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When it comes to the selection of anime movies out there, people typically first think of Studio Ghibli features, filmmakers like Mamoru Hosoda, or any movie that continues an anime series such as Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist or Madoka Magica. However, there are plenty of great anime movies with the all the key elements the more recognizable studios and directors create, but have faded into obscurity or are simply less notable. 

Angel’s Egg

In a desolate and dark world full of shadows lives a little girl protecting a large egg and meets a mysterious man.

One of the earlier projects from Ghost in the Shell movie director Mamoru Ishii, Angel’s Egg is a hauntingly dark, visually stunning marvel that does get cerebral once the movie gets into philosophy and theology, which does get over your head for a bit.

The story is relatively straightforward, unassuming and little dialogue is spoken between the only two characters although the actions of them and their surroundings hold more ground and subtlety than just mere words alone. Plus, the film’s 71-minute runtime and its slow pace gradually holds well without having to drag any unnecessary moments into it. Angel’s Egg is worth checking out for those that want more in their anime.

Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror

Haruka is a only daughter who lost her mother at a young age because of terminal illness. When her mother was still alive, she received a hand mirror from her as a present. After her mother’s death, she started to forget about the mirror until she eventually lost it. One day, she decides to go to a local shrine and pray for the return of her lost mirror. It is there that she accidentally encounters a small masked creature which she secretly follows to the land of forgotten items.

Oblivion Island is a fun, immersing adventure that gets you invested in the action in this secret world. A heartfelt, emotional story that knows to how to convey the right emotions at the right time without feeling overly dramatic and sappy. Deeply delivering an emotionally relatable effect brought about when losing an object from someone close after they pass and is an emotionally stirring story. It is also rare to see 2D animation integrate so well with 3D graphics, and kudos to Production I.G. and Polygon Pictures for their pulling it off so well.


Black and White are two orphans who roam the streets of Treasure Town, beating down any thug or yakuza who gets in their way. When mysterious foreign entrepreneurs appear with the intention of tearing down Treasure Town and replacing it with an amusement park, Black and White face their greatest adversaries yet. It is up to the destructive Black to save the fate of the city, and gentle White to save Black from his own dark nature.

Tekkonkinkreet is one of the few times an American has written and directed an animated project entirely in Japan, and final product is nothing short of amazing. The movie is brimming with kinetic and stylish animation courtesy of Studio 4°C, and a plethora of enthralling, intertwining story lines. Black and White particularly have a bittersweet chemistry on-screen, a concept clearly derived from Yin and Yang, as both characters have different traits yet work so well together. Tekkonkinkreet is a unique anime experience that delivers both style and substance on all fronts.

Welcome to the Space Show

Five children save the life of a dog-like alien while at a summer camp. The alien attempts to reward them by taking them to an alien colony on the Moon. Events take a turn for the worse when his report on that attack that injured him causes passage from the Moon to the Earth to be banned, which leaves all of them stranded in space. The children need to find a way back home before camp ends and their parents discover that they are missing. They also have to avoid the poachers that injured their alien friend, and now seem to be stalking them all. 

Commonly described as a mix of Ghibli and Summer Wars, Welcome to the Space Show is an engaging adventure that leaves you with a feeling of wonder and excitement. Most recent anime movies have been lacking in terms of imaginative scope and energy as it maintains its simple plot by sticking to an uncomplicated premise. Welcome to the Space Show is a rare gem that combines brilliant animation, entertaining characters, and an engaging yet humble story with a good-nature vibe.

Millennium Actress

Studio Gin’ei commissions filmmaker Gen’ya Tachibana to make a documentary in commemoration of its 70th anniversary, he travels to a secluded mountain lodge to interview the idol of his youth, the enigmatic Chiyoko Fujiwara, who was the studio’s leading lady from the 1930s until the 1960s. As Chiyoko reminisces about her life, Tachibana and his cameraman suddenly find themselves on a rich and dazzling journey through time. Chiyoko’s films and personal memories intertwine with present events and stretch the boundaries of reality.

Yes, this is a Satoshi Kon movie and he is a more notable filmmaker, but this is one of his film’s that’s sorely overlooked. Millennium Actress is one remarkable movie that most anime fans, and even overall film buffs, should not miss out on. The storytelling throughout the movie does a superlative job of immersing the audience in Chiyoko’s life story.


Article by| Mark King