7 anime that I am so happy I haven't missed

  • Today a few classics I am sooo happy I haven't missed. Caught in middle of new productions being released every few months, it's easy to forget about anime classics. The art of anime has a long and rich history in Japan, so it's only fair that anime lovers reach for older productions that might be based on slightly dated animation technologies, but are still a valuable part of the genre's history. Who knows, probably if you are into anime you know them all, but perhaps someone will find something new here!

     

    Ready? Here we go!

     

    Spirited Away

    This masterpiece from the recognized Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli is a must-see. The engaging coming of age story is here mixed with a healthy dose of fantasy and amazing visuals. Some of the supernatural beings who inhabit the forgotten amusement park are just hilarious. It's the only Japanese animation film to ever win the Oscar award too, definitely worth watching.

     

    Neon Genesis Evangelion 

    Evangelion is a classic mecha narrative, but the rich array of references to psychology and religion makes the series all the more meaningful. Watching children operating majestic bio-engineered Evas and fighting the indestructible Angels was just as interesting as the series' more pensive moments. With its many reflections about relationships between people and between the self, Evangelion combines great animation, stunning music and engaging narrative into a perfect whole. Even if it veers on a darker side during its second half and features a strange ending, Evangelion is definitely one of my favorites.

     

    Ghost in the Shell

    To all cyberpunk fans out there – you can't live on without seeing this classic! In the future Japan, a government security team of expert hackers and assault fighters fights cybercrimes and terrorism. Their leader is Motoko Kusanagi, a female cyborg who lost her body when she was a child and is constantly trying to understand more about what makes humans human. She draws on various problems which have been part of philosophical questions related to artificial intelligence. Great action, interesting characters and fabulous soundtrack – Ghost in the Shell (the movie and series) is one of my favorites.

     

    Mononoke Hime

    Anther marvel from Studio Ghibli, Princess Mononoke is an amazing exploration of the complex relationship between humans and nature. Like any other Miyazaki movie, this one is filled to the brim with fantastic creatures. Miyazaki did a great job here – the animation is stunning and it's complemented by great music. I found the storyline really easy to follow because it basically explores one topic: war.

     

    Grave of the Fireflies

    The fact that it's anime seems to be irrelevant here because Grave of the Fireflies tells a story that could just as well fit a regular movie. Based on Akiyuki Nosaka's personal experience during the Second World War, Grave is easily one of the most emotional animes I've ever seen. The story of a brother and sister making their way through the chaotic and war-stricken Japan brought everyone I know to tears. A masterpiece that shows the grim reality of war through a compelling and beautifully-written story.

     

    Cowboy Bebop

    On a more positive note, here's one classic that simply doesn't age. Cowboy Bebop is just fantastic and holds an important place in anime culture. The series follows a groups of bounty hunters who travel on their spaceship Bebop in search for criminals. That's right, the story takes place in 2071. I really liked character design in this one – all seem to be living and breathing beings, taking the art of anime to the next level.

     

    My Neighbor Totoro

    I couldn't finish this list without bringing up one of the cutest anime characters out there. Created in 1988, Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro melts my heart every time I watch it. The characters are just great and the storyline is very touching. Even if the animation is a little outdated, it's still a lovely classic that I'd never exchange for anything else!

     

    Oh and by the way - depending where you live, you might have problems watching some of these. In my exploration, sometimes I couldn't watch these anime in my country, but then a friend told me to connect through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Here's a great VPN review on Secure Thoughts blog that helped me deal with this problem.

    Have a look at these classics and I guarantee you'll have an amazing experience, all the while learning more about the history of Japanese anime. And please...let me know if you think I have missed something equally important :)

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