Pokémon, Steampunk and Mutant Trees: my favorite animated movies

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I have always been an anime fan, with my first experience watching Dragon ball like a kid. Over the years my tastes haven’t changed too much, with the majority of movies I tend to be fun, colorful titles with expressive characters. I also wanted to highlight certain films that were a little forgotten compared to their counterparts (everyone knows Princess mononoke and Akira) and I hope that some of my affection for these films wears off on others. They deserve it!

Pokémon: the power of us

As a lifelong Pokémon fan, I would be remiss if I did not include one of the many (as of this writing, 23) Pokémon movies on this list. What I like The power of us is that it tells stories of ordinary people in the Pokémon world. Our main hero (besides Ash of course) Risa is actually quite uncomfortable with them. Another character is a scientist who has his Pokémon help in research. It’s great to see how people and Pokémon live together and help each other in everyday life and not just in the usual battles. It’s a world I would like to live in.

Porco Rosso

a variety of old airplanes flies in a cloudless sky

My favorite Studio Ghibli movie thongs every now and then, from Castle in the sky To Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind depending on the day. They are all great for different reasons, so it is difficult to choose. Porco Rosso feels underrated compared to its siblings, and I want to recommend it if you haven’t seen it.

Porco is a man cursed to look like a pig who spends his days in the beautiful Adriatic Sea as a bounty hunter, in search of pirates. I love that the majority of the movie is grounded in reality with hints of magic here and there. The details on all the planes and their machines are beautiful and remind me of how much love and care is put into every Ghibli movie. Additionally, Porco is voiced by Michael Keaton in the English dub and I think that fits his gruff but kind personality pretty well.

Magic sisters Yoyo and Nene

Yoyo attends a summer festival in a flower print Yukata

Yoyo and Nene are “wizards”, witches who remove curses. One day, buildings from Tokyo begin to appear in their world and they find themselves immersed in an adventure involving both witches and humans. I love how fleshed out the story is and I don’t think it’s based on a manga or a series, but an independent film. There are some fun moments between tech and magic, with a phone game being a major plot point. It’s fun to see the differences between the two worlds, and the witch world is so fun and vibrant. I love their skull-cat familiar.

Courageous story

Wataru sits with a cat girl and a lizardman on a cart

Courageous story is based on a series of fantasy novels that became very popular in Japan and spawned several video games and a manga adaptation, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when it finally became a movie. Wataru is a shy 5th grader who is transported to a fantasy world and it’s pretty much the closest thing I’ve seen to an RPG in movie form (until I watched the Dragon Quest movie, maybe). He gains party members, learns spells, collects magic crystals, and fights bosses. I will give a general warning that this movie is almost 2 hours long which can be a lot. It is really you who are taking a trip to this world alongside Wataru.

Steamboy

Ray stands next to his steam vehicle

Insightful-eyed fans may recognize this as the sequel to the legendary Akira by designer Katsuhiro Otomo. The intense level of animated imagery and detail known from his work is back, with a Steampunk setting. Ray is an inventor who follows in his family’s footsteps when he is caught up in a corporate plot to steal an endless source of energy. Together, he and a girl named Scarlett walk through the 1866 exhibition in London and find a way to shut down the Foundation. CGI is used in some places to help with traditional animation, like gears and reflective glass, and it’s beautiful. Steampunk has fallen out of favor in recent years, but I think it’s one of the best additions to the style. Also, Patrick Stewart is here in the English version!

Origin: Spirits of the past

a forest contained in a large bubble sits on the surface of the moon, the earth behind it

Do you have a movie that you love so much that you want to share it with everyone you know? It is Origin: Spirits of the past for me. At the start of the film, a forest of trees mutated to survive on the moon gains sensitivity and returns to Earth, destroying their futuristic Cyberpunk culture and returning the planet to its natural state. We pick up later when Earth has been almost completely overrun with forest, with small pockets of human civilization on the outskirts. It deals with our connection to nature and how with all things there has to be a balance. It’s a wonderful film and I’m late for a review.

I am always amazed at the variety of stories in animated films, they cover all genres and tell amazing stories, from huge fantasies to the silly things in life. There are countless movies to watch and since most of us are spending more time at home these days, now is a great time to fall in love with animation again.


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