While many anime series tends to come and go in terms of popularity, some never get their fair due within the United States. Whether it is because they are not licensed, released way past the point of where they would have peak popularity and when they were created, or because they simply do not meet with Western cultural values many series have been virtually unknown by viewers in the United States. In this list I want to explore the series that were never popular for a variety of reasons and dig up some of the most obscure hidden gems. For this reason I won’t be talking about series that were previously popular, but are now largely forgotten in this list like Ranma ½ or Bubble Gum Crisis, and instead will be focusing on rarer shows. I also will be talking about shows I enjoy and have seen so obscure junk like Mars of Destruction or Chou Henshin Cosprayers will not appear on this list.


1. Space Pirate Mito: It’s criminal that this series has been so overlooked. Space Pirate Mito and its sequel are a lot of fun. Despite being named after Mito the story has just as much to do with her child Aoi who gets stuck in-between a Star Wars style war with the tyrant Lord Ranban. Both shows in this series start off with a lot of comedy and action, but then develop solid stories focusing on drama, family, and romance. Throughout the show though there is a real sense of fun, but also serious topics such unusual family dynamics, body image challenges, and what love means for different people. One thing this show also does brilliantly is tie in Aoi’s classmates into the galactic style plot while still having them act like students. Even with all the aliens and space ships around the series it still has time for the over the top antics of rich theatrical girl Kakugein and her reluctant Hench women, or antics of the Aoi’s other classmates who support them. Aoi is very down to earth, and has very real reactions to the incredible situations where they often feel out of place and unsure of what to do. I also love how Mito is portrayed as a brash and cocky pirate with a really weird crew, but also is a loving mother and good person who initially wants to keep her real identity from her child for safety reasons. All the characters in this show are really interesting and are given a good amount of screen time and personality, and fit well into an exciting and fun plot. It’s odd that this show has always been so ignored, especially since it offers a great viewing experience with tons of fun.


2. Mister Ajikko: While I have talked about this show many times in my blogs it definitely falls into the category of a hidden gem. Despite being one of the biggest influencers on hit cooking shows such as Food Wars, Mister Ajikko is one of least well known shows in the United States. A show about a young boy cooking prodigy who often competes in order to help his neighborhood; Mister Ajikoo is filled with exciting cooking challenges and stories where he has to work hard to come up with new and exciting recipes. As this show is one of the most over the top 80’s anime’s and has never had an official release in the United States it isn’t hard to see why it has been so overlooked despite its influence. These issue have made it so that only the most dedicated of Vintage of anime fans (or readers of my blogs who have read all my gushing about it) will have probably have even heard of this show.


3. Ghost Sweeper Mikami: Ghost Sweeper Mikami is an incredible show, but also one that due to the time of its first release in the United States in 2010 was lost in the shuffle. Ghost Sweeper Mikami stars Reiko Mikami a skilled exorcist, and her two assistants the lecherous goof Tadao and Oniku a teenage spirit as they hunt ghosts and spirits. Stories of the series often involve Reiko and her group trying to exorcize a spirit or group of spirits only to have weird things happen that complicate matters. What really makes this series shine though is the characters who are often ridiculous and amoral. None the less the characters have a charm to them, and the silly antics they become embroiled in are a lot of fun. Had this show been released around the time of its initially airing chances are it would have been much more popular, but because it was released so late the anime world had already moved on to other shows, and sadly it ended up as a bargain title having its cost slashed repeatedly to move warehouse stock. I bought my copy of the complete series for less than 30 dollars (less then I initially spent for just the first season), and am glad I was able to get this hidden gem before it went out of print.


4. The Precure Franchise: While the Precure franchise is one of the biggest magical girl series in Japan, in the United States it is virtually unknown. While the first series of Precure is available on Crunchy Roll, and some dubbed and Americanized edited versions of the later shows in the series are on Netflix under the name Glitter Force it would be a real stretch to say that this series is well known or cared about by most American viewers. Precure involves girls that become magical girls with the help of fairies and form teams in order to fight evil. These series are great and each one usually features new characters, a new theme, and new villains designed to appeal to young girls but are well written enough to have a universal appeal. This series is widely popular in Japan where there have been 17 shows in the series, but in the United States it has remained virtually unknown. It could be that this is due to the licensing complications caused by the Glitter Force adaptions (similar to the Macross series), that the newest series have not streamed legally in the U.S., or that magical girl shows are not nearly as popular with American fans. Whatever the reason though Precure sadly has never really caught on like popular shows like Card Captor Sakura and Sailor Moon have.


5. Gregory Horror Show series: You could easily be forgiven for not realizing that this is an anime series. An early CG effort this series is odd, and is all about characters beings trapped by their existential crises. Each show in the series stars the blocky and creepy mouse Gregory a hotel owner, and has the star character being driven to madness. The idea of a blocky horror show taking place in a mysterious old hotel is fairly Western concept so it’s strange that an anime series would use this premise, especially considering when this show was released. While Geneon did briefly license this shows because of its odd concepts, blocky more typically Western style CG, and a classic horror plot it’s easy to see why it was overlooked during the early 2000’s anime boom.


6. 80’s style magical girl series: Sailor Moon was a huge game changer both in Japan and the US. Before Sailor Moon the style of magical girl shows were more clearly aimed at younger viewers, and more based in helping people rather than combat. While occasionally there would be unusual shows such as Cutie Honey most Magical girls especially in the 80’s were often idols, magical princesses, or good witches who were more involved in helping those around them with social problems. Many great 80’s and 80’s like shows such as Star Magician Magical Emi, Magical Angel Sweet Mint, Magical Fairy Persia, Magical Angel Creamy Mami, Magical Stage Fancy Lala, Magical Princess Minky Momo, and Magical Idol Pastel Yumi are pretty much entirely ignored in the USA which is a shame because they are so cute, light, fun, and very differently designed then newer magical girl shows.

I think that many of these shows have been overshadowed in the United States largely because of Sailor Moon. Many people including myself grew up watching Sailor Moon and Card Captor Sakura as their first magical girl shows having not seen earlier shows. Because of this most US fans came to expect action and large scale fantasy elements in their shows, and wanted more complex plot driven elements. Also these previous generation of shows were squarely marketed at young girls, and are the opposite of the darker shows that often enjoyed today in the United States currently such as Magical Girl Raising Project or Madoka Magika. While I adore Sailor Moon and Card Captor Sakura, one of the reason I love them is because they took and built off of earlier shows concepts. Sadly because these shows are old and companies don’t seem interested in licensing many of them state side, they will probably continue to be overlooked.

land_of_the_lustrous blog

7. Houseki no Kuni: It is strange how sometimes a show that is so recent and so good is buried. Houseki no Kuni is a show very few people talk about now, and is destined to soon disappear from the public conscious. This show stars Phosphophyllite a fragile and trouble causing gem, living in a community of agender gem people run by Kongou-sensei a Buddhist like priest. In this world the peaceful atmosphere where the gem people live is often shattered by the presence of the Lunairians a Buddhist/Hindu like statue people who try to harvest the gems and ride on clouds. This series has a great world and really great characters, and although the anime ends on a cliff hanger that many people don’t like it does complete a story arc. While it is far from the least viewed series on this list, especially for a recent anime it has been surprisingly overlooked. This could be because many CG anime series are particularly poor looking, and that fans didn’t expect the animation to look as good as it does for this series. Based on other anime series I can definitely see the use CG animation in this series being a turn off for those who haven’t seen this show which is too bad because this animation manages to look great and at times I forgot the show was even using CG. While this series is licensed and is not the most unknown on the list, it certainly is still much more obscure then most shows that have been released after the United States began the streaming and the advertising of new shows.


8. Kaiketsu Zorro: Kaiketsu Zorro is Zorro the anime. For those who have never seen Zorro it stars Diego Vega a noble who pretends to be selfish and foppish, but in reality is Zorro the masked champion of the people. Zorro along with Lolita and his kid sidekick Bernard battle the corrupt Spanish Army that oppresses the people. Not only is this a great adaption of the Zorro character, but it has one of the coolest intros of any anime. The music, timing, and action in this show are top notch and fits in surprisingly well with the rest of the Zorro media. Whether because it is old or licensing issues, this series has oddly enough never been released in the US despite being a hit outside the country. This would be an anime that I could easily see being popular if it were released, and could easily appeal to even non-anime fans.


9. Daughter of 20 Faces: Daughter of 20 Faces was largely a victim of the time it was released. This series came out around a time of major restructuring within the anime industry. Around time this show came out in Japan Licensing studios in the United States were facing major down turns in sales and were reducing the money spent on licenses. As a result many studios were also beginning to go under as well during this period. Despite this being an incredible show, and the fact that most of the other Bones Studio shows before and after this one have been licensed this series has never picked up for a U.S. release. Daughter of 20 Faces is about Chiko the orphan daughter of a wealthy family living with her cruel aunt and uncle who are trying to slowly poison her in order to inherit her wealth. Chiko is saved though by the benevolent 20 Faces a famous phantom thief, and ends up joining his crew. It’s puzzling to me why this show still hasn’t been licensed yet despite being so good. While this show currently is mostly unknown I could easily see a licensor picking up this show in the future as it is an incredible show by a studio known for quality, has a concept that I think could sell well, and it’s obscurity to most United States fans could make it a desirable watch for those looking for a new series.


10. The Great Passage: Anime can be great at turning something that seems boring and uninteresting into a great premise. For example even though I dislike most sports I love sports anime. Still I wasn’t sure what to expect with the great passage, and I’m sure many viewers now feel similarly. The Great Passage is all about a socially awkward book salesmen and lover who ends up being recruited to help with the writing of a Japanese dictionary. This series is so obscure that despite it being a newer series and me keeping up with what shows are currently airing I didn’t even realize it existed until a friend of mine in anime club screened it. This could be because the show is strange, but its artsy concept and premise really are exciting and unique. I never thought I would watch an anime about dictionaries, let alone that it would be an interesting watch. This is definitely a slow and artsy show, but those who get into its tone will find a solid viewing experience.


11. Shigofumi: Shigofumi is a perfect example of a series that was damaged by the anime crash of 2008. Originally the series was acquired by Bandai Visual but after the industry began to struggle it was shelved. Though it was eventually released by Sentai Filmworks in 2010 it received little fanfare and remains fairly obscure to this day. This is really sad as Shigofumi is a great series with a thought provoking plot and excellent animation. Shigofumi involves Fumika and her talking staff Kanaka as they deliver messages from the recently deceased to the living. Stories in this series can range from heartwarming to tragic as Fumika often has to deal with complications delivering her messages or caused by her messages. Shigofumi really shouldn’t have been so passed by as it is a great show with interesting plots and a great concept, but because of the complications with its release it has remained fairly obscure.


12. Kemonozume: This is an anime series that I honestly am not surprised is not well known in the United States. Despite being by cult hit director Masaaki Yuasa one look at a screen shot of Kemonozume will clearly show that this is one of Yuasa most eccentric and ambitiously animated shows. Kemonozume looks like no other anime I’ve ever seen due to its rough sketch like quality combined with the rubbery character models Yuasa works are known for. While the plot is in general fairly easy to follow, its execution is anything but typical. This series is about a family of demon hunters who hunt down monsters disguising themselves as human and that are dealing with changing technology. The story focuses on Toshihiko the heir of the Momota family who ends up falling in love with Yuka who is a monster. Despite the plot seeming simple it’s more adult way of telling the story along with its strange animation has led to this series remaining unlicensed and largely unknown in the United States.

ghost hound

13. Ghost Hound: Ghost Hound is a horror series that feels very different from most other horror anime. Unlike most horror shows which focus upon an external threats and direct violence, Ghost Hound is much more based on internal struggles and surreal imagery. Ghost Hound features Taro Komori a boy who is traumatized by a kidnapping that occurred when he was younger and led to the death of his sister. Soon he is joined by Makoto and Masayuki, and the group of boys end up exploring the spirit realm as it converges on their island. It’s not surprising to me that a series this slow moving, weird, and uncomfortably grounded in real life trauma wasn’t a big hit even when it was licensed by Sentai film works for release. Ghost Hound is proof that just because a show is licensed doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t still obscure.


14. Future Boy Conan: How is this show not licensed yet?! Future Boy Conan was one of Miyazaki’s first works as a director and another early series by Takahata before they both formed Studio Ghilbi. Future Boy Conan features Conan a boy living in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by war. Soon he and his grandfather discover that humanity has survived when Lana a girl living on another island washes ashore on their small island. After the girl is captured by members of another island it becomes up to Conan to explore the world, make new friends, and rescue Lana. Despite being an early series for Miyazaki it contains many themes he would often turn to such as environmental and anti-war themes, strong female characters, young boy heroes, and flying machines. Many other early works of Miyazaki such as Lupin the 3rd season one and Sherlock Hound have already been released, and this work contains much more of Miyazaki’s work and influence so it is confusing to me why it hasn’t become licensed or popular in the United States like his other works have.

new laugh

15. New Laughing Salesmen: Both unpopular in the United States and Japan it has been suspected that New Laughing Salesmen has suffered from a change in anime viewership and viewers interests. The New Laughing Salesmen is a continuation of the stories within the Laughing Salesmen series starring Moguro the world’s creepiest salesman who will “fill your empty soul,” for absolutely free. Moguro usually targets people whose wishes are better left unfulfilled or who he knows will disobey the conditions he sets for them. As a result he leaves those that he “helps,” in shambles, and often ends the episode walking off to find a new victim his sinister smile continuing to plaster his face.

The problem for this show in both the United States and Japan is that the viewership of anime has changed so much since the original Laughing Salesman series conception. Originally the shows more adult concepts that criticized those who don’t take responsibility for their lives and live in fantasies was especially appealing in communal society, and was interesting when compared to the creator’s other major work the family friendly Doremon. Currently though anime has taken a much more escapist bent to it with Isekai and Moe idol shows being extremely popular with viewers. I think in both the United States and Japan an old style show like this one that is so critical of fantasy and that is more adult driven was bound to be unpopular which is a shame since this is an excellent horror show, and really deserves more attention then it got.


