Hello readers and welcome to a Top 5! I know, I know, I don’t do Top 5’s anymore but 5 seemed like the perfect number to use to discuss my favourite anime films, so why not keep on reading and see what made it!
You may have seen a few months ago that I published a list of my Top 10 anime series to introduce anime to the blog and let people know the kind of things I like. In an extension to this, I wanted to revisit the idea but this time list my favourite anime films.
I’ve seen a lot of anime films over the years due to the existence of the awesome Scotland Loves Anime event which takes place in Glasgow and Edinburgh every year (see ya October 11th *wink*) and a couple of films I’ve seen there feature in this list, the others were generally found through recommendation or speculation.
So in no particular order…
My Top 5 Anime Films are:
Howl’s Moving Castle
This is one of the first anime films I watched and I imagine it would make quite a lot of people’s lists. One of Studio Ghibli’s finest works (in my opinion), it has a darkness and depth of character that sets it apart. I almost always watch anime with subtitles, but the English voice cast for Howl’s Moving Castle is just sublime. You don’t get much better than Billy Crystal playing a sarcastic, er, fire/flame/thing (?) and Christian Bale’s Howl is deliciously moody! This film manages to perfectly balance excellent characters with a gripping story and the darkness within that story is matched wonderfully by the warmth and humour in the script and the relationships between the characters. It may be a fair way behind it’s stable mate Spirited Away in terms of audience numbers but for me there is no contest.
Kiki’s Delivery Service
The second (and last) Studio Ghibli film on the list is Kiki’s Delivery Service, a tale of a young girl who leaves home in order to train to be a fully fledged witch. In some ways it does exactly what it says on the tin. It is relatively gentle compared to Howl’s Moving Castle and possibly suitable for a slightly younger age group, but what I love so much about Kiki is how happy it makes me feel every time I watch it. It has a lot of common witchy tropes, like her adorable black cat Jiji and Kiki learning to use a broomstick, but it also has a nice community vibe where Kiki makes friends and learns how to live and contribute to society. It even manages a rather dramatic ending which rounds the film off nicely. Plus it has excellent birds. Bonus points for the birds. If you’ve not seen it, I’d definitely recommend it next time you want something to cheer you up.
Cyber City Oedo 808
Don’t look at me like that, it’s amazing!
OK so Cyber City Oedo is weird. It has a good story and decent characters. It looks quite cool with its cyber punk dystopia and is presented in an interesting way being split into 3 sections each shown through a different character’s eyes (which is confusing when you’re at the cinema and each section has its own end credits but I guess that is the way it was meant to be shown!). They aren’t that things that make this film BRILLIANT though! No. The thing that makes Cyber City Oedo so good is the way it has been dubbed. Yes that’s a weird thing to say considering I usually prefer to watch anime with subs, but this HAS to be watched in English. Why? Well, it’s difficult to explain without getting you to actually watch it, but, well, the short version is: it’s sweary AF! So much swearing. Just constant swearing. And that makes it hilarious. For sure, this is not a film to watch sober (or with children) but if you’re having a few anime-loving friends round for beers then this is the thing to watch. You can even make it into a drinking game if you like (you could split it by character, or specific word, or whatever really). Weird, ridiculous and completely inexplicable!
A Silent Voice
I made a decision before making this list to only choose one of the handful of great high-school drama type anime’s from the last few years. I could probably have made a list solely dedicated to that type of film since I like them so much, but I’m afraid that Your Name, Anthem of the Heart and I Want to Eat Your Pancreas miss out in favour of the sublime A Silent Voice. In truth I feel a little bit weird writing about it after the recent tragic events at KyoAni but then again maybe describing the magic and importance of this film is also a positive way to heal. What makes A Silent Voice magic are the relationships between the characters. The changes that take place over time, the realisations they go through and the absolute roller-coaster of emotions from anger, to desperation, to understanding and in the end to a kind of freedom. Unlike some of the other films on this list, I don’t include this because it makes me happy but rather that this film actually spoke to me about myself and the ending still cuts a little too close to the bone. Sometimes though that is exactly what you need to start moving forward, and as such I treasure this film.
Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F
Any Dragon Ball Z fans out there? Well…I’m afraid I’m not one of you having never watched the series, but this film is a ridiculously absurd joy from start to finish. I first saw it at Scotland Loves Anime where the festival’s glamorous host (the excellent Jonathan Clements who just so happens to share his wisdom via his own blog!) read out a review of it from the Guardian. Now, if you’ve ever read the Guardian’s film section then you probably know what they thought of it. Suffice to say they didn’t like it very much. All I can really make of that is that the reviewer clearly lives a joyless life giving five star reviews to boring grey films because Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F is five stars worth of AWESOME! It is full of action, silly one-liners, it has great music, flashy battles and thoroughly absurd characters including a cat God whose name is Beerus who only refrains from destroying humanity because they supply him with delicious treats (this is why I love anime folks). It also has a GOLDEN FRIEZA! Hell yes! I don’t know much about the Dragon Ball Z universe and I don’t know what hardcore fans think of the film, but when I watched it in the cinema everyone was laughing riotously and having an amazing time. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of the show or if you have to pretend to not like anime when you’re with your friends, this film is for anyone with an hour and a half and a decent sense of humour so go watch it!
So…what do you think? Which films would make your list? Maybe you’d pick different Studio Ghibli films or maybe Your Name would have to be there? Post your reactions, thoughts, feelings and pizza below the line in comments please!
Thanks for reading,