The popularity of Japanese animation has grown rapidly over the past decade, attracting the attention and administration of a wide audience, even those who would usually say that they have “outgrown cartoons” and are partial to live action. It has even inspired a number of top rated live action Hollywood flicks in the since making it to the mainstream.
For most people, the process of getting into anime is the same. You get a taste of it from a friend, or you get lucky while switching channels or looking for something nice to watch. You get interested, so you start searching for more. Because of the concept of birds of a feather, you find more people who like anime. Those people, in most instances, might be a little more involved than you are, and so they might recommend a few classics for you to see.
These suggested classics are usually some of the movies and series that introduced the rest of the world to anime. They offer us a viewing window through which we can see what the industry used to be and how it has evolved. Here is a list (not in any order of importance/quality e.t.c) of some of those game changing creations.
Grave of the Fireflies
This celebrated 1988 flick takes the viewer into the lives of two siblings battling for day to day survival in the aftermath of a US firebombing raid that kills their mother, while their father is away for service in the Japanese military. The setting is Japan during the dying days of World War 2.
This is a nitty gritty war drama produced by writer and director, Isao Takahata, and animated by Studio Ghibli animation . There is nothing in the story that is fantastical or whimsical.
Champion Joe 2
This is an adaptation of the very successful first franchise and is equally as entertaining as the first. Another bonus is that watching the series is a must in order to keep up with what’s going on.
The story revolves around a young boxer named Joe Yubuki, who accidentally kills his opponent in the ring, sending into a downward spiral that threatens to ruin his career. It’s a 47episode journey with Joe working to regain his status.
Essentially, this is a violent and dark (too dark & violent for most countries child television policies) series that, sans the violence, could easily be passed off as a children’s show.
That said, the sometimes impossible crimes in the episode long mysteries can be quite entertaining.
This 1997 classic inspired movies like Black Swan and Requiem For A Dream. It tells the story of a Japanese pop singer who falls victim to stalking, while trying to branch out into acting.
What follows is that she dives dangerously deep into a role that could overwhelm and burn her out.
This is a sci-fi classic that shows up on many classic must watch lists, and with good reason. Series features a great story, setting, animation and memorable characters, where a set of galactic bounty hunters are trying to eke out a living.
If you aren’t sure about watching the entire series, that’s fine. You could watch the 2001 movie to get a feel of what it’s like.