From Japan with Love: Awesome Anime for Ages Eight to Adult!Nov 10, 2005 (Updated Oct 11, 2007) Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line This is a list of the best anime films for all ages! Rated G to Rated R, Ten of Japans best animes are listed here!
No Yu-gi-Oh, No Pokemon, just awesome anime. Four years ago, my son and I watched a film by a director unknown to us, Hayao Miyazaki. Pokemon and Yu Gi Oh mass consumer kid anime was no more, we were true anime fans. Now my son wants to go to Tokyo!
These are our top ten favorite Japanimation movies by appropriate age group. They are suited by rating (or rating equivalent when unrated) rather than in order of greatness.
Suitable for even age eight and younger (equivalent to rated G)
1. My Neighbor Totoro (1988) Tonari no Totoro directed by Hayao Miyazaki: A film suited even for your kids age eight or younger, both myself and my oh so sophisticated 10 year old son both were immediately captivated by this simple yet rich story of a young girl who moves to the country and meets the mysterious Totoro, a giant furry being (also the symbol for Studio Ghibli, the movie company which distributes most Miyazaki films) All aboard the cat bus for this rich masterpiece of childhood imagination come to life!. This film contains no violence, and only contains spider like creatures that inhabit the girls home. Younger children may have to be told that these spider like creatures are not malevolent.
PG rating (or equivalent):
2. Castle in the Sky (1986) Tenku no shiro Rapyuta directed by Hayao Miyazaki Another flight of fancy suited for most ages. James Van Der Beek (of one of those teen shows Dawsons Creek or something) voices Pazu, a young boy who meets up with a mysterious young girl who is being chased by reasons unknown. As all Miyazaki films are, the animation is rich and highly detailed in this film. The chase eventually leads them to a fantastic Castle in the Sky (you knew that right?) The visuals of the highly imaginative castle alone are worth watching this one. This movie features plenty of sky battles, and fights within the castle itself. If you don't want your youngest children watching gun play and fighter planes, stick with the first film
Anime fans may kill us, but my son and I didnt care for animes ground breaking film by director Katsuhiro Otomo Akira However, his recent anime film
3. Steamboy (2004) directed by Katshuhiro Otomo was fully enjoyed by both of us. Set in an industrial looking Western European location a young boy is given his fathers greatest invention, a steam ball, a source of great power. Soon, government agents and goons from his father's company are both chasing him. His grandfather warns him of the dangers of the steam ball. Is his fathers invention good or evil? The film explores how man uses technology, and at the same time provides spectacular visuals of showdowns between the government and private corporations out to show off and test their latest technologies while destroying their city in the process.
4. Spirited Away (2001) directed by Hayao Miyazaki. In our humble opinions, Spirited Away is the best children's anime film out there. Even John Lasseter, of Pixar loves Miyazaki and has expressed great fondness and respect for this outstanding Miyazaki film. This film has the most outstanding visual animations that I have ever seen. The sheer vibrancy of the colors on the screen are astounding. I wonder what the Japanese children think when they see the almost monochromatic in comparison Disney films with their two dimensional characters and songs. Once again, its not only the animation that is grand, but the story is outstanding and deep. A young girl, Chihiro is spirited away into a hotel for spirits. The spirits are not evil or bad, this is just where creatures of all types go for rest and relaxation. The characters she meets there are unforgettable (look for the spider creatures that inhabited Totoro's house in the steam room of the hotel) Nothing is as it seems and few are who they seem to be. Even the soundtrack in this movie is full of sonic detail and great music.
PG 13 equivalents. Well my son has seen most of THESE films too, he is 10, but being the MOVIE dad that I am, I probably let him watch more than most parents.
Can I make a top ten list without including the groundbreaking
5. Princess Mononoke (1997) directed by Hayao Miyazaki. No, I can't, this was the film that allowed me to escape the horror of the worst of japanimation, Pokemon, and all things Yu-Gi-Oh. After we watched this film many times, my son got seriously into real anime shows. Now he watches Wolfs Rain, Nayuto, Inayashi, Ghost in the Shell and other shows in which the plot doesn't revolve around collecting cards or monsters. This was the movie that introduced Miyazaki's far superior to Disney drek animated fare. Instead of ridiculous singing animals, Miyazaki presented a tale of nature vs. man and the balance between the two. Creatures of the forest have become poisoned with evil, because ruthless strip miners have interrupted the balance of nature. The message may come across a little heavy handed, but this film is beautiful to watch. My son actually even watched this several times in JAPANESE to hear the original dialog.
