Bebop Cowboy: the Movie (Japan, 2001)

Great fun; great characters. Don’t know the TV series but do recommend the movie. (DVD)

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Appleseed (2004, Japan)

Some stunning animation and a fantastic scene where the protagonist witnesses the holographic death of her mother. Many imdb comments bemoan its lack of narrative originality; missing the point I think. Tells its story well. (DVD)

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Castle of Cagliostro, The (Japan, 1979)

Early Miyazaki and less interesting than later. Still, some great characters (the laconic hero and the female spy). Seems to be set in Monaco. (DVD)

Legend of the Overfiend (Japan, 1989)

If anyone doubted my last post re the essential difference between Japanese and western culture then this film nails my argument. Tentacle sex; demonic or Peeping Tom men… and what is going on? Doesn’t have the visual grandeur the best of anime (but it was straight to video) and is interesting as an insight (?) into the psycho-sexual nature of (this part of) Japanese culture. (DVD)

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

Gobsmacking. Less action and more philosophy than the first Ghost film. The carnival parade is simply stunning. I missed Major Kusanagi but the ideas (what is going on takes a lot of thought) and visuals more than make up. The dog’s amazing (like the film). (DVD)

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989, Japan)

More charm from Miyazaki with a confident shojo (young girl protagonist). Didn’t grip me as much as some of his other films but it’s great to see the girl saving the boy. (OAR)

Akira (Japan, 1988)

The film that woke the west to anime. Still stunning visually with the ‘usual’ mix of philosophical ideas thrown into an action soup. I’m sure, as a westerner, I’m not really getting it. But what I get I like. Goes on a bit though. (DVD, 2)

Laputa – Castle in the Sky (Japan, 1986)

I find some of Miyazaki’s movies a tad long but the longeurs don’t last long and so the visual treats and characterisation win the say. This has some fabulous chase scenes (a bit like Steamboy’s) in an alternative world 19th century Northern England. Pirates are wonderfully portrayed. (DVD)

Grave of the Fireflies (Japan, 1988)

Blimey! A Studio Ghibli release that should convince anyone that animation ain’t necessarily for children; indeed, this isn’t for children. Bleak and slowly terrifying. Post-war Japan as it probably was. Fabulous. (DVD)

Steamboy (Japan, 2004)

The opening 45 mins of this are absolutely stunning. Brilliant drawing and northern accents. I’d usually prefer to watch anime with the original actors but surely here the authentic (er Canadian Anna Paquin’s accent is wobbly & Patric Stewart is from Mirfield) accents add to the movie. The action may become repetitive but the visuals remain great. Fabulous film. (DVD)