Anime has evolved into some extremely memorable and top-notch films and television programmes throughout the years, and it has genuinely become something rather spectacular. In addition to portraying narratives that are surprisingly thought-provoking and compelling, it transcends beyond the realm of infantile imaginations and offers visually breathtaking visuals and animation.
Modern anime is excellent, but the oldies will always be superior. There are many excellent instances of old anime that served as models for contemporary adaptations, inspirations, and successors. The narratives incorporate both complex ideas and fantastical whimsies, displaying a wide range of original and varied imagination. There are many classic animes that have stood the test of time, and it is simple to identify some elite examples that appeal to all generations.
Table Of Content
- 1 Akira (1988)
- 2 Castle in the Sky (1986)
- 3 Fist of the North Star (1986)
- 4 Ghost in the Shell (1995)
- 5 Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
- 6 Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
- 7 My Neighbour Totoro (1988)
- 8 Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
- 9 Perfect Blue (1997)
- 10 Pom Poko (1994)
- 11 Porco Rosso (1992)
- 12 Princess Mononoke (1997)
- 13 Spirited Away (2001)
- 14 Vampire Hunter D (1985)
- 15 Whisper of the heart (1995)
Akira plunges you right into a dystopian depiction of Japan, and although though it strays somewhat far from the original, it is still a fantastic example of old-school animation. Along with the equally amazing aesthetic design of the animation and the well-liked soundtrack, viewers are treated to some very impressive storytelling throughout the film.
Tetsuo and Shtar, two young gang members, are the focus of the movie. Tetsuo’s psychic powers, which he developed following a motorcycle accident that attracted the wrong crowd of people, cause their world to flip upside down. The two are thrust into more chaos than they could have ever imagined in a city already plagued by terrorism, gang violence, and corruption. This leads them on a journey that is sure to hold the interest of any spectator.
Castle in the Sky (1986)
Castle in the Sky was well welcomed at release and continues to be adored today. It had a significant impact on popular culture in Japan and served as an inspiration for numerous subsequent films both in Japan and around the world.
A little boy is dragged into a wild adventure when he finds Sheeta mysteriously floating down from the sky. In addition to pirates, the army and secret operatives of the government were also after her. She has the key to Laputa, the aforementioned flying palace, hence they are all ultimately dependent upon her. The pursuit of Sheeta is motivated by the belief that Laputa is hiding a wealth of money. It’s not surprising that this movie had an impact on media once it became popular because it features gorgeous imagery and thrilling experiences.
Fist of the North Star (1986)
Due to its extremely violent content, Fist of the North Star has drawn significant controversy and gotten a variety of reviews.
Another post-apocalyptic story, the film follows Kenshiro, who possesses a particularly outstanding set of martial arts abilities. The human race that survives a nuclear war must adapt to new realities such as their harsh environment and their oppressors who take advantage of the new situation. Kenshiro defends the vulnerable and employs his abilities to combat the dangers of the wasteland he finds himself in. He is seen as a ray of hope for making the world a better place for everyone in the incredibly violent environment the film is situated in. It’s a movie that any martial arts enthusiast would like because of its expertly planned action scenes.
Ghost in the Shell (1995)
As a result of Shochiku Ghost in the Shell’s initial popularity, a film sequel called Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, a TV series, and a Hollywood live-action adaptation—albeit one with questionable casting—have all subsequently been produced.
This anime film is a sci-fi masterpiece with stunningly recognisable visuals and a compelling cyberpunk vibe. Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg police officer in New Port City, 2029, is the subject of the narrative. She is looking for the notorious Puppet Master, a dangerous terrorist who has access to the elite residents of New Port City’s technologically advanced minds. The film’s extremely futuristic elements, which are set in a highly developed technology society, seamlessly meld with its philosophical message of self-identity. It’s a watch that makes you think, and it merits the cult following it has acquired since its release.
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
With a flawless rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the animated military drama Toho Grave of the Fireflies is recognised as one of the greatest anime movies ever made. Grave of the Fireflies certainly delivers a punch as you watch the struggles of two brothers, Seita and Satsuko, in contrast to the usual easy viewing you’d anticipate from Studio Ghibli. The two brothers are thrust into a life of desperation and struggle after their mother perishes in a bombing raid that also destroys their home.
The film chronicles their trip across Japan as they struggle to survive on their own in a nation that is still reeling from the horrors the war brought with it and is gradually putting its pieces back together to rebuild. The two brothers’ unwavering optimism, despite everything working against them, is what really makes this movie stand out. One of the best war movies ever created, as well as one of the best anime movies, is unquestionably this one. telling a sad but lovely story.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
A young witch in training named Kiki moves to the coast with her talking cat, Jiji, in the novel Kiki’s Delivery Service. She must live alone for a year in order to become a complete witch and remove her training wheels, according to the norms of her tribe. When Kiki is finally successful in controlling her broomstick, she establishes a delivery service and the amusing antics start.
The film is a sweet coming-of-age story that retains childlike purity as Kiki overcomes numerous obstacles in her new life by the sea. This anime is genuinely a movie for the whole family, and everyone will enjoy watching it for its endearing plot and taking away from its message.
My Neighbour Totoro (1988)
The studio’s dependable mascot, Totoro from My Neighbor Totoro, is undoubtedly the most well-known and iconic of Ghibli’s fictional characters.
