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Anime Films & Movies

Anime Films Arguably the most mainstream of the culture, anime films are what most people who have never heard of japanese animation experience first. Budgetted at levels far higher than TV series or OAVs, anime movies highlight the most technological advances in animation today. Throughout the years, everything from real-life CG to digicel shading have made their major debuts in the film industry, and most every fan has seen everything listed below. If you haven't, well, it is time to get started!

Although the films below are from all different times and genres, most of them come from Studio Ghibli or Katsuhiro Otomo, the powerhouses of the anime movie industry. Still, look below, and you might find some surprises!


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An alternate history where Germany defeats Japan in a world war, the Capitol Police are responsible for keeping a group of revolutionaries - 'The Sect' - under control. When a soldier, Fuse, fails to kill a girl who blows herself up for The Sect, he is haunted by her demise, and digs deeper into who she was.. By Mamoru Oshii, creatof of 'Ghost in the Shell', Jin-Roh's allegory of the similarities between wolf and man make this film a blockbuster.

Blood - The Last Vampire

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Blood takes place during the Vietnam War, providing a tense backdrop for this short but action-packed film. A group of incredibly vicious vampires known as Teropterids have infiltrated a US military base, disguising themselves as humans and savagely draining and killing their prey. Only Saya, who is the last original vampire, can sense the Teropterids and kill them with the ancient sword she wields. Saya discovers that the vampires have decided to launch a massive attack against the humans living at the base on Halloween night, and it's up to her to stop it. She's been successful in her fight so far, but will her luck hold out?

Cowboy Bebop - The Movie

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The whole crew - Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed and Ein - are back, still looking for cash and ready for action. After Faye witnesses a bioterrorist attack, the government offers money for any information that will help put those responsible behind bars. When it's discovered that the terrorist is linked to someone they know, things heat up, especially since the terrorist has been keeping watch and starts to target them. While Ed and Ein research and Jet holds down the fort, Faye meets the terrorist face to face and struggles to survive. Will Spike be able to tie everything together in time to save his friends and Mars?


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Based on the manga by Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira takes its cues from science fiction, horror and psychological and post-apocalyptic drama and is a great - if very involved - introduction to anime. Neo-Tokyo has been built on the remains of the former Tokyo, which was destroyed in World War III. Hardly a futuristic haven, Neo-Tokyo is violent, dirty and full of gangs. Gang members Kaneda and Tetsuo run into a powerful psychic who is part of a military research program, and Tetsuo's own psychic powers are awakened. He is forced into a research program, but by the time Kaneda is able to get to him, Tetsuo is going mad from the sheer amount of power he has obtained. A showdown is in the works, and may just lead to the destruction of the entire planet.

Perfect Blue

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Drawing from Alfred Hitchcock's use of psychological terror, director Satoshi Kon (Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers) focuses on what happens when fame and devotion spin out of control. Mima Kirigoe is best known as a pop idol in a band called CHAM!, but she decides to make the jump to acting. Her first role and promotional photos are far more controversial and sexually provocative than her sweet and pure image for CHAM!, and that makes one of her fans very angry. The suspense builds as Mima's increasing fame and rejection of her former good-girl persona leads to threats and frightening invasions of her privacy. When friends and colleagues start getting murdered, Mima is forced to question what is real and what is a terror-induced hallucination - and it's getting harder and harder for her to tell the difference...


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Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira) returns with a gorgeously rendered dystopian fantasy/adventure set in nineteenth-century London. Steamboy follows the adventures of Ray Steam, a young inventor who receives a mysterious metallic ball from his grandfather. Ray is instantly contacted by members of the even more mysterious O'Hara Foundation, who demand that Ray hand over his grandfather's gift. Ray attempts to escape but is quickly caught and reunited with his long-lost father, who just happens to work for the O'Hara Foundation. Why the O'Hara Foundation wants the ball - and the reasons for its unimaginable importance - will determine not only Ray's relationship with his father, but the fate of the planet as well.

Howl's Moving Castle

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Adapted from the children's book of the same title (Diana Wynne Jones, author), Howl's Moving Castle brings folk legends to life as only Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) can. The film follows Sophie, a young girl warned to avoid the moving castle in the wastelands outside town because the wizard who lives there eats the hearts of young girls. Unfortunately for Sophie, she is targeted by the Witch of the Waste and is turned into a ninety-year old woman! Unable to stay at home, she sets out in the direction of the wastelands and hides in the giant moving castle in order to escape a terrible storm. Can Sophie break the spell and discover the truth behind the tales?

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust

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Count D makes a dark yet glamorous reappearance in this sequel (directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri of Ninja Scroll and Wicked City fame) to the original Vampire Hunter D. D is hired by the Elbourne family to save their daughter Charlotte, who has been kidnapped by powerful vampire Meier Link. D not only has to avoid the vampires and humans that hate him, he also has to compete against the other vampire hunters hired by the Elbournes for the $20 million bounty placed on Meier's head. D cuts a violent swath through the countryside in an effort to get to Charlotte, but the tables are turned when she and Meier appear at Carmilla's castle - and Charlotte has some shocking surprises of her own.

The Cat Returns

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Another magical offering from Miyazaki (Porco Rosso, My Neighbors the Yamadas), The Cat Returns revisits characters first introduced in Whispers of the Heart. In this “sort-of” sequel we meet Haru, who saves a beautiful young cat from being hit by a truck. As it turns out, Haru has just saved royalty - the cat is none other than one of the princes from the Kingdom of the Cats! He and the rest of his kingdom are so impressed by her bravery that they offer her presents, among them a binding proposal of marriage between Haru and the prince. The prince's current fiancée is none too pleased and offers to help Haru escape to the Cat Office, which is staffed by the very dapper Baron. Now it's up to the Baron to help Haru get out of her predicament and back home.

Princess Mononoke

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Princess Mononoke combines high-quality Studio Ghibli animation with a mythology-based tale of morals and environmental crisis. Ashitaka defends his village from a giant boar that has become a demon but in the process acquires its curse. He sets off to cure himself and discovers Irontown, where the inhabitants have learned to forge iron, make weapons and are working to clear the forest and subdue the animals. The animals have become angered at this encroachment and are actively working to defend their land. Ashitaka hopes the humans and the animals can live together in peace, which puts him in great danger.

Spirited Away

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Another Miyazaki gem and winner of the prestigious Golden Bear Award, Spirited Away was a box-office blockbuster - and for good reason! In this coming of age tale we meet Chihiro, a young girl who seems spoiled and resentful of the move she and her parents are making to a new town. On their way to their new house, her father gets lost and the family find themselves in a seemingly deserted amusement park. A young boy warns her to leave, but by the time she finds her parents again, they have been turned into pigs and taken deep into the spirit world. Chihiro must now find work in order to figure out how to save her parents and return to the real world.

Grave of the Fireflies

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Grave of the Fireflies is a powerful movie about a young brother and sister and their attempts to survive in Japan near the end of World War II. Seita and his sister Setsuko are separated from their mother during a firebombing, forcing them to move in with an aunt who does not care for them. Their stay with her is brief, as the two decide they can make it on their own; unfortunately for them, their youth and pride make survival painful and ultimately impossible. An indictment of war and the suffering it causes, the film presents its argument fairly, factually and reminds viewers of the misery suffered by innocent people caught in conflict.

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