We're sticking to our guns here and giving you the
Top 5 Anime Movies.
[Our criteria: Has to be an original motion picture typically well over an hour in length; no OAVs, OVAs, or whatever folks like to call them.]
#5 - Cowboy Bebop: The Movie--Knockin' on Heaven's Door
Now THIS is how you make a movie based on a hit anime series. Rather than cramming dozens of episodes into two hours, celebrate the show by creating what is essentially an extra-long episode with all its goodies.
With Cowboy Bebop, we get to enjoy our favorite bounty hunters--Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed, and Ein--in yet another cool and quirky adventure. For good measure, toss in a few cameos and nods to elements that make Bebop one of the best series ever. Add some of the finest martial arts fighting and aerial combat sequences--accompanied by the matchless musical styles of Yoko Kanno--and you've got the greatest example of a series-based anime movie.
#4 - The End of Evangelion
And THIS is how you make a movie to finish a 26-plus episode anime series. (Take note, Fullmetal Alchemist.)
End of Evangelion may not wrap up the plot with a tight bow--more like an explosion of silly string--but this movie does provide the absolute, ultimate anime ending of mind-melting apocalyptic ambiguity.
#3 - Interstella 5555
And then there was space opera--literally. This entire movie tells a story through music videos based on music by French technopop duo Daft Punk and animation by Leiji Matsumoto (Space Battleship Yamato, Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express 999).
Not only is the music superb (rock, pop, soulfoul, and more), but the story told through animation alone--no dialogue--is riveting and endearing as we follow the adventures of a kidnapped intergalactic rock band.
#2 - Millennium Actress
Don't let the subtitles scare you. This movie is a love story for filmmaking and anyone in pursuit of a lost longing. If that's not enough, the reality blending sequences are sometimes heart-breaking and other times hilarious.
#1 - (Nearly) Every Studio Ghibli Ever Made
Sure, call it a copout. Or call it a sell-out. We can take it. But we just couldn't figure out which Ghibli film was the best--they're all great*. So to honor Miyazaki and Co.'s masterworks, we're throwing them out here with full honors.
(*Almost all. We're still not overwhelmed with Pom Poko and Porco Rosso--although the latter may just be due to Michael Keaton's dull voice acting dub.)
We're not alone, of course. The Academy awarded Spirited Away with the Oscar for Best Animated Film in 2002:
And here's the trailer for perhaps the best Miyazaki film out there--Princess Mononoke:
And those are the winners.
Keep the speeches short, folks.