16. Sakigake!! Otokojuku: Otokojuku probably hasn’t gained traction because it is a very 80’s anime. Otokojuko is all about students at the “manliest,” high school of all time that are being taught to literally carry Japan and its future on their backs. As an action comedy this show focuses a lot on students battling, as well as an on parodying many of the tough school shows such as Taiman Blues, and “masculine,” muscle bound series like Fist of the North Star and the Jojo’s Bizzare adventure series. It’s not surprising to me that this show hasn’t been licensed since its brand of humour is very strange and old-school, and that many shows of the 80’s have not been licensed. Still it would be really neat to see someone like Dicotek who released Fist of the North Star in the United States also license Otokojuku as this series is hilarious, and despite its age it was still big hit in my Anime Club when we screened it.


17. Tentai Senshi Sunred: Astro Fighter Sunred is a really strange sentai show parody. This is a show all about Sunred, a lazy jerk of a superhero who often causes problems for his girlfriend and the world around him. Meanwhile his nemesis General Vamp and his allies who are all part of the “evil,” Florsheim organization are actually helpful, nice, and friendly people. This series is all about the humour, and often has the villains being much better people then Sunred who usually lounges around and mooches off his girlfriend instead of helping. This series does not have great animation, and even with its stylization can’t cover up how cheap it looks. What it does have however is really really funny writing. I think one of the biggest barriers which has made it less known, and kept it unlicensed is its brand of humour which is very Japanese. Like a show such as Saint Young Man I think it would be hard to sell this shows style of humour in the U.S. especially if it were dubbed. Those looking for a really funny and overlooked show, however will definitely enjoy seeing this one.


18. Cross Game: It puzzles me why Cross Game hasn’t been released in the United States. While a large part of the show does focus on sports which hasn’t been a wildly successful genre in the United States it does still have a lot of great drama and comedy, and many other more sports based series have been released. Cross Game features Ko a teen whose father works for a sportswear and gear store. Ko when he is younger loves batting, and as he grows up he begins to try to get better at the other parts of baseball as well. He also tries through baseball to forms a relationship with Aoba a pitcher who has a love/hate relationship with him after a family issue that occurred when they were young. It puzzles me that an anime like this which did see an English manga released, that aired from 2009-2010, and was officially licensed at one point by Viz was never released on disc. Cross Game is one of the best sports anime I have ever seen, and well worth seeing even if you aren’t a baseball fan.


19. Sugar Sugar Rune: Sugar Sugar Rune is kind of a throwback to classic magical girl series while having new features as well. The series stars two witch friends Chocola a brash and outgoing girl, and Vanilla who is shy and known for her kindness. Both girls are assigned to try to take the most hearts from humans in order to become queen. Chocola quickly finds though that her brashness doesn’t attract as much love as Vanilla’s quiet nature, and she often struggles throughout the show with her goals and feelings toward the mysterious princely Pierre. This is a great all ages show, and although it is clearly aimed at young girls it can be enjoyed by anyone similar to Princess Tutu. Due to it being a series with older style themes, and that is aimed at a younger audience though many studios have lacked interest in licensing it for the United States, and as a result it has remained obscure.


20. Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku: The Legend of Koizumi: Legend of Koizumi is a very strange show about world leaders and famous figures playing Majhong. The series stars all sort of hilarious depictions of leaders including the Bush’s, many Japanese prime ministers, North Korea leaders, and Chinese leadership include Mao Zedong. This series is over the top fun, and despite not knowing much about Mahjong I enjoyed it a lot. This show, however has two major barriers which I think have prevented it from becoming a licensed or well-known series. The first big issue is that most people in the United States know next to nothing about Japanese Prime Minsters or politics. Many of the jokes in this OVA as a result do fly over the heads of most people in the United States. The even bigger barrier for this show is that it features Mahjong. While knowing Mahjong isn’t required, because the series is all about playing Mahjong even though it isn’t necessary to know the game to enjoy this show many people would be turned off by its prominent focus. It’s a shame that this show has these barriers as it has an absurd sense of humor that I think a lot of people could really enjoy, even those who are not anime fans.

My Top 100 Favourite Films

The time has finally arrived, after many many months of thinking, writing, and editing, here is a list of the top 100 favourite films that I have seen (in no particularly order)! While everyone’s favourite film vary radically I hope this list does share some of your own favourites, and provides some interesting film suggestions for viewing!


  1. M: Fritz Lange is a filmmaker that I greatly admire. His work is incredibly forward thinking for its time and he manages to bring out the best in his actors. Nowhere is this more prevalent then in his iconic film M. M is all about a loathsome and menacing child serial killer played by Peter Lorre who strikes a German city. These murders cause the police to raid and crackdown on the local criminals and their businesses angering them. The crooks then decide that they have to find and capture the murder for their own safety and survival. We soon find though that Lorre’s character is much more complex than initially led on leading the viewer to have mixed emotions about his fate. Ultimately this film works because it presents a situation where it is unclearly whether to root or condemn the criminal’s form of vigilante justice against the murderer, and whether it is right to feel at all for someone who is so heinous.  What is especially suspenseful and well done are the scenes where the villains and their informants track down, and then attempt to capture the murderer. M is an incredible film especially those who like complex and suspenseful crime dramas, and is one of my favourite films of all time.karlof
  2. The Black Cat: The Black Cat combines two of the greatest icons in horror history Bella Lugosi and Boris Karloff. In this film newly-weds on a train end up meeting Dr. Vitus Werdegast (Lugosi) a tormented doctor who was recently released from a wartime torture camp. When bad weather causes the taxi the couple and Werdegast are taking to crash they both end up at the strange modernist home of Hjalmar Poelzig (Karloff) a sinister Satanist. It soon is revealed that Poelzig betrayed Werdegast and then married his wife before having her murder and stuffed. The movie quickly becomes a cat and mouse game with the unlucky couple stuck in-between the deadly feud. This film has Karloff in one of his most wicked roles ever, and while Lugosi does an incredible job as a tormented man whose sanity is pushed to its limits. This film is a match made in hell, and is one of my favourite of the Universal horror movies. For fans of old horror movies this film is one that must be seen.metropolis
  3. Metropolis: The anime film Metropolis is an adaption of the Osamu Tezuka book of the same name. This film involves Shunsaku Ban a detective who is sent along with his nephew Kinichi to investigate the mad scientist Doctor Laughton. It turns out though that the anti-robot fascist leader Duke Red is secretly working with Laughton to create a robotic ruler for the city. Modeled after Red’s deceased daughter named Tifa Red wants to use her for his new Ziggurat building/weapon to rule over human kind, despite this angering Red’s adopted son the psychopathic militant leader Rock. This film borrows heavily from the original Tezuka comic though it also includes much more overt tones of social unrest like in the original Lange film. At the same time though this film manages to be a work of art that stands on its own as something important and noteworthy in its own plot and artistry. This movie is one of the greatest examples of balancing an adaption with new material in a way that stands alone while also paying tribute to its source material. I highly recommend this film to anime and science fiction fans.


  4. Princess Mononoke: Princess Mononoke is one of if not the greatest animated films of all time. Every element of this film from the complex plot about a situation with no real easy or right answer, to the breath taking and incredible score by Joe Hashishi, and to the gorgeous and detailed use of animation is polished to perfection. This story surrounds Ashikata a prince of an indigenous group who is cursed by an angry boar spirit with a mark that is slowly consuming him. Ashikata ends up in a conflict between Lady Eboshi a strip miner who is destroying the forest around her settlement but also is a feminist who cares for ex-prostitutes and lepers living in her town, and San a woman who was adopted by giant wolf spirits who want to destroy Eboshi and Iron town for the damage they have done to the forest and it’s inhabitants. This film doesn’t pull punches or simplify things creating a story with many complicated questions about balancing our relationship with nature. This is one of the best films I have ever seen, and one that I feel everyone should watch at least once in their
  5. Totoro: Totoro is hands down the best children’s movie of all time, and is drastically different from Miyasaki’s other films. Totoro is a mostly quiet film about a father and his two young daughters that move to a small rural town to be closer to the daughter’s mother. Within that town the two daughters run into a number of natural and supernatural things including the large fuzzy spirit of the woods Totoro. Throughout the film the girls meet and are assisted by the kindly forest guardian as they adjust to their new life away from the city. This film works because it is so heart-warming without ever seeming sappy or cloying. Miyazaki’s attention to detail and childlike behavior makes both of the girls seem absolutely genuine, and presents a plot focused on the experiences and wonders found as a child. Fans of children’s films, anime, and/or films that are heartwarming really need to check this film out.


  6. The Bride of Frankenstein: The Bride of Frankenstein is a perfect example of how to do a sequel right. Despite the original being a classic James Whales was able to top himself in this film. In The Bride of Frankenstein the monster ends up surviving the fire of the last film and emerging only to get into all sorts of trouble. He then escapes to the woods where he befriends and learns to speak from a kind blind man. Meanwhile Frankenstein is approached by the mad Doctor Pretorius (played by Ernest Thesiger) who wants them to work together on creating a mate for the monster despite Frankensteins misgivings about the idea. This film is great because it gives so much more depth to the monster. The monster is both more violent and more sympathetic in this film, and is given more agency and screen time. Karloff does an incredible job making the creature complex. The films conflict between the amorality of Doctor Pretorius and Frankenstein who has learned his lesson also is exciting. This is one of the rare examples where the sequel does surpass the original to become a masterpiece in its own right.


  7. Horror of Dracula: There have been many adaptions of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula of varying quality. Of all the adaptions I have seen though Horror of Dracula is by far my favourite. This is because Horror of Dracula is more concerned about telling a compelling story then it is about staying true to the original book (which I found overly long and tedious). Instead of a long drawn out film where the filmmakers try to at least reference every part the original such as in Bram Stoker’s (Copulas) Dracula or the Universal film it instead focuses on mystery, suspense, and action. The editing and pacing in this film is nearly perfect avoiding the many dragging elements found in the Universal adaption. Another set of elements that makes this film stand out are the performances from the films two leads Peter Cushing who plays the driven version vampire hunter Van Hellsing, and Christopher Lee as the monstrous and looming Count. Both Cushing and Lee give two of their finest performances in the film along with Michael Gough as Author Homewood a man who works with Van Hellsing to save his family. This is without a doubt one of the best horror films I have ever seen, and one that I feel all horror fans should see.

    Re-release poster for HOUSE (HAUSU), designed by Sam Smith.

    8. House: It’s extremely hard to know how to describe the Japanese film House. Explaining that it is a strange movie involving a haunted house while accurate doesn’t really do this film justice. House is accessible experimental film about a group of high school girls named after their traits going on vacation to a house to visit one of the girl’s aunt. Slowly the girls are killed off in bizarre ways as the film continues. This Japanese horror film is filled though with all sorts of weirdness, comedy, and mystery as well, and is unlike any film I have ever seen. I especially love the odd ending where all hell seems to literally break loose. For those looking for something completely different this is the film to see.


    9. Haxan: Haxan is a classic silent horror documentary about the beliefs surrounding witchcraft, and the “modern,” actual causes of them. In terms of imagery there are few if any films that can compare to Haxan. While the ending and especially the opening are interesting pieces in their own right, the best parts of Haxan have to be the vignettes about beliefs surrounding witches. Despite being a very early film the combination of special effect and scenes of witchcraft are ones that have been burnt into my mind. Another aspect that stands out in this film is the Devil who is played by the film’s director, and is given a properly strange creepy appearance. Despite being nothing like modern films Haxan is incredible and something that horror fans really should see.

    shot in the dark

    10. A Shot in the Dark: A Shot in the Dark is by far my favourite of the Pink Panther series. With this film the humour is ramped up from the first film considerably, but doesn’t go so far as to be entirely absurd like later films. This film once again stars Peter Sellers as inspector Jacques Clouseau who is sent on a case to discover a murderer at a wealthy mansion. While the case seems to obviously point to the beautiful Maria Gambrelli as the murderer the bumbling Clouseau is convinced that she is innocent, and continues to investigate causing his superior Commissioner Dreyfus considerable rage. Why this film works so much is the combination of Clouseau bumbling slapstick with the posh sophistication of the manors residents. One scene I especially love is when Clouseau is trying to play pool with the distinguished man of the house played by George Sanders. Sanders continues to be droll in this scene as Seller’s character constantly blunders around him while trying to investigate him. This film is comedy gold and definitely one of the all-time greats.

    SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE11. Spiderman into the Spider verse: Sony hit this animated film out of park. It would have been very easy to have created a Spiderman film that was alright but didn’t do anything new, but instead they created a film that I like even more then the Marvel live-action adaptions. Into the Spider verse stars Miles a bi-racial highschooler trying to find out where he fits in the world, and live up to his father’s high expectations. The boots he has to fill becomes so much bigger though when a spider bite gives him spider powers, and his world’s Spiderman is murdered by the crime lord Kingpin who is trying to open up a dimensional portal. Miles ends up not only having to learn how to be a hero, but is also tasked with saving the multiverse with the help of many other Spider people and creatures. This strikes a great balance between its fun and serious tone rarely relying on clichés, and instead is filled with a dynamic story and cast. As the film progresses you really end up feeling for just about all the major characters, even the misguided villain Kingpin. Along with my next entry I feel this feel this film provides some of the best experiences a superhero film can offer.


    12. Batman the movie (66): Many people now prefer a darker Batman. People often want Batman to be a brooding badass who is the smartest man in the room and one of the top heroes, despite being entirely human. Personally though I am tired of this interpretation and prefer the fun campy style Batman of the 1960’s. The plot of this movie like the show is simple and absurd, but is also charming. When a league of villains freeze the United Nation members it’s up to the caped crusader himself and the boy wonder to stop them and free the diplomats. This movie contains timeless scenes such as Batman trying to rid of a comical bomb, using Bat shark repellant, and leaving the building with Robin “inconspicuously.” This film also contains four of Batman’s best archenemies from the TV show including Cesar Romero as the Joker, Lee Merriweather as Cat woman, Frank Gorshin as the Riddler, and my favourite of the group Burgess Meredith as the Penguin. All these actors give a fantastic performances making this feel like an elongated episode of the TV series rather than a movie. In this case this is a great thing, and although the movie as a whole isn’t as good as some of the best episodes of the TV show all the actors are in great form, and it continues to be ton of fun!

