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The 20 Best Japanese Animated Movies of the 21st Century

22 February 2015 | Features, Film Lists | by Melinda Gemesi

7. Wolf Children (Mamoru Hosoda, 2012)

Wolf Children

Mamoru Hosoda’s anime kicks off as a simple romantic story featuring a young university student, Hana, who falls in love with a mysterious boy attending the same lecture with her. It turns out that her lover is a werewolf, but not surprisingly, it is not a problem for Hana. Wolf Children is very much like a shoujo anime (a romantic story intended for a young female audience).

However, it is worth giving this film a few more minutes. When Hana’s lover dies leaving her with two babies/cubs, Hana’s struggle to raise her kids becomes the central conflict. One can rarely see such a comfortably lonely female character on screen. With two kids who cannot control their animal instincts, Hana chooses to dedicate her life to their upbringing, and she does this with grace and pleasure. There is something eternally sad in how Hosoda depicts this lonely woman who sacrifices her life for the sake of her family, but it is also heartwarming how the kids and their mother find their own ways to achieve a content life.

 

6. The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki, 2013)

the wind rises

For those who love Miyazaki films only because of his usual fantasy elements, The Wind Rises, an historical anime, might not be the best choice for a big night in. However, this movie has its own great qualities. Miyazaki is at his best when it comes to machines, especially flying machines.

The Wind Rises tells the story of Jiro Hirokoshi, the engineer who designed Japanese fighters, but as usual with Miyazaki, there is more than this one layer in the story. Hirokoshi himself is a dreamer with a fierce obsession about flying machines and engineering – similarly to the director himself. However, the real Miyazaki alter ego in the film is Caproni. The Italian engineer takes Hirokoshi on fantasy trips aboard his plane, where they discuss the eternal freedom of flying and the endless possibilities of plane engineering.

While Caproni dreams about these machines as a means of transport, Hirokoshi constructs weapons; therefore, the ethics of war come into focus as well. Does the responsibility lie with the engineer who creates a killing machine, or with those who turned his beautiful dreams into a demon? Despite the somber philosophical question, The Wind Rises remains a beautiful tale about passion, love, a ghost of an ancient Japan, and flying machines.

 

5. Paprika (Satoshi Kon, 2006)

paprika

The subconscious and the dangerous powers of dreams are Satoshi Kon’s main topic. He explores this in Perfect Blue (1997) with its storyline of a pop-star-turned-actress who is being stalked by a mentally unbalance fan. Paprika sinks one level deeper into subconscious, to the realm of physical dreams, where a machine, which registers and opens up patients’ dreams, is stolen.

At this point, everyone who is dreaming is in danger, as the criminal targets the collective subconscious and invites people on a Danse Macabre as the Dream Land slowly invades the real world. Doctor Atsuko Chiba, the therapist, enters into this realm using her alter ego Paprika, a red-haired angel, to prevent the tragedy.

However, what does Satoshi Kon really mean when he talks about dreams? The character of the asexual Chiba, who turns into the beautiful Paprika in the dream world, is a clear reference to Freud and the gender conflict. Furthermore, there are several hidden references to such films as Tarzan, Roman Holiday, Perfect Blue, as well the movies of Kurosawa, suggesting the main source of illusions and distress is the film industry itself, as a creator of beautiful dreams.

 

4. Tekkonkinkreet (Michael Arias, 2006)

Tekkonkinkreet

Director Michael Arias is an American-born filmmaker primarily working in Japan. Knowing the background of the author, one is perhaps compelled to be on the lookout for every little sign that differentiates Tekkonkinkreet from the rest of the films on this list. The most apparent novelty is its art style.

It is a truism that anime characters usually don’t look Japanese, but ironically enough, this anime director of American origin shakes off this tradition. Arias’ characters are far away from the usual ”big-eyed” appearance, which was borrowed from Disney, and are much closer to appearing realistically Japanese in their features. The rest of the rich visuals, the realistic representation of cityscapes, is something not alien to other Japanese animations, but where this movie really lives and breathes are the fantasy scenes.

