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  • Grave Of The Fireflies (1987)
    Japanese anime is not restricted to films for children and families, and this tragic story about war orphans surviving the fire-bombing of Kobe but eventually dying of malnourishment is rather adult material. It is also one of, if not the best anime, and I can't find fault with any of the praise I read heaped on it before I finally saw it.

  • My Neighbour Totoro (1987)
    A story with not much of a story about two sisters who move into the countryside and befriend a nature god dwelling on the neighbouring hill. At least half of any proper top ten list of best anime should be works of Hayao Miyazaki, and critics usually name this one as his best. (Personally I am still partial to Spirited Away.)

  • Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
    Miyazaki's next film was, like most of his work, magical steampunk: a young witch from the countryside moves into a big city with cars and airships and finds work doing deliveries. The setting was modelled on Swedish cities. From Japanese films, anime and manga, it is my impression that, in spite of the much stronger historical ties, Europe had a greater cultural impact on Japan than the USA, and a fascination with the diversity of historical European architecture has a great part in that.

  • Porco Rosso (1992)
    Another Miyazaki magical steampunk: at the time of the rise of fascism but in a world dominated by hydroplanes, we get a story of chivalric pilots in the Adriatic Sea. I thought the setting will be Italy, but most of the story actually takes place along the Croatian coast, with maps showing place-names all familiar to me (though re-juggled). I read the darker rise of fascism setting was brought in due to the Yugoslaw Wars. It's also notable that Miyazaki managed to capture the light-hearted spirit of 1950s Italian films.

  • Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
    After Chihiro, Miyazaki made yet another magical steampunk movie with a European-inspired setting (this time the Alsace) about a wizard trying to sabotage a WWI-style war fought with outlandish flapping aeroplanes. It's as ambitious as any other Miyazaki work, but I saw a lot of elements resembling those of his earlier works.

  • Royal Space Force: The Wings Of Honnêamise (1988)
    This landmark non-magical steampunk tells an alternative story of man's first flight into space: there is no space race, just one project in one country that is stagnating at the start and then turns serious, but there are competing militaristic great powers resembling WWI-time Europe, and the governments are only interested in the possible military aspects of the project. Yet, the first spaceflight still manages to transpire all that. This is another anime for adults, and a stunning amount of creativity went into it. The weird part is the prominent role given to an invented religion modelled on pacifist versions of Christianity.

  • 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)
    A film about separating from loved ones: three episodes in the life of a boy who kept dreaming of his childhood sweetheart. The animation is absolutely stunning and hyper-detailed, and captures beauty in real settings. (I checked some locations on Google Street View.) This film could have been made as a live-action film but I guess it would have been too difficult to capture all the right lights.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 7th, 2015 at 04:34:16 PM EST

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