Nasa / Space

What anime films and shows are your favorites?

Princess Mononoke and Mushi-shi opened Nicole Bremer Nash's eyes to what anime can be, and now she's hooked. Anime fans, help this Geekend contributor figure out what film or show to watch next.

When I think of anime, I usually think of loud cartoons that have a strange obsession with women. Anime cons seem like they are as much fun as any other geeky con, and actually make more sense to me than the shows they celebrate. Every now and then, however, somebody sends a little anime my way that completely unravels the stereotype in my head.

The first was several years ago when a person who is distinctly un-geeky gifted us Princess Mononoke with the promise that I would love the film. I think I rolled my eyes and tossed it in a drawer until somebody suggested watching it months later. Turns out, the gifter was right. Princess Mononoke is possibly one of my favorite movies. I admit that I am particularly partial to anything dealing with nature's plight as humans do our best to destroy the planet. Even so, Princess Mononoke is particularly well done and opened my eyes to what anime can be.

I hadn't seen any anime that really impressed since then until another very un-geeky friend recently convinced me to check out Mushi-shi. The show follows Ginko, who is a Mushi Master. Mushi are described as being nearly supernatural because they are so in tune with the essence of life. Each episode features a different Mushi wreaking havoc on some poor unsuspecting person, often a child. Ginko shows up and explains the particular type of Mushi and then saves the day. The show is quiet and lovely, and the Mushi are always interesting.

I've seen almost all the Mushi-shi episodes, and I need suggestions for other anime shows or movies to check out. What do you recommend? Please tell me in the comments.

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About

Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conduct...

33 comments
CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

For some unknown reason my wife purchased 'Spirited Away' and 'Kiki's Delivery Service' several years ago. I wasn't offended by either, but I wasn't moved. They were visually very pretty, but I couldn't get into either story. My problem with 'Spirited Away' was that I dislike 'down the rabbit hole' stories. I liked 'Kiki' better, but I must not have been too taken with it since I haven't watched it again. My only other exposure is whatever is on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim when I go channel surfing past during semiannual bouts of insomnia. I haven't seen anything that made me want to stop. Most of what CN programs looks too dark for my tastes, especially in the wee small hours. Somehow I always get the same episode of 'Cowboy Bebop', and it's the last one. It isn't enough to make me want to record the others to figure out what happened before. I can't abide transformation sequences, drawn-out battles where the combatants keep increasing power levels and / or yakking at each other, impractical giant humanoid vehicles, conspiracy theories, massive vehicles hundreds or thousands of feet long with inappropriately small crews and poor interior lighting, goofy dumb-ass comic relief sidekicks, multiple vehicles that can't win a battle until they combine into one large assembly, or run-on sentences with too many clauses separated by commas. I realize there's more to anime than the limited exposure I've had. I find that overall I'm watching less TV than I used to. I lost my taste for movies long ago, and see only two or three new ones a year. Maybe I'm losing my taste for visual entertainment? Does 'Samurai Jack' count?

lehnerus2000
lehnerus2000

"Samurai Jack" was a good show. A lot of the elements you mentioned are in the popular shows (not necessarily the good shows). It's like how Hollywood movies seem to rely on ridiculous gunfights, massive "slow-mo" explosions and car chases. It would be hard to find a show that doesn't contain some of the elements you dislike. If you get the chance watch: [b]Fullmetal Alchemist[/b] (Original and/or Brotherhood) Fantasy/Sci-Fi Two brothers are on a quest to restore their lost bodies. [b]Steins;Gate[/b] Sci-Fi It has a slow start. The "s*%# hits the fan" about 1/3 of the way through. [b]Code Geass I & II[/b] Sci-Fi It contains a lot of Mecha battles, but it's not the main plot focus. Apparently the Mecha was added for the anime version (I haven't read the manga so I don't know if this is true). Unfortunately, they all contain behind the scenes machinations by the villians (conspiracies and double-crossing). If you like "funny because it's stupid" shows, try "Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt". It reminds me of "Ren & Stimpy" (a little bit). It parodies a lot of anime sub-genres.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'll see if I can find these somewhere on Dish Network. I don't mind well-plotted conspiracies; it's the top-heavy ones I can't buy into, the ones where the villain has managed to manipulate everyone and everything to his / her will and it all devolves into the protagonist's only option being to shoot anything that moves and half the things that don't. I'm not into 'Stupid is funny', either animated or live action. I have enough encounters with idiots during the workday without indulging them on my time. SKD, I'm not much on repeat viewing. There are only a few pieces of animation I've ever wanted to see often enough to invest in the media - Samurai Jack, Kids Next Door, and Chicken Run and anything else from Aardman. Still, that's better than my record for possessing live movies, which consist of only "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly".