Against the backdrop of a Yakuza battle over the reign of the imaginary metropolis, Black and White, the two street kids, fight for their lives on a physical and metaphorical level at the same time. The latter is what gives the most extraordinary moments of the film. With fantasy and reality interlocked in a visual orgy, White’s silent visions embody hope and love, while Black struggles against the dark powers of the antagonistic external world.

 

3. Ghost in the Shell: Innocence (Mamoru Oshii, 2004)

Ghost in the Shell Innocence

Ghost in the Shell: Innocence is the sequel of Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 anime science fiction, which revolutionized the genre by combining cel animation with CGI. In Ghost in the Shell (1995), the last remnants of the biological entity the brain tissue provided the spirit enclosed in a mechanic body, while in “Innocence,” (2004) this spirit can be duplicated and reproduced infinitely.

The borderline between human beings and machines gets close to redundant in this anime, in which Batou, a cyborg detective, tries to solve the mystery of murderous and suicidal sex robots. According to Oshii, the self is not necessarily a subject of biological cells, and robots can be more human in their suicide than human beings who create machines to deceptively satisfy the primary biological drive, which is the desire to reproduce.

In terms of visuals, the film lives up to its predecessor. It is an eye-catching combination of CGI and the traditional form of animation, resulting in a sharp, clean style and fluid motion of beautifully drawn images. As a companion of the cyborg detective, it naturally features the signature sad face of the director’s basset hound.

 

2. Metropolis (Rintaro, 2001)

Metropolis

In 1949, Osamu Tezuka created a work similarly significant to Fritz Lang’s 1927 Metropolis, giving birth to Michi, the humanoid robot in his manga. This android embodies humanity’s frustration in relation to the destructive technological power of modern warfare, thus it is not surprising that it turned out to be the central character of most cyberpunk anime.

This 2001 adaptation of the manga substitutes the gender-changing Michi with Tima, the beautiful female android, who becomes the subject of Kenichi, the human boy’s affection. While in Fritz Lang’s film, and in the manga, the main focus is on the friction between the different social classes, in the anime, the opposition of human beings and machines replaces is the central point of the story.

Essentially Metropolis is a dystopian Romeo and Juliet story that escalates into a computer-controlled apocalypse. However, there is much more to it than the shadow of the overwhelming skyscrapers.

 

1. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)

spirited-away

The 2003 Oscar-winner Spirited Away is a coming-of-age story, a magical tale about gods and a heroine, a fable of how the modern world disrespects the past, and last, but not least, it is a visually stunning animated film. All this sounds exceptional, why exactly has this Miyazaki film become so well-known around the Western hemisphere?

Miyazaki’s stories usually unfold around the offset between nature and the ancient power of its gods and the disrespectful supremacy of the human world. Instead of the strong reference to Mother Nature, which is apparent in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds and Princess Mononoke, the spiritual world Chihiro enters is more evocative of an old society built on traditions, which is in danger of being overshadowed by the workaholic and technocratic modern world.

Chihiro’s quest to save her parents is also a little girl’s struggle to grow up in the modern age where the old family model is deconstructed. The magical power of Spirited Away hence lies within telling a universal story that is disturbingly relevant in the twenty-first century, with the addition of a big spoonful Miyazaki-magic.

Author Bio: Melinda Gemesi has been a freelance film critic since her second year as a Film Studies Student. She holds an MA in Film Studies and Online Journalism and is currently living in London. In her free time she is working on a literary project about which you can find out more on thestoryhunt.tumblr.com.

 

 

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  • Daniel

    Amazed by such an amazing list! However, saddened to not see Summer Wars, Mind Game or Garden of Words on it.

    • Urai Fadillah

      summer wars, i like it very much

    • Suning Starseeker

      Its good. But not good enough to be on this list.

