If you were to ask most casual moviegoers to name an animated movie, chances are they’ll give you a Studio Ghibli movie. The animation studio – which was in part founded by legendary director Hayao Miyazaki – is essentially the Disney of the anime, in that the majority of viewers’ childhoods were spent watching their classics.
Characters like Spirited Away, Tomb of the Fireflies, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and many more are constantly in the spotlight when it comes to deciding on the best animated movies of all time. But that doesn’t mean the studio has a monopoly on making the best animated films.
There are tons of animation studios that have created spellbinding classics outside of Ghibli. The anime boom of the 1970s to the late 1980s led to a plethora of great titles on the market, and the quality of the movies from companies like Toho, Madhouse, Toei and many more have proven that you don’t need the Ghibli touch to make gold.
The next time you think about revisiting Spirited Away, you might just change your mind and try one of these flagship movies instead.
Time travel is something movies can struggle to deal with. The likes of Back to the Future are rare, as it’s common for time-bending movies to throw you through too many hoops, creating a confusing mess. But, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time takes the concept from a whole different point of view and does it masterfully.
The film follows a 17-year-old high school student named Makoto, who gains the ability to time jump. At first, she uses her newfound power for the kind of diversions you would expect from a teenager, but soon she discovers that she creates ill effects that harm not only herself but those around her.
There is something deliciously sentimental yet emotional about this movie, as the simple premise ends up revolving more around the relationship Makoto has with those around him than the time travel itself. He’s filled to the brim with well-rounded characters, such as his love interest Chiaki, with every moment between them feeling like gold.
It’s also a wonderful coming-of-age story that explores the innocence of a young girl as she is forced to grow up in no time.