beautifully animated

Underwatched Animated Films I Recommend You See at Least Once in Your Life

EDIT: i didn’t expect this post to get so many notes. for the record, these are just my personal recommendations, not a definitive list of best underrated animation. i also did not include anything made by Disney. I know that they made some movies that didn’t get as much attention as their other hits, but lists of underwatched Disney films are pretty common, so I thought I’d make one of films by studios that aren’t household names. 

Angel’s Egg (1985)

This movie is a nearly silent film with painstakingly beautiful frames and environmental details. All I can say is that it is a real piece of art worth watching and can be watched on YouTube here.

Les Triplets de Belleville (The Triplets of Belleville) (2005)

An incredibly quirky, strange and humorous French film, also with almost no dialogue. The colors, creative storytelling, and almost caricature-like designs make the Triplets a must-see. The setting and timeframe is left sort of abstract, but it’s a clear transition from last-century rural France to the hustle and bustle of urban America. Lots of homage is paid to cartoons from the 1920s.

Mindgame (2004)

This movie, quite like the title says, blew my mind. It’s also incredibly strange and out-there, but the awkward imagery gives way to real emotion and huge payoff by the end. The colors and animation are delightful, and always tailored to the situation. It is an amazing intersection of an altered state, a love story, a struggle to get home, an existential trip, and an unlikely group of friends. I almost always cry when I watch this. Seriously, can’t stress this enough. There is absolutely nothing like Mindgame. 

Le Chat du Rabbin (The Rabbi’s Cat) (2011)

Rabbi’s Cat is a French film based on a French comic by the same name. The comic artist also directed the movie. Honestly, the dialogue  in this is unmatched. Both Cat and Rabbi are witty and have the best banter. The setting is one of the most unique and real-feeling I’ve ever seen a film take place in: a Jewish community in Algeria. It’s wonderful and incredibly charming, could not recommend more.

Tekkonkinkreet (2006)

This movie hits me on a number of levels. I have so much love for the two orphans, Black and White. The story quickly becomes raw and almost difficult, as it touches on a lot of the feelings we see in things like Grave of the Fireflies, but in a much more abstract way and on a much grander scale. Also less sad, but there are very sad parts also. I guess the best way to describe this movie is intense. While there are a lot of sweet, domestic moments, none of the gruesome reality is sugercoated for you. 

The visuals are all completely stunning; the art is on another level. Treasure Town is a rich, fantastical environment and the characters flow through it effortlessly, like water. You gotta see this at least once in your life. 

Chico and Rita (2010)

An American/Spanish romance between an aspiring piano player and a young singer. The film opens in Cuba and has a vibrant and unique visual style while exploring a multitude of music styles and cultural backdrops. It’s touching and sweet, but does not erase the hardships of being a black music star in America or living through the Castro regime. 

Wizards (1977)

Ralph Bakshi is notorious for underappreciated gems. Wizards is set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world where magic is real and man has survived the radiation to evolve into fairies, elves, and dwarves. It’s a classic nature vs industry story with Bakshi’s unique spin. My favorite character is Necron 99, the assassin robot turned pacifist. I’ll warn you though, Bakshi films aren’t everyone’s taste (he’s responsible for Fritz the Cat, which against my better judgement I recommend as well).

Wizards was completed during the dark age of animation, and its fascinating to see how Bakshi gets around these limitations to produce something that grossed more than twice its budget.

Memories (1995)

Memories is a three part anthology based on three different manga short stories, Magnetic Rose, Stink Bomb, and Cannon Fodder. While the entirety of the movie is beautifully animated and worth the watch, the best of these is the first one. It is a mysterious, tragic sci-fi horror short film set in space and worked on by Satoshi Kon (so of course its amazing). 

-audibly winks-

… how are they jumping up like that?

it’s a mystery.

or it’s a bone-based op seesaw situation probably

Revival | Kousei/Kaori | Your Lie in April

“Even in the depths of the darkest oceans, some light always pierces through.”

I binged this anime on Netflix and it ruined me.  So of course I totally recommend it.  x) 

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Even though he experienced suffering that would break anyone’s spirit, he couldn’t disappear. That is why he gave birth, in order to overcome the endless suffering… to countless versions of himself. And by the time the prison itself rotted away, they began to act… To bestow countless deaths upon people.

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd recommend my top ten favorite romance anime.