  • Maximo Cunillera

    Nausicaa, Akira, ghost in the shell one, grave of the fireflies, must be in any anime list but thanks!

    • Ricardo Lazaro

      They are great, but they are not from the 21st century

      • Maximo Cunillera

        You are right my bad.

  • Kirielson

    Eh, list was okay but could be better.

    • Justin Steinmetz

      what is the list missing?

      • Kirielson

        Not necessarily missing, just some arrangements.

        • Justin Steinmetz

          so how would you improve it?

          • Kirielson

            I think a lot of the people mentioned it, but a lack of Summer Wars or the Children Who Chase lost voices should be there. Would drop Metropolis. I would add Pokemon The Movie 2000 because of how well executed it was for kids, as well as The Disappearance of Haruhi.

  • Seif

    The Tale of Princess Kaguya?

  • Stephus

    Ghost in The Shell II is not that good, and Tale of Princess Kaguya should’ve been on the list.

    • this bear is tops blooby

      Def agreed. GITS: Innocence in some parts is barely comprehensible since they made it overly convoluted. The first GITS treaded that fine line between digestibility and obfuscation.

    • SammeTheTortoise

      Princess Kaguya wasn’t released in the author’s country of residence at the time; it’s on the list of keen-to-see next though 😉

    • Elisabeth White

      Ghost in the Shell II was a big disappointment for me

    • Gosia ES

      Kaguya is amazing. It’s a piece of art.

  • Jérôme Blanchet

    I would easily replace Wolf Children by Red Line (2009). Wolf Children is just a clone of the Ghibli universe while Red Line propose 6 years of hand drawing in the making and underground animation like no other.

    • this bear is tops blooby

      Redline was a nice retro blast that deserves to be on this list.

  • Steve Brandon

    My top anime film of the century would be THE DISAPPEARANCE OF HARUHI SUZUMIYA for being everything I already liked about the series but with a movie budget to turn the already great for television animation up to 11.

    But half my list would be series-based films as I’m just someone who prefers anime series to standalone anime films.

    • ransom78

      Totally agree. Disappearance is incredible.

    • Robert Robinson

      Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is the shortest 2h45m film I’ve ever seen

    • Ashley Bristow

      Yes, I have to agree. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya was excellent and a worthy follow-up/antidote to the wacky weirdness of the series. Just a shame that there will be no Season 3.

  • BinaryMind

    What? Metropolis the second best anime movie? Barely watchable if you ask me.

    • Steve Brandon

      Yeah, I saw METROPOLIS in theatres 13 years ago and I remember finding the animation quite lovely but, otherwise, I was bored stiff.

    • Yeah I don’t either understand how movies are rated like i just watched Birdman which has won many many awards but it was like i don’t know…

  • Allister Cooper

    Bravo for focusing on the works of the 21st century. May it be a far more interesting and entertaining list.

  • Patrick Drazen

    My only changes would have been to lose the two films by Makoto Shinkai. They’re both good but his “Children Who Chase Lost Voices” is superior to both of them on the list. You really should not have neglected Mamoru Hosoda’s “Summer Wars”–just as good as “Girl Who Leapt Through Time”, if not better. Also; was “Jin-Roh” out of consideration because it had its world premiere in France in November 1999? I say that’s a judgment call. One more thing: “The Cat Returns” is a nice movie and a nicer pun; the word “ongaeshi” in the title literally means “returning an obligation”, so perhaps a better translation of the title would be “The Cat’s Payback”. That said, it’s a great list with a strong start to the century in anime.

    • this bear is tops blooby

      Summer Wars is certainly a good one!

  • this bear is tops blooby

    The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is one of my personal favorites with The Place Promised In Our Early Days a close second.

    And Spirited Away will always have a special place in my heart since it was the very first anime I ever watched that got me into anime, slowly but surely.

  • Guest

    PRINCESS MONONOKE !!!

    • Xanian

      1998 if I am not mistaken.

