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Top 10 Anime Films of the Decade [2000-2009] December 16, 2009

Posted by Cello in Movie Reviews.

My blog is a mixture of both Anime and Asian films but what never ceases to amaze me is how Anime has always had a hold of my interest from day one. What I find fascinating is that Anime lovers all have their own variation of what they think are the ten best Anime films of all time. One of the reasons is that Animes comes in all different flavors, so it appeals to all kinds of tastes. My personal list has little to do with the rating they received in their own reviews but rather the feel of wonder and excitement I got while watching it. Emotions is something you cannot rate, and I believe that after thinking long and hard, these are the quintessential films of the decade. Lets start the countdown:

It’s not a secret that here at Japan Cinema are big fans of GONZO. That said, I was extremely excited to receive Origin: Spirits of the Past. Taking into account the fact that GONZO’s TV series typically look better than most anime movies and OVAs, I couldn’t wait to see what they’d do with a full movie budget. The story takes place in an unspecified post-apocalyptic future bearing passing resemblance to The Matrix’s Zion. considering the film has taken two years to cross nine time zones and comes from one of the artists of the most revered animé series of all time (Neon Genesis Evangelion), it would be unfortunate if it still doesn’t get the audience it deserves.
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Very rare do we get an anime film that is on par with its series counterpart. All the charm and wonder of the Fullmetal Alchemist series is here in this film. One thing I really like about this movie is the inclusion of real world history in the world Ed has gone to. It’s nice to add some real history and thread our loved characters into it. This was a great film and it provided a sense of closure to the amazing Fullmetal Alchemist series. I loved the series and felt that the movie did a really great job of tying up all the loose ends.
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Tekkon Kinkreet is chockfull of symbolism. It just shows how living on the streets can be incredibly fragile for young children, and yet the two boys somehow manage to mentally survive by depending on each other. This film was like anythng I had seen this decade and I was even more intrigued when I learned that Tekkon Kinkreet was directed by Michael Arias, an American who has lived and worked in Japan for more than a decade. A complete and utter jaw dropping experience from start to finish and truely there is nothing like it.
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Most likely the most mainstream film on the list, and one that people are quick to give the top slot too. I judge this harshly upon the fact that Miyazaki’s past works bow this one out the water and for that I can feel nothing but deep regret that this film wasn’t better for me.  Spirited Away is a story about a girl named Chihiro, who, along with her parents, ventures through a tunnel that leads to the world of spirits. While most anime movies are action movies, Spirited Away is a fairy tale, and where most anime movies are harsh, Spirited Away is gentle. Not to take anything away from that magic and wonder of this film, as it is definetely a narratively compelling piece of work.
Read the Full Review…

Proof that you don’t need explosions and mini guns to make an engaging anime story. This is a sophisticated, warm anime. The anime revolves around three homeless people: Gin (an alcoholic), Hana (an ex-drag queen) and Miyuki (a runaway girl). The night is about to witness a memorable encounter as they discover an abandoned baby girl in a pile of garbage bags. The film gives a face and a voice to the homeless who rarely have either in the media, in Japan or anywhere. It’s a touching movie that, like the best animes, transcends the limitations of the genre.
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Winner at the 2007 American Anime Awards of “best anime feature”, this was the wet dream of most video game and anime fans. Finally, after much anticipation, this CG film graced our way onto home video. The bottom line is that it’s thrilling entertainment for people who like Final Fantasy. It’s fan service 101: Give the people what they want, and then give them some more. The hype didn’t let any of us down.
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Bleach Movie 3: Fade to Black is a great anime movie. I found the whole concept of erasing all recollections of one particular person, thus wiping out her existence, intriguing. The best Bleach film to what is one of the best anime series I’ve ever watched.
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Winner of “Animation of the Year” at the 30th Annual Japanese Academy Awards, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a wholesome tale. While riding her bike in town one day, the brakes on her bicycle fail to do their job at the last minute and she gets hit by a train. Much to her awe and confusion, she opens her eyes to find herself a minute before the accident happens, safe and sound. She comes to find out she has the ability to manipulate time. A wonderful, engaging film that deserves a slot in my Top 10.
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5 Centimeters Per Second is a more sweet, sad mood piece than your general plot-driven movie. It is emotional and heart-wrenching in part because it deals with simple, universal issues. A boy and girl meet, fall in love, and are forced to leave each other. As an artist, I appreciate this movie more on a visual level but as a whole its also on an exceptional level.
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It was the first anime I have ever seen on the big screen. It recaptured the magic and wonder I used to feel watching Ninja Scroll as a young kid.  Story is fairly simple stuff. Kid has a bounty on head for reasons revealed later, he meets amnesiac samurai whom he manages to convince to look after him. With the accompanying music score being of the classical Japanese drums and strings, it all adds up to something special. Oh, and don’t forget the copious amount of blood and gore to top it all off.
Read the Full Review…

