Anime, manga, cosplay, j-pop, J-PRG are all foreign concepts to me. Until this week, when I timidly began my first foray into anime. My knowledge unfortunately did not extend beyond my childhood viewing of Sailor Moon, and even then, if there were a remake I definitely wouldn’t be running out to buy (or even download) a copy. My first step was to naively search ‘Top 10 Anime’ in YouTube, which only helped to confuse me more. I was genuinely surprised as the amount of pornographic search results, perhaps I needed to break out of my childish Pokemon/Digimon perceptions and realise that anime is an adult genre. Feeling defeated by my own lack of interest in any anime a friend suggested I look up ‘Spirited Away’ (she also provided me with a disclaimer only a best friend can ‘Courtney I know you, you won’t like it’).
She was right. I approached the film with an open mind and while it was enjoyable and very unique, it’s not a genre I would choose to watch purely based on the animation style. Spirited Away is a 2001 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. The film was released on July 20, 2001, and became the most successful film in Japanese history, grossing about $270–350 million worldwide. In 2003 it took out the best-animated feature category at the Oscars, the first anime film to do so.
The style of the animation was very much what I expected. With such high-tech animations in many recent Pixar films, the hand-drawn style of animation in Spirited Away is distinctly anime. It didn’t seem to share in the common violent and pornographic themes that confronted me when I blindly searched YouTube, making me think perhaps I chose a weak example. I watched the American version, and although it was an all Japanese cast and crew, it potentially detracted from the authenticity of the film. I appreciate anime as an art form and have learnt that it has a huge following worldwide. The fact that Spirited Away had a great Alice-in-wonderland-esque storyline and a moving film score were the reasons I enjoyed it most, which makes me think that I probably wouldn’t enjoy any of the ‘Top 10 Anime’ featured below.