Favorite Anime Movies

The $5 tier on my patreon allows people to nominate/vote on one post a month- about anything!  This is one of those posts. Go to my patreon here to learn more.

Out of the nominations I’ve received from patrons, I chose a post on my favorite anime movies! I’m afraid I’ve watched a ton less anime movies than series, so there probably won’t be a ton of surprises here.

Favorites Anime Movies List

Movies by Hayao Miyazaki– It’s no surprise this tops the list- any movie of his is worth a look, as are Studio Ghibli movies in general. My favorites of his work are Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Kiki’s Delivery Serviceand Spirited Away. It’s apparently a bit unusual to have Nausicaa as a favorite, but it was my first time really paying attention to a Ghibli movie, I think it’s wonderfully told and I just love the protagonist- a compassionate friend-to-all-animals warrior princess who is deeply invested in giant mutant bugs. Spirited Away is just a masterpiece with a vibrant fantasy world and colorful characters and Kiki’s is deeply heartwarming and has a lot of great things to say about inspiration, growing up and the creative process.

Whisper of the Heart- This is hands-down my favorite non-Miyazaki Ghbli movie. As a writer, I connected it so powerfully, it really depicts the struggle honestly while being a great coming of age story. I feel like the main character is probably the closest person I’ve ever found to me in a story- she just felt so real and grounded. I too both love and hate to write, flop on the floor in despair and would follow a random cat for miles.

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In this Corner of the World I saw this one recently and was blown away. It can be a little confusing at times, but it’s ultimately a story about finding a way to live when war is tearing everything around you apart. It’s a slice of life with soft colors and lovely animation, but it’s set during WWII and the main character is from and lives near Hiroshima, so I don’t need to tell you it gets dark. But there’s always hope as well.

Wolf Children Ame and Yuki- This is a great, bittersweet tale of a single (human) mother raising two werewolf children. It’s adorable and also quite sad at times, but it really impresses on you  both the struggle and strength of this mother  raising kids on her own, while also exploring these children who grow and try to navigate a world where they are so different from other humans.

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Millennium Actress This is my favorite Satoshi Kon movie by far. It’s follows the story of an aged actress and shows how her long and vibrant career intertwined with her search for a man she was in love with (who was a protester of the Sino-Japanese war on the run from the law). It uses the various movies the actress was a part of to represent the different stages of the woman’s life, so it often suddenly switches genres- one second it’s a samurai movie, the next it’s a space drama- and it becomes hard to separate the actress herself from the parts she plays. It’s visually and narratively stunning and a trippy look at how deeply joined art and artist can be.

Movies that are spin-offs of an anime series

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My Favorite Epicstream Articles and Reviews

I was a regular on the entertainment website Epicstream for about two years, churning out article after article weekly. I wrote well over 200 articles for them (Maybe over 300 or 400…), covering reviews, list articles, news pieces and so on. I also created quizzes for them. I eventually got extremely burnt out and had to stop being a regular and turn my attention to other career paths. I still do the occasional article for them these days, but it’s rare.

Working there was hard. I learned a lot about the field and what my limits were. The commenters were predominantly very typical fanboys who didn’t like my progressive views and would often completely flip out at me for very silly reasons, so I came to stop reading the comments and it made me sad I couldn’t engage with my readers more. The job was more time consuming than it was profitable, and some of the stuff I did there was when I was completely exhausted and not my best work. I realized that this was not the right job for me- if I do ever turn my fandom blogging into a regular job/ source of income, it will have to be on my own terms, my own schedule, with my own audience that I cultivated.

Nevertheless, I think I did some good work there and there are some articles I did that say some really important things that I am really proud of. There’s some I put an incredible amount of research and time into. There’s some that are just plain fun and full of trivia I find interesting. I look back on them fondly, thinking of all the things I learned.

So here’s an overview of my favorite Epicstream articles out of the hundreds I did- the ones I think were the most informative and solid, the most important ones and the ones I was most passionate about. I hope people who read this post enjoy this look at my past work and get something out of these articles that I put my heart and soul into.

THE ARTICLES I’M MOST PROUD OF

Out of All the articles I ever did for Epicstream, these are the ones I’m most proud of.

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The Influence of Magical Girls on Western Animation

This was my first feature article for Epicstream and it dealt with a subject near and dear to my hear: magical girls. It delved into the influence the magical girl genre has had on the West, talking about shows like Steven Universe, Star vs the Forces of Evil and Miraculous Ladybug and it talked about the positive things this means for Western media. I love seeing a lot of girl-positive things about Magical Girl works carrying over to Western media and the way the tropes are played with through cross-cultural exchange and I think my article does a pretty good job capturing all that. The companion piece, 6 Essential Stories for Understanding the Magical Girl Genre talks about some important series in magical girl anime.Feature Detail

4 Examples of Social Allegories in Fantastical Fiction: The Good, the Bad and The Ugly

This was a shortened and more accessible version of my thesis that I did for grad school. It examines the way sci-fi and fantasy uses magical races and aliens/tales of the future as metaphors for racism, sexism, anti-semitism and homophobia- the works of J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler and the abysmal Save the Pearls book are my examples. I talk about the pros and cons of fantasical allegories and how they can go horribly right or horribly wrong. I also talk about the “reverse-opression stories” (stories that show a world where the oppressors and the oppressed are flipped) and the unfortunate implications of them, as well as the rare well-done example.  I’m proud of this one, as I think it covers a lot of ground and gives a fair overview of the subject and this presentation even made my professor say I should go into teaching!

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The History and Importance of Girls’ Manga

This was a piece I’d been intending to do for a long time. I’d often heard shoujo manga being dismissed, stereotyped and denigrated because it was media by women aimed at women and it really ground my gears, especially after looking into the history of shoujo and seeing how revolutionary and groundbreaking the women who defined the multigenre were. This article rebuts ridiculous claims like “action and sci-fi shoujo aren’t a thing” and gives a quick, simplistic overview of seminal shoujo artists and how they impacted anime and manga as a whole- many of your favorite shonen anime wouldn’t exist without them. It may not be perfect, but I think it says some important things and that the call to respect the women behind shoujo manga is one that needs to be answered. The companion piece 13 Action-Packed Girls’ Manga with Awesome Leading Ladies shines a spotlight on shoujo that contains lots of action alongside dynamic, strong-willed female leads.

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5 Incredible Sagas of Fandom Scams and Deception

This is an article I’m really proud of because I have seen the overview I gave of the scammer Andy Blake’s history being praised as a resource and being used to warn potential victims about him- for example, in this tumblr post– and I am really glad to some I wrote doing some good and helping people protect themselves from a dangerous person. I put a ton of work and research into this article and that section especially because I wanted to be fair and accurate, so I’m glad to see it was worth it.

It’s also pretty notable because it’s the only piece someone threatened legal action on- that’s why there are only four pages despite the “5” in the title. There was a section of the article about an artist who was allegedly impersonating someone else and well…that artist got mad, and sent a copyright notice accusing me of plagiarism of her words and unfair image use. The image use is a gray area (and a rookie mistake on my part), but the plagiarism claim was definitely not true, as all I did was paraphrase what she wrote (I did not copy anything) and linked back to her words as a source. However, Epicstream naturally has a “better safe than sorry” policy so the whole section was deleted. I’m fairly sure I would not have been threatened with legal action had the article been complementary to the person in question.

SOCIAL JUSTICE EXTRAVAGANZA:

I believe representation and examination of social biases in media is important, so naturally I did a few articles in that vein. As you can imagine, the internet was not happy, but I think most of them were pretty solid.

Continue reading “My Favorite Epicstream Articles and Reviews”