      • Nacho Rockatansky

        irrelevant, it got released prior to the 21st century

        • Xanian

          That was my point.

    • Benas Bačanskas

      You got 9 likes for this useless comment? Princess Mononoke was released in 1997.

  • Howl’s Moving Castle was not dreamed up by Hayao Miyazaki (as much as I love his original works). It was originally a book by Diana Wynne Jones:http://www.amazon.com/Howls-Moving-Castle-Diana-Wynne/dp/0061478784

    It’s actually one of three books set in the same universe. The others are: “House of Many Ways” And “A Castle in the Air” . If you liked the movie, you should try the book too.

  • Levon Schroider

    Summer Wars should have been here!

  • Julian Flores

    Where’s Totoro?

    • HLLH

      In the 20th century.

    • Kim Flores

      yes, there are many great Anime films which are not made or released in the 21st century.
      Totoro is a beautiful film in itself, unusually calm!

  • DJ_BobbyPeru

    For those who liked Tekkonkinkreet, the same studio did a film called Mindgame which is equally awesome, but more of a comedy than Tekkon.

  • Elisabeth White

    OK so I love me some Anime.. but I’d watch Ponyo or Howls Moving Castle 10x over Spirited Away.. I know everyone loves it.. but I found it so hard to get into.. then again agree with Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell. classics

  • Julz M

    I’m glad to see my two favourite anime movies, 5 Centimeters Per Second and Wolf Children are on this list. I feel like the only person who didn’t particularly like Spirited Away… ?!

    • zdoc

      that’s because you are the only person who didn’t particularly like spirited away.

      • Kim Flores

        hehe thats not true, there are most likely many people who love Spirited Away and many who don’t!!

        Spirited Away in my opinion has great aspects and some not so great aspects, to do with the pace, the layout of the story, I loved it so much when I first saw it, I had not seen anything quite like it and was hungry for it, the fantasy, the adventure, the great creatures, the female lead character, the friendship and romance and heroism.
        Yet it was a little too much for me, a bit clumpy in areas where i feel i needed space, a moment of calm where the characters and plot can come through. some contrast

  • Gennaro Mancino

    Some of them are not so great and should be replaced with Yuasa’s Mind Game, Oshii’s The Sky Crawlers (way better than Innocence), Hara’s Colorful, Takahata’s Kaguyahime and Nishikubo’s Giovanni no Shima.

  • Isis

    Perfect Blue!!!

  • Esdras Castiliano

    Howl’s Moving Castle is my favorite Japanese film of all time!

  • Gosia ES

    Grave of the Fireflies…. Jin-Roh… Weak list full of Ghibli (not always best) productions… :/

  • You missed a few!!! Wicked City? Ninja Scroll? Ghost In the Shell ?(1 number 2 blows) Akira? Space Adventure Cobra???? The Cowboy Beebop movie is no where as good as most of the tv episodes.

  • Hiram Manrah

    mind game,redline,kara no kyokai are missing
    thanks for putting tekkonkinkreet in top 5
    such a cool and awesome movie

  • Andrew

    Paprika? I love that film.

  • Ivanović Ana

    this list needs when marnie was there.

    • Kim Flores

      Yes true!!

  • ALEGNA LILIATH

    where is death note?

    • sautron

      movies

  • fack u

    olok

  • Darren Chua

    Does anyone know of a anime involving a kid going over to his grandmother’s house to stay during the vacation and discovered that her grandmother is a spirit hunter or some sort. I remembered talking mushrooms and this demon who escaped from a jar and possessing their house cat or some sort.. :0

    • Kim Flores

      Did you find what this anime is?
      Sounds fun!!

  • Jimi LaMort

    Surprised there is no love, even in the comments, for Kei’ichi Sato ASURA from 2012. I thought it was great.

