Many people consider themselves to be fans of the anime genre, but with so many films and anime series out there, it’s hard to know where to start if you’re interested in the genre as a whole. This top three guide to movies may help you decide where to begin your anime experience.
1. Princess Mononoke
Most fans consider this film to be a masterpiece. Created by Hayao Miyazaki, one of the giants in the anime world, the film is an allegory with a strong plot. Set in times past, the men and the gods are battling over the resources the earth has to offer. Ashitka, a village prince, kills a boar god, and in return for this deed, he is cursed. If he doesn’t locate a cure, the curse will take his life. He leaves home in search of the cure, and there he finds humans fighting not only the gods, but also themselves. As Ashtika struggles to find the answer to his problem and those of the society around him, he finds himself in a much larger fight.
At the time it was made, AKIRA had the highest budget of any other anime film in history, and as a result of this amazing effort, most anime fans consider it to be the definitive classic in the anime world. This film is based on a manga series that was created by Katsuhiro Otomo, and while the plot can be a little confusing to some (it was, after all, based on a six volume manga set), the amazing visual style captures many fans the instant they see it. The plot deals with New Tokyo, as it’s been rebuilt after World War 3. The city itself is a mess with violence, political problems, and a brewing revolution in the distance. One young man (Tetsuo) runs into a military experiment in the form of a boy. The project is known as AKIRA. Because of the encounter, Tetsuo finds powers of his own which leads the government to target him.
3. Vampire Hunter D
Because this was one of the first anime films shown in the U.S., this is the introduction many get to the anime genre. It typifies anime horror films, and the level of gore makes most viewers who love that sort of thing “ooh” and “ahh” at the sheer sight. The film is set ten thousand years to the future, and the world isn’t quite like we know it today. There are lots of monsters simply wandering around, and the people seem to have gone backward in time, living the life our ancestors might have (if you don’t count their weapons and robotic horses). One town is ruled by Count Magnus Lee (a vampire), and when a small girl is bitten, she seeks out the help of the tall, dark stranger named D. D undertakes the great mission of ending Count Magnus Lee forever.
Every anime fan will tell you a different film to start with, but with thousands to choose from, these are as good of a place as any to get your feet wet in this genre.