Some of the most creative movies of recent time have been Japanes Manga movies. In our list of top 10 Manga movies we have both timeless classics and some of the best new Manga movies. I have also tried to include content for both younger and older fans.
1. Sword of the Stranger
Sword of the Stranger is set in a similar period to ‘Basilisk’ and ‘Ninja Scroll’. It’s called the Sengoku period which means: period of warring states.
Sword of the Stranger is the story of a young boy named Kotaro. He is fleeing from the Ming forces led by Lord Bai-Luan, when he comes across a nameless Ronin.
Chinese mercenaries are sent after the boy. The Ronin takes up the protection of the boy as his mission.
The movie’s strongest points are the animation and the action. It is a real masterpiece.
2. Howl’s Moving Castle
Howl’s Moving Castle is set in a world where witches and wizards live among normal people. Sophie is an 18 year old girl who works in a milliner’s shop. From the town they can hear periodic battles in the distance and it becomes clear that another war is going to break out.
One day a witch’s curse turns Sophie into an old woman.
She goes looking for a wizard named Howl’s wandering castle to find help.
3. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
The Girl Who Leapt through time is about a girl named Makoto Konno who, after a strange encounter in a lab, finds that she can time travel. I can’t really say any more, without giving too much away.
The movie starts out small and cute and then because more action packed and compelling. I found all the characters in the movie to be likable and realistic.
4. Ghost In The Shell
This is the latest movie in a franchise which has delivered some of the best Manga movie and TV episodes. Ghost In The Shell is set in future Japan. Synthetic body replacements have become common and so advanced that people can get full android body replacements.
The movie’s female lead has been a full synthetic body user since a young age. She leads a team of high tech secret agents known as Section 5.
Paprika was directed by Satoshi Kon the same directory who gave us the spine tingling ‘Paranoia Agent’ and ‘Perfect Blue’. Paprika is Satoshi’s first attempt at sci-fi and it’s quite a movie.
In Paprika scientist have created a device which lets you enter someone else’s dreams. Unfortunately someone seems to have hacked one of the devices. Users of the technology are starting to show signs of suicidal behavior.
6. Spirited Away
Spirited Away is really targeted at children, but it’s just so beautifully animated that anyone can enjoy it.
Spirited Away is about a girl and her family who gets transported to the spirit world. There her parents are turned into pigs. The little girl has to grow up and find a way to save her parents.
Akira is classic sci-fi Manga at it’s best. It was initially released in 1988 and expertly redone for this release.
Both the sound and animation Akira makes it seem more Japanese than any other movie here.
Akira is set in a thriving post world war 3 Japan. It is however clear that social discontent lurks beneath the surface. The army takes a member of a biker gang to an science lab. There they experiment with his latent mental powers. Releasing his powers causes things to quickly spiral out of control.
8. The Place Promised in Our Early Days
The movie is set before and after the events of the Second World War in Japan. However events haven’t unfolded in exactly the same way as it has done historically.
Parts of Japan are under US occupation while other parts are controlled by a group called the Union. The Union has a tower which allows inter-dimensional travel.
Fundamentally the movie is a story about lasting love.
9. 5 Centimeters Per Second
5 Centimeters Per Second is about love and relationships. It’s a story about two people who are torn apart by circumstance.
The animation in the movie is magnificent and fantastically executed. The lighting and the backgrounds are just breathtaking. The audio is used expertly to relate the mood of the movie.
10. Princess Mononoke
Princess Mononoke is primarily for adults, but it does have something to appeal to everyone.
The movie is about the primal conflicts, man VS nature and good VS evil.