    13. The Mummy: Boris Karloff is incredible, and the film The Mummy demonstrates his amazing acting talent. The Mummy is one of the crowning achievements in Universal Monster history. It is a polished film with incredible makeup work (by legendary artist Jack Pierce), a story that is complex, and of course incredible acting by Boris Karloff. This is one of the first major films where Karloff is given speaking lines and his performance as a result is more commanding and hypnotic than ever. Karloff is in full form playing a tall mummy disguising himself as an Egyptian gentlemen. In actuality though he seeks to revive the mummy princess he loves, and kill anyone who gets in his way. This film is far more polished then its predecessor Dracula, and provides a better story and more engaging acting from Van Sloan and the young male lead. For fans of old monster movies and Universal’s movies this is a must watch.

    14. The Revenge of Frankenstein: While I do love the first Hammer Frankenstein this is another example of the second Frankenstein film being even better. The Revenge of Frankenstein starts immediately after the first as Frankenstein cheats death. He murders a sleazy grave digger with a heart condition and then flees the city. What follows is Frankenstein’s continued research into brain transplanting while posing as a local physician caring for the poor. This film isn’t filled with the baggage of an origin story which allows it to go for a more shocking plot as Frankenstein’s wicked obsession with his work continues to grow as does his amorality. As a result this film is more shocking and interesting than ever, and Peter Cushing is given even more to do without the burden of trying to maintain a moral center. This is another of my all-time favorite hammer films, and continues to show off just how amazing an actor Peter Cushing was.

    wicker man
    15. The Wicker man: There is no film quite like the Wicker Man. While it has had remakes and sequel, and inspired similar folk horror films the Wicker Man remains one of a kind. The Wicker Man is almost more of a drama about the clash of values then it is a horror film. The movie stars Police Sergeant Neil Howie a devout Christian sent to a remote Scottish Isle to find a missing girl. Things quickly escalate though as Neil finds himself being stone walled, and out of place within the religiously and culturally values on the Pagan Isle. Howie quickly becomes convinced that those on the island are up to no go, and seeks out to uncover what it going on. This is a slow burn film where the tension is heightened by Howie’s intolerance and outsider status, and the mysterious and outlandish nature of the Islanders including the head of the island Lord Summerisle played by Christopher Lee (who considered this his best role). This film is like no other and seems distinctly anti-commercial compared to many of the Hammer Horror films at the time making it a very eerie, and an interesting British horror and suspense masterpiece.

The Maltese Falcon

16. The Maltese Falcon: The Maltese Falcon is one of the, if not the best noire film of all time. While a lot of people rightfully praise the acting of Humphrey Boggart as hardboiled detective Sam Spade, this film is incredible because the entire cast is outstanding. I love Mary Astor as the femme fatale and having Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo is incredible, but my all-time favourite actor in this film is Sydney Greenstreet who always steals the show when he is on screen as Kasper Gutman. The entire film is like many incredible noire films a complex web of relationships, double crossings, and barely contained violence. Amazing stuff for any noire fan!


17. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb: Dr. Strangelove is what happens when a legendary director gives a legendary comedian free reign. Peter Sellers is incredible in this Cold war comedy about a rouge general that gives out fake bombing orders during the cold war directed by Stanley Kubrick. Seller’s plays multiple roles in this film including a nebbish British officer, a Nazi doctor, and the president of the United States, and presents some of the most ironically funny lines of all time. Also included in this political satire are many other famous actors including George C. Scott, Slim Pickens, and James Earl Jones. When I first watched Dr. Strangelove I was going through a very difficult period in my life and had just finished my finals at college so I was feeling very crummy, thankfully though this film brought me out of my funk and brought me a ton of joy. Every time I watch this film I find something new and hilarious about it. Those who love social and political satire will also love this film.

Harold Lloyd Clock-1

18. Project A: Project A is my favourite Jackie Chan film of all time. It stars Chan as the Hong Kong navy officer Dragon who ends up being foiled repeatedly by pirates. After the latest embarrassment though Dragon ends up for a short time forced to be a policeman along with his crew. Eventually though he tires of the corruption within the police and quits to hunt down the gangsters and pirates that plague the city along with his shifty partner Fei played by Sammo Hung. What follows is a ton of slapstick and stunts inspired by Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd combined with martial arts action. Especially memorable in this film is the clock tower scene inspired by Harold Lloyd’s safety last involving Chan doing a jump from a large clock tower with only awnings to cushion his huge fall. This scene was so impressive and dangerous that it took a while for even Jackie to work up the courage to do it and they decided to shot it from multiple angles just to ensure that Chan only had to jump once. Chan’s team up with Samo Hung is incredible, and has both of the stars at the top of their comedic and martial arts game. This film is strong start to finish (and thankfully doesn’t end with giant vehicle smashing things) and is one of Chan’s all time best.


19. Adaptation: Adaption is incredibly meta-film about adaption. At the start of the film the nervous lead Charlie Kaufman played by Nicholas Cage has a nervous monologue about thoughts. This is happening though while being told by a film professor that a film writer should never start internal monologue which is hilarious contrast. In the film Kaufman is trying to adapt the Orchid Thief a book that he feels really shouldn’t be adapted. Nonetheless Kaufman wants to do the adaption right, and also get over his extreme writers block and anxiety. Meanwhile his brother Donald (also played by Cage) is finding easy success and is confident. Whether it is Kaufman’s own breakdowns or the breakdown of his script into something completely different this film is all about the absurdity of it all. It’s a hilarious look into the mind of this famous writer and the Hollywood writing process, and this film manages to capture all the ridiculousness and struggles that go with it.

The Masque of the Red Death_7a

20. The Masque of the Red Death: Loosely based on Poe’s famous story (which I also adore) this adaption has the greedy prince Prospero (played by Vincent Price) as a wicked Satanist. After murdering most of a village infected with the disease the Red Death Prospero captures an innocent girl from the village and sends her to his castle which is blocked off from the outside world suffering from the disease. Throughout the film Prospero slowly tries to corrupt the young woman and have her become a Satanist like himself. Eventually though even he cannot keep out the plague which descends on his castle in an incredible finale. The imagery in this film is incredible as is Prospero played by Vincent Price who is incredibly maniacal and greedy. The way this film takes from the original story while at the same time making it different enough to stand out makes this film one of Rodger Cormanns best film and one that I adore.


21. House on Haunted Hill: While this film definitely has its cheese this cheese is some of the charm of House on Haunted Hill. House on Haunted Hill stars five people invited to a party in a supposedly haunted house by the wife of an eccentric millionaire. As long as the guest stay the night each will be offered $10,000. The catch though is that both the Millionaire (played by Vincent Price) and his wife (played by Armelia Carol Ohmart) hate each other’s guts and want each other dead. Throughout the film strange things that may or may not be supernatural happen, and the guests try to figure out what is actually happening and how to survive the night. This film has incredible dialogue and is a lot of fun to watch because of its low key horror mystery feel. It’s also filled with great quips back and forth between Price and Ohmart’s characters. House on Haunted Hill is on this list because of how incredibly entertaining it is to watch, and is well worth watching for those looking for a spooky good time.


22. Millennium Actress: Millennium Actress is my favourite Satoshi Kon film. While Kon has done many incredible films I really love the heart, and way this film deals with memory and the past. Millennium Actress stars a pair of goofy interviewers one of which is a huge fan of the reclusive elderly actress Chiyoko Fujiwara. While interviewing her they end up entering into her story and life, and finding out how she became an actress and spent her life trying to find an artist who she hid as a child during World War II. The film goes through Japanese film history and trends, and follows Chiyoko up to the present day with the two interviewers tagging along for the ride. This film is fun, but more importantly it is really moving and discusses what it is like to dream and follow your dreams frankly. While not everything ends up working out for the characters by end they both come to have a new appreciation for each other, and the importance of Chiyoko life and story. This is an incredible film and one I would recommend even to those who do not often watch anime.


23. Suspiria: Dario Argento’s Susperia proves that gothic atmosphere is not just for black and white films. Suspiria stars a ballerina who comes to a dance school in Germany to learn from its stars. Things immediate become dark and are not what they seem though when she witnesses the brutal murder of a dancer in an iconic and gory scene. What follows is a suspenseful horror film that makes heavy use of atmosphere giving it a surreal and overwhelming quality. What makes this film stand out as well is the fantastic score by Prog-Rock group Goblin which helps set the un-nerving and terrifying mood of the film. This film is definite not for the faint of heart, but for those who like a horror films that has both breathtaking atmosphere, and extremely suspense and violence then this is film that you owe it to yourself to see.


24. How the Grinch Stole Christmas: This is one of my all-time favourite Christmas movies. Despite their being a lot of versions of the Grinch story, and a lot Christmas films and specials the original adaption of the Grinch still stands as one of the best. This film combined the Seuss story with the animation of Chuck Jones, the narration of Boris Karloff, and the music of Albert Hague. This incredible combination makes this adaption even overshadowed the original book. How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the story of the green furry menace the Grinch who hates the Who people and Christmas. Because of this he decides that he will steal all aspects of Christmas from the Who’s to extract his revenge on them and the holiday. This film is so great that it has become an anti-consumerist holiday classic. The Grinch deserves its status as an animated holiday staple I think far more than many of the other animated holiday specials. This is because it presents a sincere and heartwarming message while still being fun, and not coming off as preachy or fake. Like the Opera Don Giovanni it’s a lot of fun to see the Grinch being so wicked while an amazing song describing his wickedness is being sung around his action. This continues to be one of my two favourite holiday films and one that even outside of the Christmas holiday I’d be excited to see.


25. Vertigo: Vertigo is in an incredible film. While Hitchcock was a terrible person and his attention to detail could drive his actors crazy his work on this film really paid off and stands out. This is one of the most meticulously crafted and scored films of all time. The film involves a wealthy tycoon who hires a retired detective with a fear of heights played Jimmy Stewart to investigate the strange behavior of his wife who he claims is possessed. As this mystery continues on we get to see Stewart’s character unravel and his obsession for the wife develop. One reason this film is so perfect is that the scoring and musical themes by Bernard Hermann are some of his best. Hermann puts in the same level of detail that Hitchcock did in his scoring that not only enhances the film, but becomes an integral part of it. For those who are fans of well-made films, amazing film scores, and mysteries this is a must watch.


26. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is the pinnacle of German expressionist cinema. While there are many incredible expressionistic films this one is the most effective with the style. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari involves a carnival hypnotists and a somnambulist who he uses to commit murder. Things however turn out to not be all of what they seem. What really is mind blowing other than the excellent ending is the disturbing dream like quality of the sets. Buildings are often build in a strange crooked way with oddly shaped surroundings that would be highly out of place in a realistic setting. The whole film feels like some sort of strange dream that is enhanced by the old silent nature of the film. This is one of my favourite silent horror films of all time, and one that I think even those who are not a fan of traditional horror can really appreciate and enjoy.


27. Duck Soup: The Marx Brothers at their best always seem know what to do and say next to get a laugh. Duck Soup is one of the funniest films I have ever seen with its joke a minute dialogue always seeming to land. Groucho in this film becomes the leader of the mythical country of Freedonia while the other brothers try to take over his country. Mostly though the plot is an excuse for some of the brothers most snarky dialogue, best word play, and for hilarious slapstick. This is one of the wittiest films I have ever seen and a great film for fans of hilarious comedy.

Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers

28. The Wrong Trousers: Have you seen this chicken? If you get this reference then chances are you have seem The Wrong Trousers, my favourite of the Wallace and Grommet films. The Wrong Trousers involves the goofy British inventor Wallace and his silent genius companion dog Grommet. Things get bad though when a criminal penguin starts to take over Grommet’s life, and befriend the oblivious Wallace. This film manages to be both thrilling and hilarious, and includes one of the weirdest and best train chases of all time on a miniature train set. The jewel heist is also great as the penguin’s plots to take control of the electronic trousers and attach them to the sleeping Wallace, while disguising himself as a chicken by using a red rubber glove. This film is without a doubt my favourite Claymation film of all time, and is one that I could watch again and again.

Yojimbo 23

29. Yojimbo: I love Yojimbo! This film combines the amazing writing and directing that Kurasawa was known for with the incredible acting of Torshiro Mifune. In this film a skilled ronin enters a town that contains two warring gang factions. Rather than choose one faction to help however he decides to play both sides, and have both groups come to him for help. This plot is held up by Mifune’s incredible personality making the ronin both a dirty scoundrel while at the same time still having a conscious. This film is one that is just about perfect for what it is, and is so good that it inspired the Eastwood/Leone film a Fistful of Dollars. This original though will always be my personal favourite version of this story, and is my favourite Kurasawa and Mifune film.


30. Rashomon: Rashomon is perhaps Kurasawa most famous film for good reason. The film involves the murder of a samurai who was travelling with his wife after they are ambushed by a famous bandit. In this film no one seems to be telling the whole truth though. Throughout the film we get perspectives from the bandit, the wife, the ghost of the samurai, and a local wood cutter who all share very different stories that are framed through the conversations of travelers in an old temple on a rainy day. The filmmaking for this film is superb and includes a complex thought provoking plot, and incredible acting especially from Torshiro Mifune who plays the bandit. This film questions the notion of a single and defined truth, and is gripping from start to finish making it a masterpiece of Japanese cinema.


31. Giants and Toys: Giants and Toys has one of the most brilliantly strange premises for a film. It is all about Japanese caramel companies competing with each other to see which can top the market. The film’s stars the company World Candy as they try to use Kyoko an “average girl,” as the model to compete with their rivals. Things quickly spiral out of control though as their model becomes corrupted by stardom and one-sided love, and the company advertising head’s sanity begins to decline. Despite being set in Japan this film really could apply to the United States, as well as people and companies around the world that are transformed into monsters all in the pursuit of money and fame. This film illustrates perfectly the dangers of putting your work above your health, and how greed can consume companies and those within them. Despite being set in Japan in the 50’s I find that this film is more relevant than ever with the current climate of corporations in the United States such as Amazon and Walmart.

master of the flying32. Master of the Flying Guillotine: Objectively this isn’t really a great movie, but I love it anyways. While the action is great in this film the plot is silly and the movie is not at all well shot. None the less I really find this Kung Fu feature very charming. This film stars a one armed Chinese boxer who must help his clan overcome a blind master who uses a throw-able guillotine to chop people heads off, and an odd Street Fighter like tournament filled with weird racially insensitive super warriors. This film is great because it is so weird, it involves some of strangest fights ever including an outstanding final showdown in a coffin shop. For those who love odd Kung Fu movies this is the perfect film to see.


