The genre of anime films have exploded in popularity around the world recently and to help us understand this phenomenon I have invited Mitsugi and Chiaki from the Anime Addicts Anonymous Podcast to discuss their top five landmark films that have helped define the world of anime.
I asked them create a short list of anime films that a new comer to the genre would appreciate. So even if you don’t know anything about anime check out the list below.
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Release Date: July 16th, 1988
A film that was so influential it helped create an anime distribution system in America, Akira is considered a forerunner of the second wave of anime fandom that began in the early 1990s and has since gained a massive cult following.
Akira not only influenced much of the art in the anime and manga world but is also been cited as a major influence on live-action films ranging from The Matrix to Chronicle.
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Release Date: July 20th, 2001
Spirited Away was the first anime film to win an Oscar and has been heralded by critics and fans as one of the greatest animated films of all time.
Directed by Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away has been analyzed as Hayao’s social commentary on the Japanese society during the bubble economy of the 1990s.
Director: Takeshi Koike
Release Date: August 14th, 2009
A landmark in what is achievable with hand drawn animation, Redline is a visually stunning film that took 7 years to produce and used over 100,000 hand-made drawings.
Grave of the Fireflies
Director: Isao Takahata
Release Date: April 16th, 1988
Released alongside the famed, My Neighbor Totoro as a theatrical double feature, Grave of the Fireflies suffered commercially as audiences turned away from the start anti-war message in the film.
While the film might have not been commercially successful it received nearly universal acclaim from critics who have touted it as one of the greatest films of all time.
Ghost in the Shell
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Release Date: 1995
Ghost in the Shell was one of the first anime films to use a mix of traditional cell animation with modern computer graphics. The film strived for a high level of realism with the animation director pointing out that in the tank battle scene the bullets create sparks when hitting metal, but do not spark when a bullet strikes stone.
It is a film that has defined the cyperpunk genre in anime and critical attention has been paid to the film’s focus on sexuality and gender identity.