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Thread: WK's Top Ten Favorite Anime films

  1. #1
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Cool WK's Top Ten Favorite Anime films

    Inspired by Mr. Carnelian's thread and some other discussions I've had with a few people. I have compiled a list of my ten favorite anime flicks of all time. I even have ten honorable mentions but decided I didn't want to put all the effort into doing a top twenty list. I did give myself some ground rules for myself:

    • One film only for certain directors and Studio Ghibli - I could easily make a list of just films with Studio Ghibli and Satoshi Kon so I limited myself into choosing just one film for each.
    • No OAV/TV Movies - I will not count a film that is basically a re-edited version of a TV series or OAV into film format, so no Mobile Suit Gundam Movie, Endless Waltz, or Macross Plus. With that said, an adaption of a series into film format is perfectly acceptable.
    • One film per franchise - Basically if a film has a sequel or prequel, I'm only going for one film though to be honest, this rule is really only here for one particular entry since I'm sure it will raise some eyebrows.


    Fun fact about my list:

    • Only four are standalone films that are not based on a popular manga/book/TV series
    • Two films are based on novels.
    • Three are film adaptions of popular series
    • The youngest film on this list turns eighteen next week.
    • The oldest movie turned forty this month.
    • One film has never received a Western release
    • Only two films feature giant robots
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  2. #2
    Radical Dreamer Fynn's Avatar
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    OK, so I am positive Princess Mononoke is going to be here, so that kinda already drains our Ghibli stock. The youngest movie being 18 was kinda surprising, since I half-expected one of the new Eva movies to be here. That said though, I am now fairly certain End of Evangelion will be here. Also, the initial post pretty much states we'll see Satoshi Kon here, so my personal bet is Perfect Blue. Have no clue what the other giant robot anime will be, tbh, though I'm not really that knowledgeable about those old school robot shows. Also, can't tell if End of Eva counts as an adaptation of a TV show or not, so that leaves two or three of those left.

    So yeah, looking forward to seeing the list!

  3. #3
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    10.I don't feel this film needs much introduction. Akira is a phenomenal movie that was one of the first anime to really break into the U.S. conscious since Astro Boy in the 60s. The film is a loose adaption of the manga from the same name, but unlike a lot of adaptions, the author, Katsuhiro Otomo insisted on writing both the screenplay and directing the film. Which probably explains why Akira is one of the best film adaptions of a manga in the medium. Despite this, I implore people to check the manga out because it's a very different beast than the film. Akira begins with the destruction of Tokyo sometime during the 80s by a mysterious explosion which sets off World War III. Jumping to 2019, Neo Tokyo has been built from the ashes and is getting ready to host the 2020 Olympics the following year despite massive public protests, a corrupt government, terrorist groups, and biker gangs roaming the streets. Wee meet Kaneda and Tetsuo, two kids who grew up together and became a gang. Kaneda leads the group against the rival Clown gang through the streets of Tokyo where his friend Tetsuo tries to prove himself by fighting one of the members only to come afoul of a strange grey skinned child who blows up his bike. When the others catch up to them, they are surrounded by the military who take the child and Tetsuo with them and hand the others over to the police.Tetsuo becomes part of a secret government experiment to try and replicate the power of Akira, a psychic child who was the cause of Tokyo's destruction in the distant past. Tetsuo escapes but begins to exhibit strange psychic powers which warp his mind and escalate his inferiority complex against Kaneda. Kaneda for his part, tried to rescue his friend by tagging along with the terrorist group which is trying to turn the people against the government, and not just because he found Kei super hot. Eventually the whole film escalates into Tetsuo's one man war to find Akira as he battles the army, the other psychic kids and Kaneda himself. Ultimately the film ends with one of the most graphic and memorable;e sequences that will make your stomach churn just thinking about it.

    Having recently watched this film, I must say that Akira still holds up as a visual tour de force. It's actually mind boggling to think this film is over thirty years old with how fluid the animation is and how clean it looks. It was one of the most expensive films of its time and I'm sure with inflation, it's still one of the most expensive films of all time. Otomo also does a great job of really transforming his complex story into a film adaption. One of the biggest changes is that the manga is more of an ensemble piece with several plot threads involving the military, the psychic kids, and the resistance groups but here, Otomo ties everythign together by just focusing primarily on Kaneda and Tetsuo as the point of view characters that the film is seen through. While several plot threads are lost from the manga, the ones that were kept are still largely well told.

    For me, it's no surprise this film has remained in the public conscious for so long, I'm even surprised by how much it's influenced my own works. If you have not seen this movie yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out.