lehnerus2000
lehnerus2000

It's difficult to recommend shows, when you don't really know what people like. :) Since you are obviously a technical person, you might enjoy "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex I". I'd classify it as a Sci-Fi drama. The interesting thing is that part of the plot seems to be based on an actual incident in Japan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glico_Morinaga_case I haven't seen many anime comedies. The ones that I have seen, often have an underlying downbeat component. You could try: - Angel Beats! - Kore wa Zombie Desu ka - Maria Holic I enjoyed "Yumekui Merry", but I'm not really sure what category it falls into.

SKDTech
SKDTech

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt was mildly amusing but has not left me wanting to own it in case of future veiwing. Ultimately, the greatest measure of any show or movie is whether or not I want to own the disc for future veiwing.

lehnerus2000
lehnerus2000

I didn't enjoy "Ren & Stimpy" either. :) "P&SwG" is probably more amusing if you have seen a lot of anime or other cartoon shows (since it often spoofs them). I enjoyed the plot twist in the last episode. "[i]Ultimately, the greatest measure of any show or movie is whether or not I want to own the disc for future veiwing.[/i]" Agreed. How many shows are worth watching multiple times? The only anime shows I've watched multiple times are: - Fullmetal Alchemist (Original) - Steins:Gate (the 2nd time I noticed a lot of subtle clues) - Code Geass I & II - Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex I There a few more that I plan to re-watch, but overall it is a small percentage. The same thing is true of "Live Action" shows too. :(

Slayer_
Slayer_

Slayers It was hilarious. I found it while using google to search for some old forum posts by my name. It seems not many people seem to know about the show.

gaban7
gaban7

many were heartbroken when alicia are getting married.......and even we planning to kidnap her fiance (fortunately the author does not mention the name of fiance )

gaban7
gaban7

my favourite is : aria the animation aria the natural aria the origination tamayura ova tamayura hitotose

lehnerus2000
lehnerus2000

Favourite anime series: - Fullmetal Alchemist (original) - Steins;Gate - Code Geass I & II - Angel Beats! - Puella Magi Madoka Magica - Noein - Maria Holic Paprika was a good movie.

JefferyDodds
JefferyDodds

I didn't see anyone mention Paprika. It is a good mixture of science fiction / mythical elements / noir and has a kick-ass female lead also.

sboverie
sboverie

This is a Japanese anime series. Lain is a young girl whose best friend commits suicide. Lain goes from a computer novice to total immersion with a mystery between her public self and the online persona. This series was hard to understand, partly cultural but mostly because of different interpretations of the actions. Lain was either a bewildered girl or an artificial intellegence in human form. I had to watch the series a couple of times before I was able to understand it, although still not complete understanding. If you like thoughtful mysteries and puzzles, then you may enjoy Lain.

afuentesjr
afuentesjr

Howl's Moving Castle was a real good one and so was Spirited Away. Steamboy is another one and of course Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and Ninja Scroll. I also like M.D. Geist I & II and my all time favorite is Vampire Hunter D.

mpukey
mpukey

I'm glad someone mentioned Ninja Scroll. I'm not a big anime fan (don't recognize many of the shows mentioned in this thread), but the story and the main character in Ninja Scroll were so good I tried other anime for a while. None of it came close to Ninja Scroll, so I stopped. I guess I'll have to try some of the recommendations in this thread to see if I stopped watching them too soon.