33. They Were Eleven: They Were Eleven is an interesting anime film because it isn’t by directors that have been gotten a lot of acclaim (in fact one of the directors for this film is mainly known for Hentai). This doesn’t mean though that this classic should be overlooked as it is an incredible adaption of a Moto Hagio’s original manga. This movie stars Lane Tadatos a human psychic who ends up passing an elite space academy exam, and meeting up with ten other aliens on board an old spaceship. A problem quickly arises however when it is revealed that a sinister eleventh person has made their way aboard, and that the abandoned ship holds secrets. This whole film is about trying to work together as the crew must succeed or fail as a team, and trying to survive the dangers created by the mysterious and traitorous eleventh crew person. This film includes many complex interesting themes such as working with various alien cultures, themes of pacifism, what drives mob mentality, gender identity, and how to best work within a diverse unit. This film is an underappreciated gem that I feel everyone who loves anime films or science fiction should view.


34. Fantastic Mr. Fox: Fantastic Mr. Fox is an odd yet satisfying adaption of the classic Roald Dahl book by director Wes Anderson. Anderson does an amazing job fitting in celebrity voices into film, creating amazing looking stop motion animation, and adapting his sense of style into this film without losing the contents of the book. He present his signature dry humor in this tale of a fox who decides to pull off a big heist on three nasty farmer who all want him and his family dead. I especially love George Clooney as Mr. Fox and consider it the best role by Clooney I have seen (which is saying a lot since Clooney is brilliant). This film is delightful and remains one of the best examples of the power that stop motion animation film can have.


35. Muppet Christmas Carol: The first and best of the post Jim Henson Muppets films, the Muppet Christmas Carol is a holiday classic. Oddly enough I enjoy this version of the Christmas Carol the best out of all them I have seen despite its many liberties. This is because it brings together two amazing things the Muppets, and Michael Caine as Scrooge. This version does a great job of striking a balance between the original story, and the Muppets silliness and songs. What is also amazing about it is that it does have some genuinely touching and tragic moments such as Scrooges visions of his girlfriend breaking up with him or the scene where it is predicted Tiny Tim will die. Despite Henson’s passing the puppet work lead by his son, Frank Oz, and Henson’s friends is outstanding, especially for the huge puppets created for the film. I have been watching this film since childhood each Christmas, and look forward to seeing it each year.


36. Tut: The Boy King: I was a weird kid (and I’m still weird now) and growing up this was one of my all-time favourite documentaries. While other kids would check out cartoons at the local video store I was obsessed with this documentary, and would usually pick it up as my video. Looking back it’s not hard for me to see why I loved this movie. At the time I really loved Egypt and Egyptology, and this is one of the best documentaries despite its age for that type of information. Tut: The Boy King was narrated and directed by the amazing Orson Welles who has a voice like no other. It offers a great look at King Tut, and the artifacts found in his tomb as Well’s highlights their features with outstanding dialogue. For those looking for a fun guided tour through the objects found in King Tut’s tomb this documentary will not disappoint.


37. 3:10 to Yuma: The 3:10 to Yuma is one of the best remakes of a Western of all time. It brilliantly plays Russell Crowe against type as a manipulating outlaw who gets captured by a poor and disabled rancher played Christian Bale. In order to earn the bounty and save his farm Bale has to take the outlaw to a prison train. The film follows Bale’s character and a posse that is trying to get Crowe to the train without him escaping or having Crowe’s blood thirsty gang murder them all. This film is great because it not only provides a lot of suspense and tension, but also because you get to learn about the characters. Even though he is a dangerous murder Crowe’s character even develops into someone to care about. For those who like suspenseful Westerns with brilliant casting decisions this is the film to watch.


38. Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend: This is the earliest film on this list and one of the film’s most people reading this list have probably never even heard of. This film adaption is based upon an old Winsor McKay comic strip where a man eats too much Welsh rarebit (a delicious cheese sauce deriving from the UK), and then begins to have strange dreams. It’s amazing that this film even still exists as it was created in 1906 and is one of the most impressive films of its time. Despite being dated it’s effects and comedy still hold up to this day, and provided me with a lot of entertainment every time I watch it. Despite being less than 8 minutes long and despite its age it is still a remarkable classic.


39. Charlie Brown Specials: While many of the Charlie Brown Specials are amazing, some are downright forgettable or even terrible (such as the Mayflower, second Christmas special, Arbor day, etc…) Despite some less than stellar specials however, I love to watch the holiday specials that are true classics again and again. The best of these specials are not only funny, but also carry a special feeling of “authenticity,” about them. While these films aren’t necessarily realistic the feelings they are trying to convey feel genuine. Even though I have been watching them for years I always find myself wanting to come back to them again each year. For me part of the tradition and why I love them so much is that they continue to be such a major part of my life and the seasons that represent. For some people these specials might not have the same impact, but personally I find them very important.


40. 7th + Golden Voyage of Sinbad: The Sinbad films were a huge part of my childhood. Whenever I was sick I would often watch these two films (Eye of the Tiger wasn’t very good so I usually avoided it). Both are amazing because they featured the work of Ray Harryhausen the stop motion genius who was responsible for some of the greatest movie effects of all time. These films combined his use of all sort of stop motion monsters with high seas adventure. Both Bernard Herrmann and Miklós Rózsa are at their best in these films as well providing incredible scores. While the acting can be cheesy in both films, for me it only adds to the charm and nostalgia they provide. For those who love simple and exciting action films these are a must watch.


41. A Muppet Family Christmas: This is the second Muppets film on the list and again hits the Christmas spirit out of the park. A Muppet Family Christmas while in some ways more conventional then Muppet Christmas Carol is just as good if not better.  When Fozzie Bear tries to surprise his mother for the holidays along with his friends he finds that she already rented her house out to the curmudgeonly man Doc who wants a peaceful holiday and that she was planning on a trip to Florida. Of course Doc doesn’t get a quiet holiday as the Muppets, and soon the Sesame Street gang end up joining him and being anything but quiet. This is a crossover that works because it feels organic and fits into the specials plot seamlessly. The Muppets, Sesame Street, and the cameos from Muppet Babies and Fraggle Rock all fit together in the plot and make it more fun. This special took place when all of these shows were at their A game, and remains one of the most fun and hilarious Christmas specials of all time.


42. Stand by Me: A lot of films really try to capture what it was like to be a kid in the 50’s. Many of these films though are overly sentimental, and present an idealized look into the past. Stand by Me is a major exception to this rule however. The characters in this film feel real and relatable, and a situation they face aren’t sugar coated. Stand by Me involves a group boys who find out about a dead body in the woods, and decide to take a journey to find it. This a coming of age film that feels very real while also being hilarious. Each character of the cast has a distinct personality with flaws, troubles, and good aspects as well, and a good reason for why they are who they are. Their dialogue with one another feels like a dialogue that kids growing up would really have. Stand by Me makes everything feel genuine in a way most films aren’t able to do.


43. Nosferatu: The earliest existing adaption of Dracula I have seen, Nosferatu probably is the most frightening of the Dracula films. The Dracula in this film isn’t suave like Lugosi, nor even a towering monster like Lee. Nosferatu instead relies on the Count’s inhuman appearance and menacing shadows to create a creeping otherworldly monster designed to instill terrify. There is no sexiness to be found in this film by the count who goes on to terrify and commit mass murder within London along with his crazed Renfield like assistant. Some of the scenes such as the Count vertically raising from his coffin and his menacing shadow creeping up a darkened stair case have become burned in my mind and are truly the work of genius.

spinal tap

44. This is Spinal Tap: This is Spinal Tap is my favourite mockumentary of all time. Focusing on a self-important rock band This is Spinal Tap pokes fun at many of the common clichés of rock excess during the 1970’s and 80’s. This film has more memorable scenes, lines, and jokes then I thought was possible in this format. Spinal Tap always makes me bust a gut laughing at all the absurd things taken so seriously and presented in a documentary format. I have never seen a fake documentary that is as clever or funny as this one, and it easily earns a spot among the best comedies I have ever seen.


45. Throne of Blood: Akira Kurosawa is known for his adaptions of Shakespearian plays placed in ancient Japan, and Throne of Blood is perhaps the best of these adaptions. Staring the amazing Toshiro Mifune, Throne of Blood tells the story of how Mifune’s Macbeth like character rises to power, and how his arrogance later leads to his downfall. Mifune is amazing! The energy and expression behind his acting is like no other actor I have ever seen. While there are a number of outstanding actors within this film, it is Mifune who steals the show especially with his death scene. I first saw this film during a Kurosawa film festival, and it has always stuck with me since as one of my personal favourite films.

Machine - Metropolis - 1926 -

46. METROPOLIS: The second of the Metropolis’s on this list Fritz Lange’s original Metropolis is a master piece of plot and design. Metropolis mixes German expressionism with Science fiction to present one of the best depictions of a dystopia to date. Metropolis tells the tale of social stratification, to the point where the working class have become part of a totalitarian machine. The film is all about finding the balance between divides, and not forgetting the humanity of those of the lower class. In many ways this film and its themes were far ahead of their times, and drew a lot of indifference from many during its initial release. Despite this Metropolis later was rightly proclaimed as the masterpiece it is, and as one of the most important and visually striking Science Fiction films of all time.


47. Labyrinth: Labyrinth is an incredible girl’s coming to age film combined with David Bowie and the Muppets. While this mix is weird it works perfectly together making Labyrinth one of my all-time favourite children’s films. Labyrinth stars Sarah a girl played by a young Jennifer Connelly’s who accidently wishes away her brother sending him to David Bowie’s Goblin King. She is then forced to traverse his sinister Labyrinth where she ends up meeting the lovable grump Hoggle, a huge gentle monster named Ludo, and the dog knight Sir Didymus and his dog steed Ambrosius. Each of these figures help her on her quest to go through the strange maze and find King’s castle in the center. Not only is the puppeteering amazing and the world super creative, but inclusion of David Bowie performing the soundtrack and also as the sexy villainous Goblin King is incredible. Bowie is absolutely perfect as the tempting foil for Sarah, and elevates this film to one I love seeing again and again.


48. Fantasia: I don’t have the same warm feelings toward Disney that most people seem to have. I tend to find their films markedly inferior to Ghibli films or many of the more ambitious independent animated films. Fantasia though is an interesting case where I actually feel Disney has created something both unique and ground breaking. Fantasia is a film where the animation and small segmented stories are added to enhance the orchestra music around them. Unlike most Disney films that are to an extent straightforward and budgeted, Fantasia is a collection where Disney went all out to create something incredible. The animation and storytelling employed in this film is incredible, and tells everything from stories of dancing hippo’s and crocodiles to sequences reflecting ultimate good and evil. The music and imagery is so well put together that while listening to the pieces used in Fantasia I can’t help but to associate the music with this movie. Fantasia is one of a kind, and without question my favourite Disney film of all time.


49. Vampire’s Kiss: The most recent addition to this list, it’s hard to describe what exactly makes Vampire Kiss so amazing other than Nicholas Cage’s acting which carries the film. This film is all about an uptight jerk played by Cage who helps run a publishing company division and frequently treats people (especially women) like objects. The film chronicles his shocking descent into madness as he becomes convinced that he is being transformed into a vampire, and is being attacked by a woman he once knew. While the film is supposed to be a dark comedy, I actual found it more of a tragedy. Cage brings his A game to this role which makes it work creating a both hatred for his character and his cruelty, while at the same time making you feel sorry for how pathetic and unhinged he is. This film is definitely odd, but by letting Cage be un-caged and allowed to develop his character the results ended up being brilliant.


50. Mysterious Island: Mysterious Island is amazing because it encapsulates some of the best stop motion work by Ray Harryhausen. The film involves three union soldiers and a confederate soldier who end up landing on a strange island with gigantic animal monsters. On the island they help rescue “English,” women who are shipwrecked, and then meet the famous scientist Captain Nemo and his Nautilus super sub. This film is great primarily because of the incredible creature effects Harryhausen creates for the film. This includes a giant crab, flightless bird, and an octopus who all make very exciting challenges for the castaways. This is paired with the incredible music of Bernard Herrmann which brings these creatures to life in one of his most exciting scores. This film was a huge part of my childhood and one that I still love.


Honourable mentions


  1. The Big Boss: The Big Boss is one of the films that set the stage for Bruce Lee to become a star. After moving to join his family Lee’s character tries vowing to not cause trouble or fights. He quickly though is driven by the corruption of the ice company he and his family works at, his own sense of justice, and later revenge to take up fighting once more to ensure righteousness for his family and the working class. For a film about a character trying to be non-violent Bruce Lee’s character sure kicks a lot of ass. This film doesn’t hold back in the extreme action with Lee’s character at the end going on an amazing Kung Fu rampage against the wealthy gang leader. What really makes this my favourite of Lee’s films though is the bombastic funk score which heightens all the incredible action. This film kicks ass (literally)!


  2. Porco Rosso: While Miyazaki is a very well-known director this film is one of his least known films which is a real shame. Porco Rosso stars Marco “Porco,” Rosso a pilot whose head was turned into pig during World War I. Porco has grown to resent war, and now acts as a bounty hunter paid to protect ships from a goofy gang of sky pirates with his old red plane. After being pushed too far though the pirates hire the arrogant American daredevil/movie star Curtis to stop him. Eventually Porco ends up getting help from his engineer’s granddaughter and protégée Fio who helps him face off against the womanizing Curtis. This film has a lot of elements Miyazaki love including: planes, action, strong women, sky pirates, quiet moments, anti-war messages, and comedy. The art, music, and animation in this film are also especially breath taking and even small details are captured. For example I love how the sea is portrayed in the film as it sparkles especially when flown over. While I love many of Miyazaki’s film this one is without a doubt a hidden gem, and one of my personal favourites.