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    Blood In The Water sharkythesharkdogg's Avatar
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    I'm assuming you're listing them in reverse, because there's no way Akira doesn't go right to the top.

    The sound track is amazing, the manga is absolutely better than the film, and the film is fantastic. Another very good manga from Otomo is called Domu.

    If you haven't read Domu, go do it.

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    Cam Clarke dub ftw.

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    Blood In The Water sharkythesharkdogg's Avatar
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    Yeah, I have to agree.

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    9. I'm sure this is a film some of you have heard of, but not many people have actually watched. Galaxy Express 999 is a hero's journey tale told in the backdrop of a space opera set in the imaginative world of Leiji Matsumoto. Set in a far future where mankind has not only perfected space travel and made friends with various galactic civilizations, they have also learned how to build immortal mechanized bodies and transfer their souls into it. Unfortunately, the bodies and process are incredibly expensive and thus Earth is trapped in a class warfare between the rich robot citizens and the regular human ones. Tetsuro Hoshino and his mother travel to the city to gain jobs and earn a pass on the space train Galaxy Express 999. This is due to hearing tales of the empire in the Andromeda Galaxy giving away free mechanized bodies to anyone who comes. Unfortunately tragedy strikes when Tetsuro's mother is murdered by Count Mecha and his hunting party who hunt regular humans for sport. Distraught, Tetsuro meets the mysterious Maetel who bears a resemblance to his mother and gives him a pass to get on the 999 if he would be her companion on the trip. Tetsuro agrees as he both wants immortality and the chance to hunt down the machine who killed his mother.The 999 takes them on a whirlwind journey across the galaxy and Tetsuro meets many people who begin to mold him into a better person as he meets tragic survivors of the mechanized monopoly, space faring heroes, space pirates, and even mother smurfing Captain Harlock. Tetsuro's journey makes him start to reconsider why he wants a mechanized body, why he wants revenge, and discover more about an individuals place in a massive unfeeling cosmos. What does he choose when he finally reaches the Andromeda Galaxy and meets Queen Metallia of the Machine Empire?Who is the mysterious Maetel and why did she help Tetsuro? You'll just have to find the film and watch it I guess.
    Based on the popular manga from 1977, I really don't discuss Leiji Matsumoto and his works enough on this forum. I love his universe and the space opera he's created with all of these characters and it was the introduction to the sequel manga for this film that got me hooked on it. This film is a very abridged adaption of the manga which focuses more on the pivotal stories of Tetsuro's journey as opposed to the manga which often had several stories about the various worlds and people the Galactic Train crosses paths with. The film did well enough to garner a sequel called Galaxy Express 999 Adieu, and while that film is really good in it's own right, it largely just retreads a lot of the themes the original film. If you've never had a chance to see what Leiji Matsumoto's work outside of maybe the Interstella 5555 videos for Daft Punk, then you should start here with this film as it gives you a fairly good idea of what his universe is like. If you want to start from the beginning, then check out Space Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers as it was his first work.


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    Radical Dreamer Fynn's Avatar
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    Never heard of this one. Looks very old school, sounds quite intriguing. Might give it a watch sometime.

    Also, could at be that the next entry will bring us tumbling down, tumbling down, tumbling down...?

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    Anything with Captain Harlock and Emeraldas in it gets my thumbs-up.

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Sorry this took so long. I had meant to rewatch this film before doing the write-up but sadly learned that my copy has some...issues.

    So without further ado...

