By Daniel Baysa
Chalk Campus Correspondent
Thanks to our world becoming more and more connected, anime has risen up a lot in the past decade. Recent years have seen anime films go beyond the dedicated anime fan and into the mainstream, with even casual viewers being hooked in. Anime films aren’t just for the fun-seeking though. There are movies that are perfect for when you want to get hit right in the feels. Anime doesn’t hold back when they’re aiming for your emotions, so you better get your hearts ready because you might just bawl your eyes out with these picks!
1. Stand By Me Doraemon
You’ve probably seen a round-headed, blue-furred cat at some point. That’s Doraemon, one of the longest-running anime characters in history. The film was released in 2014 for his 45th anniversary and compiles several different iconic moments from the original manga into one full story. Doraemon is a time-traveling cat that goes back to the past to help Nobita gain a better future. You wouldn’t think a kid’s character like this could bring you the feels, but both longtime fans and new viewers will be laughing and crying by the movie’s end. If you want to have a glimpse into one of Japan’s most popular franchises, this is a good teary-eyed first look.
2. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
If you could time travel, what would you do? Would you use your powers to change the world? Or would you just keep using it to eat your favorite snacks all over again? Makoto in The Girl who Leapt Through Time chooses the latter. After living through the worst day of her life, including dying in a train accident, she finds out that she can “time leap.” Being the shortsighted teenager that she is, she uses her power to make her life better rather than do anything important. Consequences start to pop up for her actions, and she’s forced to become more responsible with what she does. Funny, heartwarming, and tearjerking, this is a classic film you’ll want to watch over and over again.
3. The Wind Rises
Hayao Miyazaki is by far one of the most successful anime directors of all time. His works about the power of nature and the importance of peace brought him worldwide fame, and this one is no exception. The Wind Rises is about the life of a real aircraft designer, Jiro Horikoshi, the man famous (or infamous, if you so choose) for designing the A6M Zero Japan used in World War 2. Longing to become a pilot but held back by being nearsighted, Jiro dreams about Italian air designer Giovanni Caproni and is inspired to become an engineer instead. The long road to Jiro’s fame has its ups and downs but, well let’s just say that becoming famous for designing a machine of war has its downs. The result is a bittersweet yet beautiful film that shows the price of pursuing your dreams at the expense of all else.
4. 5 Centimeters Per Second
Named for the speed at which cherry blossoms fall and symbolizing the drifting nature of relationships, 5 Centimeters per Second stars a young man named Takaki as he struggles to remain close to his childhood friend Akari. “Walang forever” is a funny little meme that’s popped over the years when it comes to relationships, and here we have a film that brings it to light. It was directed by anime feels master Makoto Shinkai, famous for the highest grossing anime film of all time, 2016’s Your Name and hailed as the second Miyazaki. No one-hit wonder, take a look at this classic of his and see that the art of making you cry is something he’s mastered well.
5. Grave of the Fireflies
If you ever wanted a movie to make you sad and depressed for days, here’s Grave of the Fireflies, a movie famous for doing just that. After their home is bombed, siblings Seita and Setsuko struggle to live life in Japan war-torn Japan. The film was based on director Isao Takahata’s real experiences of living in the horror of World War 2, and it shows. It portrays with startling clarity the ugly realities of war: Families are torn apart, homes and lives are destroyed, and even getting food becomes a struggle. Hailed by famous internet reviewer Spoony as “The best movie I never want to watch again,” Grave of the Fireflies will give you a beautiful movie that’ll break your heart.
If you’re a true anime fan, you probably have countless examples you could add to this list. Have any examples? Put them down here and hope people don’t cry too hard from your choices!
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