1) NANA

A frank depiction of the love/sex life of a woman in her twenties, this anime follows badass, chain-smoking, aspiring punk rocker Nana, and her clumsy, feminine roommate of the same name as they struggle to find a meaningful connection with someone in the big city, and also find themselves. Features the struggle of love vs. career, the consequences of giving your heart (and body) to the wrong person, the difficulties of long-distance relationships, and the joy and pain of living on your own. 

Warning: depicts sex, drinking, smoking, domestic violence, and a male prostitute character. Not a show for kids or anyone uncomfortable with these subjects. 

2) Peach Girl

Teenage protagonist Momo takes absolutely zero shit from the characters around her, be it her love interests or her female rivals. That’s one of the reasons I love this series. It’s got an insanely complex and dramatic plot with a million twists and turns that would be impossible to explain concisely here, but the basics are this: Momo’s years on the swim team have bleached her hair and tanned her skin, making her think her crush, Toji, will never be attracted to her and the rest of the school think she’s a Barbie-copycat bimbo. Her “friend”, Sae, bullies her constantly, and her one actual friend, Kairi, is a perverted knucklehead who she can’t quite figure out her feelings for. How can she survive the minefield of rumors, miscommunications, and mean girls that is high school?

3) Suzuka

This anime is unusual in that it’s a love story (not a harem and/or ecchi series) told from the perspective of a teenage boy. Yamato falls in love at first sight with the beautiful Suzuka when he sees her practicing her high jump, and summarily joins the track team in an attempt to impress her. It….doesn’t work, at least not at first, but Yamato vows to keep trying, because she’s the only one for him. Yamato and Suzuka are also hilariously tsundere to each other and manage to say the exact worst thing at least a dozen times. XD But, there’s also a lot of real drama here that will hit you right in the feels. 

4) Uta no Prince-sama

This admittedly cheesy reverse-harem anime follows young Nanami’s quest to write songs worthy of the seven handsome musicians she attends performing arts school with, in hopes that one day they can all debut as idols together. Many of her scenes with these boys are incredibly romantic, despite the fact that not one of them actually kisses her in the entirety of the two currently available seasons. -_- This series is full of awesome J-Pop, beautifully animated bishies, and far more heart than you’d expect.

5) Kamigami no Asobi

Revolving around a mortal woman named Yui who is spirited away to an extradimensional island and commanded by Zeus to teach the value of humanity and love to gods from Greek, Norse, Japanese, and Egyptian mythology, this reverse-harem series starts out cute and fluffy and then heads right into Feels-and-Yandere Land with no goddam warning. It also has copious amounts of manservice. ;) I highly recommend it! 

6) B Gata H Kei

An extremely frank depiction of high-school sexuality that’s also over-the-top comedy, this anime tells the story of horny teenager Yamada, whose dreams of having casual, anonymous sex with as many boys as she can get her hands on (a total 180 from the usual blushing, innocent shoujo heroine). But, every sexually liberated woman has to start somewhere, and so Yamada chooses naive, awkward gentleman Kosuda (what a role reversal!) to be her first sexual experience. But, seducing him proves much harder than she initially imagined, because he’s the most oblivious boy on the planet! This series bravely features scenes other anime would consider taboo, like shopping for condoms and visiting a love hotel.  It’s also one of the funniest comedies I’ve ever watched.

Warning: contains nudity and arguably “ecchi” scenes. 

7) Fruits Basket

A shoujo classic suitable for any age group, this anime tells the heartwarming tale of how unfailingly optimistic orphan Tohru heals the emotional wounds of a beautiful but broken clan of cursed shapeshifters. 

8) AnoHana

You’ll bawl your eyes out over the tragic love between emotionally stunted Jintan and the ghost of his childhood friend, Menma, who he was never able to confess his true feelings for (and the unrequited-ish love of his other friend, Anaru, who still lives, but wonders if she can ever compete with Menma’s memory). 

9) Ouran High School Host Club

Another classic, this anime tells an unconventional but unforgettable love story about a blue-collar, arguably non-binary teen and the ultrarich, clueless coterie of boys who she forms a host club with. It’s half parodying comedy, half feelsy drama, and all awesome!

10) Princess Jellyfish

Tsukimi is an agoraphobic, extremely socially anxious, awkward, nerdy NEET girl with a bizzarre obsession with jellyfish. Kuranosuke is a rich, extroverted drag queen. You wouldn’t think they’d fall in love, but they do, and it’s one of those stories you just need to see. 

I definitely reccomend all ten of these anime to anyone!! Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, followers!!

