Today, I'm going to be giving you a list of 10 good anime movies to watch. Before I begin this article I must admit that when it comes to anime, I’m no expert. I’ve watched a few films from the genre in the past (the main one that I remember is Lupin the Third: Castle of Cagliostro), but not many. And that’s the main reason why I’m writing this article. It will serve as a “to do list” of sorts (or perhaps a “to watch list” is a better name for it) for myself, but will also serve as a list of recommended anime films for you readers. Another reason why I’m writing this is because anime movies seem to be different from the kinds of movies I watch most of the time (mainly Hollywood films) and I think that it could be interesting to partake of a new type of film that I’m not very familiar with. So, with those points in mind, here are the movies:
1. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this movie. For instance, Howl’s Moving Castle was nominated for best animated feature at the 2006 Oscars and was nominated for (and won) several other awards. From what I’ve gathered, the story involves the main character, Sophie, being turned into an old woman by a witch. This event starts off a quest to break the spell with the help of a wizard who lives in a moving castle.
Japanese Cast: Chieko Baisho, Takuya Kimura, Akihiro Miwa, Tatsuya Gashuin, Ryunosuke Kamiki
English Cast: Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Blythe Danner, Emily Mortimer
2. Spirited Away (2001)
Spirited Away is another anime movie that seems to have received much acclaim. It was able to win the Oscar for best animated feature in 2003 beating out other great films like Ice Age and Lilo & Stitch. The film also won, and was nominated for, several other awards worldwide. It, like Howl’s Moving Castle, was directed by Hayao Miyazaki, so I’m assuming that they’re both very similar films in terms of style. The story follows a girl named Chihiro Ogino who enters another world that contains spirits and monsters. She must try to escape the captivity of a witch named Yubaba who turned her parents into pigs and escape the world that she finds herself in.
Japanese Cast: Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Bunta Sugawara
English Cast: Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, David Ogden Stiers, Lauren Holly
3. Princess Mononoke (1997)
Princess Mononoke seems to be recommended everywhere on the internet that I could find so I had to put it on the list. This film, like the two before it, won several awards and was nominated for several others. It wasn’t nominated for any Oscars, but that definitely doesn’t mean this movie is bad. Also, like the two before it, Princess Mononoke was directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki. The film is historical in that it takes place during the Muromachi Period of Japan, but it is also a fantasy film as the story involves spirits and monsters. The main idea of the movie is that there is a war going on between a town called Tatara and the guardians of a forest. The protagonist, Ashitaka, becomes involved in this struggle when a demon in the form of a boar attacks a nearby village.
Japanese Cast: Kaoru Kobayashi, Masahiko Nishimura, Yūko Tanaka, Yōji Matsuda
English Cast: Billy Crudup, Billy Bob Thornton, Minnie Driver, Claire Danes, John DiMaggio
4. The Animatrix (2003)
The Matrix films are some of my favourite sci-fi films (and some of my favourite films period). They make cool references to things (e.g. philosophy, science fiction, religion, futurism and more) that you wouldn’t necessarily catch after watching it once. If you haven’t seen the Matrix movies you really should in my opinion. The Animatrix is a collection of 9 animated short films that further elaborate on the story presented in the original Matrix trilogy. The Animatrix was produced by the Wachowskis (directors of the Matrix films) who worked with various Japanese anime creators whose work they admired. This is definitely an anime film (or perhaps collection of films) that I want to see.
English Cast: Clayton Watson, Julia Fletcher, Kevin Michael Richardson, Hedy Burress, James Arnold Taylor
Japanese Cast: I think there is a Japanese cast, but I can’t find the names of the voice actors/actresses.
5. Tales from Earthsea (2006)
Tales from Earthsea is a fantasy movie that attracted me mainly because of the dragon on its cover art (though I’ve read recommendations for it too). It is based on a book series called Earthsea by Ursula Kroeber Le Guin. The story involves unusual changes occurring in the world being investigated by a wizard named Ged who meets a young prince with a dark side.
Japanese Cast: Bunta Sugawara, Junichi Okada, Aoi Teshima, Yuko Tanaka, Teruyuki Kagawa
English Cast: Jeff Bennett, Susanne Blakeslee, Kathryn Cressida, Willem Dafoe, Timothy Dalton
6. 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)
5 Centimeters Per Second takes place in the 90s in Japan and follows a boy named Takaki. The story is told in three acts progressing (I assume chronologically) through Takaki’s life. The story is said to be an emotional one based on what I’ve read, so if you like those kinds of movies this is probably one you should watch.
Japanese Cast: Kenji Mizuhashi, Satomi Hanamura, Yoshimi Kondou, Risa Mizuno, Ayaka Onoue
English Cast: Shelley Calene-Black, Hilary Haag, Erika Lenhart, David Matranga, Serena Varghese
7. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is another Hayao Miyazaki film. The movie is based on a seven volume manga set of the same name. It follows a girl named Nausicaa who must stop a group of people called the Tolmekians who wish to destroy a jungle filled with mutant insects that were morphed during an apocalyptic war. The English version of the film features several well-known actors and actresses such as Patrick Stewart, Uma Thurman and Mark Hamill.
Japanese Cast: Sumi Shimamoto, Goro Naya, Yoshiko Sakakibara, Iemasa Kayumi, Yoji Matsuda
English Cast: Alison Lohman, Shia LaBeouf, Mark Silverman, Tress MacNeille, Patrick Stewart
8. Castle in the Sky (1986)
Castle in the Sky is another anime from the 80s by Miyazaki. The story involves a boy and a girl with a magic crystal, pirates, agents and a floating castle. Seems intriguing to say the least (although most anime films it seems to me are at least a little bit intriguing).
Japanese Cast: Keiko Yokozawa, Minori Terada, Mayumi Tanaka, Fujio Tokita, Kotoe Hatsui
English Cast: Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leachman, Mark Hamill, Richard Dysart
9. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
Cowboy Bebop was a TV series by Shinichiro Watanabe that aired in the U.S. during the late 90s. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie is a feature film adaptation of the franchise. The story takes place in a future setting (as the TV series did) and involves a bounty hunter named Spike Spiegel and his crew trying to find a criminal who has released a virus on Mars.
Japanese Cast: Kōichi Yamadera, Unshō Ishizuka, Aoi Tada, Megumi Hayashibara, Ai Kobayashi
English Cast: Steven Blum, Beau Billingslea, Jennifer Hale, Wendee Lee, Melissa Fahn
10. Whisper of the Heart
Whisper of the Heart is a film directed by Yoshifumi Kondo with Hayao Miyazaki filling the role of scriptwriter. The story follows a girl named Shizuku Tsukishima who meets a boy named Seiji Amasawa. After the two grow closer, Tsukishima decides to write a story about a cat statue.
Japanese Cast: Yoko Honna, Issei Takahashi, Takashi Tachibana, Shigeru Muroi, Shigeru Tsuyuguchi
English Cast: Brittany Snow, David Gallagher, Cary Elwes, James Sikking, Ashley Tisdale
So how about you guys? Do you have any favourite anime movies that you'd like to share (perhaps some that aren't on this list)? If you do, feel free to comment below.