5 Anime Movies

When I think of “anime,” I generally think of the television shows, which tell several hours, or several years, of story in increments of twenty minutes or so. But Japanese animation is not limited to the small screen any more than Western animation is. Indeed, the pros and cons hold true on both sides of the Pacific Ocean: shows can take their time and flesh things out and explore every last detail more fully, while movies are more streamlined, and uninterrupted by commercials or episode breaks.

So, in a medium which, by rights, is absolutely on par with any other, what are some good anime movies worth recommending?

Well, first restriction: I refused to fill all five slots with Ghibli movies. I mean, seriously, we all know how great Hayao Miyazaki’s work is, so there’s no need to drown everyone else out, ya know? 😉

Second restriction: as wonderful as they are, I refuse to pick any movies that are either “the anime in movie format,” or “this is how the anime really ends,” or anything else which is inherently attached to a show. I consider those to be part of the anime TV shows, and so they should be enjoyed alongside the anime itself, rather than as an independent movie. I am picking movies that stand alone as movies.

And, of course, these are movies that I actually like and would recommend to my friends. 😉

In no particular order:

1) Wolf Children

A young woman in college falls for a tall, dark, handsome man who happens to be a wolfman. By which, I mean a creature that can freely shift between being a man and being a wolf. They get married and have two children, before his tragic, untimely  death. She is left to raise two children, children the world will never truly understand or accept if they ever learn the truth of them, on her own.

It’s a realistic depiction of a slightly-fantastical situation. It’s about a woman who is very out of her depth doing her best and raising two amazing children. It’s endearing, and heart-breaking, it makes you laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. It’s about the absolute love a mother has for her children, even as those children grow up.

It’s a masterpiece, I say. 😉

2) The Princess and the Pilot

In the midst of a great war, a princess is set to be married to a prince, thus solidifying an alliance between two nations at a critical moment. But, deprived of the resources to securely transport her with an entire royal entourage, the choice is made to entrust her person and passage to their very best pilot, flying alone through hostile territory. As it happens, though, said pilot is of mixed blood, a bestado, for which he is constantly sneered at and looked down on. Nevertheless, he will perform his duty to the utmost, no matter the personal hazards. The experience these two share may be the hinge on which swings the fate of nations and peoples.

It’s part love story, part war epic, part historical drama (albeit of a fictional history), part social commentary, and part tragedy. You can’t help but love both of the lead characters. Even when you’re screaming at them not to make a tremendous mistake, you still want them to somehow succeed, to find love and be happy. It has an ending that most Western audiences might not expect, wherein loss and triumph are intermingled.

I loved this movie. 🙂

3) Patema Inverted

A girl living a hard life with very little, and a boy living an easy, but very suppressed, life. They meet, and there is one particularly distinguishing factor: gravity. Up and down are inverted, as one people walk on the ceiling while the other walks on the floor. There are people who do not like having their perspective challenged so literally, as it defies the fabrication they’ve use to control society. These two new friends will have to put it all on the line to save each other.

The premise is a bit unique, though also a bit on the nose in its point: differing perspectives do not make people less human, and it does not make peace impossible. It was actually a bit absurd, the lengths to which the villain was willing to go just because his “up” was someone else’s “down.” But, that said, this is still an enjoyable drama about overcoming differences and making peace.

4) Sword of the Stranger

A stranger without a name, carrying a sword he’s tied shut, comes across a boy and his dog. The boy is hunted by both local authorities and foreign warriors, for he seems to be the key in an elaborate ritual which promises the gift of immortality. Very low on funding, and ridden with regrets, the stranger agrees to be hired by the boy, to protect him, an effort that drives him to his limits and makes him confront his past.

This is an excellent movie, easily among my favorites. The action, intrigue, drama… honestly, it felt nothing short of Shakespearean, a’la Japan. 🙂

5) Princess Mononoke

A young prince defends his village from an attacking demon, and is cursed as a result. He is foretold to die from it, but, nonetheless, he is sent away, to find where the demon came from and meet his fate on his own terms. He meets many people, sees many wondrous and terrible things, and stands as a bridge of peace, with eyes unclouded by hate. And he meets a fierce woman whom he falls in love with: Princess Mononoke.

Come on, you know I had to mention Ghibli somewhere in this list! And what better than my personal favorite? 😉

And that’s my five picks! What do you think? Any particular anime movies you would like to recommend? 🙂

This entry was posted in 30-Day Anime Pick 5 Challenge, Anime and Cartoons, Challenge Accepted and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to 5 Anime Movies

  1. The Otaku Judge says:

    We seem to have similar tastes in movies. The first three films you listed are anime features that I enjoyed a lot. Sword of Stranger sounds cool. I’ll have to check it out some day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. raistlin0903 says:

    Wolf Children is one of the films that has been lying on my pile of anime DVDs for ages but one I still haven’t gotten around to. That said after reading this I think it’s about time I had changed that. Maybe I will check it out this weekend. As for the other films except for Princess Mononoke I haven’t heard of, but they all sound amazing, especially Sword of Stranger. Thanks for sharing all these! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 7mononoke says:

    Princess Mononoke is my very favorite movie of any movie, not just anime movies. I’m glad you mentioned it. 🙂 Also, Wolf Children is easily in my top 10 favorite anime movies. I’ve seen Sword of the Stranger, and thought it was really good for its day. For whatever reason, I didn’t enjoy it as much as many others on my list. Those are the only 3 I know from this list.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patema Inverted really is an underrated gem. Glad to see it make someone’s list!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ospreyshire says:

    The only ones I’ve seen are Patema Inverted and Princess Mononoke. I totally get it when it comes to diversifying the list to not only have Ghibli works. My favorite anime movies would be as follows in no particular order:

    Grave of the Fireflies: Best Ghibli movie in my opinion and can still make me cry as an adult.

    The Place Promised In Our Early Days: Shibkai’s best work with a great story, love triangle, and the most creative usage of parallel universes.

    Paprika: Easily one of Megumi Hayashibara’s best performances and the animation is one of Madhouse’s best. Also…Paprika is the original Inception!

    Perfect Blue: One of Kon’s best Films. The atmosphere is chilling and legitimately frightening. Totally messes with people’s heads while deconstructing the pop idol and movie star lives.

    Jungle Emperor Leo (1997): Seriously one of the best looking works from Tezuka Productions and will hit people in the feels. It’s a shame Disney tried to ban it in North America because people will figure out its a sequel to Kimba the White Lion and think “OMG, The Lion King ripped this off!”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merlin says:


      Heh, Simpsons moment: “You must avenge my death, Kimba-uh, I mean Simba.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • ospreyshire says:


        Yes, I know about that reference and I linked that clip to my Jungle Emperor Leo (2009) review. Its hilarious since they got James Earl Jones to do the voices for all those characters. Researching the controversy, watching the Kimba anime, and the JEL movies has been mind blowing to say the least and Disney STILL never fully owned up to all that thievery.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Merlin says:

        Yeah, Disney’s got some skeletons in their closet, for certain.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ospreyshire says:

        Definitely. It’s quite frustrating and it goes beyond that anime series like the recent plagiarism scandal with Beyonce’s Spirit music video ripping off imagery from South African singer Petite Noir’s long form music video that came out last year or how Disney got sued in addition to another licensing company for withholding royalties and name recognition for Solomon Linda’s “Mbube” song which was famously ripped off as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” as documented in the Netflix documentary The Lion’s Share.

        Besides that, I did like Kimba with the stories, usage of conscious themes (the environment, discrimination, cycle of vengeance, genocide, etc.) that were way ahead of it’s time.

        Liked by 1 person

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