the same garden on each rainy day. But the rainy season is coming to a close, and there are so many things still left unsaid and undone between them. Will there be time left for Takao to put his feelings into actions and words? Between the raindrops, between the calms in the storm, what will blossom in THE GARDEN OF WORDS?"
13: Tokyo Godfathers (2003)
Director: Satoshi Kon - In modern-day Tokyo, three homeless people's lives are changed forever when they discover a baby girl at a garbage dump on Christmas Eve. As the New Year fast approaches, these three forgotten members of society band together to solve the mystery of the abandoned child and the fate of her parents. Along the way, encounters with seemingly unrelated events and people force them to confront their own haunted pasts, as they learn to face their future, together. It's one of Kon's less flashy films, but it still has that same magic that makes him such a great director.
12: Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Director: Isao Takahata - "In the aftermath of a World War II bombing, two orphaned children struggle to survive in the Japanese countryside. To Seita and his four-year-old sister, the helplessness and indifference of their countrymen is even more painful than the enemy raids. Through desperation, hunger and grief, these children's lives are as heartbreakingly fragile as their spirit and love is inspiring." One of the bleakest, most depressing films I've ever watched. If this doesn't tear at your heart strings, then you might just be a robot.
11: Macross: Do You Remember Love (1984)
Director: Shōji Kawamori, Noboru Ishiguro - The human race is in a struggle for survival against a race of warlike aliens. Humanity's most potent weapon comes in the form of a young singer. Can her heartfelt love song stem the tide of destruction? A remake of the original Macross saga that avoids the pacing problems of the original and greatly improves the animation. The OVA sequel, Macross II: Lovers Again is also definitely worth watching.
10: Barefoot Gen (1983)
Director: Mori Masaki - "It's the summer of 1945. 3 years have elapsed since the war between Japan and USA began. Gen is a young boy living a struggling yet satisfying life in the city of Hiroshima, that has been strangely spared by the bombing taken in almost every other Japanese City. Food is scarce, and Gen's family is suffering from severe malnutrition, which endangeres his pregnant mother. There isn't much spare time as Gen and his little brother Shinji help their father and mother at work and try to make sure their family survives the tought times. Little do they know, what the Americans have in store for the city of Hiroshima and as of the 6th of August 1945, their lives are about to change dramatically."
10: Barefoot Gen (1983)
While Forest of Fireflies concentrates on the devastating firebombings of Tokyo, Barefoot Gen recounts the atomic bomb drop over Hiroshima and the horror that follows. Loosely based on the author's own experiences, it graphically depicts the events of August 6, 1945 in terrifying detail. Not a movie for those with weak stomachs.
9: Summer Days with Coo (2007)
Director: Keiichi Hara - "Kouichi Uehara is a fourth grade student living in the suburb of Tokyo. One day, he picks up a large stone which turns out to be a fossil of a baby "Kappa" sleeping underground for the past 300 years, and names it "Coo." Koichi and Coo become good friends and starts living with his family. However, Coo could not adjust to the life style in Tokyo and starts to miss his family. On a hot summer day, Koichi and Coo decide to go on an adventurous road trip to find his peers."
9: Summer Days with Coo (2007)
Don't let the colorful artwork fool you. This may seem like a light-hearted children's movie, but it gradually morphs itself into a more serious drama that tackles some serious social issues like privacy, 24-hour news culture, and environmental destruction. Don't expect to finish this one dry-eyed.
8: Spirited Away (2001)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki - " On the way to their new home, 10-year-old Chihiro Ogino's family stumbles upon a deserted theme park. Intrigued, the family investigates the park, though unbeknownst to them, it is secretly inhabited by spirits who sleep by day and appear at night. When Chihiro's mother and father eat food from a restaurant in the street, angry spirits turn them into pigs. Furthermore, a wide sea has appeared between the spirit world and the human one, trapping Chihiro, the sole human, in a land of spirits."
8: Spirited Away (2001)
Probably the most successful anime ever in foreign markets. I don't think anyone needs my encouragement to watch it... if there's anyone left out there that hasn't watched it yet.
7: Princess Mononoke (1997)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki - "Set in medieval Japan, Miyazaki's original story envisions a struggle between nature and man. The march of technology, embodied in the dark iron forges of the ambitious Tatara clan, threatens the natural forces explicit in the benevolent Great God of the Forest and the wide-eyed, spectral spirits he protects. When Ashitaka, a young warrior from a remote, and endangered, village clan, kills a ravenous, boar-like monster, he discovers the beast is in fact an infectious "demon god," transformed by human anger. Ashitaka's quest to solve the beast's fatal curse brings him into the midst of human political intrigues as well as the more crucial battle between man and nature."
