DIRECTED BY: Mamoru Hosoda
FEATURING: Voices of Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Nanami Sakuraba
PLOT: Math and computer whiz Kenji battles a rogue artificial intelligence who is wrecking the virtual world of Oz and seizing corporate and government computer accounts, while simultaneously posing as the boyfriend of a classmate he has a crush on during her family celebration. . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: SUMMER WARS (2009)
DIRECTED BY: Hayao Miyazaki
FEATURING: Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning (Disney dubbed version)
PLOT: Two young girls befriend a forest spirit who lives in a tree near their new country house.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: My Neighbor Totoro is somewhat strange, like being dropped into the unfiltered imagination of a six-year old girl. . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (1988)
Rabitto Horâ 3D
DIRECTED BY: Takashi Shimizu
FEATURING: Hikari Mitsushima, Takeru Shibuya, Teruyuki Kagawa
PLOT: A young boy has nightmares about a giant bunny after he euthanizes a wounded rabbit on the playground; his mute older sister tries to keep him from being sucked into another world.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: Tormented . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: TORMENTED (2011)
DIRECTED BY: Yûdai Yamaguchi
FEATURING: Tak Sakaguchi, Mari Hoshino
PLOT: A boy with a (literally) killer fastball grows up to become a vigilante, is imprisoned, and is blackmailed into playing on the jailhouse baseball squad despite the fact that he has sworn never to use the fatal pitch again.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: DEADBALL (2011)
“I love the animation, ’cause it’s very magical and very… fantapsychological?”—12-year old Josh Hutcherson (who played Markl) on Howl’s Moving Castle
DIRECTED BY: Hayao Miyazaki
FEATURING: Voices of Emily Mortimer, Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Billy Crystal, Lauren Bacall (US dubbed version)
PLOT: Sophie is an 18-year old girl who works in her mother’s hat . . . → Read More: 146. HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (2004)
Tôkyô Zankoku Keisatsu
“She is the only actress in the world who can look so beautiful just standing in the midst of a gushing spray of blood.”–Yoshihiro Nishimura on Eihi Shiina
“I wouldn’t say I liked being covered in blood… [but] I really love the surrealism and beauty of these scenes, while I’m getting covered . . . → Read More: 142. TOKYO GORE POLICE (2008)
Uchu kara no messeji
DIRECTED BY: Kinji Fukasaku
FEATURING: Philip Casnoff, Peggy Lee Brennan, Hiroyuki Sanada, Masazumi Okabe, Vic Morrow, Makoto Satô, Etsuko Shihomi, Sonny Chiba
PLOT: A race of evil robotic samurai conquer a peaceful tribe of leaf-headed aliens, who send out eight magic space nuts to track down reluctant heroes to save their planet.
. . . → Read More: CAPSULE: MESSAGE FROM SPACE (1978)
Space Shower TV is a Japanese music channel which also features a variety of thirty second shorts from various directors. Everything we’ve seen passes the weirdness test, but we found these two to be exceptional.
DIRECTED BY: Abbas Kiarostami
FEATURING: Tadashi Okuno, Rin Takanashi, Ryo Kase
PLOT: Akiko is a young female student moonlighting as a call girl; her pimp sends her on an assignment in the suburbs, where her client, Takashi, is an elderly professor who doesn’t seem terribly interested in her carnal services. When he deigns to . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE (2012)
DIRECTED BY: Kazuyoshi Katayama
FEATURING: Brina Palencia, Patrick Seitz (English dub)
PLOT: A group of randomly chosen global volunteers are cryogenically frozen to escape a petrification virus, but wake up to a world overrun by monsters.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: King of Thorn falls afoul of the anime conundrum: . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: KING OF THORN (2009)