2016: The Return To Anime

I used to watch a lot of anime before, but when I moved away from my friends whom were fellow fans of Japanese animation, I became really bad at taking any initiative to sit down and watch anything new. So my New Years resolution was to simply watch more anime during 2016 (for inspiration and entertainment)! ;D And in order to prove to said friends that I am indeed keeping my promise, as well as to take the opportunity to recommend good shows to others, I will be sharing my progress list and general opinions.

OBS: Some of these shows are not appropriate for an younger audience!! Before viewing, please check out  the recommended age restrictions, genre and potential trigger warnings!  

END OF YEAR UPDATE: 25 shows in total! Not bad at all considering that I maybe watched 2-3 shows the year before. But I still have a lot of series that I want to see, so don´t be surprised if I make a new post for 2017. ;) 

My personal top 3? I would say Death Parade, Re:Zero and Madoka Magica. 


ANIME COMPLETED:

Mushishi (S1) - Not a single cliffhanger in the whole show, so it makes for  perfect bedtime stories for teens/adults. The english dub was really good and the landscape art is 10/10.


Kino No Tabi/Kino´s Journey (S1) - Do not let the simple and cute style fool you! This show contains murder, cannibalism, suicide and war!! And it asks the hard questions in life!! RUN if you do not want to contemplate the meaning of existence!!


One Punch Man (S1+3OVA) - OK, now I know why this is in 4th place on IMDB´s “Best TV-series” list. The animation is some of the best I have ever seen in an action anime! It is simply stunning to look at and it is fun ride all the way to the out of this world (literally) finale. 


Sakurako-san No Ashimoto Ni Wa Shitai Ga Umatteiru/Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation (S1) - Pretty much like an anime version of the TV-show Bones. I love mysteries where you have to follow clues in order to solve a murder so a second season is strongly desired.


Owari No Seraph/Seraph Of The End (S1+S2+10OVA) - Pretty predictable, but the the bloody fight scenes are fabulous. Needs even more angst thou (…she said even though a bunch of children are butchered in the very first episode….). >:3 


Death Parade (S1) - And there is all the angst!!! Do not watch if you do not like pain in your soul!! Heart cannot be repaired!! AHRUM!! Excuse me. The show is really well written and the artists really knew how to create the perfect atmosphere to tell this dark story.  


Free! (S1+S2+4OVA) - It feels like everyone and their grandmother has seen this show, so of course I fell on the bandwagon. For the first 11 episodes thou I was very neutral to it… But goddammit the first season finale had me sheering, squealing and tearing up!! (Let Rin be happy!!) Sadly only the S2 OVA had me laughing; apart from that episode, the humor was not at all up my alley.


Zankyou No Terror/Terror In Resonance (S1) - I really like the style and the smooth animation in this one. And DANG, THAT ENDING! If you like thrillers that are completely based on reality and science (like Beautiful Bones) then this could be perfect for you.


Wolf’s Rain (S1+4OVA) - I remember trying to watch this when I was like 15, but I never got past episode 3 for some reason. Which is a real shame because I think that I would really, really liked it then. Perfectly angsty and tragic for little wannabe-emo-teen-me. Do you like dark fantasies with pretty people/wolves? Then do not miss out on this one! 


Mahon Shoujo Madoka Magica/Puella Magi Madoka Magica (S1+1 movie) - Oh shit. Oh holy shit. I would never have guessed that this show, this thing that looks so darn innocent and cute in design and summary, would have me in so much emotional turmoil (very much like Steven Universe in that way). But seriously; amoungst all of the animes on this list, this is in my opinion the one with the most captivating story-line, plot development and characters (I simply had to watch all 12 episodes in one sitting). Some people hate the ending, but I think it worked really well (even though all the tears could have clouded my judgement). And if you liked the show, then you MUST watch the movie Rebellion! Also: One of the the best English dubs I have ever heard in my life!! UPDATE: I have now seen everything twice… I cry every times I see Homura on screen. (O_Q)


Kuragehime/Princess Jellyfish (S1) - I watched this before when it first came out but I had a hard time remembering anything from it apart from the characters. Glad I gave it a re-watch because it´s super cute and silly; perfect for when you just want to give your feels a break from all the angst and suffering other shows come with (*stares at the one above*). I also highly recommend the live-action movie based on this! :D 


Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi/Erased (S1) - This show is both intriguing and stunning! I love how modern animation uses lightning and this show is a good example of that (same goes for Death Parade). Downside: Stress, stress and even more stress!! Please, just let the small children live!!! My heart cannot take this torture!! D,,X But the stress aside, it was all worth it at the end. 