  3. Jason and the Argonauts: Ray Harryhausen is the single reason why this film is amazing. That isn’t to say that the music isn’t fantastic or that the actors and script aren’t good, but it is Harryhausen’s creations that really steal the show in this epic. Jason and the Argonauts features Jason the son of a betrayed king who goes on a quest to get the legendary Golden Fleece. The film involves Jason getting a crew of heroes to join him on his quest, meanwhile the gods decided to play a game to determine his fate. Throughout the film Jason must face numerous perils including giant statues brought to life, monsters, skeleton warriors, and a traitor aboard his ship in his quest for the fleece. It is the stop motion animation and creativity of these menaces that makes this film so amazing though. Without a doubt this film has some Harryhausen’s finest work, and is a lot of fun to watch (especially the giant statue scene).


  4. Zatoichi (2003): I love the Zatoichi series and love Takashi Beat Kitano so this film felt like a no brainer for the list. Drawing from the classic Zatoichi films this film present Zatoichi coming to a town overrun by yakuza, and deciding to liberate it. Meanwhile two Geisha also come to the town to get revenge on the gang boss who murdered their family when they were young. The conflict quickly boils over into a blood bath, and later Zatoichi is forced to face a skilled and honorable Ronin who is working for the gangs because of his need for medicine for his ill wife. Not only does this film recapture the feel of classic films of the Zatoichi series, but it also includes artistic music and violence. This film tries to bring together all the classic samurai themes of revenge, amazing swordplay, good people driven to join evil out of desperation, and the defending of the innocent from oppressive gangs. While the dance sequence in the end feels out of place and somewhat silly, the film as a whole is really good.


  5. Destroy all Monsters: This film is on the list because it’s a lot of fun! While it isn’t the best of the Godzilla films, it is the film that I enjoy seeing the most. Destroy all Monsters yet again focuses on an alien race that mind controls the monsters into causing mass destruction. This film includes and focuses on all of Toho’s monsters up until that point, and creates an incredible crossover as these monster all destroy major cities before later battling the evil King Ghidorah. This film is so much fun and includes every classic element you would expect from an early Godzilla film. While this film didn’t end up being the final Godzilla film as Toho initially expected they still threw everything and the kitchen sink into this film resulting in one of the best and most fun Godzilla films of all time that easily overshadows their next big all monster film Godzilla Final Wars.


  6. Akira: One of the most unusual of the famous anime films Akira is one of the best examples of adapting an epic into a film. Akira takes place in post-apocalyptic dystopia where delinquency and gangs roam the street. One such gang led by the brash Kaneda ends up in trouble after a fight with the clown gang results in Kaneda’s friend Tetsuo crashing his bike into a strange child. Tetsuo is then captured by the military for a secret experiment on developing psychics. As Tetsuo power increases though so does the danger he causes. Meanwhile Kaneda ends up accidently becoming involved in an anti-military rebel group determined to find and save his friend. This is a strange movie especially in the ending where Tetsuo’s power begin to break the bounds of his physical form. Luckily its oddity is given appeal thanks to a compelling story, and one of the most unique scores of all time. The movies creator Otomo was also responsible for the original manga for the series, and it shows despite the major changes and cuts made to the story to adapt it into a single film. Despite being strange and having a very unusual ending I would still highly recommend this movie for its originality and polish.


  7. Last Man on Earth: Vincent Price is an incredible actor, and no where do I think this is better illustrated than in the Last Man on Earth. Based loosely upon the novel I am Legend, Price plays a scientist in a world consumed by a virus that has killed and mutated most of the population into zombie like vampires. His character spends most of the film completely alone as he tries to find survivors and survive the angry vampires which he slays during the day. Price’s doctor is a tragic man whose family was some of the first contract the illness and to perish leaving him alone in the world as seemingly the last human. Price carries most of this film through his compelling acting and monologues, and shows just how incredible his acting skills are. There aren’t many actors that can carry a film like this, but in this film Vincent Price proves that he is one of them. This alone is an enough reason to see this film!


  8. Perfect Blue: Anime director Satoshi Kon’s began his career with a bang with the film Perfect Blue. This film is a disturbing tale of a Japanese pop idol turned actress, and her world and the world around her descending into madness and obsession. While this is an extremely well animated film it is the terrifying disorientation and lack of answers that makes the film so effective. Every bit of this film is filled with an unease as characters sanity begins to unravel, and it becomes more and more unclear what it actually going on. The story also just keeps getting more and more disturbing, and even its ending is not very reassuring. I’m not scared by many films, but this one is definitely an exception to that. This is one of the best written horror films of all time, and perfect for fans of more adult anime and frightening movies.


  9. Triplets of Bellville: Triplets of Bellville is a brilliantly bizarre French animated film that is well worth watching despite its relative obscurity. The story is a mostly wordless story about a Grandmother and her lazy old dog working with three eccentric old Dancehall performers to find her kidnapped Grandson. Things get stranger though when they discover a plot by organized crime and have to face the French mafia (complete with large exaggerated shouldered henchmen) in order to save the grandson. Another amazing element of the film besides the incredible animation is the musical score. Jazz and early French dance music is used throughout this film which fits in perfectly with the setting and plays a key role in it. Without a doubt this is a film that is must watch for animation and French film fans, and one worth going out of the way to view.


  10. Theatre of Blood: I love the movies of Vincent Price, and this one despite or perhaps because of its campiness is one I adore. After a Shakespearian actor played by Price narrowly avoids dying during a suicide attempt he vows vengeance against the critics that he felt slighted him. What follows is Price killing each critic using elements based upon Shakespeare’s plays. It’s simple, ridiculous, and most importantly a lot of fun. Watching Price being given permission to go wild is amazing. Price steals every scene with his dramatic acting, and clearly is a talented Shakespearian actor himself which makes his over the top performance that much more fun. Definitely a great watch if you love Price and can tolerate a bit of gore (I myself am not a huge gore fan but I still love this film).


  11. Ghost in the shell: Ghost in the Shell is a quintessential cyber punk movie. The story involves a government cybercrimes unit investigating someone who seems to be hacking into peoples mind, and then controlling them by creating false memories. What stands out about this film is that it is smartly designed on all levels. The plot has all sorts of amazing twists and turns, the characters face existential questions, the animation is incredible and still turns my head more than 20 years after it was released, and the music fits perfectly together. Top that off with two great dubs, and some incredible concepts about technology and our relationship with it and you have one of the all-time best anime films. This film is so good in fact that for years many movies and shows have struggled and failed to meet the high standard of this film including even its own direct film sequel.

    Keaton, Buster (Steamboat Bill, Jr.)_03

  12. Steamboat Bill, Jr: Buster Keaton is an amazing filmmaker. Not only did he act and do all of his own stunts, but he also had a major hand in directing and writing some of the funniest film sequences of all time. His film Steamboat Bill, Jr follows the son of a salty and gruff steamboat captain who falls in love with his rich rival’s daughter. What ensues is a hilarious fish out of water story where his son played by Keaton both tries to live up to his father’s expectations, while also trying to woo his father rival’s daughter despite his ample awkwardness and their parents feud. This film is filled with comedy, slapstick, pratfalls, and incredible stunts. Keaton brings his A game to this film frequently risking his life for a laugh. This film so funny and visual in fact that it is hard to describe without giving away too much (so go out and watch it if you haven’t yet).Without a doubt this is one of the two best Keaton films and must watch.


  13. War of the Worlds: While the remake of War of the Worlds does have some great moments and designs, without a doubt I have to give this nod to the original film. The original War of the Worlds is a classic science fiction film that is cemented into my head as one of the most important of the alien invasion movies of the 1950’s. The film is all about hostile alien invaders who quickly over power humanity and attack the globe. Not only does the film include the invasion of the earth, but it also stars a scientist and librarian who try to survive the strange alien attack. Besides the famous twist ending this film is also largely exciting because of how they designed the aliens and their ships. Instead of using saucers or humanoid aliens the aliens and their ships in this film are oblong and have long eye like stalks. My personal favorite part of this film though is the sound effects especially from the alien ships which are some of the best designed ever. I love these effects so much that they alone are reason enough for me to want to watch the film again!


  14. Kubo and the Two Strings: While I love the films of Laika animation, Kubo and the Two Strings stands out to me as one of the studios all-time best. Kubo is a story all about telling stories, with a young boy taking care of his deteriorating mother while telling stories in a local Japanese village during the day to earn money. Eventually Kubo is placed on a quest to find his father’s armor and sword with the help of a serious talking monkey and a goofy beetle samurai. While on this quest he also has face his grandfather the moon king, and his creepy aunts. This film is full of action, comedy, and most importantly presents a complex world and characters that are tied into the themes of remembrance and storytelling. The stop motion animation in this film is amazing and breathtaking. With stop motion the filmmakers do things that hardly seem possible from the very small and intricate, to the enormous and ornate.


  15. Citizen Kane: I know it’s a cliché to put Citizen Kane on a top films list, but it would be wrong of me not talk about just how great a film it is and how much I enjoy it. Its use of shadows and unusual angles, its incredible score, visual representations of emotion, and fragmented means of storytelling are incredible. All of these elements come together as a reporter tries to solve a mystery, and summarize the life of a bitter businessman Charles Foster Kane after his passing. Welles does an amazing job creating, and playing Kane a deeply flawed and complex newspaper mogul. Throughout the film we get to look at Kane’s successes and ultimate failure. The film then finishes by presenting one of the greatest and most famous twist endings of all time. While many people praise this film I do think it really does live up most of the praise as an incredible film and cinematic landmark.


  16. 12 Angry Men: This film is about as far removed from most people’s concept of a good film as possible. Most of the film consist of twelve very different men in a room mostly talking. There is almost no other sets or action in the film. What makes this film ultimately work is the suspense both on the court case they are judging as they examine the evidence, and their internal conflict over what the verdict of the case should be and with each other. Henry Fonda spends the film trying to get his peers to carry out what he feels is justice based on the evidence they were provided and look at it deeply before convicting a black boy of murder. Lee Cobb though wants to convict the boy based on the evidence he has heard and feels that the case is clear cut. A battle of will begins as slowly Fonda’s character convinces the others that there isn’t enough solid evidence to convict the boy. While this film might be overly optimistic about the United States justice system it is very well acted and is an amazing character piece that works so well that it overcomes my skepticism. Despite being about a single room full of men this film is still well worth seeing.


  17. Moonrise Kingdom: While I wish I had a chance to see more of Wes Anderson’s films the ones I have seen have been fantastic, and this film is one of his best. Anderson does an amazing job writing dry humour and shaping his entire films aesthetic including its world and colour pallet to match. Anderson also knows how to get the best out of celebrities with the roles shaping the stars acting, rather than having the stars reputation define their roles. Anderson’s uses his signature dry sense with a story of two eccentric children running away from camp, and the dysfunctional population on the island including: a family consisting of bicker couple played Bill Murray and Frances McDormand, Edward Norton as a neurotic scout leader, and a lonely socially awkward park ranger played by Bruce Willis. Anderson has a clear vision in this film and works hard to ensure that this film captures that vision of a strange and isolated island filled with even stranger people who are forced to come together in order to survive and function. If you love Wes Anderson and his unique brand of humour as much as I do then you’ll love this film.


  18. A Fistful of Dollars: Clint Eastwood is one of the best known Western actors ever, and A Fistful of Dollars may be the best example of his acting. One reason this film is so amazing is that rip offs of Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. Eastwood’s performance though makes this film more than some Westernized rehash. In this movie Eastwood’s “Man with no Name,” character heads to a town where two gangs are at war. The mysterious man then decides to play both sides of the conflict with his amazing gun slinging. Unlike in Yojimbo Eastwood’s character is less of a clever morally compromised man that makes the right choice in the end, and is more of a blood thirsty badass who will do what he has to survive. He has a coolness to him, and like in Yojimbo even at his lowest point he finds a way to fight back after he is eventually betrayed. What also allows this film to stand out besides the snappy dialogue and Eastwood’s performance is an incredible score by Ennio Morricone. Morricone provides a soundtrack for this movie that is one of the best and most suspenseful ever presented in a Western. This film shows that with the right actors, script, and score even a remake can stand up on its own as outstanding.


  19. The Public Enemy: Public enemy works because of the incredible performance by Jimmy Cagney. This film is all about how his character grows up to be an angry and brash young man with a violent temper. His ultimate undoing is directly linked to his own brash greed and cruelty as he continues to go down the dark path of a gangster. Cagney’s acting elevated this film from what could have been a simple morality play with his larger than life performance. Every scene Cagney is in has him repeatedly and stubbornly refusing to change his ways or surrender any ground in his amorality. One especially great scene is one where Cagney shoves a grapefruit into the face of his girlfriend, which encapsulates his whole character in the process. The film all comes together in a shocking but fitting conclusion, but it is the journey there that really cements just how important and great an actor Cagney is.


  20. The Producers: While Mel Brooke’s films often can be hit or miss for me, this film is definitely my favourite of his works. Right off the bat it is hard for me not to admire a film starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder as a couple of scoundrels. The two realize they can make lots of money off of a major Broadway flop and not have to pay investors so they both go out of their way to find the worst play writers and actors they can in order guarantee a failure. Eventually they choose to try to put on a terrible Hilter based Nazi play in hopes of offending the audience into hating it. This film works so well because it mocks the Nazi’s and Fascism. Like many Brookes movies it takes topics that would be normally Taboo and turns them into a farce. The Nazi’s in this film are turned into buffoons even more so then in the Great Dictator, and the play turns out to be one big joke. I think one of the reasons this does work so well is that Brookes is Jewish and knows how to transform the serious topics like this effectively. On top of it all having these two incredible leads as absurd crooks likewise makes them caricatures and represent meta-commentary on the process of directing a production itself. Those who like clever comedy who watch this film will often be rolling on the floor with laughter.


