In the world of animated films, Studio Ghibli stands out as the most well-known and beloved powerhouse of Japanese animation. Films produced by Ghibli staff, especially works by legendary studio founder Hayao Miyazaki, invoke a comforting and nostalgic feeling in the audience. Their soothing, magical vibe and heartfelt yet thoughtful storytelling have earned the studio worldwide recognition and critical acclaim.
To this day, Miyazaki’s masterpiece Taken away as if by magic is the only anime to ever receive an Academy Award, proving that Studio Ghibli has truly transcended cultural boundaries and become an international phenomenon. Despite the studio’s incredible library of work, the Ghibli movies aren’t the only anime feature films that deserve such high regard. Some would even say that there are countless animated films far more ambitious than Studio Ghibli’s feature films, worthy of equal praise.
10/10 The Garden of Words is a quiet but heartbreaking masterpiece
Hayao Miyazaki isn’t the only anime director famous for his atmospheric and immersive visual prowess. After shaking the world with his hit feature film your name, Makoto Shinkai has become one of the most popular directors in the industry, rivaling even the monumental success of Studio Ghibli.
Still, the director’s earlier works might be even more impressive than his more recent visual masterpieces. The garden of wordsa dark, melancholic love story between an older woman and a teenage cobbler, stands out among Shinkai’s library of works as his most mature and breathtaking film, bringing even the most stoic viewers to tears.
9/10 The Monogatari Franchise Culminates With Its Film Series, Kizumonogatari
After making a name for itself as a cult classic anime series, the Monogatari the franchise followed up its initial success with an even more ambitious and surreal trilogy of feature films, Kizumonogatari. Returning to the time before the series’ notorious protagonist, Araragi Koyomi, made a name for himself by defeating various oddities, the films tell the story of his first introduction to the world of the supernatural.
The increase in the budget of a feature film Kizumonogatari showcases the jaw-dropping animation skills of TREE team while keeping the show’s signature humor and arthouse narrative style.
8/10 A silent voice highlights several important issues
Kyoto Animation has always been at the forefront of creating some of the most breathtaking and emotionally charged anime in the medium. Their worlds of feature films and TV series have always been welcomed by tremendous audiences, guaranteeing the studio’s place at the top of the industry.
A silent voice is considered by many to be Kyoto Animation’s finest work. In this heartbreaking drama, the studio shed light on bullying issues, highlighted the difficulties of living with a disability, and explored the emotional consequences of growing up with regret.
7/10 Maquia mixes timeless themes with an unconventional fantasy setting
It’s rare for a director’s debut to be an immediate success, but Mari Okada managed to create a masterpiece with her very first feature film. Maquia: When the promised flower blooms is a heartfelt and serious fantasy drama film that explores themes of parental sacrifice and undying maternal love.
Although the medieval magical setting may seem unusual for such a grounded and heartfelt story, it successfully elevates the deep narrative, adding an element of enchantment to an otherwise tragic tale of maquia.
6/10 Patema Inverted explores historical circumstances through the prism of fiction
The sci-fi adventure film reverse patema takes place in a space between two worlds, a totalitarian Aiga nation and an upside-down subterranean civilization that exists above. On the edge that separates two different societies, a tender and forbidden friendship blossoms between an Invert, Patema, and a curious student of Aigan, Age.
Despite his nation’s hatred of Patema’s kind, Age decides to protect his new companion. In a story about overcoming differences and seeing beyond societal prejudice, the two explore the mysteries that have kept their worlds so far apart.
5/10 Promare transforms the characteristic style of Trigger into a feature film format
Studio Ghibli is not known for its spectacular action scenes which sets anime apart from any other type of animated media. Nonetheless, the industry has plenty of other outstanding examples of thrilling and gripping action shows that are remembered to be heartfelt and heartwarming.
Studio Trigger’s Mecha Adventure Promarehas everything made the avant-garde anime team so iconic – exaggerated action, spectacular visual brilliance and heartfelt emotional outburst. The story of a nation of flame-wielding mutants and their conflict with the rest of society truly highlights the studio’s endless ambitions and passion for crafting meaningful and compelling narratives.
4/10 In this corner of the world covers a difficult historical period
World War II was a devastating historical period that profoundly affected all lives involved in the conflict. Studio Ghibli explored the aftermath of this tragedy in their 1988 feature drama the Grave of the Fireflies. MAPPA Historical Film 2016 In this corner of the world shares similar themes with Ghibli’s timeless masterpiece, but it chooses to portray the horrors of war from a completely different angle.
The heartbreaking movie explores the harmful effects of war on a simple rural girl Suzu Urano, whose dreams of a quiet life have been destroyed by a shattering disaster.
3/10 Wolf Children doesn’t hide the unglamorous sides of parenthood
Incredibly deep industry darling Mamoru Hosoda has made a name for himself directing some of the most heartwarming and inventive animated films in the industry. Family and parental relationships are a common theme in the director’s works. But none of them quite grasp the rewards and sacrifices of raising a child as successfully as Wolf children.
The story of Wolf children begins with a hardworking student, Hana, who falls in love with a werewolf. Yet, after a devastating tragedy that results in the death of Hana’s lover, the young girl is left alone with two young children, half man and half wolf. Raising two children is a difficult task for any single mother. And the added circumstances of these children being part-canine only add problems to Hana’s arduous life. However, with love and dedication, anything is possible.
2/10 Paprika was Satoshi Kon’s most authentic masterpiece
Satoshi Kon is often considered one of the industry’s most influential veterans. The critically acclaimed director earned his legendary status by experimenting with different genres in his films, ranging from chilling psychological horror to heartfelt Christmas stories. His surreal feature film Paprika may not be the director’s best-known work, but it perfectly captures his unorthodox cinematic style.
In this sci-fi thriller, dreams and fantasies reconcile with reality, creating a pleasantly puzzling and endlessly captivating universe that tests the limits of the human imagination.
1/10 The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl Celebrates Anime’s Diversity And Uniqueness
Anime is an endless medium of creative expression, which can take countless different forms and follow myriad unique directions. The most talented and unorthodox creators in the industry may even be instantly recognized by their personal art style. The statement holds true for both Studio Ghibli, whose serene visuals are a staple of the anime landscape, and Masaaki Yuasa, a far more bizarre and surreal director.
His feature film The night is short, step on the girl is a vibrant and compelling celebration of the director’s unique style and Japanese nightlife culture, following an unnamed brave heroine on her adventures through the bustling streets and bars of Kyoto.