Whether you’re new to anime- skimming through Netflix and KissAnime to scour for a good show, or been getting late to school to catch that new Naruto episode ever since you were younger, we here at Edition are here to fuel your addiction. If you’ve arrived at this article, with no clue as to what anime is, let us explain. Japanese Animation (anime) is a 19-billion dollar industry that combines graphic art, characterization, cinematography and creative story lines to create an epic display of genres ranging from comedy to horror and tragedy. Ever since Pikachu’s thunderbolt struck the US in 1998, the anime-craze broadened its reach and grew past a Japanese audience.
Grab some popcorn or a snack! We've handpicked our top 10 favourite mainstream anime shows and movies for you to binge watch.
Don’t be fooled by a sunny exterior, Perfect Blue is not for the lighthearted. A psychological thriller, this film combines elements of horror and violence to form a mind-bending chiller. Young singer/dancer Mima leaves her bouncy band to strike out as an actress. Yet, as she struggles with her first role and begins receiving dangerous threats, those close to her are brutally murdered. The line between reality and illusion begins to blur in Mima’s mind and she descends into a world of paranoid delusion. This twisted, self-referential storyline intercuts reality and fantasy so effortlessly that viewers inevitably adopt Mima’s dilemma and are unable to distinguish the truth themselves. A brutal and haunting mediation on fame, identity and femininity, Perfect Blue is an artistic and technical masterpiece.
My personal favorite, this anime follows the conquest of the Holy Britannian Empire over Japan. Featuring Lelouch Lamperouge, the protagonist, this anime is full of plot twists, complexity and deep strategy - making it a masterpiece in its own right. While the beginning may be slow, the anime picks up and dives into an incredibly well-structured plot. The anime was created by an all-female team of manga artists called “Clamp”, and has been very successful in Japan and abroad.
A heart-wrenching and inspiring love story, Your Name follows the journey of two teenagers who intermittently wake up in each other’s bodies. Initially confused and afraid, they soon exchange notes and depict a clear message of what it really means to fall in love with someone. A movie full of empathy, stunning animation and romance, Your Name combines equal parts swap-body comedy, time-travel romance and adventure.
FULL METAL ALCHEMIST BROTHERHOOD:
This fantastic and touching anime explores the journey of two brothers who try to resurrect their dead mother. The themes of value and dignity of human life are explored throughout the show, and has one of the best character and plot developments in Anime. There is some violence and gore in the show, including some themes of death and sacrifice. For all age groups, Full-Metal Alchemist is an excellent start to watching anime and has an incredible story that we highly recommend.
ATTACK ON TITAN:
A recent show that has stunned fans all over the globe, Attack on Titan is one of the most famous and well-known anime currently. Voted the best action anime, this is a fantastic, revolutionary and creative show. Following the journey of Eren, Mikasa, and Armin who do everything possible to keep the three walls surrounding the remaining humans on the planet from horrible Titan attacks, the imagery, incredible storyline and atmosphere is what makes this show so unique. Although there is heavy gore, violence and bloodshed, the animation and creativity will leave you speechless.
GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES:
Cried during Titanic? Weeped while watching The Notebook? If you’re a fan of films that make you sob, we can easily say that Grave of the Fireflies definitely for you. A potentially traumatic viewing experience, this film tells the moving and memorable tale of two children who struggle to survive in the midst of WWII. Critics and viewers alike have been moved to tears by this tragic story. This visually beautiful and realistic animation offers no talking animal sidekicks, no fantastic heroes and unrealistic fight scenes- just raw emotion, the devastating truth of bloodshed.
While Naruto is an incredibly long tv-series, it is one of the most successful anime of all time. Even if you haven’t heard of Anime, you would definitely have heard of Naruto. Since it was released, numerous comics, films, games, series and products have been sold to the growing army of fans. This explores the life and adventures of Naruto Uzumaki, a young and hyperactive ninja who aims to be the Hokage (strongest ninja in the village). The characters are all unique and superb, and the story keeps you engaged and excited at all times. While Naruto Shippuden includes a whopping 500 episodes, if you are new to anime and manga, this is definitely the way to start!
Although a very controversial anime, it is really worth the watch. Neon Genesis is violent and introspective- it contains visual references to belief systems, philosophy, psychology and mental health. With incredible symbolism and characters that will draw you in, we recommend opening Netflix (yes, it’s on Netflix) and watching this immediately. Although the animation is older, we feel the storyline makes up for it. Yet, if you’re not into abstract shows that may divert from a storyline to focus on character introspection, you may want to skip this one.
A Miyazaki-directed classic, this monumental film depicts themes far ahead of its time- it charts an epic battle between machinery and nature, and humans versus famed gods in Old Japan. We were absolutely enthralled by the strong female characters and beautiful animation, and we know you will be too. Filled with adventure, beauty and romance, we guarantee that you’ll fall in love with this fantastic movie.
HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE:
Another brilliant film exquisitely illustrated by master animator Hayao Miyazaki, Howl’s Moving Castle combines elements of magic, adventure and romance. With stunning direction and visuals, this anime tracks the journey of a young girl who gets swept up in a fantastical world after being cursed by a witch. She travels with the wizard Howl in his mechanical, magical moving castle. A floatingly delightful fairytale, this anime has the logic of a dream: behind every door lies multiple astonishing realities.
We hope you enjoyed this list! Be sure to let us know what you think of our picks, and whether you have any recommendations of your own!