There you have it, my personal Top 10 Anime films of the past decade (2000-2009). In my opinion, quality in terms of overall story, character development, entertainment value, animation, OST, innovation/overall excellence, this decade was amazing.  I hope you enjoyed my write up and I hope you join me in another great decade of anime and movie watching.



1. glothelegend - December 16, 2009

Not bad sir. Not bad at all. I was kind of surprised to see Fade to Black so high on the list. I’ve been meaning to watch several of these (like Origins: Spirits), but I haven’t gotten around to it. I almost bought Sword of the Stranger the other day, I still haven’t seen it, but from what I hear it sounds like it’s something that would easily make my top ten, maybe even my top 5.

The art in 5 cm/second looks exceptional. But I don’t like sad movies (like Up….that’s right….Up).

Cello - December 17, 2009

Blind buy Sword of the Stranger…you won’t be dissappointed.

2. bluedrakon - December 16, 2009

you are lucky that these are all movies – otherwise I would be spitting fire that Gurren Lagann was not part of this. There were some movies released in Japan theatres, but nothing here as yet on DVD.

I am surprised that Origins was not higher. I thought that was a bit better than some of the others. But still a well thought out list.

Critics – you can live with them or live without them, but you will still read them never the less.

3. OT - December 17, 2009

Pretty bad list man.

4. Esron dfx - December 17, 2009

If Bleach is one of the best things you’ve ever watched, you honestly don’t deserve to have seen anything else on this list. It’s an insult to the writers and directors who actually have talent.

Cello - December 17, 2009

Bleach is one of the most successful, longest running and highest rated anime series of all time on both eastern and western shores. Surely and quite obviously, I am not alone in my opinions.

OT - December 17, 2009

not sure if srs…

Esron dfx - December 17, 2009

Because that totally speaks for bleach’s story, characters, writing, pacing, focus, creativity and overall quality and not, you know, market appeal.

In other news Twilight is faaanntastic novel

5. Maousama - December 17, 2009

aaaa i just love the movie Spirited Away

6. Alisa - December 17, 2009

Brilliant list! So many that I haven’t seen and now need to go in search of. I will always love the train scene in Spirited Away, so beautiful.

7. animekritik - December 18, 2009

wow, i haven’t seen any of these!!! but it’s good to know..more for my to watch list.

8. Ebrahim - December 18, 2009

Loved the list. I think Summer Wars deserve as much a spot as Hosoda masterpiece The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

9. Heather - December 20, 2009

Sadly I have only seen Spirited Away, but what an incredible movie. This was a good reminder on quite a few that I DO need to see though.

Great List Cello.

10. FaS - December 21, 2009

I guess for the most part I agree with all of them…but Tokyo GodFathers…? Mmmmm idk.

11. TENOLI - December 31, 2009

I love Satoshi Kon.
And I really love Tokyo Godfathers… but what happened to PAPRIKA? Does no one remember that movie? Or did no one watch it? It actually made it into American theaters.

12. Lewis - January 15, 2010

Helpful list.

I think Bleach being analogous to Twilight is fair, though I always considered it an actually watchable take on Naruto.

Paprika was moving along nicely until it essentially replicated Paranoia Agent’s degradation into an overblown, gooey mess. Reminded me too much of the hacky way Ivan Reitman ended Ghostbusters and Evolution (not that those movies were good to begin with).

13. harunoblue - February 10, 2010

Thanks for the list, i’ve watched all except origin:spirits, conquerer of shamballa, and tekkon kinkreet. still searching for the rest…

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