Now that I’m on summer break, I finally have more time to watch anime movies. This list is the result of watching the movies with friends or at the NAU Anime Club in the last year and a half, so there’s a lot of Studio Ghibli and little else (which isn’t a bad thing, but the list is definitely lacking in the diversity apartment). Like my anime show reviews, this list is comprised of scores based on my experiences watching them, and whether or not it’s something I’d want other people to watch.
Howl’s Moving Castle: 2/10
It’s unfortunate that this was the first movie I saw of Studio Ghibli, because I hated it. The only thing getting it points right now was the battle at the finale, and even then, the story before that meandered so much that it felt out of place. The characters were unmemorable, and the ending was cheesy and over the top (YES SOPHIE KISS EVERYONE IT’S NOT WEIRD AT ALL). I would not recommend this to anyone ever – unless you hate yourself and want to be miserable for two hours.
Spirited Away: 10/10
By far my favorite Studio Ghibli film (though Princess Mononoke is a very, very close second), this movie’s animation is beautiful. Watching Chihiro’s growth from a sniveling whiner to a confident, strong character is great to watch. The story meanders a lot, but seeing as how the movie has a dream-like quality, I’m totally okay with prioritizing character development over story.
Nausicaa: Of the Valley of the Wind: 7/10
I liked Nausicaa’s character and the setting of the world was cool, but the story moved rather slowly toward the climax, though it wasn’t the worst thing ever. The animation looks pretty good considering its age.
Castle in the Sky: 7.5/10
I wasn’t a huge fan of Sheeta’s character (how many times does she cry in this movie for no reason?), but I was entertained by her and Pazu’s adventures. The ending felt lazy (let’s whisper this chant I was forced to remember, but forbidden to chant out loud and it will save us! Mwah hah hah!), but besides that, the movie wasn’t half bad.
Princess Mononoke: 10/10
I really enjoyed Princess Mononoke. The art, the characters, the story, it was all done well. My only complaint was the finale because it felt rather anti-climatic. But besides that, the rest of the movie doesn’t disappoint.
The Secret World of Arrietty: 5/10
This movie wasn’t great. An unmemorable cast, so-so voice acting, and a story I barely remember anything about.
Kiki’s Delivery Service: 8/10
I really enjoyed this movie for its simplicity as it follows Kiki’s journey to find her place in human society while being a witch and how she gets by every day.
Castle Cagliostro: 7/10
A funny, over-the-top heist film with the most random thief ever. If you want to watch an exciting movie without having to take any of it seriously, than this is the perfect movie for you.
Wolf Children: 10/10
Wolf Children is a super ultra depressing movie of a mother trying with everything she has to raise her two wolf children alone. I could not get my mind off this movie several days after watching it, it was that good. It’s not even a question for me – I would absolutely recommend this movie for all of its heartfelt, bittersweet moments.
The movie’s premise was pretty clever, but the main character was obnoxiously annoying and the biggest jerk I’ve ever come across in an anime show or movie. It’s a pretty movie to look at it, but everything else about it annoys me to no end.
Pokémon: The First Movie: 7.5/10
I was pretty surprised at how much I liked this movie. Ash is actually kind of legit, and giving Mewtwo a back story worked surprisingly well. Mew was the best though, but it sucks that to keep this movie “canon” with the show, the important lesson learned ended up being wiped from everyone’s memory at the end. Lame.