Jigoku Shojo/Hell Girl (S1) - My Golb, the young girls in this look exactly like the characters I would draw at 14-16. X,D The animation is just okay, and it takes a long time before we learn anything worthwhile about the main characters. But what made me watch a whole season (26 ep) was because of the interesting stories in each episode. It was fascinating to see how little/much it was required for people to give up their souls for eternal damnation in return for the death of a person they hated. 


Steins;Gate (S1+1OVA) - It took me a while to get into the story, but by the half way point, when shit got really intense, I was waaay hooked. I usually do not like stories that involve time-traveling because it makes my head hurt, but this (Like Madoka Magica) was really well written. I have very little to fault the show on ((apart from how the harassment of a trans girl is used for comedy in at least 2 episodes…)) and would recommend!


Love Live! School Idol Project (S1+S2+1 movie) - Decided to watch something really cute with sis again and this is what we ended up with. And oh darn it, it is cute alright! Everything is so sugary sweet and lovely, and good music too that you will hum on for weeks. Apart form the occasional funky looking CGI (which actually looks really good in the movie), the animation is top notch. A simple story about a bunch of girls and their lives and friendships when guys are not in the picture.


Makura No Danshi/Pillow Boys (S1) - Finally met up with my anime loving friends and this was one of the things we saw. The episodes in this are very short, all of which are about different types of guys talking to YOU before you go to sleep. It´s… different to say the least. Who was my favourites? Hmmm… I guess the guy from Ep 2, since I recall him the clearest. He also felt like someone who had known me for a while and I appreciated that. WARNING: Ep 10 did give me some extreme rapist vibes! BAD TOUCH!! (O_O)


Koutetsujou No Kabaneri/Kabaneri Of The Iron Fortress (S1) - If you like bloody action of high quality with humans fighting against superhuman enemies then this is most surely something for you. Many parallels can be pulled to Attack on Titian, but I would never call this a rip-off. All the animation is in the A+ class and there is this wonderful colouring/lighting effect they sometimes use for close ups which makes the characters look absolutely stunning. The level of details on the character designs also stuck out to me (A+ there too).


Shokugeki no Soma / Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma (S1+S2+1OVA) - Also known as food porn. I had never heard of this until Dan and Phil mentioned it in a video and when I understood that it was about food I had to check it out. I love shows/stories that are centered around cooking (Hell´s Kitchen, Master Chef, Kitchen Princess, etc) so I really got hooked on this. Not only is the food animated beautifully, but you learn a lot at the same time. And the absurd (dirty) humor is so redicoulus that I cannot help but laugh.


Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu / Re:ZERO - Starting Life in Another World (S1) - When I first saw posters for this show they never caught my interest. It looked so much like the generic fantasy harem anime that I just ignored it. But then a friend forced me to actually see it and BOY was I wrong. Let me put it this way: Imagine Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni but with a higher budget and set in a fantasy land. So if you enjoy blood, gore and mind games, check this baby out!


Ghost Hunt (S1) - I know that I had seen this anime when it was new, but apparently I never saw the final episodes of the season since I had no idea what was going to happen. But glad that I saw this again! Not the scariest or goriest show out there, but it is fun and entertaining. My favorite part is how all the characters get along even though they have different beliefs and ways of dealing with the unknown. 


Psycho-Pass (S1 + S2 + 1 movie) - Everybody were recommending this show to me and I understand why. There is detective work, blood/gore, and some kick-ass action; just right for me. However, I am not into all the tech porn (you know - when the put so much time and focus on weapons and other technology when they open up, charge, fire, etc. Not my thing!), but it was still a good anime. The only downside was that I felt very little when characters died, which was strange since I usually get attached very easily and morn fictional characters on a regular basis.  


Mayoiga / The Lost Village (S1) - Oh maaan. I was expecting something along the lines of Battle Royale, but this was nothing but a big disappointment. There was so much potential in the first episodes for this to become the next Another or Corpse Party, but nooo. Lack of death aside, I guess it had it´s creepy moments, but the finale was not worth the wait in my opinion. I was actually so upset by the final twist that I sat down and basically created an alternative version of the story. Same basic structure, characters, feel and pitch, but with a more classic psychological horror plot. I would also have put the focus on other characters over the two basic cardboard cutouts (I vote for Valkana and Nanko!).


