Japanese animation is very popular across the world as it appeals to both the adults and the children. The stories and the style of writing are very different from what one gets in United States. In fact, some of the anime films are not at all suitable for the young audience. The anime covers all types of genre like fantasy, high-tech action and romance. There are so many good anime movies that it is very difficult to compile a list of best anime movies. But the following 5 are universally considered as best anime movies.
1) Grave of the Fireflies
It is a historical drama about a brother and a sister, Seita and Setsuko, who are struggling in the countryside during World War II. The anime is based on the best selling novel by Akiyuki Nosaka. This is a very intense animated adaptation of the novel which received critical acclaim. It is a work of tragic beauty that has a great emotional impact on the minds of the audience. The relationship between the siblings is heart warming. The film deserves to be in this list as the director is not shy of showing the dark side of humanity by reflecting the general apathy showed towards the children during the war.
2) Spirited Away
Hayo Miyazaki showed his true class with this anime movie. "Spirited Away" will transport you into a dream world where you will come across little young girl by the name of Chihiro. The girl has a tough task of rescuing her parents who have, unfortunately, broken the rules in the world and have turned into pigs. The film has won many good reviews as it has successfully captured the very essence of growing up of the young girl. The film will delight you with its vivid colors and imaginative screenplay. You will laugh and cry as the film progresses.
3) My Neighbor Totoro
Yet another masterpiece from Hayo Miyazaki! It tells the story of two young girls who are moving, along with their father, to the countryside so that they can be with their mother who is admitted in a hospital suffering from a terrible illness. Along the way the girls learn a lot about the countryside and get a new friend, a spirit of nature, Totoro. The film is a real gem and wonderfully shows the little joys that life has to offer.
4) Millennium Actress
Satoshi Kon made a nostalgic tribute to the Japanese film industry with Millennium Actress. The film is told only through flashbacks and tells us about the life of a Japanese woman who was once a famous actress. The film successfully transcends all walls between reality and fantasy through the parallel narratives of the film. The film is very detailed but some viewers may not like it as the theme, at times, seems to be a bit morbid. But the film still deserves a place in this list for the rich detailing and nostalgic appeal.
5) Ghost in the Shell
Mamoru Oshii delivers a superb thriller with "Ghost in the Shell". The story revolves around a cyborg police officer who is tracking a terrorist hacker. However, there are some unexpected turns in the case and the major begins to question the 'soul'; in his artificial brain. The artwork and cityscapes are detailed and sometimes really haunting. However, the film is not suitable for all as it has dollops of violence and nudity. Watch the film for the intelligent use of light and shadows.