Satsuki and Mei, two sisters in 1950s Japan, relocate to the country with their father to be nearer to their ill mother. But Totoro and other strange spirits, including magic, appear to be in abundance in their new abode. Together with the sisters, Totoro embarks on a series of experiences that so exquisitely capture the innocent simplicity of infancy. The plot is very unassuming and simple to follow, but it still masterfully elicits a wide range of emotions from the viewer.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
The storyline of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind masterfully blends a lovely fantasy journey with a slightly violent plot. The young Princess Nausicaä lives in a post-apocalyptic world where her people inhabit the only area that is even vaguely livable because the rest of the planet has been destroyed by war and pollution. When the kingdom of Tolmekia threatens to destroy a jungle of enormous insects with which she is able to communicate, the young princess desperately seeks to restore some harmony to the earth. She is able to prevent a war with the two neighbouring countries thanks to her activities, which would have undoubtedly threatened what little pleasant territory was still on Earth.
Instead than focusing too much on good and evil, the film illustrates the Buddhist foundations of evil (greed, animosity, and delusion). As you become engrossed in Nausicaä’s voyage, you begin to notice how strongly the anti-war and pro-environmentalism message is woven throughout the entire film.
Perfect Blue (1997)
Despite some unfavourable reviews, Perfect Blue is still regarded as a wonderful work of animation, and since its release, it has been on many top lists.
Mima Kirigoe makes the decision that she has had enough of the J-pop lifestyle and quits her band to pursue an acting career. When she learns that one of her followers is stalking her, things are less than easy. She suffers from severe paranoia and anxiety as a result of this discovery, which unfortunately causes her mental health to deteriorate. By no means is it a simple movie to see, and some viewers may find the somewhat upsetting subjects inappropriate. However, the movie’s unpleasant themes enhance its atmosphere and produce a very compelling narrative.
Pom Poko (1994)
The raccoon dog population of the forest is in a difficult situation as human development encroaches on their home in Pom Poko. They are in danger of going extinct, and they have to act quickly to avoid dying out. In this anime with an environmental theme, they engage in a desperate battle to save their homes. Despite having a disappointing main plot, this animated comedy-drama nonetheless manages to amuse and offer some sincere laughs at the endearing characters. They are fantastically presented as fun-loving and mischievous in their exploits as they struggle to defend their home, playing up to the preconceptions of raccoon dogs. Viewing this film is truly a quirky experience, and it conveys its story in a way that is both thought-provoking and simple to follow.
Porco Rosso (1992)
The Japanese adventure-fantasy cartoon from 1992 PORCO RED Toho Porco Rosso emphasises personal improvement through an introspective approach. It’s an unusual message that tries to emphasise the idea that real transformation is often not outwardly evident but that inside improvements are what ultimately matter. When attempting to make sense of the movie’s happenings, the superbly portrayed plot inspires intense emotional reflection.
Porco Rosso, a highly accomplished pilot, saves those who are the victims of sky pirates’ crimes. He falls prey to a strange curse and discovers that he has been transformed into a pig. He encounters numerous obstacles throughout the film, which makes it a very fascinating and action-packed watch.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
A grim and occasionally violent historical fantasy, Princess Mononoke places a heavy focus on mortality and environmentalism. Ashitaka is a prince who, regrettably, carries a fatal curse upon him. He leaves home in quest of a treatment in an effort to preserve his life. But on the journey, he is caught up in a conflict between the forest gods and a mining settlement of humans that is destroying the environment. The creatures of the forest that the story’s Mononoke are are those who inflict illness, pain, and even death onto those they possess. This anime film easily stands the test of time as a must-watch because of its enormous scope, rich plot, and visually gorgeous animation.
Spirited Away (2001)
Spirited Away is regarded as one of the most well-known Ghibli films ever made, and it has received numerous accolades to support this claim. This film contains several of Ghibli’s most creative characters and exhibits the exquisite and distinctive animation one would expect from its creator. Spirited Away is an excellent entry point into the realm of anime because to its utterly fantastical yet compelling plot.
The story of Chihiro Ogino and her parents as they mistakenly enter the spirit world is followed in the film. The group ends up in what initially appears to be an abandoned theme park, but Chihiro subsequently learns that it is actually teeming with ghosts. Chihiro finds herself in a race against time to free herself and her parents from the grasp of the evil witch Yubaba after discovering that her parents have been transformed into pigs.
Vampire Hunter D (1985)
In the post-apocalyptic wasteland where the last few people find themselves, Toho Vampire Hunter D is a gloriously violent surreal gothic fantasy. After being hired by Doris Lang to find the legendary vampire Count Magnus Lee, you are greeted by “D,” the half-vampire vampire hunter. Doris, who has been bitten by the count, hires D in an effort to prevent turning into a vampire herself.
The film is chock-full of artistically positioned supernatural entities and monsters that are so horrifying that they match the postapocalyptic scenario of D’s vampire-hunting exploits. It’s a fantastic choice for someone looking for a grim anime offering. Although it is violent and grim, there is still enough humour to make it a watchable experience.
Whisper of the heart (1995)
Whisper of the Heart by Studio Ghibli has an extraordinarily high rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and with good reason. It is regarded as one of the best anime films of all time and was the highest-grossing movie when it was released in Japan.
Shizuku Tsukishima, a 14-year-old aspiring writer, first despises Seiji but ends up becoming friends with him. The two initially don’t get along, and Seiji is persistent in his taunting of Shizuku, but eventually the two forge an unshakable relationship. It’s a beautifully upbeat film that takes you on a coming-of-age journey as their friendship develops. The way the two help one another in reaching their objectives throughout the film serves to illustrate the importance of true friendships. The Cat Returns, a sequel to the film that was so well appreciated, is also worth seeing.
Being a binge-watcher himself, finding Content to write about comes naturally to Divesh. From Anime to Trending Netflix Series and Celebrity News, he covers every detail and always find the right sources for his research.