Fantastic Manga Films You Should See

   If you have never seen an anime, you might think it's just cutesy stuff for kids / weird Japanese stuff / Pokemon. Actually, Manga is a word for animated Japanese films, and they come in all genres -- from cutsey family fun to deep thoughtful stories to science fiction and action to romance to stuff so gory I can't watch it. There are full-length movies, serials, shorts and everything in between. Some have breathtakingly beautiful animation, the likes of which is rarely seen in western animated stuff. Also, if you think that anime is something for girly-girls, my husband (who would run far, far away if someone made him watch a chic flick) loves anime as much as I do (actually, even more)!

   Here I would like to share a couple of my favourite Mangas. Be sure to share yours at the end, I'm dying for new good stuff to watch!

 My Neighbour Totoro:

   I love all Miyasaki's films, but this is the most magical and captivating one. I could re-watch it a hundred times and never get tired of it. I highly recommend Miyasaki's films for kids, as they are fabulously gender-neutral (my daughter loves the kick-ass princess Nausicaa), and the story is uplifting and not just mindless entertainment. For adults, the Pom Poko is one of the most hilariously WTF movies I have ever seen.

Cherry Blossom / Cosmonaut / 5 Centimeters Per Second

   These three episodes make up the most beautifully animated film I have ever seen. It is a slow and bittersweet story of lovers drifting apart. Stunning.

Ghost in the Shell

   For those of you who love action and science fiction, Ghost in the Shell is a great choice. A seriously good story, powerful animation, and the music. Ah, the music.

Wolf's Rain

   One of my favourite manga series, taking place in a post-apocalyptic world. The protagonists are a bunch of young people who are actually shape-shifting wolves on the search for Paradise. The ending still haunts me.

Howl's Moving Castle 

   A young girl gets turned into an old woman by a magic spell, and her adventures lead her to a young egoistic wizard, a walking castle and a cute evil fire demon. I loved this one.

Samurai X

   A series the story of a young boy who is an ex-assassin, trying to atone and build a new life. The tale has lots of dark moments, but a lot of delightful humour too. Oh, and butt-kicking ladies. The story also has a historical background, and I was fascinated about the history of the last of the samurais, the first contacts with the west, as well as the crazy "son of god" who led an early christian sect. I didn't find a trailer for the series, but here is the first episode on Youtube. There is also a movie based on the series, titled Rurouni Kenshin.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

    A fun story of a tomboyish schoolgirl who accidentally acquires the ability to time travel. Also, love the spunky lead character. This film is totally adorable!

Voices of a Distant Star 

   Imagine your loved one sets off in a spaceship into space. You text each other, but the time it takes for the message to arrive takes longer and longer: minutes, then months, then years...

Neon Genesis Evangelion

   A apocalyptic mecha action story one for fans of sci-fi / robots. It starts out as your regular the-world-will-end-and-only-this-boy-can-save-it thing and gradually develops into something powerful, scary and at times seriously weird. I also love all the hidden symbolism and double-meanings. The series has been remade into the slightly more compact film Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death and Rebirth, which I personally liked more (even though I fell asleep before the end -- I was dead tired and it was very late, but I still can't forgive myself!). Oh, and I loved the Pen Pen the penguin who makes random appearances throughout the story.

   A couple of others that I enjoyed are: The Animatrix (my favourite was Beyond), Inuyasha (which my brothers religiously watched but I had missed the beginning and could never quite follow the story). I also watched a couple episodes of Elfen Lied, but it was too gory even though brilliantly made (but I did grow to love Klimt's paintings thanks to this series). Also, I watched a bit of Emma which is a Victorian romance -- a good one if you like Victorian romances (I couldn't sit through it, just like I couldn't sit through Pride and Prejudice even though I adore Keira Knightley).

   Do you like to watch mangas? Got any recommendations for me?

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