Here’s a thing about anime movies, most of the folks think that if it isn’t a Studio Ghibli film then it is no good. I am talking about the perspective of western audience towards anime movies. While there is a lot of garbage, some films are just hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
There’s this film called ‘Your Name’ which was directed by Makoto Shinkai, apparently it is ruling the Japanese box office. Talking about numbers, it just became the third highest grossing Japanese film of all time and it is still going strong. So my point here was that even Non-Ghibli movies do great, I mean I just saw ‘Your Name’ last week and it was just like every Makoto Shinkai movie, beautiful and mesmerizing. While it was great, there was another film in the box office called ‘A Silent Voice’ which also did good but still was quite overshadowed by that Makoto Shinkai movie.
Even I think Studio Ghibli makes some great movies but even the movies on this list are some of the greatest movies I have ever seen. Hold it, before I list any movie let me tell you that movies which are continuation of any anime series won’t be in this list. So movies like ‘Tamako Love Story’ which was a sequel to the series ‘Tamako Market’ won’t be on this list even if it was amazing.
Garden of Words
Takao is training to become a shoemaker, everyday he meets this mysterious woman at a park. They causally interact with each other everyday but never formally introduce themselves. It is a 45 minute film, it might feel short but it is enough to get lost in Makoto Shinkai’s beautiful world. I think this is the most perfectly animated Anime movie ever and the animation is just as mesmerising as the story itself.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
What if you could travel back and forth in time, I mean won’t that be amazing? Well, Makoto Konno learns that she could travel through time and tries to fix problems on her way but things don’t go the way she expects them to be. This charming, visually fertile film captures the conflicted emotions of first love and embarrassment of being a teen with real sensitivity.
In 2067, scientists attempt to harness energy from gravity. Patema and Age leave their community’s tunnels to find out why gravity was reversed by an energy experiment. It is an enjoyable, romantic adventure that accounts the story of acceptance between two different worlds.
Patema Inverted manages to be both exciting and charming and while it may lack a certain ‘wow’ factor it is an assured and enjoyable piece of storytelling and looks great on the big screen.
Mima Kirigoe, the member of a Japanese pop idol group decides to retire from music to pursue an acting career but things don’t go well for her. As she becomes a victim of stalking and goes deeper and deeper into her first role, she starts to lose her perception of what is real and what is fiction. A definite example of how animated films can truly stimulate the human mind.
Sword of the Stranger
Set in the Sengoku era, a young boy named Kotaro is being pursued by the Mings, a secretive militia organization from China. Kotaro stumbles upon a vagrant samurai with no name, hence called ‘Nanashi’, and hires him as his bodyguard. His fated meeting with Nanashi becomes an epic encounter amidst a tumultuous time due to the possible existence of an elixir for immortality. Sword of the Stranger is both unusual and refreshing in the way that it seemed to come out of nowhere and prove to be a remarkable anime.
Providing a plot synopsis for Mind Game would be difficult, pointless, and full of spoilers, but to give some indication about the nature of this film, let me just say that the majority of its running time takes place inside the belly of a whale. The movie is about not running away from living a life. It’s not specific about what kind of life and never pretends to make a judgement, in fact it unambiguously states multiple times it is quite irrelevant on what kind of life you end up living, just as long as you do.
A sinful soul is granted the opportunity to prove worthy for rebirth, inhabiting the body of a student who killed himself. The soul finds it difficult to understand why would a guy like Makoto Kobayashi would kill himself. It doesn’t take long for the soul to see the dark emotions Makoto has being feeling and why is he feeling those emotions. It shows how cruel sometimes life can be, and sometimes you can think that nobody loves you, you are alone, but it’s not always true because there is always hope.