What is your favourite anime movie or series? What is it about? What do you like about it?
I love the films of director Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, My favourite anime film is Princess Mononoke. It is set in Japan during an era in which the land is in transition from an ancient natural landscape dominated by powerful animal gods to a nation occupied by the civilized, industrial settlements of humans. At the beginning of the movie, the story’s hero, a young Emishi prince named Ashitaka, defends his village against the attack of a crazed demon and during the fight, his arm becomes infected with the same evil that corrupted the demon. He is told he will die from the infection unless he can find a cure and to do that he will have to journey to the land where the demon came from.
During his travels, he soon becomes embroiled in a conflict involving:
- Lady Eboshi and the men and women of Iron Town. They have been cutting down forests to gain access to iron, which they manufacture into weapons. The town also serves as a refuge for social outcasts such as lepers and former prostitutes.
- Wolf Gods. They are angered by the encroachment of humans in the forest and they engage in guerrilla warfare tactics against the humans.
- San (Princess Mononoke). She is a girl raised by the Wolf Gods and fights against the humans for them.
- Boar Gods. They are enraged at humans because it was a bullet from a gun that caused the infection that turned the boar god Nago into the demon that attacked Ashitaka’s village.
- A mercenary named Jiko-bō who is looking to capture the head of the Forest Spirit in order to get a reward from the emperor.
Ashitaka refuses to take sides. He only wants to help others and create peace, but what can he do when the different sides are rushing towards confrontation?
The movie has everything: beautiful scenes (the transformation of the Forest Spirit is amazing) exciting action scenes, cute characters (e.g., the little white forest spirits known as Kodama, and the lovely red elk that Ashitaka rides) and even a little romance (Ashitaka and San are attracted to one another). However, what sets it apart is its evenhanded treatment of the protagonists. Almost all of them have a valid reason for their feelings and actions. They are simply struggling for their place in the world.
Besides this film, I also like Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away and Nausciaa of the Valley of the Wind a lot. I also like the films of Makoto Shinkai (like 5 Centimeters Per Second) and am looking forward to seeing Your Name.
There are a lot of anime series that I like. These days I prefer anime that contain elements of science fiction and mystery, so I have watched these anime recently: Shinsekai Yori, Erased, Psycho-pass and Re Zero. Warning! Some of these trailers are rather intense, so don’t watch them before you are about to go to bed. The actual anime are not quite so intense, though they are a little dark at times. They have action scenes but also some quite moments. More warnings! Pyscho-pass is quite violent (the guns used by the police cause people to explode). Shinsekai Yori is famous for its Yuri (girl-girl) and Yayoi scenes (boy-boy), but those are quite innocent.
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What about you? Which are your favourite anime movies or series?