  21. King Kong: King Kong is a film that has always divided me. Before I heap praise on the film I feel like I have to address elephant in the room in the form of blatant racism. While some might excuse the film because of the time period in which it was made I don’t think there can nor should be an excuse for not only the racist depiction of the black Islanders, but also of the stereotypes added into the Chinese cook character. These aspects are unforgivable and should not be swept aside. Other than these major issues though King Kong is certainly an incredible film and still deserves a ton of praise. Most of King Kong is larger than life with a story of an overly ambitious director who decides to bring his cast including the innocent Ann and the tough talking hero Jack to a mysterious Island. There they find Kong a huge ape who falls for Ann and carries her off. The group from the ship then have to rescue her from Kong, and survive all the other monsters on the Island (created by legendary stop motion creator Willis O’Brian). Kong is eventually subdued and brought back to New York, which of course turns out to be a mistake. King Kong has so many things going for it including amazing special effects, a monster that balances monstrousness with unusual affection, a man whose ambition gets the best of him, and one of the greatest scores of all time by famous composer Max Steiner. Between the battles with dinosaurs, and the iconic conflict with the planes on top of the Empire state building King Kong broke so much ground and helped define for future filmmakers what a film could do and be. Despite its racism this film is still an incredible feat and one I can’t help but mostly admire.


  22. Iron Monkey: The Iron Monkey is what happens when you combine Zorro with a great Kung Fu plot. The famous director Yuen Woo-ping directs a film where a couple who work as doctors secretly are helping to fight the corrupt town government, and deliver money to the poor under the name the Iron Monkey. Meanwhile another doctor and martial artist comes to town, and though he is eventually cleared from being the Monkey he is forced to hunt down the two heroes. He later though ends up joining the couple after they help treat his son, and then ends up fighting against a corrupt new govern and his monks. This film has some of the most fun and exciting Kung Fu of a newer film with lots of action and comedy thrown in. I especially love the pole scene towards the end which features some incredible fighting and creativity. This film also manages to tell a great story, and doesn’t feel like a bunch of fight scenes strung together with only a loose semblance of a plot. It’s fun and exciting from top to bottom, and is one of the best of the Kung Fu films I have seen.


  23. The Wind in the Willows: In the field of stop motion you usually hear a lot about major films from Aardman, Lika, Ray Harryhausen, or movies directed by Wes Anderson, but there are many other incredible films that also use stop motion. One of my personal favorite of these and my favorite adaption of the Wind in the Willows is the Mark Hall and Chris Taylor’s stop motion film. This movie captures both the scenic and poetic elements of the original story, and the wildness of Mr. Toad. Some scenes have the woodland creatures taking beautiful and peaceful lazy boat rides or wandering through the snow, while including the fast paced zaniness of Mr. Toad whose vehicle addiction is constantly getting him and the others into trouble. The score likewise is fantastic blowing away the Disney adaption in every way. This film takes what could have easily been irritating and/or poor ideas such as songs or tonal contrasts, and instead elevates them with a lot of care. I grew up watching and loving this film, and I still love how much it reminds me of my childhood travelling through the woods and relaxing near a stream.


  24. Bangkok dangerous: Many people mistakenly believe that Nicholas Cage has no range, and always is playing frantic or overtop roles in his films. These people either clearly have not seen Bangkok Dangerous or have been unfairly dismissive of it. Cage’s acting in Bangkok Dangerous is one of the best and most nuisance performances I have ever seen him do. In this film Cage plays a callous hitman who is sent to Thailand on a job. Throughout the movie Cage’s character slowly grows as person, though he still remains mostly a cold and closed individual. At times this film can be hard to watch as Cage is so good at portraying a vicious hitman that it becomes scary. Despite a less then likable protagonist though this film is without a doubt dramatic and effecting. Cage’s character despite his lack emotional still ends up having feelings and dreams beyond killing that he can never seem to reach. Don’t be fooled by the negative ratings online this film has garnered; this film has both action, and also great moments of quiet reflection and suspense.


  25. Mystics in Bali: Mystics in Bali is one of the strangest horror films I have ever seen. The plot revolves around Cathy an American researcher who is researching rituals and magic’s, and with the help of her local guide and boyfriend finds a witch to teach her dark magic. Things then get weird though as she becomes a Penanggalan, a Southeast Asian vampire consisting of a floating head and entrails that eats unborn children and causes trouble. While this films dubbing is terrible and some people might find its effects cheesy, I actually feel that the films strange concept and unique effects are still incredible to witness. The duel at the end of the film between the Shaman and the witch is especially amazing with all sorts of lighting effects and transformations. I have yet to see a film like Mystics in Bali which was created originally for foreigners, but utilized Balinese culture and folklore, and was not afraid to show all sorts of amazing effects. This film is well worth going out of your way to see, and holds a special place in my heart as one of the most unusual yet enjoyable films I have seen.

    lord of the rings

  26. Lord of the Rings trilogy: While the Hobbit Trilogy is a mess in almost every sense of the word, it’s important to remember just how much better the Lord of the Ring’s films are. The Lord of the Rings films adapted a series in a way that most people initial felt couldn’t be done. This series was created with years of work put into it including its planning, scripting, modelling, and the production of special effects. Also unlike the Hobbit this film series was seen as a boom locally. It helped to promote New Zealand’s beautiful landscape, and its outstanding local actors and stunt people. Not only was the production incredible, but the end product that brought together by many new comers and unusual casting choices was also outstanding. Every acting choice seemed to be perfect for the role, and Jackson’s use of cinematic techniques and an amazing score by Howard Shore brought Middle Earth to life in these films. These were movies that Jackson worked tirelessly for and his work really paid off. For those who are fantasy fans and love classic high fantasy these films are an incredible achievements, and it is definitely worth investing in the special edition for each of these films which include extended footage and incredible production diaries.


  27. The Life of Brian: While I do love Monty Python and the Holy Grail, my personal favorite Monty Python film is The Life of Brian. This film is all about the nebbish Brian who is mistaken for the savior instead of Jesus, and as he goes through many of the events in Jesus’s life awkwardly and continuously denying that he is a prophet. This film has one hilarious moment after another, including parodies of anti-Roman Jewish insurgent groups, religious cults, Roman leadership, historical entertainment, the weirdest and funniest crucifixion scene of all time, and even a random alien encounter for good measure. This film like many Monty Python films is constantly absurdly strange, and its constant use of historical jokes is enough to get me rolling with laugher. Even if you are very religiously Christian (and maybe especially if you are) this film can be incredibly funny because of how historically accurate it tries to be and how much of history it weaves into the narrative. The Life of Brian is well worth checking out for those who enjoy historical and religious forms of humor.


  28. Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas: Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas is a sincere holiday classic that really has grown on me. Though it isn’t a fast paced joke a minute type film like the Muppets, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas definitely has Henson’s signature feel and substitutes some of the humor with a powerful sincerity. The film is a retelling of the gift of the Magi where Emmet and his mother decide to give away each other’s livelihoods in order to try secretly win a local country talent show. This movie pits the two against the world as they both struggle to survive in a difficult small town but the river, but also their desire to get money at the talent show to selflessly give each other gifts. While this movie is far less funny then the usual Muppet based films it still has its laughs, and instead focuses more on the sharing of love and a love for music. This movie is an underrated classic, and really should be seen by every Henson and puppet fan.


  29. Birdman: It is said that art often mirrors life, but in Birdman art seems to parody life instead. Birdman is a film where actor Riggan Thompson (played by Michael Keaton) is famous for his super hero series Birdman, but now wishes to change his image and be seen as a “serious,” actor by putting on a production that adapts a Raymond Carter story. With the help of his shady lawyer he ends up hiring a volatile and self-absorbed method actor Mike Shiner (Edward Norton) to assist him in his work. Things of course don’t go right at all, and his play goes wildly out of control causing him to start to crack mentally and emotionally. Choosing Keaton an actual ex-superhero star whose career is overshadowed by his role and who wants to move on was a brilliant choice for this movie. His performance also really helps to elevate the performances of his costars, especially Edward Norton who is hilarious as the unpredicted Shiner who ultimately helps to drive Riggan and the production over the edge. The brand of bleak black comedy this film uses is definitely not for everyone (in fact upon first watching this movie and leaving the theater an older couple openly expressed their disdain for the film), but personally I finds its comedy both insightful and hilarious, and it’s casting perfect.

    body snatchers

  30. Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Whether it is the classic 1956 or the amazing 1978 remake both versions Invasion of the Body Snatchers of are must see productions. Both involve pods appearing and creating replicas of people that awaken after their human counterparts have fallen asleep. In each film the hero comes to realize that people around him are being replaced by duplicates, and he decides to rally against the pod people. Kevin McCarthy in the first adaption does a great job of presenting a panicked man desperately trying to win a losing battle, while Donald Sutherland’s performance has a lot of heart and sells the twist ending. Both films present a complex allegory about the dehumanizing of people while also being genuinely terrifying, and building up an incredible amount of suspense. If I were to choose a favorite from the two it would probably be the earlier film, but both have too much merit to not include. For those who love Science Fiction, and creative and smart invasion narratives like War of the Worlds or The Thing these films about as close to perfect choice for viewing as you can have.


  31. From Dusk Till Dawn: From Dusk Till Dawn is a very strange, yet enjoyable experience. This film starts off as a serious crime film where two criminal brothers played by George Clooney and Quinten Tarintino kidnap an ex-preacher and his family, and then threaten them if they do not help them get to a meet up point in Mexico. After this part though they stop at a bar where they are unwelcome and the film suddenly takes a drastic tonal turn and becoming splatter vampire exploitation film. Many people have a lot of trouble dealing this radical change in tone, but personally I think it is brilliant. Both sections are well shot and well-acted, especially by Clooney who is a fantastic actor and sells his characters slick and deadly personality. Both the suspense of the serious moments of the film especially with Tartino’s character being an unstable loose cannon and the border crossing, and then action packed sleezy balls to the wall nature of the film are great. If you come into this film with an open mind and can enjoy the tonal shifts then you’ll have a great time.


  32. Eyes without a Face: Eyes without a Face is on this list because it is genuinely the most frightening film I have ever seen. After his daughter is injured in a car crash the plastic surgeon Génessier decides to fix his daughters face by luring others to his mansion, and then trying to graft their faces onto his daughter. What makes this film so scary is that it is so grounded within realism. Génessier isn’t some mad scientist and there are no monsters (other than the human one) instead the film focuses on a doctor who is driven by his grief and love for his daughter to commit acts of cruelty. What is also frightening about this film is that where most films would cover or cut away, this film continues to painfully linger. This is especially true during a surgery scene which is shown in graphic detail, and forced me to stop the film and run to the bathroom at least twice in panic before I was able to make it through the scene. I have never seen a film more frightening in my life, and if you are looking for a shockingly terrifying and realistic horror film this is the film to see.


  33. The Raven: While there have been a number of amazing films entitled The Raven, the one that I enjoy by far the best is the 1935 film starring Karloff and Lugosi. In this film Lugosi plays a genius retired surgeon Richard Vollin who is obsessed with Poe. After saving a judges daughter her family is initially grateful to Vollin, but eventually her father becomes resentful of the doctor as his obsession with his engaged daughter grows. Enraged by the spurning of his advances Vollin purposefully botches the surgery of the criminal Edmond Bateman (played by Karloff) in order to rope him into plans for revenge against the Judge and the daughters fiancé. This film is one of the rare films where Lugosi got a chance to overshadow Karloff and he does so brilliantly. His Poe obsessed doctor makes a great turn from sympathetic to maniacally obsessive with some of Lugosi’s best acting going into this role. The score and special effects are also excellent, and it would be on the same level or even better than the Black Cat if it weren’t for the fact that Karloff while excellent is given a more minor role in this film. If you are fan of classic horror though you can’t go wrong with this film which is one of Lugosi and Universal’s best.

    truffaut day for night

  34. Day for Night: François Truffaut’s film Day for Night is a hilarious jab at the film industry which satirizes the making of films. Truffaut constantly shows off his knowledge about the making of films, and uses it to satirize the process. This film involves the making of a corny blockbuster with the troublesome antics of the actors and actresses constantly leading to problems on set for the director (played by Truffaut) who desperately tries to limp his way through the film. This film includes aging actors and actresses unable to remember their lines, a star who is man-child that feels the world revolves around him, and actresses coming to the film set already near break downs. Everything that could go wrong does in this fictional production too including the onset of one sided romances, break ups, and constant filming problems. This is one of my all-time favourite Truffaut and French New-Wave films, and a great introduction the film making process and Truffuat’s New-Wave aesthetic.


  35. Interstella 5555: The 5Tory of the 5Ecret 5Tar 5Ystem: This movie has a very strange title, but the actually film is even stranger. Interstella 5555: The 5Tory of the 5Ecret 5Tar 5Ystem is a film based around the Daft Punk Album Discovery, and is in effect a feature length music video with a plot created with the help of legendary manga creator Leji Matsumoto. This film involves a band of aliens who are captured and brainwashed, and then have to escape their captor. It’s a fun, beautiful, and dream like story told without dialogue and minimal sound effects while still conveying a complex and interesting story. While this isn’t as much of a space opera as Matsumoto’s usual works, it more than makes up for this with the way it blends in the music of Daft Punk into a coherent and interesting story. Somehow despite being dialogue free, and from two very different cultural forces this films comes together in a way that just works. For those who are fans of Daft Punk and/or classic anime this is a must see.


  36. The Sandlot: I’m not sure what it is about the Sandlot, but I really think that it is a great 50’s nostalgia style film. Instead of being a typical underdog beating the odds type of film The Sandlot focuses on a bunch of misfits and their silly exploits. While Baseball is important to the film, it is primarily a means to an end with the film really being about misfit kids growing up and finding a place in the world. The world in this film feels genuine enough for a nostalgia film painting what it is like to be different during period where being different was often looked down upon. While this film isn’t as emotionally charged as a film like Stand by Me it still is a lot of fun and a very charming film I loved to watch when I was young, and that is still well worth checking out.


  37. The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec: The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is one of the best and most underrated Indian Jones like films. Based very loosely on the Jacques Tardi comic of the same name The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec stars a female adventurer who is she trying to revive a mummy in order to save her sister, while also getting to the bottom of the mystery involving a pterosaur wreaking havoc in Paris. It’s incredible how well this film adapts its source material into an exciting French adventure film on par with Hollywood. Not only does this film include a badass female lead, but it also has her having a direct goal other than a get the treasure before the bad guys do plot. I rate this as one of my personal favourites among adventure films, and one definitely to checkout if you love the Indiana Jones series.


