Finding a good anime to watch as a beginner can be overwhelming, so today, I will be giving my top five anime films to watch. The goal of this article is to bring anime films that are not apart of Studio Ghibli into the spotlight. The reason for this is because Studio Ghibli has an impact within the Western Hemisphere. Some of the films we will be talking about will be Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, Paprika, The Boy and The Beast, and Perfect Blue.

1. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Directed by: Mamoru Oshii

In the year 2029, the barriers of our world have been broken down by the net and by cybernetics, but this brings new vulnerability to humans in the form of brain-hacking. When a highly-wanted hacker known as ‘The Puppetmaster’ begins involving them in politics, Section 9, a group of cybernetically enhanced cops, are called in to investigate and stop the Puppetmaster.

Ghost in the Shell is probably the most influential anime outside of Studio Ghibli films. Ghost in the Shell gave inspirations to one of the most famous movies in the U.S., The Matrix. Ghost in The Shell filled with many philosophical questions, beautiful score, incredible action choreography, and stunning animation, but most importantly, Ghost in the Shell is well executed and fun.

2. Cowboy Bebop

Directed by:  Shinichiro Watanabe

The year is 2071. Following a terrorist bombing, a deadly virus is released on the populace of Mars and the government has issued the largest bounty in history, for the capture of whoever is behind it. The bounty hunter crew of the spaceship Bebop; Spike, Faye, Jet and Ed, take the case with hopes of cashing in the bounty. However, the mystery surrounding the man responsible, Vincent, goes deeper than they ever imagined, and they aren’t the only ones hunting him.

While Ghost in the Shell focuses on the advancement of machines and the importance of what it means to be human. The film Cowboy Bebop focuses on the importance of being better by facing one’s past. But having the right message in a film alone does not make a good film. The execution has to be there, and Cowboy Bebop delivers. From both the animation and the composition of each shot to the smooth music pure perfection, and that is just from watching the film, if you want an even better experience, watch the Cowboy Bebop series as well.

3. Paprika

Directed by:  Satoshi Kon

When a machine that allows therapists to enter their patient’s dreams is stolen, all hell breaks loose. Only a young female therapist can stop it: Paprika

Let me say this if you love Christopher Nolan’s Inception; You need to watch Paprika. Within this top five list, Paprika, by far, has the most striking visual, but not only that, the storytelling telling is on a whole other level from Inception, and it came out in 2006.

4.  The Boy and The Beast

Directed by: Mamoru Hosoda

Kyuta, a boy living in Shibuya, and Kumatetsu, a lonesome beast from Jutengai, an imaginary world. One day, Kyuta forays into the imaginary world and, as he’s looking for his way back, meets Kumatetsu who becomes his spirit guide. That encounter leads them to many adventures.

The main thing that Mamoru Hosoda has over the other films I have touched on those far is the sense of companionship. Seeing the student-teacher relationship grow between Kumatetsu and Kyuta into more of a father-son relationship felt refreshing. If you want a great time with the family, The Boy and the Beast is a must-watch.

5. A Silent Voice

Directed by: Naoko Yamada

When a grade school student with impaired hearing is bullied mercilessly, she transfers to another school. Years later, one of her former tormentors sets out to make amends.

A Silent Voice is the most heart-breaking film on this list, but it is also one of the best movies that speak on social anxiety and bullying.

Let me know what your top five movies you would recommend your friends.

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