Most Filipinos get their cultural exposure and information on Japan from different anime movies and series. Anime (short for Japanese Animation) is already a regular staple of Philippine TV. From the popular Voltes V of the Martial Law years to Naruto of the year 2000s, anime has certainly captured a secure following among Filipinos of different ages and genders.
So if you’re just beginning to go into the world of anime or you just want to watch it together with your family and friends, here are 5 great anime movies for wholesome viewing.
Spirited Away (2001). Created by Studio Ghibli founder and director, Miyazaki Hayao, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi tells the story of Chihiro/Sen and her (mis)adventures following their moving-out to another neighborhood. Spirited Away is a story of how hard work, respect, and kindness flows and comes back to benefit everyone.
Favorite Quote: “Once you’ve met someone you never really forget them. It just takes a while for your memories to return.”
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Wolf Children (2012). Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki by Hosoda Mamoru is another gem of the anime cinema. It tells the story of Hana and her life as she struggles alone to raise her children Ame and Yuki. This is a story of the greatness of a mother’s love and how the human spirit overcomes the adversities of life.
Favorite Quote: “The following year, I left home to live in the school dormitory. My mother said the 12 years she spent raising us felt like an instant as if it were a fairy tale. She said it so happily with eyes fixed on a distant mountain peak. Seeing that smile on her face makes me very happy.”
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Grave of the Fireflies (2005). The greatest work of the late director and Ghibli co-founder Takahata Isao. Hotaru no Haka is not for the faint of heart so I suggest you keep those tissues beside you. The movie tells the story of Seita and Setsuko and their experiences during the last years of World War II as the Americans started bombing Japan. A tale of devoted siblings, words are not enough to describe the depth and impact of emotions that will take its toll on you. I kid you not. Get those tissues beside you.
Favorite Quote: “Rain, rain, fall, fall. So happy my big brother came with an umbrella to take me home.”
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Summer Wars (2009). Another Hosoda Mamoru masterpiece together with Hollywood, Samā Wāzu is a millennial/i-Generation familiar. Online gaming and cyberspace is at the center of the story as the cyberworld of Oz is terrorized by a rogue AI. Follow Kenji, a high school math whiz, and gamer, as he sets out to confront his personal issues and the rogue AI together with the Jinnouchi family, headed by Grandma Sakae. Cast under the mosquito net-filled nights and watermelon breaks of summer Japan, Summer Wars is a heart-warming tale of family and help in times of need.
Favorite Quote: “Never turn your back on family, even when they hurt you. Never let life get the better of you. And if you remember nothing else, remember to find time to eat together as a family. Even when times are rough; especially when times are rough. There’s no lack of painful things in this world, but hunger and loneliness must surely be two of the worst.”
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A Silent Voice (2016). The product of director Yamada Naoko under Kyoto Animation, Koe no Katachi is one of the latest anime movie to date that you don’t want to miss. Featuring beautiful, delicate, refined animation, the story follows the story of students Shoya and Shoko as their stories unfold between the bully and bullied. It is a coming-of-age film of redemption and acceptance, how people can change for the better, and the courage of people with disabilities to live.
Favorite Quote: “Everyone goes through difficulties in life. But we’re all in the same boat, aren’t we? You have to learn to love even the things you hate about yourself and move forward.”