THE LADY AND ANIME

Exploring the World of Anime

Excuse Me; Who are You?

You thought there'd be chocolate?

This is a blog post that I’m doing by request. A person in one of my circles on Google+ asked if I had a post on my favorite anime movies and episodes. My introductory post has a cursory view of some of my favorite anime whether it be a movie or a series. This post will focus only on anime movies. I do have a number of favorite anime movies and I tend to be attracted to films made by certain studios (i.e. Studio Ghibli like every other anime fan) and certain directors and manga artists (Satoshi Kon). So let’s start with the first anime movie I recall seeing. I say recall because I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the first but it is the first that I remember because it was outstanding.

Two words: Psychological thriller. These are the best words to describe this film. I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that it freaked me out a bit while watching it. It was the first time I realized that there was another side of anime that I knew little about. At the time I had only watched Cowboy Bebop, Inuyasha (gasp!), Trigun, Sailor Moon, Pokémon, and Big O. I had not delved into the world of anime movies geared towards adults. I was taken on a wild ride as I watched the protagonist battle with stardom, insecurity, her fears, delusions, hallucinations, obsessive fans, and more. I almost felt as if I were watching a live action film because it was so real. When it was over, I sat in silence because I couldn’t believe this movie had been out so long and I had never heard of it. Thank you, Netflix! Perfect Blue is a Satoshi Kon (R.I.P.) film. He is dearly missed.

A favorite of many; Howl’s Moving Castle. Such a charming and romantic movie done through Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki, of course. Pairing with Studio Ghibli was a very smart move by Disney. Imagine you are  a young woman trapped in a old woman’s body falling in love with a handsome young man who turns into a flying beast. He apparently has the ability to look good as a flying beast. He’s also being chased by these creepy blob like creatures and you must protect his heart. It is a cleverly done love story. As always with Studio Ghibli, the art and animation is magnificent.

I have never played any of the Final Fantasy games I must admit. I dated a guy who loved them and I used to watch him play them all the time. It was like watching a movie for me. Funny thing is, I do own several Final Fantasy games. Don’t ask. So when an actual movie did come out; Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, I was excited to see it. I really did enjoy the animation style of it, looked like scenes from the game with better graphics. Even though I had not played the games personally, I had watched it being played so much that I knew the characters.  I wouldn’t say you need to know the game to watch the movie but if you do know the game, it will most likely be as endearing to you as it was for me.

I absolutely adored this film. It is another film by Satoshi Kon and it is very well-crafted. Satoshi Kon loved delving into the human mind and it reflected in his works. I’ve always wondered what my dreams meant and there are various theories rumbling around hypothesizing their significance. Many assume that your dreams are your subconscious resolving the events from your day. Others presume they are foretelling your future, showing you what you really want, or showing you what you truly fear. In Paprika, a psychotherapist believes that getting inside her patients’ dreams could help solve their mental issues. But what happens when you can no longer distinguish dreams from reality? This movie was an acid trip without the acid.

I have a soft spot for science fiction especially anime science fiction. This is another one of those quirky love stories. The romance does not overshadow the story. The animation is excellent, the story line was intriguing: boy pretends to be girl’s love interest for her family with a twist. Virtual reality fighting with high stakes in the real world; mathematical geniuses to the rescue!

You were probably thinking slice of life at first, weren’t you? Well, it is slice of life just with a science fiction addition. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo) starts off mildly enough then it switches gears on you. This movie became an instant classic for me and I immediately fell in love with it.  Personally, I love anime in which the characters look like your everyday Japanese and the surroundings look realistic. Some may say the characters were generic but they looked like normal people with normal lives until Konno Makoto (main character) time leaped.

Wonder how you will be taken care of in your old age? Wondering how you are going to take care of your elderly parents? Have no fear, we have a machine just for you! Just stick your elderly family member or your elderly body into this machine and it will take care of all your needs. And when we say all your needs, we mean all your needs. No need to go outside, no need to move about freely, let this machine do all the work for you. Roujin Z shows exactly what they think would happen if humanity truly allowed this to happen. This movie was a fantastic romp and hilarious. Don’t be taken aback by it being from the 80’s, it is definitely brilliant.

My goodness. Grave of the Fireflies had to be one of the saddest movies (anime or live action) that I have ever seen. I had not read any reviews or blogs about this movie when I first saw it. I simply got it from Netflix because they suggested I might like it. I bawled the whole movie (okay, maybe that is an exaggeration) but I teared up plenty. I had no idea it would be so heart-wrenching and would eat at my soul the rest of the day. It was such a beautiful movie and I’m getting sad just thinking about it. I observed a brother’s love for his sister and a sister’s love for her brother. I saw careless adults sending small children to fend for themselves. I saw the war from another perspective. I heard my heart break while watching this movie. I have only seen it once because it was so powerful it is imprinted in my brain. I may watch again but I’m unsure if I am ready to torture my soul again.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a few of my favorite anime movies. There are definitely more but after thinking and writing about Grave of the Fireflies, I’m going to call it quits for this post. What are some of your favorite anime movies?

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12 Comments

  1. I think that’s a wonderful list. I grab my head and almost tear my hair apart when I watch Howl’s Moving Castle.

    And, for some reason, much I’ve tried, I can’t watch Paprika. It has beautiful visuals, but the plot is so extremely dense for me that I don’t get anything. I think it demands a certain IQ level to watch it.

    • GoodbyeNavi

      Thank you for your response! What makes you almost tear your hair apart from watching Howl’s Moving Castle?

      • It’s magic in its purest form

      • I agree. Studio Ghibli really seems to have grasped the concept of creating magical films.

  2. I’d second all the movies you’ve listed, aside from Roujin Z, but that’s only because I haven’t seen it. The fact it’s from the 80s would never put me off though, if anything it’ll make me more likely to check it out! I’m also someone who watched Advent Children without having played a single FF game, but while I felt a lot of it was pandering to existing fans, I had to appreciate the godly animation if nothing else.

    Aside from those you’ve mentioned, Welcome to THE SPACE SHOW, Tokyo Godfathers (my personal favorite Satoshi Kon movie) and the Cowboy Bebop movie rank high on my list. 🙂

    • I considered putting Tokyo Godfathers and Cowboy Bebop on this list but I was so emotionally drained after reliving my experience with Grave of the Fireflies that I had to stop. They will probably go on an another post. I don’t believe I have seen Welcome to THE SPACE SHOW so I might check that out.

  3. noxturne@gmail.com

    I have seen all but Perfect Blue, Summer Wars and Roujin Z, and now I want to see those as well. I LOVED the GIrl who Leapt Through Time.

    But my favorite anime is Laputa: Castle in the Sky. Science Fiction, fantasy, young love and a boy so dedicated to helping a girl that he almost dies at least 10 times in the film. Fantastic, sweet, sad, and wonderful.

    I also think Ponyo is adorable and it’s my girlfriend’s favorite anime movie.

    • Laputa: Castle in the Sky is a wonderful film as is Ponyo. Both Studio Ghibli and both worthy of their own posts. I own Ponyo but I do not on CitS just yet.

  4. SuperCold

    Grave of the Fireflies, wow. If that movie doesn’t make you sad then you are not human.

    It’s a piece of art.

    • It absolutely is beautiful even in its sadness.

  5. Alex

    I googled Excuse me Who are you and it brought me here. . . . and I’m glad it did. Wonderful wonderful blog.

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