AKA Big Monster War; Yokai Monsters Vol. 1
DIRECTED BY: Yoshiyuki Kuroda
FEATURING: Chikara Hashimoto, Yoshihiko Aoyama, Akane Kawasaki
PLOT: Japanese folk spirits (yokai) unite to fight off an ancient Babylonian vampire who has assumed the form of a local human magistrate.
WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE LIST: If Spook Warfare makes the . . . → Read More: LIST CANDIDATE: YOKAI MONSTERS: SPOOK WARFARE (1968)
NOTE: The pilot episode to “Serial Experiments Lain” is embedded for viewing (as of date of publication) at the bottom of the post. (May not be available in all countries).
DIRECTED BY: Ryūtarō Nakamura
FEATURING: Kaori Shimizu, Bridget Hoffman (English dub)
PLOT: Timid junior high school student Lain receives an email from her . . . → Read More: TV CAPSULE: SERIAL EXPERIMENTS LAIN (1998)
Reader recommendation by James Harben
Gusha no bindume; AKA Hellevator: The Bottled Fools
DIRECTED BY: Hiroki Yamaguchi
FEATURING: Luchino Fujisaki, Yoshiichi Kawada, Ryôsuke Koshiba
PLOT: A dystopian future civilization lives in a vast underground complex where each floor represents a different part of society, from housing and schooling up to more sinister departments, culminating in . . . → Read More: READER RECOMMENDATION: HELLEVATOR (2004)
Reader Recommendation by Fredrik Allenmark
DIRECTED BY: Hiroshi Teshigahara
FEATURING: Eiji Okada, Kyôko Kishida
PLOT: An entomologist ends up trapped together with a woman in a house at the bottom of a sand pit in the desert, where they are forced to spend their nights shoveling sand.
WHY IT SHOULD MAKE THE LIST: . . . → Read More: READER RECOMMENDATION: WOMAN IN THE DUNES (1964)
“Otomo, who wrote and directed the movie, has told interviewers that he set out to ‘make a film that would be a jumble of images, instead of just showing the highlights of each scene’, and on that score, he succeeded.”–The Los Angeles Times, in a dismissive review entitled “High-Tech Hokum From Japan”
DIRECTED BY: . . . → Read More: 158. AKIRA (1988)
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 . . . → 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 . . . → 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 . . . → 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)