Recently watching and reviewing the Patlabor movies, it dawned on me how much I enjoy anime from Manga. Manga has cultivated the international theatrical market for Japanese animated feature films and since 1994, and has distributed critically acclaimed and award winning anime features. Articles on Manga films have appeared in a wide variety of print and electronic media including: Time, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and the Hollywood Reporter. With that said, Japan Cinema presents the top 10 Manga productions starting with the number 10 entry:
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex takes place in the year 2030; which is after the 4th World War, and revolves around Public Security Section 9. It is an elite anti-crime organization that specializes in cyber terrorism. The basic philosophy around Ghost in the Shell is what a human being is and how your humanity will change as you upgrade your body using cybernetics. It gives the viewer more time to digest the important concepts being raised, and also a chance to appreciate the tone and atmosphere of the amazing world that is being woven before our eyes. This is a top notch series that I haven’t fully explored yet but am working on it, with a review coming in the next few months.
I’m not familiar with Japanese literature, but ‘X’ reminds me of a Greek tragedy where anyone could stop the inevitable end, but no one does. Trying to explain the plot is quite pointless, as that doesn’t even seem to be the driving force in “X”. Let’s just say half a dozen ilicit drug-induced dream sequences and a few ultra-violent fights later, we get hit with a completely unprecedented ending. It’s quite straight-forward and should certainly not stop anyone from enjoying this fine piece of work and its gorgeous art and stunning animation.
Blood: The Last Vampire follows a mysterious girl named Saya, who hunts monstrous bat-like creatures called Chiroptera, which are evil beasts who can emulate humans and only live to drink human blood, for a secret organization known as the Red Sheild. Academy Award winning director James Cameron stated: “Digital imaging has entered a new era. The world will come to consider this work as the standard of top quality in digital animation.” I couldn’t agree more. Even if you’re not a fan of the various horror genres, you’ll still marvel at the unequaled artistic triumph of this production. Just make sure you ignore the live action adaptation at all costs.
Set in a post-apocalyptic setting where money is valueless and food and supplies are priceless, the story follows the hero Kenshiro and his journey of struggle and betrayal as he rises to reclaim his status of the true Fist of the North Star. Probably most famous for its over the top violence, it definitly has an 80’s vibe with both the effects and the music. believe this is one of the few anime movies you can find that has a good story with intriguing characters and the old school, raw anime of that represented the time it was made. A classic.
Full Metal Panic: Second Raid was a hell of a season. Unlike the last season, the 2nd Raid is really straight forward and it leaves out the random filler type episodes. Great action, mature and sometimes very funny. This makes the list for the fact that I haven’t seen a second season of anything triumph so much over an original outting. This is how anime should be progressed.
There’s been many Anime’s based on fighting games, including Fatal Fury, Tekken, etc…but, Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie is probably the most well made one out of the group. Exceptionally well drawn characters, incredible fight scenes, coherent story, there is a lot to like about this Anime. Why is it ranked so high? Hmmm, I can’t decide if it is because of the Chun Li shower scene or if there are more childhood memories attached to this film then any other on the list. Whatever the case may be, this is solid animation.
Robotech – the Macross Saga is a true gem. With a stroke of success in the 80’s, the Robotech: Macross series still has a place for many fans today and shares a strong cult following. A spaceship crashes onto a small island and the world comes together trying to figure out how to restore it; aliens come after the ship and intergalactic hell breaks loose, leading us on a space-epic journey. If you were a fan of Starblazers or G-Force when you were a kid, then this is the masterpiece of that genre you’ve been waiting for.
A few decades from now, nations have been replaced by city-states and mega-corporations, and the world has been tied together by a vast computer network. In the Japan of this new world, Section 9, a covert division of the Japanese police, investigate cybercrime and crimes committed by runaway robots. Oshii’s obsessive perfectionism manifests in an amazing attention to detail, with layers upon layers of cluttered visuals fleshing out the workings of this future society. Ghost in the Shell was the benchmark of commercial anime for many, many years and deserves to enter the top 3.
Any anime enthusiast who doesn’t rank Ninja Scroll as one of the most stunning animated features of all time should turn in their membership card. Even by today’s standards, it’s a classic that strikes the perfect balance between mystical fantasy and gritty swordplay, offering a thrilling series of otherworldly battles amidst a sweeping saga of love and honor. Ninja Scroll was one of the first anime movies that I had watched before I had started to really get into Japanese anime. You could even say, this film got me into anime. Any film that works on that many levels and has that many layers exhibits a deep and worthy film and has a place in my top 2 Manga anime productions of all time.
This is possible the most frantic anime I have ever seen. Retro and Panda, who look like characters straight out of FLCL awake on a dark street with no memories and a yen for violence. After a violent robbery and chase scene they are packed of to a prison of no return. Dead Leaves is the child of the Tarantino/Bruckheimer era, with Tarantino’s violence and Bruckheimers “Let’s blow up something” attitude. At only an hour, there’s no room for character development, which means no attempt at John Woo’s action mixed with an understanding of the characters. They are what they are – characters who shoot, kill, blow stuff up, then move on to the next scene of carnage. This is everything I love about anime rolled into one giant product and easily knabs the top spot!
There you have it, the Top 10 Manga Anime of all time. Feel free to sound off in the comments and let me know your thoughts or even provide your own list! Until next time…