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5 Anime Films for Students

Anime movies are unique because they ignite imagination and creativity. They have unique plots with fun dynamics and charming characters but that often have a deep message too, which makes them the perfect watch for all audiences. Whether you need to take a break from your daily routine, find an entertaining movie to watch with your friends, or simply relax at the end of a tiring day in class, anime films are for you. You can hire custom thesis writing services online and make time to watch a few movies that will give you plenty of feelings, nostalgia, and life lessons. Here are 5 great anime films for students!

1. Spirited Away (2001)

Hayao Miyazaki

loud and clear reviews Spirited Away studio ghibli hayao miyazaki film review
5 Anime Films for Students – Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli)

Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most beloved and acclaimed directors and animators of our time. With his unique style of storytelling, he has revolutionized animation with genre-defying gems that can be enjoyed by viewers of all ages. His stories are filled with passion and emotion, and his animations are so detailed, with fantastic worldbuilding that effortlessly immerses us in the world of his protagonists and makes us experience their feelings. And despite his works being animated, Miyazaki doesn’t shy away from telling extremely sad stories that focus on themes of loss or despair, which are emotions that most of us know well. But there are also some incredibly cute tales, like the universally beloved My Neighbor Totoro and the uniquely charming Kiki’s Delivery Service.

And then there’s his masterpiece, Spirited Away, which has a little bit of both. This unique, imaginative tale tells the story of a 10-year-old girl named Chihilo. When we first meet her, she’s in a car, about to move to the countryside with her parents, but things don’t go exactly as planned. As the car takes a wrong turn, they find themselves in front of a bizarre amusement park whose idyllic looks conceal something much more disquieting. As Chihilo’s parents fall into the park’s traps, it’s up to the girl to rescue them. How? By embarking on an adventure in a fantasy land and meeting a series of magical characters – some more scary than others – that will ultimately help her grow up.

In the best Studio Ghibli tradition, Spirited Away has incredible visuals and highly memorable characters. But despite it being a coming of age story, it’s also a highly symbolic one with dark undertones, and it will give you a lot to think about. Spirited Away is Hayao Miyazaki as his very best, and, with the upcoming release of Miyazaki’s TIFF-premiering The Boy and the Heron, now is the perfect time to revisit his past work.

2. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Mamoru Oshii

5 Anime Films for Students – Ghost in the Shell (Lionsgate)

If you’ve seenRupert Sanders’ 1995 remake of the same name, starring Scarlett Johansson, do not despair: while the reboot is definitely a flawed movie, the 1995 original is a must watch. Based on Masamune Shirow’s manga of the same name, Mamoru Oshii’s  Ghost in the Shell is a highly philosophical, stunning anime movie that is quintessentially 90s, providing the best that the neo-noir cyberpunk movement has to offer.  The movie takes place in 2029 in Japan’s New Port City, at a time when humans can improve their bodies with cybernetic parts, which include not only arms and legs but also cyberbrains. But the latter come with a consciousness that inhabits the body (or “shell”): the titular “ghost”. Which means that, in 2029, computers aren’t the only things that can be hacked: since ghosts can reside in someone’s shell, people can be hacked too.

The film revolves around a cyborg federal agent named  Major Motoko Kusanagi (Mimi Woods) is trailing an artificially intelligent cyber hacker named the “Puppet Master” (Abe Lasser), whom she believes to be a “ghost”. But things become much more complicated when Motoko comes across a shell with a human’s ghost in it who may or may not be the Puppet Master. And things get philosophical, as the latter asks the ultimate question: what constitutes a human?

With its gorgeous worldbuilding, Ghost in the Shell marks a technical achievement in animation. It’s also an extremely compelling, thought-provoking anime movie that will draw you into a fascinating sci-fi universe that you’ll never want to leave. If you’re a fan of Blade Runner and The Matrix, this film is for you.

3. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

Mamoru Hosoda

5 Anime Films for Students – The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Crunchyroll)

If you’re unfamiliar with the name Mamoru Hosoda, you absolutely need to start watching his movies, as the director and animator has made some of the best anime out there. The best film to start with is one of his early releases, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, which revolves around a 17-year-old girl named Makoto Konno (Emily Hirst) who one way finds herself unexpectedly time travelling. But instead of going “back to the future” like our favorite skateboard-wielding teen, she uses her “time leaps” to correct embarrassing situations, fix her grades, straighten her life, and also relive some moments she enjoyed in the past.

But things aren’t so easy, as Makoto soon discovers that she’s only allowed a limited number of time leaps right at the same time when she finds out that her time-travelling antics had consequences on her friends and family. And so, our hero embarks on a new mission: using her remaining time leaps to right her wrongs and bring everything back to normal.

A sequel to a 1967 novel of the same name, Hosoda’s 2006 movie is not only highly imaginative and original, but also genuinely enthralling. You will be hooked to the screen from start to end, secretly wishing for superpowers while pondering themes like free will and the consequences of our actions. Not to be missed!

4. Perfect Blue (1997)

Satoshi Kon

5 Anime Films for Students – Perfect Blue (Netflix)

Perfect Blue is a psychological thriller that explores themes that couldn’t be more timely, such as fame, celebrity, and obsession. The movie tells the story of a J-pop band frontwoman named Mima Kirigoe (Bridget Hoffman), who one day decides to leave her group, “CHAM!,” to become an actress. But with fame come fans, and some of them are a little creepy. One day, Mima discovers a website dedicated to her, where fans have written diary entries as if they were her. But that is only the beginning of a quickly unfolding nightmare for Mima, as not only does she have a stalker, but the stalker in question is determined to be “the ream Mima.”

As dream and reality starts to blur, we soon realize that Mima isn’t well: is the stalker real or is she a figment of her imagination? This clever thriller is filled with tension but it also explored a condition called “dissociative identity disorder”, which you may remember from recent Apple TV+ series The Crowded Room.  If you’re looking for a great watch with unsettling themes, look no further than Perfect Blue.

5. Your Name. (2017)

Makoto Shinkai

5 Anime Films for Students – Your Name. (Toho)

Chances are, you’re already familiar with Makoto Shinkai’s 2017 anime movie, as it took the world by storm upon release, going on to win many awards. At its core, Your Name. is a body swap story, telling the tale of two teenagers, Taki (Ryunosuke Kamiki) and Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi) who one day wake up to discover they’re in each other’s bodies. The real twist here is that Taki and Mitsuha have never even met in real life, but they somehow share a connection that enables them to communicate. Throughout the film, they get to find out more about one another, and a genuine friendship develops. One day, Taki and Mitsuha decide to meet, and things become even more complicated from there.

It’s best to leave it at that to avoid spoilers, but we guarantee that Your Name. will become your new favorite anime movie. Both absolutely stunning and incredibly well-written, Your Name.  is not only a great animated film but also one of the best movies of the century, and you’ll find yourself coming back to it at the times in your life when you need it the most.

Anime movies come in all shapes and forms, but the 5 films we’ve listed above all have one thing in common: they tell highly compelling stories with gorgeous visuals and an emotional core, exploring fascinating themes while also igniting your imagination. Which makes them perfect for students. Happy watching!

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