    *********************************************************************************************

    #8
    If you've actually heard or even seen this film, color me impressed. This is a very old school flick that only recently started to see the light of day again. It should also be apparent that this story served as the inspiration for Leiji Matsumoto's Galaxy Express series I've already spoken about. The story slowly begins with Giovanni, a poor boy in small village. His mother has fallen ill and can no longer work, and his father has left to work on a fossil hunting expedition that has dragged on so long that rumors are spreading around town about his fate. To help ease the burden on his family, Giovanni has a part time job working at a paper making shop. Due to these circumstance, Giovanni has little time to be with his peers and is falling behind in school which makes him an easy target for bullies. His only friend is Campanella who does his best to help Giovanni and the only child at school who understands his loneliness. On the night of the Star Festival, Giovanni finally gets a break from work and is able to attend. He makes plans to meet with his friend Campanella to drink milk on the hill while they stargaze. While waiting, Giovanni hears a loud noise and sees a train descend from the sky before him. His friend Campanella arrives shortly after and the two enter the train which sweeps them away from their small village and takes them on a journey through the Milky Way where they meet several eccentric characters on the train's stops, as well as many figures they meet as fellow passengers. The true nature of the train and its journey is both beautiful and eerie as the story asks the question that is the story's main theme: What is true happiness?Night on the Galactic Railroad was a novel written by Japan's premier posthumous poet Kenji Miyazawa in 1927 a few years after his family was struck by tragedy. Miyazawa's life itself is actually fairly interesting and was given an anime biography in the form of the film Spring and Chaos, which I also highly recommend despite being a bit depressing. The story combines the man's love of science and astronomy with his poetic sensitivity. The film itself is largely a slow but haunting tale with religious symbolism, eerie imagery, and gorgeous set pieces that combines to make a film that looks like a children't film, but is really a philosophical dialogue about what makes people, happy, loneliness, and our place in the universe. If you're wondering why the main characters are cats, it's a stylistic choice by the director since many of Miyazawa's children's stories featured anthropomorphic characters. The film also utilizes Esperanto in it's text as Miyazawa was fascinated by the language and wanted to spread it. The film's pacing is actually both it's strangest and weakest point. If like plots that move along at a quick pace, then this is not the film for you. The first thirty minutes of the film are dedicated to the boring and isolated existence of Giovanni's life and it takes awhile before the train shows up. Yet once it arrives the film has a really good segue from the high spirited adventure story it begins as before slowly descending into a more eerie and somber piece concerning the films major themes. I appreciate the film's ability to be both lighthearted and unsettling at the same time, taking me back to a lot of the children's shows I grew up with that most modern parents would not expose their children to. I heard of the film when I first got into anime but even then, the VHS copies were hard to find. I obtained a DVD copy years later in college and found the film to be worth the investment, especially coming off of Galaxy Express 999 films. Thankfully, the film was re-released a few years back in 2016 so the film is much easier to come by, though I feel the original VHS cover is a far better representation of the film than the new one.This film tackles a lot of the same themes as Evangelion, but the mind screw is a bit less obtuse and the bittersweet ending is easier to swallow.


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  12. #12
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Okay let's finally do a film I'm sure you've all heard of...

    **************************************************************************************************

    #7Released in 1997, Perfect Blue was the directorial full film debut of the late Satoshi Kon who got his start working on Roujin Z, the second Patlabor film, and even made a short for Memories. The film is loosely based off of a novel of the same name. This film embodies many of the things Kon would be known for, crazy editing techniques and surreal subject matter that blends dreams, madness, and reality.Mima is one third of the pop idol group known as CHAM! but has decided to quit the struggling group and try her hand on acting instead. Her manager Rumi along with many other fans and relations are against the move and it doesn't take long before Mima starts receiving threatening letters from a stalker known as Mi-Mania. She gets a part in procedural detective show called Double Bind which deals with heavy adult themes that run contrast to the squeaky clean reputation of her idol past. The show is a strange mystery where Mima plays a rape victim connected to bizarre murders that she might be connected to. Then actual murders start taking place around Mima involving people whom fans claim are ruining her former idol reputation and here reality and madness begin to blend as both Mima and the viewer can no longer tell which is which anymore. Is Mima really the victim here, or has her sanity slipped and she a murderer hiding behind an innocent face. Perfect Blue is some serious Hitchcock level psychological horror as the film beautifully keeps both the protagonist and the viewer completely in the dark with amazing editing and the the bizarre parallels of the events of Mima's life and the show within a show she stars in. There are several sequences where Mima questions her reality only to discover it's simply a line from the show and other times you think she's filming the show but it's actually her reality. The film is Kon at the top of his game and even though he never quite goes this dark again in his later films outside of maybe Paranoid Agent, the film is just a sheer thriller that inspired Darren Aranofsky so much he recreated the famous bathtub sequence in Requiem for a Dream, and largely used the themes for Black Swan as well. Even if you're not an anime fan but love psychological thrillers like Vertigo or Solaris, you should check this movie out. It has so many interesting levels to it that I can't really even begin to describe them here. I would say more, but this is really a film you should experience for yourself.


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  13. #13
    draper hates the caley Cell's Avatar
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    Good list so far, can't really argue with any of them.

    Hope there's love for Tokyo Godfathers at some point.
    YE RAGIN', AYE?

  14. #14
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cell View Post
    Good list so far, can't really argue with any of them.

    Hope there's love for Tokyo Godfathers at some point.
    I limited myself to one film per franchise/director because if I hadn't this entire list would only be Ghibli/Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon films.
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  15. #15
    Radical Dreamer Fynn's Avatar
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    Perfect Blue is definitely my favorite of Kon's overall incredibly impressive, if sadly much too short, body of work. I actually saw Black Swan first. It was pretty surreal seeing this later.

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