Recommendations on compelling cinematic anime?

Started by Zen, January 27, 2019, 11:14:56 PM

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Lately, after heavily re-watching animes like Violet Evergarden, The Great Passage, Your Lie in April, Wolf-Children and a number of Makoto Shinkai films (Garden of Words, Voices from Distant Star, Your Name)... I've had the nagging feeling that I haven't even scratched the surface of this whole genre of cinematic-quality animes with deeply moving stories.

Care to recommend me some that I may have missed and discuss a bit as to why you think they're amazing? Doesn't matter if its on crunchyroll, netflix, or prime video. I will definitely add it to my list if I haven't already watched it. (Let's just assume I've watched all the Ghibli movies because I have).

Ecchi ja Nai

On the one hand I'm kind of surprised nobody has responded to this so far.  But then on the other, I guess I shouldn't be considering the level of activity around this area of the boards.

To toss in my two cents while I'm here, I'd say you're on a good track with all things Shinkai.  You really can't go wrong with anything he's created thus far.  You also mentioned Wolf Children, and another favorite writer/director of mine is Mamoru Hosoda.  Basically all his other films are fantastic, but none of them are quite as dramatic as Wolf was.  My personal favorite is Summer Wars.  I feel the themes covered in Wars are fairly close to Shinkai's works involving innocent/naive love.  Wolf is a very close second, though again they're definitely two different types of stories with Wolf being the emotionally heavier release of the two.  Hosoda's latest film, Mirai, is probably his weakest release.  The movie itself is beautifully produced, but I felt like the story was a fairly shallow combination of his other movies.  Literally a mashup of Wolf, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and The Boy and the Beast.

Primarily sticking with movies, you'll probably also enjoy Metropolis which was loosely based on Osamu Tezuka's manga of the same name, which itself was inspired by the silent film from the '20s.  And when I think of Your Lie, I always think of A Silent Voice and Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (everyone just calls it AnoHana - I have no idea why people don't want to type that monster of a name out completely).  AnoHana is a series rather than a movie, though there is a movie that acts as an epilogue.  Do yourself a favor and 1) watch both and 2) have tissue at the ready.  The last few episodes really hit me hard, as did the ending theme for the series.  It might have had more of an impact for me, though, as I actually remembered hearing the original version from Zone back in the day, and listening to the version from the anime that's actually subtitled "(10 Years After Ver.)" really struck home the passage of time and the reflection of the ways my life has changed over that time.  The more recent version of the song is just as beautiful especially with the way the actresses harmonize, though this arrangement is definitely more melancholy compared to the original.

Another recent release you might also enjoy is I Want to Eat Your Pancreas.  I personally didn't find it nearly as satisfying as Your Lie was, but it's still quite decent and I think it'll hit all the notes you're looking for.  The Japanese voice cast was fantastic, but there were some details that I preferred from the original light novel that were changed or omitted from the film.

Long post is long, but I have a couple more titles I really like to recommend to others looking for really good anime movies that are well produced and tell excellent "cinema-quality" stories.  Unfortunately these next few are also quite a bit darker in tone from the other movies I've mentioned above and from your original post, but I really feel like people who enjoy the powerful storytelling that's possible through movies, regardless of how you feel about anime in general, should really give these next titles a shot.  Much like Shinkai and Hosoda, I also highly, highly recommend all the movies created by the late Satoshi Kon.  Many essays and detailed breakdowns have been written on his writing and directing style, so I'll just mention that the movies he's most known for are Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, and Paprika.  Those are the ones that are on the list when you think of "his movies."  Do I recommend watching all of them?  Oh, hell yes.  And finally, I also really feel like Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade deserves to be mentioned when discussing high-quality, well-written, dramatic anime films.  I coincidentally recently found out that Kon was also involved as a writer on this film, though he wasn't credited.  It's definitely the most graphically violent out of all the titles mentioned but it's appropriate for the type of movie it is and story that it tells - Perfect Blue would be a somewhat distant second and then nothing else really registering in this regard.  If that's not a story you'd be comfortable watching, this would be one you could pass on, but I still feel the quality of this work deserves to be mentioned.


Outstanding post, Ecchi ja Nai!

My personal highest recommendations are Mobile Police Patlabor: The Movie and Mobile Police Patlabor 2: The Movie.  You don't have to be familiar with Patlabor to enjoy the films but you'll get even more out of them if you at least have a familiarity with the main cast - you can build that by watching the seven episode "Early Days" OVA that kicked off the entire franchise.

I don't want to go into many plot details as both films are more or less mysteries / political thrillers.  Patlabor: The Movie is very approachable for a wide audience, built around themes of industrialization and hypocritical urban expanse.  Patlabor 2: The Movie is Mamoru Oshii's master work - one of the greatest (if not the greatest) anime films of all time, and one of the best films ever made, period.  It is far less approachable than the rest of Patlabor as it expects the audience to know the characters (the film essentially serves as a send-off / where are they now to the entire cast), have an understanding of Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, the realities of how technological superpowers fund their peaceful nations - too much to go into that would spoil the narrative.  If you watch the OVA series and the first film then you'll be better set up for the second.  And if after that you want more, there's a 47 episode TV series with a 16 episode continuation that all takes place in a slightly different continuity.
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Wow, there's already a bunch of great suggestions, already!

I am surprised no one has suggested any Miyazaki titles! I mean, that's what comes to my mind first when I think of cinematic anime movies.

Not very unique, I know, but you can't argue with the results! Lol
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