  38. A Nightmare on Elm Street: I oddly enough like most of the Nightmare on Elm Street series. While it does get old, goofy, and stupid towards the end of the original series run Robert Englund was clearly born to play Freddy Krueger. If I were chose a best of the series while I love New Nightmare, Dream Warriors, and The Dream Master I would still have to go with the original film which is much scarier than any of the sequels. The original Nightmare on Elm Street has an amazing blend of suspense, gory effects, and a terrifying surreal nightmare feel as it follows teens who are killed off one by one. Wes Craven really went all out for this Slasher film creating an interesting villain who is monstrous, but more cleverly designed then a straight out burly killer like Jason or Michael Mires. Freddy also stands out because of his personality, his one liners, and his creative and brutal style of murdering people in their dreams. For those who are horror fans this 80’s film is one you need to check out, especially if you like Slasher films.


  39. The Wolf Man: While Lon Cheney Jr. was often been miscast in many of the later Universal films in this film without a doubt he is perfect for the role of the distraught Larry Talbot. After returning home to his estranged father (played by Claude Rains) Larry is bitten by a werewolf (played by Bella Lugosi) and told by a Romani fortune teller that he is doomed to transform each night. Throughout the film Cheney plays a tortured soul who just wants to make everything right, but is doom to a tragic fate. While Cheney is not a very versatile actor this is the sort of role Cheney played best, and is complimented by a strong script and incredible original score. For those looking for a great early humanoid werewolf or classic Universal film this is the film to see.


  40. Sherlock, Jr.: Another incredible and hilarious film by the master of silent slapstick Buster Keaton the film Sherlock, Jr is a comedy classic. The film starts with Keaton as a projectionist and amateur detective being framed for a crime he didn’t commit by his rival. He then falls asleep and dreams he is the world famous detective Sherlock Jr. Keaton once again does some incredible stunts at a time where stunt work was much less safety conscious, and as a result more extreme. This film is also one of Keaton’s funniest with his good natured, adventurous, and befuddled character being portrayed perfectly. One of my all-time favourite scenes of the film that illustrates this is when Keaton is being chased by the criminals while seated on the front of a motorcycle, and then the driver falls off without Keaton noticing. Also the train scene which ends with him pulling down on a train water cooling station soaking himself and passersby’s is incredible to witness even though it did cause him a major lifetime injury. These stunts really paid off making this one of the funniest of Keaton’s films which is saying a lot.


  41. Memento: By far the Nolan brother’s best film (even topping The Dark Knight), Memento is a thought provoking neo-noir film that explores disability and perspective. The film begins in reverse with Leonard Shelby a man who cannot remember new memories past five minutes hunting the killer of his wife and shooting someone at the start of the film. Throughout the film he must use notes and his tattoos to try to track down the killer with the help of the undercover cop Teddy. This film is filled with many twists and turns, and makes great use of the main character’s memory issues to weave a complex narrative of revenge. This film shows off the directing and writing that makes a great film, and feels so much more invested in then the commercial films Nolan would often do later. This is a must watch for those who love crime drama’s.


  42. Who Framed Roger Rabbit: It’s impossible to overstate what an accomplishment Who Framed Rodger Rabbit is. Somehow this film was able to get together the characters of many of the biggest animation studios including Disney and Warner brothers, something that has never happened before or since this film. This strange noire film is all about Rodger Rabbit a cartoon rabbit who is accused of murdering a wealthy businessman, and has to be helped by the Toon hating noire detective Eddie Valient played by Bob Hoskins. Not only is this film an amazing accomplishment though, but it has a great, fun, and fast paced plot. This film is definitely worth checking out for anyone who grew up with classic cartoons and looking for a great noire spoof.


  43. Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow: Snake in Eagle’s Shadow is on this list because it always puts a smile on my face. Not only does Jackie Chan finally get a chance to stand out with his comedic style in this film as an abused servant, but it also contains one of the best performances of Yuen Siu Tien as his old hermit mentor. Snake in Eagle’s Shadow has a classic Kung Fu story where the snake style Kung Fu users have been hunted to near extinction by the eagle style leaving only a single hermit who is being hunted. When the hermit secretly takes refuge with Jackie Chan’s bullied servant character he helps to teach Chan’s character to stand up for himself using snake Kung Fu. This film has all the classic excitement of an early Chinese martial arts film with plenty of fighting, comedy, and a classic revenge based storyline. I always love watching the training montages with its cheesy but exciting use of synthesizer piece Magic Fly which strangely works well for this film. For those who love Chan, and want to see how his style and career took off this is the film to watch.


  44. Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape: This film is a great look at the topic of censorship within the UK. I was fortunate enough to meet one of the major contributors to this film Martin Barker on a trip with my father to the UK, and my time spent talking to him about this film had a huge impact on me. Video Nasties talks a lot about the relationship (or lack thereof) with violence in media to violent acts, and poses the question about the justification for film censorship in the UK. It does an excellent job of highlighting both sides of the argument, and uses variety of sources to pose these arguments. Personally I am strongly against censorship, and tend to agree with Barker’s stance on the issue. I did appreciate, however knowing where the other side was coming from even though I often disagreed with it. This film highlights to me not only the struggles with censorship in the UK, but also the concept of censorship internationally and within other mediums such as video games. This is a thoughtful and well-made documentary with very interesting
    subject matter that is well worth viewing even for those who are not fans of horror.


  45. Hugo: Despite being known for more adult works Martin Scorsese proves with this film that he knows how to create amazing children’s films as well. Hugo stars an orphan living in a train station trying to survive, and fix an automaton he and his father used to work on. He eventually meets up with the granddaughter of the famous early filmmaker Georges-Jean Méliès, and they both slowly unravel the history of her grandfather and his accomplishments. This film does what good children’s films do best, presenting a plot that doesn’t talk down or sugar coat things while still feeling heartwarming and sincere. While Hugo is most impressive on the big screen its meta-story and interesting recreation of classic filmmaking is incredible in any format. For those looking for a smart children film where 3d is used to enhance the film this is a film that should be checked out.


  46. Lady Snowblood: Lady Snowblood is as its title suggests a very blood revenge film. After criminals destroy her family, Snowblood’s mother swears vengeance and trains her daughter in the art of killing. What follows is a blood bath of violent murder, and revenge as a mournful song is sung by the lead actress. It’s really clear after seeing this film how much the first Kill Bill borrowed from this film (including its theme). For those who enjoy bloody revenge films or action packed samurai films this will not disappoint.


  47. Lone Wolf and Cub series: The Lone Wolf and Cub film series is one of the few film series that can measure up to its comic’s brilliant source material. Like Lady Snow Blood Lone Wolf and Cub is all about violence and revenge. After his wife is murdered and his family name is disgraced through the trickery of the Yagyu clan the Shogun’s ex-executioner Ogami Ittō swears vengeance. He then carves a bloody trail of vengeance killing all those who would stand in his way (which turns out to be a lot of people) while also caring for his young son. Lone Wolf and Cub is a violent action packed film that still manages to have some strong emotional elements as well. This film is perfect for those who love action, lots of violence, and want to see the samurai equivalent to a Spaghetti Western.


  48. Othello (1981 BBC): There are many outstanding recorded versions of the play Othello, but my personal favourite has always been the Bob Hoskins and Anthony Hopkins production. Othello is a Shakespearian play that encompasses a number of complex themes including revenge, doubt, greed, and racism in a truly tragic way. The plot of the play centers around the Moorish king Othello who is being manipulated and convinced by his conniving adviser Iago that his wife is cheating on him. This adaption is incredibly well acted, especially by Hoskin’s who makes an incredibly wicked Iago. Hopkins, Hoskins, and the rest of the cast do an outstanding job representing the various elements found in the play and the tragedy that ensues. For Shakespeare fans this adaption is one of the best I have seen put to screen.

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  49. High Noon: High Noon stars Gary Cooper in one of the finest Westerns around. After a gang leader who was arrested by Cooper with the help of the town is released from prison he ends up on the first train back into town. He along with his gang have sworn vengeance against the sheriff and town who put him in the slammer, and intent to make up for lost time. When Cooper’s character ends up foregoing his retirement as sheriff in order to help protect the town and do his moral duty though he finds himself alone. This movie is amazing because the buildup of tension as Cooper’s character desperately searches for help only to be turned away repeatedly. He is turned away even by his own wife who is wavering on whether to stand with him and go against her moral values, or run away and leave him even though he probably will be killed. Dimitri Tiomkin’s outstanding score helps grow the tension of this movie perfectly, and the opening theme is absolutely perfect. For fans of Old Westerns this is a must watch.


  50. Night Is Short, Walk On Girl: Odd, charming, hilarious, and heart-warming all are good ways to describe this film. Actually describing the films plot is difficult though other than to say it involves a teenage boy’s crush and existential crisis among many other things. The Night is Short, Walk on Girl features lots of drinking, odd dancing, obsessive romance, misfits, spicy food eating contests, drinking contests, rogue plays, metaphorical struggles, a disease consuming a town, and much much more. This weird movie constantly seems to be shifting, and puts on an incredible show with its almost rubbery animation and plot that stretches all around. What is certain though is that this is a great movie and well worth seeing.


scifi blog
Anime has had a strong connection to science fiction for a very long time. The origins of science fiction works can be traced all the way back to the works of Osamu Tezuka whose stories helped inspire the development of the manga and anime industries. This soon led to the development of an anime series adaption of Leji Matsumoto’s space opera Space Battleship Yamato in 1974. This show focused on many core science fiction themes including space, technology, alien encounters, and the future. Its release helped to cement sci-fi as an important staple of anime, and also helped to develop not only a variety of classic anime genres such as mecha but the anime industry as a whole. I also personally grew up watching a lot of science fiction anime on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and Toonami blocks which helped shape and inspire my own interest in anime. Below is a list of fifteen important science fiction anime series that have and continue to have an influence on science fiction genre. Please note though that these entries only include series that focus on science fiction, and also excluded the Mecha genre as I will be developing a separate list for this genre later. This means that many classics such as movies like Akira and Ghost in the Shell or mecha shows like Mobile Suit Gundam and Evangelion will be appearing in later lists.

captain harlock blog

  1. Space Captain Harlock: After helping to develop the space opera genre with Space Battleship Yamato Leji Matsumoto set his eyes on refining the genre starting with his classic series Space Captain Harlock in 1979. Harlock involves a space pirate crew lead by the brave and badass Captain Harlock fighting to save the earth from advanced female alien invaders. Although the earth government considers Harlock to be a menace, Harlock in actuality stands for freedom and against the Earth government’s corrupt apathy. This anime is not only historically important, but it is extremely fun and exciting. Harlock is a character that is portrayed as a larger than life outlaw similar to Zorro or Robin Hood. Space Captain Harlock helped to be a major inspiration for many creators, and also spawned a number of sequels and even more spinoffs. I highly recommend this show as well as Space Pirate Captain Harlock: Outside Legend – The Endless Odyssey an incredible sequel to the original Space Captain Harlock that helps to continue his voyage through the stars.

    bubble gum crisis blog

  2. Bubblegum crisis: Taking a very different approach from Matsumoto’s space opera, Bubblegum Crisis has more in common with the development of the gritty 80’s cyberpunk movement then the epic feel found in many space operas. Bubblegum Crisis is an OVA series that combines the super hero genre with science fiction. In Bubblegum Crisis the world relies on terminator like robots called Boomers made by the crooked company Genom Corp. Not surprisingly these robots often dangerously fail putting the city at risk. To stop the Boomer menace a group of women come together to form the The Knight Sabers, a women superhero group using advanced mech suits to battle the Boomers and corruption. This series is very eighties and very cool, and it helped other series move towards more gritty urban environments found in films like Akira. Bubble Gum Crisis is great for those who enjoy a gritty story of people fighting the corruption of corporate culture and superhero type feel within science fiction.

    legend blog

  3. Legend of the Galactic heroes: Legend of the Galactic heroes ramped up the epic scale and elements found within a space opera series. Legend of the Galactic heroes follows a war between the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance as both sides seek to win a war of galactic proportion. Within both sides young military geniuses also emerge who have their own motivations for fighting. This series clearly took inspiration from Star Wars, but also clearly is inspired by military strategy with a plot that is more morally complex and more multi-conflict based then Star Wars. This series also is huge spanning 110 episodes, and over nine years of production for the first series alone. It is well worth seeing this series though or it’s 2018 12 episode reboot for a shorter yet still great viewing experience.

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  4. Nadia: Secret of Blue Water- While most people think of science fiction as involving space or the futurist elements this doesn’t always have to be the case. Nadia: Secret of Blue Water takes place in 1889 and takes inspiration from Jule’s Verns science fiction classic novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The series is about the young inventor Jean Roque Lartigue who ends up on an adventure with the girl Nadia as they work together to save the world, and protect her crystal from the organizations Gargoyle and NeoAtlantis. Together along with the help of Captain Nemo and his super submarine they go on epic adventures. This anime is all about historical science and machines, and demonstrates that science fiction doesn’t necessarily also have to take place in the future. This fun adventure was one of the first full series Hideaki Anno directed, and was even written by famous director Hayao Miyazaki. This is a great steampunk adventure and is an anime that is a lot of fun for all ages.

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  5. Tenchi Muyo: Tenchi Muyo was one of the first major harem anime series to be created combining the genre with science fiction. Tenchi Muyo starts out with the hapless hero Tenchi accidently releasing the Space Pirate Ryoko from his family shrine causing her to run rampant. Eventually though Ryoko along with the Space Princess Aeka both end up falling for Tenchi, and attracting many other space women including Galactic Police officers, Aeka’s sister, and a mad scientist. Tenchi Muyo is all about how his life is turned upside down, and how he deals with a bunch of space women moving into his quiet home. For those who enjoy romantic comedies with a touch of science fiction or want to learn more about how the harem genre got started this is a good series to see.

    outlaw blog

  6. Outlaw star: Outlaw Star is a space adventures series that I watched and grew up with on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block. The series stars Gene Starwind a small time bodyguard, bounty hunter, and repair man and his young associate Jim Hawking who end up accidently involved with a famous outlaw, and her plan to steal a cutting edge ship and bio-android. What follows is a battle with Gene and his crew of outlaws against mystical space pirates who want their ship back so that they can find the mysterious treasure of the Galactic Lay-line. Outlaw Star loves to blend tones and genres with some episodes being action packed, others being silly romps, and others being philosophical musings. The series also blends in many science fiction elements such as space travel, androids, super computers, aliens, and weaponry with super natural and super human powers. This series is a lot of fun, and for those looking for a show that is more fiction then science this show is well worth checking out.