Dynic-IT
Dynic-IT

If you like Princess M, then you should try Spirited Away, also from Studio Gibly. My favourite Giblo is The cat returns Other favourites of mine are: Trigun (scifi comedy) Ghost in the shell, the movie (sci fi) Ghost in the shell SAC (Sci fi series prequelling the movie) Techi Muyo (scifi comedy) My alltime favourite however is Golden Boy, which as a slapstick comedy making fun of the whole "girls in anime" thing.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

And you can't much more slapstick in anime than Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. Super Fist of the Nose Hair forever!

n1qaw
n1qaw

First off, I love geeky anime and not so geeky...but for just plain fun (no ninja, monsters, magic etc which is good mind you) How about Bamboo Blade? I wouldn't have watched this on a bet by myself, but I had a friend give me the whole series and on a weak moment... and it was surprisingly fun! of course a series that has it all but can be decidedly geeky is a great series "Gunslinger Girl" I know, its wrong in so many ways, but for a plot on the bleeding edge....its all of that.

Mrartist24
Mrartist24

I started watching anime back in 1972. I have already seen over 290 anime titles. Japanese animation has history that started in 1917. I have some very good anime stories in my time and some anime stories I wonder what type drugs was this person was on who when they were thinking these things up!!!

derbomber_redux
derbomber_redux

Beserk, Darker Than Black and Death Note are my favorite. Of course it all started when I watched Dragonball and since then been an anime fan. The Sopranos and Damages are the ones I'd like to watch all over again.

jasonl.contreras
jasonl.contreras

Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei! It's an amazing dark comedy/satire show which covers pretty much everything with society and anime.. I HIGHLY recommend it. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

EricHenry
EricHenry

... but my two all-time favorites are the Neon Genesis Evangelion series and the Magic Knight Rayearth series. Evangelion is a dark, post-apocalyptic mecha series that only gets darker the deeper you get into it. Rayearth is a considerably lighter fantasy series featuring three girls from our time summoned to a magical world. Both have incredibly well written storyline, though they do occasionally have some rough spots in the voice-acting (Evangelion more noticably so). Both are also available from Netflix on DVD.

halfey
halfey

Evangelion is notable for being the first to popularize heavy-themed anime in the entire planet but I've been enjoying anime even long before that (I'm lucky for being an Asian). To be honest I never enjoyed Evangelion that much though. I just couldn't stand the EMO characters. About genre some people are into mecha like Gundam franchises while others would go for shounen titles like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. K-ON! is for people (mostly the otaku type) who just enjoy watching cute hi-school girls doing cute things together. For mahou shoujo (magical girl) genre, there are a few selection s for sub-genres. The light, happy-fun like Pretty Cure series is one of the most notable titles in this genre. For a slightly heavier mahou shoujo theme, I'd recommend Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Naoha. Madoka Magica is the 'darkest' mahou shoujo theme so far, it even combines elements from Gundam (main characters got killed).

EricHenry
EricHenry

I don't normally watch mecha anime, Eva was my first, and I fell in love with the intricacies of the storyline so much that I could put up with the emoishness. I still see things in it when I rewatch it that I missed on previous runthroughs. To be completely honest, I must make a confession, and that is that my first brush (and love) with anime was Sailor Moon, I was in the sixth grade when it launched, and I watched and/or read it from there on out. I can't so much say that I like any specific sub-genre over any other, because it has more to do with how well the storyline is written, and how deep it is. I guess to round out my top 5, I would have to throw in Sailor Moon, The Slayers, and Gundum Wing (never saw any of the other Gundam series'). Thanks for the recommends.

halfey
halfey

I'm not really into mecha anime either though I have to admit that I do admire awesome mecha design from Gundam SEED and Gundam 00. To be honest I never saw Evangelion as a mecha anime, because I don't think some ugly, mysterious giant humanoid creatures in armor suit fits the definition of mecha perfectly. I do absolutely agree that Eva's plot is full of EMO characters. Because of that some people even made a joke, saying that Eva's story was written by Hideaki Anno when he was drunk. Anyways, if I have to recommend a mecha anime I'd recommend the militaristic anime Full Metal Panic. It's settings is the closest to real life when compared to other mecha anime.