Another film written by Katshirio Otomo tops my PG 13 category.
6. Metropolis (2001) Metoroporisu directed by Rintaro (the screenplay is by Otomo) is an update of Fritz Langs Metropolis, a grim tale of the future. With visuals as superb as Miyazaki's the film is just breathtaking to watch, but the story is also quite fascinating, in fact, I enjoyed this film MUCH more than the original black and white Metropolis. Cityscapes are huge and imaginative. You will be stunned by this tale of a robot woman Tima, and her human friend Kennichi (Koni chi wa?, I'm not sure if its a play on the Japanese word for hello or not).
And for us adults: These films are the equivalent of Rated R: Well, two of the movies on this list I love because I got into the japanimation series while watching with my son. Adult Swim shows both CowBoy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell on late at night. Thanks to DVR, we can watch them all.
7. Cowboy Bebop (2001) Tengoku no tobira directed by Shinichiro Watanabe. This is just the movie version of our favorite gang of star hopping uber cool bounty hunters Spike, Jet Black, Faye and friends. The movie (and the TV series for that matter) plays out like a stylish film noir. Spike is the anime equivalent of archtypes like Humphrey Bogart in a Dashiell Hammett film. Although the visuals aren't as stunning as the Miyazaki, Otomo or Rintaro films, they are fun to watch. Although rated R, its mostly due to language and violence.
8. Perfect Blue (1997) directed by Satoshi Kon Another filmnoir style thriller about a young pop singer who becomes an actress. In the beginning she is an innocent girl who with two other girls sing in a pop group. She is recruited to be an actress, and is increasingly called upon to do things that go further and further against her sense of morality and decency. Add to the mix a stalker who watches her every move. What price is fame? Who is she becoming? Is it who she wants to be?This film is a great film for any list, but since it happens to be anime, it makes my top ten here. Parents should heed this films R rating, as it does include strong sexual content.
9. Ninja Scroll (1993) Jubei ninpucho directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. Well, I had to go an include a movie with ninjas, superpowers, and demons, didn't I? Definitely not for kids, this movie is filled with stunning animation, bloody sword fights, and explicit sexual content. It is also a compelling and visually entertaining anime. This is THE ninjas and demons with superpowers anime film to see.
10. Ghost in the Shell / Ghost in the Shell 2 Innocence (1995) Kokaku kidotai /Inosensu: Kokaku kidotai directed by Mamoru Oshii. What is life? What is our soul? What makes us US? In a future where cybernetic implants can replace any human organs including the brains. the GHOST refers to what we call personality, or soul, and the SHELL is merely our body. I like the Ghost in the Shell movies the best of the adult list, because they are serious movies that are not only entertaining, but very philisophical, and examine issues about what it means to live and to be alive and what is life. While the movies are supposedely just about the exploits of Section 9, a top secret Japanese government unit assigned to cyber crimes, it is also an excuse to explore these greater topics. Kind of an anime Blade Runner with its themes about replicants and humans and who deserves life, I really enjoyed the Ghost in the Shell movies on many levels. I would also restate that the TV series is outstanding from its title songs to its 16 x 9 format.
Update: After recommendation I saw Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no haka 1988) directed by Isao Takahata. I have to say I was deeply moved. I watched it with my son, and we both thought the film was outstanding. My son, although ten, immediately caught the symbolism at the beginning when the young boy and his sister were shown in deep red, while everyone else was in natural colors. Although I let my ten year old watch it, I think the film would be rated PG-13 if it wasn't unrated. It follows the boy and his little sister in WWII Japan making their way to survive in the middle of devasting airraids. Just so you know, the film begins with September 21st 1945, that was the night I died. It's sad and depressing, but also deeply moving. I would have placed this film on my list had I seen it.
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