One of the most appealing aspects of anime is how the plots of anime shows and films can be so unique and complex, with multiple layers to uncover as the story unfolds, rich characters that can have elements of light and darkness to their personalities, and surprising twists and turns the viewer doesn’t often see coming.
Anime films often defy convention, not sticking to the standard tropes and stereotypes we often see in other movies, and just when we think we’ve got them all figured out, they’ll catch us off-guard with another surprise we weren’t ready for. But even with those complex plots and intriguing characters, these films are often built on firmly logical storylines that anyone can understand, as long as they’re paying attention. Here are five amazing examples of this perfect blend of logic and complexity.
This list wouldn’t be complete without at least one Hayao Miyazaki film. His films always appear on must-watch lists for anime fans. Devised by the legendary director and animated by the iconic Studio Ghibli team, Spirited Away introduces us to an extraordinary world of spirits and mystical beings.
The film centers around Chihiro Ogino, a 10-year-old girl who sees her parents transformed into pigs and then enters a bathhouse where all kinds of’ Kami’ or spirits gather together.
Really, when you boil down the plot, it’s all just about Chihiro trying to find a way to get back to reality and save her parents, but there’s so many complex elements, so many characters, and such a lot of iconic scenes throughout the film that makes it such an intriguing viewing experience.
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Directed by Satoshi Kon and released back in 1997, Perfect Blue manages to blend elements of psychological thrillers, fantasy, horror, and more, all in just 81 minutes of anime action.
The film follows the story of Mima Kirigoe, a former idol who has gone on to become an actress. Mima suddenly finds herself dealing with a deadly stalker and starts to lose her hold on reality. It’s a fascinating film in a lot of different ways, inspiring essays, dissertations, assignment help, and film theories of all kinds, and many people have enjoyed looking into the deeper themes and subtext of the film, but even casual viewers can keep up with the action and have an amazing time with this intense thriller.
One of the most successful anime movies of recent times, Your Name came out in 2016. Its writer and director were Makoto Shinkai. The film portrays a Tokyo boy and a rural girl who magically switch into each other’s bodies.
Like so many great anime stories, the film takes an intriguing idea and then runs with it in ways the viewer doesn’t necessarily see coming. We watch as the two young people learn more about one another and try to uncover the mystery of what is happening to them.
There’s plenty of depth to the film and it’s one that deserves to be watched a few times to truly appreciate all of its complex elements. But the storyline is still relatively logical, showing two people in a confusing situation trying to figure things out.
Grave of the Fireflies
Released in 1988 and directed by Isao Takahata, Grave of the Fireflies is the second Studio Ghibli entry on this list! It’s one of the darker and more depressing anime films out there. It follows the tale of two siblings, named Seita and Setsuko, who struggle to stay alive in the latter months of the Second World War.
The film is relatively simple and follows a mostly linear plot, showing how the siblings’ home was destroyed in firebombing and how they had to move in with an abusive aunt, eventually fleeing her home and trying to fend for themselves for a while.
However, beneath that logical storyline, we can discover a lot of deeper themes and ideas. Critics and students with assignment help UK have looked at ways in which the film can be perceived as being an anti-war statement. However the director himself said that he intended to invoke no such ideas.
Paprika is a fascinating film. It almost achieves the impossible, blending half a dozen different genres – including fantasy, horror, mystery, and science-fiction – into one compelling viewing experience, and still being relatively straightforward even for new viewers to keep up with.
The film is set in a near-future world where a device called the ‘DC Mini’ has been invented to allow the user to look into the dream of others. The idea of the device is to help people with mental health disorders, but of course, it falls into the wrong hands and chaos ensues.
From there, the story sees the main character, Atsuko Chiba, also known as Paprika in the dream world, and her allies trying to get the device back. It’s a simple story of cat and mouse, in many ways, but it explores some amazing ideas as the worlds of dream and reality blend together.
These are just some of the many examples of amazing anime films that have relatively simple plot structures completely covered in layer upon layer of complex characters and otherworldly ideas.
Jessica Chapman is a writer and editor from Chicago. She is into sport and politics, and she also enjoys traveling. Find her on Twitter.