  • Steppenwolf

    Sadly, you all missed Summer Wars, an anime movie released in 2009.
    It is way better than 80% of the movies in this list, but unfortunatelly wasn’t able to get “The western world” interested.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjLE8BmWfKA

  • mielconejo

    where’s summer wars?, Perfect Blue, Akira (still the best of all), Mindgame, Mononoke Hime, skyCrawlers, Redline, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Howl’s Moving Castle, Garden of Words, and LUPIN THE IIIRD: JIGEN DAISUKE NO BOHYOU?

    • Alyeskas

      ….Howl’s is there; Perfect Blue, Akira, Mononoke, Nausicaa and Lupin are all excluded as they are not 21st Century films. I think Garden of Words was not included as it is more of a short than an actual movie. I would include Summer Wars and Sakasama no Patema actually. I’ll have to check out Redline, everyone keeps mentioning it!!

  • tyler

    wtf you kidding Garden of Words not in list

    • i thought the last part was overly melodramatic which totally ruined the whole movie.

  • Andres Abad

    i dont know if it is a Japanesse release or if it was of the 21 century but.. Animatrix was pretty good combination of different anime styles.

  • Edotamère Lautiste

    You didn’t include Mind Game in the list, I’m a bit disappointed :/

  • Very Good List,,but what about Redline or Dead Leaves!!??

  • Alyeskas

    (Note to the commenters: remember this is a list for films produced in the 21st Century!! So don’t ask for pre-2000 films to be included. Hehe.)

    I love this list, though, and many of my favorite animated movies are on it. For the people who’re suggesting Kotoha no Niwa/Garden of Words, maybe it could be classified more as a short than a full-length feature? And I do agree that Summer Wars should have been included over Wolf Children or The Place Promised. Also Sakasama no Patema/Patema Inverted — BRILLIANT visuals and story. Excellent social commentary as well.

  • LORDLANZ

    STAND BY ME DORAEMON!

  • Rodrigo Tgz

    Ghost in the Shell II it’s not for kids.

  • Hide

    Attack on titan would be a great anime
    http://suzukisetsubi.jp

  • Elena Tav.

    Wolf Children is such a beautiful anime in so many aspects, it grows inside you more and more as the story flows effortlessly and the drama is following happiness but not in a conventional way, I saw it with a couple of male friends and in the end they were crying like babies, because it is so liberating and heart-warming at the same time.

  • MD Mahasweta

    Great list!
    But I think the following films should be included in any list of Japanese animated films worth its salt :
    1) Summer wars
    2) My neighbour Totoro
    3) The tale of princess Kaguya
    4) When Marnie was there
    5) Perfect blue
    6) Summer days with Coo
    7) The grave of the fireflies
    8) The garden of words (mainly for the art)
    And also, I couldn’t help but notice that the image given with the entry on The place promised in our early days is actually from 5 centimeters per second. A tiny mistake, but as a big fan of Makoto SHinkai’s work I was compelled to point that out.

    • Kim Flores

      its 21st century only, which rules out some of your choices.
      what would you choose knowing this?

  • stewnwt

    I admit I never understood the massive nerd boner everyone has for Spirited Away. For me it was a rather inconsequential story that didn’t have greater thematic reverberations and the Chihiro character was just plain annoying. Personally preferred Princess Mononoke or Castle in the Sky by a wide margin

  • shukagari

    Great choices!! Although Sword of the Stranger and Princess Kaguya would definitely be on my list 🙂

  • Verus

    Mais quelle liste de merde

  • Pedro Rabaçal

    I only watched six of these movies… 🙁

    Well, guess it shows life still has some goals to achieve and I already have another 14! 🙂

  • Aferim. Spirited Away’i ilk sıraya koyarak küfür yemekten kurtulmuşsun.

  • Utkarsh Tripathi

    It is a wonderful list but I particularly like to go with this list here which has a few surprise candidates as well :http://www.instalively.com/post/best-anime-movies-of-all-time

  • Stefan Adams

    WHERE THE FUCK IS AKIRA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • albino hal

      read the title of the list..