Corpse Party: Tortured Souls - Bougyakusareta Tamashii No Jukyou (5OVA) - I had seen this before when it first came out, but since I am still in a Halloween mood I decided to give it a re-watch. Totally one of those shows that I cannot look away from (not only because I need the subs, but you know what I mean). Spooky details all over the place blended with intestines and body horror. I may not be a big fan of the Elfen Lied-wannabe character designs, but I would totally watch it a third time when I once again forget the ending. I was so shocked that all I could do was to stare at the screen while the credits passed by. 


Mira Nikki / The Future Diary (S1) - That moment you like the premise and concept of a show, but dislike the main characters. Damn that moment. It could be that the English dub makes the protagonists seem more douchey than what they actually are in the oringal Japanese version, or it´s just that they are both written poorly (IMO). But I like the background characters and there is some genuine tension throughout the show, so I watched it all.


Yuri!!! On ICE (S1) - I had been looking forward to this since the first trailer, so it was really really hard for me to wait until all episodes had aired before I had a marathon. But gah! It was worth it! There are no cliffhangers no, but the show just makes you feel so warm and fluffy that you want to see more right away. It is a sports anime, but the characters and relationships are so well developed that I would say to give it a chance even if sports isn’t for you. You will still fall in love with everybody and you just want them all to win gold and be happy!!

PS: Oh dear brother of mine, if you are reading this, be prepared for an anime night next time we meet. You and Jorge will love this! ;D


BONUS:

Kimi No Na Wa / Your Name (movie) - Hands down one of the best MOVIES I have seen this year. Well made, a story that pulls you in, heart-wrenching and beautiful music. This is totally up there amongst Wolf Children and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and I will definitely be showing this to all my friends, no matter if they are into anime or not. 

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These are a couple homophobic comments I found on the beautifully animated short film “In A Hearbeat”, and the video is such a blessing, it really made my day!

I see so many other comments too about “liberals and homosexuals shoving lgbtq trash down our throats” and I would be honored to tell all the homophobes out there:

The LGBTQ community has had to deal with heterosexual and homophobic propaganda being shoved down their throats since the beginning so why are you complaining

Can’t take it? Don’t know how to deal with it?

“Our children are gonna turn gay when they see this!”, “Being gay is a sin, crime”, “Being gay is a mental disorder”, “All gays and everyone from the lgbtq community will go to hell!” 

Telling someone from the lgbtq community they have a mental disorder or is going to hell is like saying, “The majority of us have brown eyes but you have blue/green eyes so you have a mental disorder and you’re going to hell”. 

That’s how ridiculous it sounds. 

I hope some day, in this life or the next, you will see the beauty in diversity, because diversity is a wonderful thing. It shows us that our differences shouldn’t limit us, and teaches us to love others whether they’re different or the same.

Reasons why Lady Layton might be delayed

-Hershel is MISSING

-Seriously, Level 5 can’t remember where they left him 

-Layton’s voice actor has gone AWOL

-”Mr Miller, we really need you to record some lines of the professor in peril -” “IT’S BAD ENOUGH I HAD TO SHRIEK IN PAIN FOR THE LIGHT BEAM SCENE IN AZRAN LEGACY. SERIOUSLY, LEAVE LAYTON ALONE.”

-Alfendi is threatening to destroy Level 5 unless they include him 

-Every PL character wants a cameo and it’s taking forever to add them all in

-The developers are dying to give Clive Dove a cameo, but this makes no sense he’s evil and meant to be in prison??? Who cares - everyone has or has had a crush on Clive Dove. The fanboys will love it. Do it. 

- Too many plot twists convoluting the narrative

- The character designs lack diversity, so they’re adding a greater variety. 

- They want to put Lady Layton on the Switch too 

- They’re making Mystery Room 2 at the same time

- “Sh*t, we forgot Flora again!”

- They’re writing more family bonding moments 

- Beautifully animated cutscenes aren’t made in a day

- Older Emmy needs more muscles 

- Finding new voice actors is hard

- Can’t decide on which character must get kidnapped 

- “Have we decided on a mother for Kat yet? Is she alive? Are all the Layton kids orphans? Who knows?” 

- Luke prefers America (he’s teamed up with Phoenix Wright) and doesn’t want to come back to England  

- “We promised comedy in this game but it’s a little lacking… Time for a fart joke!”

- Can’t think of a reason why Sherl can talk 

- “Do we give Katrielle a girlfriend…?”

-”Yes!”