7: Princess Mononoke (1997)
Nearly everyone wanted this film in the top 10, many expecting it to get the #1 spot. It did manage to win the anime movie tournament I held: http://www.reddit.com/r/anime/comments/2cx61f/favorite_anime_movie_tournament_final_results/
It fell slightly short here, but I still think it's an amazing movie.
6: Only Yesterday (1991)
Director: Isao Takahata - Taeko Okajima is your typical white collar worker in the city. When she takes a sabbatical to the countryside, the hometown of her brother-in-law, she reminiscences about her childhood and enjoys the change of pace of the rural lifestyle. Can Taeko return to city living, or has she been enchanted by life on the farm?
6: Only Yesterday (1991)
The final champion among the Ghibli contenders. This is probably another one of my unpopular opinions, but I definitely think this beats out the rest. The thing this film does best is making you connect with the main character. By the end, she'll feel like family to you. I said before that a simple story told well can beat out the flashier films with more "epic" story lines. This is a perfect example.
5: Perfect Blue (1998)
Director: Satoshi Kon - Pop idol Mima quits her group in order to pursue an acting career. But not everyone is happy especially a crazed fan that stalks her. People around her are being murdered and Mima starts to lose her sanity.
5: Perfect Blue (1998)
A psychological thriller sandwiched between dramas and slice of lifes? It does seem out of place, but I was absolutely enthralled by this movie. It's so unique in the world of anime that I have trouble finding something to compare it to. It has probably the strongest, best written, and best realized plot out of any anime movie I've watched.
4: Wolf Children (2012)
Director: Mamarou Hosoda - "This epic cinematic achievement follows Hana, a woman who falls in love with a Wolf Man and gives birth to two half human, half wolf children. After the tragic death of her beloved, Hana seeks refuge in rural town where she attempts to build a life for herself and her children."
4: Wolf Children (2012)
I don't think there's a person alive that can watch this film and not include it in their top 10. The emotion in this film is just on a different level than most others. It doesn't hurt that it has some of the cutest scenes that have ever been animated. I'll never get tired of watching the children's transformations.
3: A Letter to Momo (2011)
Director: Hiroyuki Okiura - Momo Miyaura is a shy and imaginative 11-year-old girl who is suffering because of her father's recent death and the resultant extreme changes in her life. From the big city of Tokyo, Momo's family moves to her mother's childhood home, a remote island named Shio. Momo does not adapt well to her new surroundings. Her father left her an unfinished letter containing only two words, "Dear Momo". As she tries to make sense of these two words and guess what her father was trying to tell her, some strange incidents occur on the island, which is otherwise tranquil. People's orchards are ransacked by an unknown person, and some of their prized belongings start to go missing. Momo also starts to hear strange sounds coming from the attic in her house.
3: A Letter to Momo (2011)
This film beautifully combines comedy and drama. The jokes and playful scenes never take away from the overall development of the plot. Not many films can have you laughing and crying within a few minutes of each other. And if you haven't noticed, it's from the same guy that directed Jin-Roh. I'd bet you'd never associate those two movies together.
2: Time of Eve (2010)
Director: Yasuhiro Yoshiura - "Sometime in future Japan, androids have been involved in every aspect of peoples lives. One day, upon checking his android's behavioral log, Rikuo, a student, noticed his android's returning times have been odd recently. With his friend Masaki, they found out the place where his android, Sammy, have been visiting: a small cafe called Eve no Jikan where androids and human are not seen as different. Upon talking with the "people" in the cafe and discovering more of Sammy's behavior, Rikuo changed his view about androids and treat them as friends rather than tools. At the same time, elsewhere in Japan, the Ethics committee is trying to impose policies to reduce the involvement and use of androids in society."
2: Time of Eve (2010)
This is the first of only two anime that I've ever rated a perfect 10. I think the setting Yoshiura created was amazing. The Time of Eve bar just had this aura about it. It's kind of hard to describe. Compelling characters, wonderful dialogue, and an homage to one of my favorite authors, Isaac Asimov, earned this the #2 spot.
1: Colorful (2010)
Director: Keiichi Hara - What if you could have another chance? What if death wasn't the end? What would you do with the opportunity? Would you live life to the fullest or squander it away? One lucky soul in limbo has won the lottery, and gets a chance to find out. He's given the body of a boy that committed suicide. What follows is one of the most powerful dramas I've ever seen.
1: Colorful (2010)
Probably not the title that most people expected to see in the #1 slot. I urge everyone to give it a shot though. No other film has ever brought me through a greater spectrum of emotions. It's a supernatural film, but the characters are so well fleshed out and developed that they feel real. I've probably seen a hundred films since, but none have compared.