      • Stefan Adams

        Oh . Well……Sigh…

  • Arya Adarsha Gautam

    The picture used for #12 The Place Promised in Our Early Days is actually from 5 Centimeters per Second.

  • EXC3Lsi0R

    Where the f*ck is Akira?

  • Dillip Mohanty

    I am not getting the torrent files of Grave of fireflies,The Place Promised in Our Early Days!! wer can i get it??

  • Pepé Le Pew

    Children Who Chase Lost Voices Makoto Shinkai?

  • alex yong

    Metropolis (Rintaro, 2001) doesn’t deserve to be at the no.2 spot.. lousy movie..

  • Martitta Black

    AKIRA ?!

    • Freshmaker

      Should be number 1. It made anime popular in North America.

    • HLLH

      It came out in 1988, that’s 20th century. Read the title.

  • Mitique

    Nice list! Watch my top of animation films in my blog: http://bommaucinefilo.blogspot.pt/2016/03/top-30-filmes-de-animacao.html

  • Vaibhav Agarwal

    GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES?????

    • Justin Maddey

      wrong century

  • Gouri Saini

    Hotarubi No Mori E was amazing, it depicted such a beautiful story in only 45 minutes. Good lost anyway.

  • Yuriko Haruka

    Hotarubi no more e too!
    Oh well…

  • Usagi Tsukino

    What is that one anime like grave of the fireflies about the little girl who was sent away to her aunts and her parents died in the bombing by america?

    • Kim Flores

      did you find what this anime is?

  • Binuriki Cliean Jay

    where is mononoke and grave of fireflies? and resurrection of F?

  • Binuriki Cliean Jay

    i couldnt understand spirited away and moving castle, one time they are enemies, then they are friends. much like WWE, become allies without explanation

  • a4lbi

    While I’m probably only 1 of 5 fans of GITS2, I’m surprised it made the list. That movie is very… polarizing, to put it nicely.

  • Akshaya Kannan

    The image of “the place promised in our early days” is wrong, that image is of “5 centimeters per second” just putting it out there…

  • isThatASin

    Interesting read but in some you’re wrongly assuming the director of the animation film is responsible for the original story.

    Paprika is a novel I happen to like that was made into an animation, written by 筒井康隆 in 1993, who also wrote 時をかける少女 in 1967

    Tekon is a manga written by 松本大洋. He is responsible for how the faces are depicted closer to how the Japanese actually look, not the film director. There are MANY manga that have faces like that.

    Lastly, Howl is also based on a novel, so it’s not a Miyazaki original like many of his other films.

    You’re making east/west comments too easily. Should at least know where the story came from before making easy comments. But still a nice list!

    • TomSatsuma

      “He is responsible for how the faces are depicted closer to how the Japanese actually look” – which proves my point (above) about how that’s not how Japanese people see it – he was copying French style of comics.

  • Some great choices there. Here’s my own Top 10 Manga Movies: http://www.inceptional.com/2016/04/01/my-top-10-manga-movies/

  • Carlos Monge

    A lot of great titles for sure but, A LOT of missing titles as well… Ghost in the Shell: Innocence before the original Ghost in the Shell, and is not even in this list… the people who worked on this list need to see more anime 😀

    • Ryan Kramer

      Dude, it’s 2000 and after, not before.

  • Everette Eats World channel

    I would think that films such as Graveyard of the Fireflies & Voices of a Distant Star could arguably be on that list. And not merely at the tail end either. Anime that can make you care, and cry, exceeds the boundaries of movies more typical of the genre.

    When Miyazaki moved the whole scene beyond robots and monsters, then Anime became a valid genre. His pollination of other cultures added a needed spice. You could say he globalized the brand.

    And I would include the Mushi-shi series as being exceptionally good, as well.

  • Ciccio Piccio

    Where’s Colorful? It should be on the list.

  • albino hal

    Redline is badly missing. Should have made top5 at least.

  • UnholyGod

    The Boy and the Beast

  • Adam DB

    Princess Mononoke and Akira not on the list?

