Tuesday, November 4, 2014

15 Non-Miyazaki Movies That Asia has to offer

So I see a lot of new anime fans get introduced to anime through Miyazaki-Directed movies, this is all well and good but I think there needs to be a LITTLE VARIETY don't you? Japan releases animated full length features on a steady scale and there needs to be some light shed on a few.

1.Tokyo Godfathers/Madhouse/2003:

Amazing movie. Studio Madhouse will show up again in this list (the studio that worked on Paranoia Agent) they are a studio that produces animation with an artistic focus on realism and quirky fleshed out characters to match.This movie is no exception, set in the bowels of Tokyo where three homeless find a baby and must bring it back to it's family. You expect a simple story of them just returning the child, but it actually unfolds into a branching story about discovering yourself.

Yobi the nine-tailed fox/sunwoo entertainment/2007:

Made in Korea, Yobi, the nine tailed fox has a lot to offer visually that differs from normal anime style.
It's a deep story about being lost in a strange world and trying to understand the inhabitants. Yobi herself is a young fox trying to infiltrate a human school. Her friends also happen to be aliens who need human mechanical parts to rebuild their ship. This is an amazing movie for children, very colorful and interesting. There might be some imagery children won't quite grasp but all around a good film

3.The Cat Returns/Studio Ghibli/2002:

Contrary to popular belief, not all films that come from Studio Ghibli are directed by Hyao Miyazaki. this film is directed by Hiroyuki Morita and it's the sequel to the Ghibli movie Whisper of the Heart which I personally found too slow and the characters too bland.You don't need to see Whisper of the Heart for The Cat Returns to make sense. In The Cat Returns there's a different story which starts out with a girl saving a cat from being killed and then being forced to marry him! this film is fast paced but doesn't fall into the anime trope of not making sense. Everything has a balance, happens for a reason and just is so darned cute. If you like cats or a story focused on a cat world, this is the film for you.It is my favorite Ghibli movie after Howl's Moving Castle.

4.Ninja Scroll/Madhouse/1993:

Ninja Scroll also has an anime series of the same name, but what I'm referring to is the movie itself which has a cover that looks like the image above. Ninja scroll is for adults. It really is. There's alot of bloody murder, limbs being ripped off and various accounts of sex and even a rape scene.This weaves a dark and stormy trail of a lone man fighting off what is a whole army of ninja( the devils of kimon), this is a movie that never gets old and has that old martial arts movie feel.

5.Urusei Yatsura, Beautiful Dreamer/Studio Pierrot/1984:

Rumiko Takahashi is the creator of Ranma 1/2,Inuyasha and many other Manga hits. Her first break out hit was Urusei Yatsura or "Those Obnoxious Aliens" and this movie is the second movie in Urusei Yatsura's movie run. They went a different direction with this movie having it loosely based on both the sandman legends and the Urashima Taro story of when a boy leaves his town after rescuing a turtle and comes back to find himself 300 years in the future.Its high grade sci-fi with like-able and humorous characters. it also displayed alot of stunning imagery and animation that was unheard of in it's time.

6.The Place Promised in our Early Days/Comix Wave/2004:

the place promised in our early days is an anime event and was treated as such during it's release, winning multiple awards in animation excellence it's easy to see why. The film is visually amazing and the story itself puts a lot of thought towards the question of military occupation. The story is set in a Japan that had recently been under the united states control, and was feeling the harsh aftershocks that result from foreign military rule. Three childhood friends try to make it through

7. Evangelion 1.0 (You Are Not Alone)/Khara/2007;

Neon Genesis evangelion is a mecha anime that deconstructed and reconstructed the whole genre. If you've already seen the whole anime you may still want to see this movie because it follows the manga and it differs slightly from the original series in some ways. The story is what it always was however, a coming of age tale about putting yourself either first or last in the needs of others.Told with 14 year olds piloting giant robots against a threat on earth.

8.Wolf Children/Studio Chizu/2012

This movie is great,cute,sad amazing wow. It tells the story of a mother raising two children that have many wolf-like qualities and trying to protect them through it all. It's very cute, kid friendly and has a very Miyazaki feel. The manga is also superb, both have an English release.

9.Sailor Moon S the movie/Toei Animation/1994:

Toei is an anime giant, releasing some of the most popular anime titles of the decade (such as saint sieya and sailor moon) it has it's fair share of amazing movies as well. Sailor Moon has three movies and the Sailor Moon S movie is by far my favorite. It's good because you don't need a deep understanding of sailor moon to get it. It also has one of the greatest sub-plots for a side character in an anime movie ever with Luna. All and all a great movie citing unrequited love.

10.Vampire Hunter D/Ashi Productions/1985:

This movie has a huge cult following in America, it had an english release in a time when not much anime was being dragged to our shores. The story of Vampire Hunter D is adapted from a series of novels with the same name. The movie story is based off volume one of the novels and follows a lone Vampire hunter as he attempts to protect a woman named Doris from the hands of an evil count.D himself is a strong character and his talking hand as well, I was also enamoured with the baddies that seek to stop D and capture Doris as they have their own interesting backstory.

11.The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzimiya/Kadokawa Shoten/2010:

This Movie is taken from the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya light novel and anime series, the story itself is easily told as a stand alone movie. A boys friend disappears and all the people he once knew don't even recognize him. He has to dig deep, research and find out what happened. This movie holds a special place for people who enjoy the anime, but if you do not it is still a good tale about friendship and cause and effect.


Paprika is a journey through the mind and through dreams, as such it is disjointed tale of a man who tries to find the end of his own dream using a service that allows people to enter each others dreams. Many cite this movie as the inspiration for inception,but I feel inception pales in comparison. This movie has animation and imagery that feels like a dream and is really profoundly beautiful.Watch this in HD and crank the volume up so you can hear the first vocaloid 'Lola' sing.

13. Interstella 555/Toei Animation/2003:

A movie set to Daft Punk music,Check, Lejji Matsumoto character designs,Check, Toei Animation,Check. This movie hits the mark, no dialogue is needed the whole story is told through movement and music. A space epic about a group of alien singers brought to earth by an evil producer to be pop stars.

14.The Girl Who Leapt Through Time/Madhouse/2006:

The girl who leapt through time starts out as a simple story about a girl who uses her newly attained time travel to make her life easier, its slice of life-like and generally very fun. As the story progresses however it becomes strangely serious and brings up coming of age questions about change and the future of friendships.

15.Summer Wars/Madhouse/2009:

Summer wars is a Video Game epic, it tells the story of a nerdy programmer who is asked by his crush to come with her to her family's house in the country. Little does he know that she needs his as a pretend fiance! throw some serious hacking skills and you have a climax that almost destroys Japan as we know it. This is a great family film, the main theme is teamwork and togetherness with a badass edge.

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