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[QUOTE] The Olympic's figure skating competition touched me on my soft side, so I started thinking about Anime. Can you recommend a good anime Cowboy Bebop or maybe Gankutsuo style? Those two really made a mark on me…anything new (or maybe old) that could strike a chord and make me believe in anime again? Please help as since I arrived to America I lost my soft intelligent side. And I don’t give two cents about regular shows (such as Lost, etc). (I started watching Gankutsuo at the same time my wife started learning about French wine…best nights ever..). [/QUOTE] Hey, sorry I'm late to the party. There's alot of talk about Anime getting stagnant, but that's simply not true. Just like every other industry and form of media, there's always great stuff out there if you look for it. Here are some of the animations I've tremendously enjoyed from the last decade: 1) [URL=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XU4EfF85u60]MINDGAME[/URL]: This is a really really amazing virtuoso film. It was produced by Studio 4 C (a studio you can never go wrong with) and directed by Masaaki Yuasa, an amazing animator and director who's been involved in just about everything I'm about to recommend to you. It was made on a shoestring budget by some of the finest animators in the world who only worked on the film because they wanted to. It only played in one theater in Japan and then went on to win tons of audience awards at various film festivals. It's an art film through and through, but it's not pretentious or self important. It's very fun and endearing. Everyone I've shown this film to has enjoyed it, regardless of their feelings towards Japanese cartoons. MINDGAME is probably my favorite movie. It genuinely blew my mind when i saw it. It was so raw and personal and fresh. I was on the verge of tears the entire movie, not cos it's sappy or sad or manipulative, but because it's so MOVING. Haha hope I'm not overhyping it for you. Unfortunately it's not available in the US. But you can import the Japanese DVD which has english subtitles and tons of awesome extras. 2) [URL=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3AvlxZBMXU]Kemonozume[/URL] - I try to foist this show on as many people as I can. It's a TV show made by the director and crew of MINDGAME. Again, it's got a very avante guard look to it, but the story is accessible and the characters are extremely well defined and likeable. The basic plot is that there are monsters called Flesh Eaters hidden in society, and there is an ancient group of martial artists who train to kill them. It may sound like your typical fantasy fare (Devil Hunter Yoko, Buffy the Vampire Slayer etc) but it's SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. The overall feel of the show has more in common with modern Japanese film and literature than teenage pop culture. It is very mature. You feel you are actually watching adults making decisions. The script is unusually good for a TV show (animated or not) and the story really takes you places. Perhaps the best thing about this show (as well as MINDGAME) is that it really successfully conveys the feeling of being deeply in love. That's the best thing I can say about it. 3) [URL=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTEMxvCbem0]Kaiba[/URL]: Also by Studio 4c (and Madhouse) and also directed by Masaaki Yuasa. Everything nice I said about the above recommendations applies here. Maybe even more so. Watch the opening. If that makes you feel any smidge of emotion, then do yourself a favor and just watch this series without reading any synopsis or anything. Go into it cold and enjoy the surprises that await. 4) Gurren Lagaan: This is the most fun traditional-ish anime series of the last decade. A must watch if you like hot blooded, masculine robot action. It's especially good if you grew up on Mashin Hero Wataru (the anime that Keith Courage was based off of). Other stuff I enjoyed 5cm - Makoto Shinkai's best, most mature work. Also very much about love, but in a nostalgic middle school kind of way. I watched this one with my mom and she loved it. She said it reminded her of the classic kind of romances she grew up with. This movie also has the best layouts I've ever seen, live action or animated. I've never seen anything where so much of the story is conveyed simply in the backgrounds and shot compositions (subtly too). I watched it with a photographer friend of mine, and she said that it did some amazing things with the shots that were film like, but actually nearly impossible to shoot in real life. Her explanation went over my head, but it sounded cool and impressive. Tekkon Kinkreet - a very very visually beautiful film, based on the amazing AMAZING comic by Taiyo Matsumoto. This adaptation is very much Michael Arias's take on the story and it's a bit too wimpy and sensitive in places for my tastes, but for the most part it's beautiful and really conveys a sense of euphoria. The climax is absolutely astounding. [URL=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RY8br0fiWOQ]Sword of the Stranger[/URL] - A violent Samurai anime that will satisfy anyone's bloodlust. We're talking old school Kawajiri violence (without the sex, so it won't offend anyone). Some of the best action pieces you'll ever see. Very fun. Also has some ... interesting plot twists that had lead to some very stimulating conversations on the concept of race vs culture ... but I'll leave it to you to see for yourself. This one's the most Cowboy Bebop-ish out of everything that I mentioned as it's by Bones. So imagine top notch Cowboy Bebop action for 90 minutes straight and you'll have a good idea of what this movie's like. If anyone gets around to watching any of these please start a new thread. I'd love to discuss!
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