    EPIC FAIL

    • Rikum D4

      21st Century

  • Azrel

    This list should go on forever! There are many anime that are not on the list.

  • No Mind Game? That one’s extremely underrated.

  • Val Gruen

    A list with GitS innocence at one of the top anime of all time can’t be trusted.

  • Hossi Blumengaarten

    no mention of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade!!!!!! get fucked mate
    no End of Evangelion!!!!!!!

  • Zito Reis

    What do you mean Akira is not on the list??

    • HLLH

      Because it’s not a 21st century film. Jesus, people.

      • Zito Reis

        Ops, sorry! hahaha

  • logat890

    meh. dubious list

  • Harmya

    Anyone know some anime not for kids under 10 but for grown ups? Not hentai or ecchi, something not involving guys sniffing another guys but-t, with a real story, if possible not taking place in a school (again), unless is the life of the professors??? I know there’s not that many…

    Already seen ;
    Nana, Paradise Kiss, 13 lives, 91 days, AI Monogatari, Red Garden, Diamond Daydreams, Winter Sonata, Genji Monogatari Sennenki, 009-1, Bus Gamer, Crystal Blaze, Ergo Proxy, ghost in the Shell… etc

    Thanks in advance… 🙂

  • Miguel Valdez-Lopez

    I wouldn’t have put Ghost In the Shell 2 so high. Actually, wouldn’t have put it on the list at all. Not nearly as good as the first one.

    And I’d put Millenium Actress way higher. What a film!

    But what a great list.

  • Miguel Valdez-Lopez

    …Is it me, or very many people reading this list didn’t get the “of the 21st century” part?

  • klaatu baradaNIKTO

    I just saw The Girl Who Lept Through Time, and that was a MAJOR disappointment, with an inconsistent tone, and parts that are laughable eventhough they’re meant to be emotional. I could see this being entertaining for anyone who loves general anime meant for younger viewers, but the story was just too close to being a fangirl’s fantasy porn. There are PLENTY of Japanese animated films that are better than this one: Kayguya, Summer Wars, even Ponyo. The movie just wasn’t for me. Nice animation, but a bad, unconventional, and awkward story/romance with a wonky ending. Some parts were cute, as in the animation, but otherwise it just fell flat on it’s head, like Makoto did those 90 odd times. Sorry. But Princess Kaguya is one of Ghibli’s greatest recent releases, and a wonderful movie in it’s own. Why isn’t it on the list?

  • Gravitynaut

    #1 will never not be #1 of course, but I have to say I utterly adore the beauty of Wolf Children and it makes me happy to see it so high on the list.

    On the flip side, I wasn’t too huge of 5 Centimeters, would definitely replace it with the also-brilliant When Marnie Was There. The nostalgia of rediscovering a long-forgotten childhood memory is palpable in that film, and the scenery is simply gorgeous. One of Ghibli’s best in my opinion.

  • VanHalen0515

    Mindgame definetly deserves to be on this list

  • Fost

    Innocence is a terrible film. This is a pretty rubbish list to be honest.
    Wind Rises is far from Ghibli at their best. I feel like the author has tried to be obscure in their tastes.

  • Fred Madison

    Perfect blue?

  • TomSatsuma

    “It is a truism that anime characters usually don’t look Japanese”

    They do to Japanese people. We may be looking out for the signifiers that make japanese/asian people look ‘different’ and not seeing them in the anime faces, but they just see faces.

    It’s not like anyone in the west looks like anime characters either.

  • Ashley Bristow

    A good list and I agree with all the selections, even if in a different order. Perhaps an honourable mention for ‘The Garden of Words’ wouldn’t go amiss. Cheers

    • vnKenzo

      This comment is surprisingly beautiful to read

  • rv

    Interesting list. A rational selection (for 21st Century).

  • Amun Ra

    Steamboy is an awful movie. The story is so bad, I literally laughed at how ridiculous it is.