JamesRL
JamesRL

When I was younger I enjoyed Aeon Flux (the anime series, not so much the live action movie that came later), Ghost in the Shell, Akira and that whole genre. But later when I had kids, I watched Prinecess Mononoke and was hooked. We have every Miyazaki DVD we can get, and my kids love them all. My daughter has a Totoro hat. Ponyo is sweet, but my fav would still have to be Spirited Away. For non Miyazaki, check out Steamboy.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

My first major exposure to anime was Miyazaki's movies. I watched Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro with the kids and enjoyed them both. I haven't seen Princess Mononoke yet. My personal favorites are Castle in the Sky and Howl's Moving Castle, Miyazaki's adaptation of the book by Diana Wynne Jones. I've often wondered what Miyazaki could do with Wynne Jones' "A Sudden Wild Magic"; what I've seen of his sense of humor in his movies seems like it would fit that book almost perfectly.

halfey
halfey

for a long-time anime fans like myself, Miyazaki's works has grown "too generic" for us who always look for varieties and fresh ideas. Not that I'm saying his work is bad but it doesn't do the trick to most of us (mainstream anime fans) anymore. BTW the Fractale series I mentioned in my comment earlier (first comment in this thread) resembles Miyazaki's work a bit, in terms of character design. Again it's not a bad thing, in fact I welcomed it to balance the heavy theme that comes with this anime.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I was watching Battle of the Planets in the 70s, and Robotech in the 80s, and they were fairly formulaic as well. Its true that Miyazaki has a fairly narrow perspective, and there isn't a lot of variation, if you focus on Castle in the Sky, Howl's moving Castle and Nausicca. Totororo, Ponyo and Spirited Away break away from that.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I'm not much of one for the darker anime, but I don't usually like the darker live-action movies, either. Howl's Moving Castle, to me, seemed fairly fresh, but then, I liked the book. :D

halfey
halfey

I'm currently in love with both Fractale and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Both shows are featuring thick plot and may not appeal much to most anime fans but I enjoy something that combines both great story and good-looking character design. Too bad that Fractale recently receives low rating even in Japan itself, not too mention Madoka Magica being postponed 'indefinitely'. I guess most anime fans today are just too spoiled with moe anime that any 'serious' anime is hardly acceptable to them. Seriously (pun intended) people should get out from the "comfort zone" of moe anime and try to enjoy serious anime too. BTW one thing worth noted is Madoka Magica characters are super cute despite the dark-themed story. My all-time favorite is Angel Beats! which combines many elements such as cute characters, romance, humor, parody, tragedy, tear jerkers ... (you name it) hence some people would call it a hybrid-genre anime. If it's about family-friendly anime (talking about the most recent one) I can't help but to recommend Shinryaku! Ika Musume which was aired last year. It's funny and I'm waiting for the second season of the show which is scheduled later this year. What makes me really into this kinda stuff (compared to "western cartoons") is the Japanese is more daring in featuring heavy and sometimes controversial themes in their animations. For example last year's show "Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai" (lit. "My Little Sister Can't be This Cute") featured a brother/sister complex theme but not in an evil way like most people would think. In fact it was fun and I'm waiting for the second season as well. For me such move in featuring those heavy themes is not about perversion but more like making a soap opera where all the casts are animated figures.

The Flaming Maiden
The Flaming Maiden

I'll have to check these out!

halfey
halfey

Just in case that you might be interested, Ore no Imouto.... (or or just OreImo in short) features super cute characters too (I'm using Kirino, the female lead of the series as my avatar here). However I'm not really recommending it for kids below 15, not because it's that 'dangerous' to them but due to the cultural differences between Japan and the US. You know, something that isn't wrong in Japan maybe deemed as "very wrong" in the west.