  7. Cowboy Bebop: Cowboy Bebop is much more than just a show, it is an experience. Cowboy Bebop follows a crew of bounty hunters (and a super intelligent dog) as they try to eke out a merger living hunting down criminals. Bebop is the sort of anime where many episodes are by themselves masterpieces that come together to make something incredible. While each character of the show has an overall story and background, each story is unique and was created with no expenses spared. The music and animation for this series is incredible, as is the English dub which easily surpasses the original sub. I first watched this series during a marathon of all the episodes on Cartoon Networks late night Adult Swim block, and was instantly hooked making this show still remain my favourite anime series of all time. While there are a number of great shows on this list, if you were to watch just one anime series listed here make it Cowboy Bebop.

    lain blog

  8. Serial Experiments Lain: Serial Experiments Lain is a strange combination of forward thinking science fiction combined with existential horror. Explaining the plot of Lain is difficult to do though I will try my best. The story revolves around a young girl Lain who starts getting odd messages from her classmate who is supposed to be dead. What follows is a philosophical laced trail down the rabbit hole that helped to predict many of the internet’s future developments and trends. There are so many complex and relevant themes in this work including a focus on our relationship with technology. For those looking for a show off the beaten path this is definite a must watch.

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  9. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is the gold standards for cyberpunk anime series. Based upon the ground breaking 80’s film, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex continues to flesh out the Ghost in the Shell universe while standing on its own as an incredible work. Stand Alone Complex involves stories focusing on the government anti-terrorism unit known as section 9 and includes concepts such as cyber based brains, technology, social network communication, crime, and what it means to be human or an android. Throughout this show’s two seasons there are interesting overarching stories that link into many of the shows episodes. Like Cowboy Bebop this show was (may still be) a staple of Adult Swim’s anime programming, and rightfully was re-aired multiple times. This is probably the best cyberpunk anime there is and strongly influenced Psycho-Pass another important entry on this list.

    planetes blog

  10. Planetes: While most science fiction anime tends to be very large in scale, Planetes is about as far removed from the epic scale of shows like Legends of the Galactic heroes as possible. Planetes is all about a young academy graduate Ai who finds herself assigned to lowly a space garbage clean up unit filled with eccentric coworkers. She at first is highly taken aback by her coworkers, and the embarrassment to be working for the lowest of the low space units. Eventually though she learns more about the unit and comes to appreciate her job much more. Planetes is all about making the concept of trash clean up interesting by creating an investment in the characters and having it set in space. Though this series is more low key then many other series it is still a wonderful show.

    Steins;Gate blog

  11. Steins; Gate: Steins; Gate is not only a great science fiction show, but also a great character study. It revolves around the self-proclaimed mad scientist Rintaro Okabe who works in a “secret lab,” with his friends the cute Mayuri Shiina and extra nerdy Itaru “Daru” Hashida. Along with the help of scientist Kurisu and his friends Okabe learns how to change the past and future, but this discovery does comes at a cost. Steins; Gate is incredible because of the way it develops its characters, and a clever plot based around timelines and secret government agents. This series runs the gamut from very light and fun to very serious and heart wrenching, and ends up pulling both off incredibly. It also does a great job presenting an engaging sci-fi plot involving time travel theory while not being overly confusing. This show is diverse in its tone, tight in its characterization, and thrilling in its plot, and is a great watch for sci-fi fans.

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  12. Space Brothers: Not all science fiction has to take place in the future or in a steam punk setting. Space Brothers is a great example of a show that focuses on realism and takes place more in the present. Space Brother’s star Mutta Nanba who as a kid dreams of going into space along with his younger brother Hibito. Instead of following that dream like his brother though Mutta ends up with a boring life and a job he hates. This all changes though when Mutta decides to follow his brother and his dreams, and enter the JAXA astronaut training program. This series is all about Mutta’s experiences training and learning about becoming an Astronaut, facing trainings hardships, and working hard to following his dreams. What makes this series work so well is the attention to detail placed into both the characters, and the information on the space programs and travel. With 99 episodes we get to learn all about the characters, and have the plot deeply flesh them out creating an exciting story. For those looking for a more in-depth, and modern and realistic science fiction story Space Brothers is the show to see.

    pass blog

  13. Psycho-Pass: Psycho-Pass takes place in a future where all aspects of life are controlled. From people’s jobs, to their homes, and even the factors determining if someone is a criminals and that person should be allowed to live are all determined by an advanced computer system known as Sibyl. Psycho-Pass is all about the new police inspector Akane Tsunemori who is placed to work alongside enforcer’s, a group of people who are determined to be too inherently dangerous to mix with general society and work with the police to hunt down criminals. What follows is a question of whether it is better to live a “safe,” life free of freedoms, or to take the risk of letting people with all their flaws determine their own destiny. Psycho-Pass’s cyberpunk setting clearly has been influenced by a number of cyberpunk classics such as Minority Report and Ghost in the Shell. While this series takes a more action based approach it still includes plenty deep and meaningful themes. For those looking for a thought provoking and exciting series Psycho-Pass’s first season is well worth seeing.


  14. Space Dandy: Space Dandy is pure slapstick comedy. This series stars Dandy a ridiculous bounty hunter (a person that hunts down new alien species) with a huge pompadour, and his absurd crew consisting of an out of date robot and a useless cat alien. Together they travel through space having ridiculous adventures including turning into zombies, pulling alternate versions of Dandy from other dimensions, going to space Hooters, having Dandy being turned into a plushy, and many other weird and comical adventures. Space Dandy is all about having fun and like its leads going with the flow. While its director Shinichirō Watanabe did have some comedy and comedic elements in Cowboy Bebop, Space Dandy definitely aims to be much more ridiculous and have a more comedic tone. Space Dandy is a great show to see when you’re looking for a creative fun show that doesn’t require worrying about a complex story to enjoy thoroughly.

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  15. A Place Further than the Universe: A Place Further than the Universe is a series many people don’t really think of as science fiction. Despite this though this show does explore scientific themes involving what it would take to travel to Antarctica. A Place Further than the Universe stars Mari Tamaki a highschooler who has never gone far from home or had the guts to have an adventure. This soon changes however when she is approached by Shirase Kobuchizawa a classmate who spends her free time working and saving up money to head to the South Pole to pursue her missing mother. Eventually the two end up recruiting two other students and take steps to make their dream a reality. While this series is often fun and cute it is very much grounded in realism. This show is a great experience and a wonderful modern example of just how many different elements the science fiction genre encompasses.

The Movie Lounge: Godzilla, King of the Monsters and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

As a Godzilla fan I really wanted to love Godzilla, King of the Monsters so much more than I did. While I didn’t see the first Monsterverse Godzilla film, I can boil down most of my objections for this film as focusing on the human’s perspective, and on a corny and contradictory message. This film spent way too long on a boring and cheesy human story, rather than on the monsters which was a huge mistake. While I did chuckle at a few elements put in the film specifically for the fans and did enjoy certain moments with the monsters, the human characters just drag the movie down so much. It’s a real shame that this movie was not the Godzilla film I was hoping for, and missed the mark so badly.

The writing for this movie is just awful. While this isn’t a surprise to me, it was actually worse than even I expected. In most Godzilla films it is clear that even when they are serious or have a message that the message is usually simple and the plot understands that the film is still about a giant fire breathing lizard monster. The filmmakers for this film though seemed to understand neither of these two concepts. A message is pounded into the viewers by the monster research team about coexisting with the monsters, and that the monsters are here to balance humanity. This message though is very soon contradicted when one of their scientists, a disturbed mother who is morning the loss of her child decides to fake own her kidnapping. She does this in order to use a special sound device to then unleash the monsters upon the world in order to “fix it.” All the rest of the humans tell her that she is wrong, but in effect she is only carrying out an extreme version of what the monster researchers advocated for in the first place. It isn’t until she realizes that King Ghidorah is from space that she later regrets her actions, and even then her change of heart doesn’t really make sense (I guess she liked Godzilla destroying things better?).

To make matters worse as mentioned above the human perspective is used way way way too much in the cinematography and within the stories focus. If you ever thought that a film like The Dark Knight or Cloverfield needed more flashing lights and confusing shaky cam then this is the film for you. Far too many of the shots are from a human angle, and are designed to be disorienting. This would have been fine if this style of shooting was used maybe a few times in the film to be dramatic but instead this technique is used throughout the film to the point where it becomes annoying. Then there is the character writing which is a flop. The characters are annoying largely because they are so underdeveloped, have confusing/cliche motives, and are often way too serious (and when they weren’t I was wishing they were). It seems like the writers forgot that the main focus of Godzilla films should be Godzilla, not the hapless humans stuck within the conflict. I kept wishing for the human’s characters to be destroyed so that the movie could stop wasting time watching them run around or having them have to save Godzilla. While the monster scenes in this movie are fun there are far too few of them, instead having way too much of the humans trying to save or ruin the day while the camera shakes a lot.

My experience with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice couldn’t have been more different then with Godzilla, King of the Monsters. I had very little expectations for the film coming into it, and ended up watching the film mainly because I love Nick Cage and it was available for free at the library. I was worried though that Cage would be the only interesting or fun part of the film, but the film as a whole turned to be a lot of fun. Despite the films negative reviews, again I found myself drawn to this film because it was so enjoyable and I feel that it deserves so much praise then it has received.

What makes this film work so well is its acting and special effects. Films like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice live and die based on these elements which can make or break the film. The plot for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice pretty simple, it has a nerdy grad student learning to be a wizard in order to defeat evil and recover a macguffin with the help of grizzled mentor Nick Cage. Where the film really shines though is in the creativity and characters it employs. It would have been very easy for the characters to have been annoying or cliché, but in this film they are neither. The film does a great job of making the hero Dave an awkward, clumsy, and goofy guy, while still making giving him a burden of having to save the world, an awkward but sweet romance, and a growth as a person that seemed believable. Of course Nick Cage is once again amazing in this film; he ends up playing a role that is perfect for him, a grizzled and sarcastic ageless mentor. I love Cage’s performance, and contrary to the stereotypes about him in this role he once again shows he can be just as good in a calm collected role as a frenetic one. Alfred Molina’s role as the villainous Horvath is also outstanding. Molina makes the villain swab, drab, and menacing, which is a great contrast to his stage magician henchman who is awkward and highly flamboyant.

The special effects are also wonderful for this film. This movie is filled with amazing and cleverly done special effects that really work. I feel that the effects in this film easily puts other magic based movies like the Harry Potter to shame because of how creative they are. This movie employs creatures, objects, and spells that were exciting and that added to the film rather than being distracting. I also never felt the special effects were not overdone or compensating for bad writing, and that they fit with the film’s mood. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is another film I feel the critics were wrong about when it comes to Nick Cage, and that defied my expectation by being a really a great simple thrilling and fun go

Reviews from the Screening Room: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection

I wish I could say that the Code Geass Movie was the triumphant sequel that I was wishing for. I had hopes that it would somehow within its short run time live up to and continue the original series legacy, but I ultimately I was underwhelmed. If the creators were looking to resurrect the Code Geass franchise they really should have worked harder to make this film more meaningful and stand out beyond the average anime series based film. Instead this movie felt mostly like it should have been a stand-alone work and like it was falsely advertised as something more than it really was. For these reasons I would recommend this film only for diehard fans of the series, and even then I would not recommend going out of your way to see it.

The music and voice acting is good quality throughout the film. While it doesn’t really cover any new ground, it is one of the best features this film has to offer. There isn’t really anything bad I can say about the subtitled casts performance (I saw the film with subtitles). The voice acting continues to be excellent and memorable from both the old cast as well as the new characters. The music evokes many of the classic Code Geass musical themes, but doesn’t really provide much in the way of new music. This use of nostalgia isn’t necessarily a bad thing though as the music is one of the most effective elements the film, and does a great job connecting the film with the original series. There really isn’t anything to complain about within the movies sound work; while I do miss the Jibun wo for the most part the movie doesn’t really change much from the TV series and is one of the biggest things the film got right.

Despite some good animation being added, Resurrections animation doesn’t really improve on the TV series. I did like some of the surreal elements that were added into the visuals, and a lot of the backgrounds did create a really impressive sense of setting for this film. The biggest issues with the animation, however is that it looks too much like the original TV series in terms of planning and budget. While many of the animation shortcuts used within TV series are things I can usually forgive from a weekly show with a limited animation budget, in an anime based film I typically expect a much bigger budget and more available time for planning to go into the animation. One scene that particularly bugged me was one taking place during a party where two characters are talking. Animation in this scene is just painfully sloppy and embarrassingly underdeveloped. While I did enjoy the scenery and the surreal elements added, I expected a lot more from this movie in terms of animation especially as a film advertising itself an important sequel.

Resurrection has a major identity crisis. While it markets itself as a sequel, it’s really a standalone film that required certain continuations to work. This poses a major problem because how the film markets itself isn’t what the film turned out to be. The plot of Resurrection starts with C.C. and a revived but doll like Lelouch meeting up in a desert region with Kallen, Sayoko, and Lloyd who are battling a squad led by a Geass wielding soldier from a Middle Eastern kingdom. After the battle the group ventures into a prison within the Kingdom where C.C. uses a temple to revive Lelouch, and with the help of Suzaku who was captured by the kingdom they all eventually escape. After this they unite with UN forces including many important characters from the original show in order to battle against the kingdom and rescue Nunally from the clutches of the Middle Eastern kingdom’s Geass wielding princess. The problem with this plot is that all of it other than Lelouches revival and different characters teaming up could have just as easily been standalone and are elements that end up being inconsequential to the series as a whole. The other major plot issue is that the parts that are important to the franchise feel extremely out of place. These parts end up feeling like they were tacked on and end up being very downplayed, confusing, and underdeveloped compared to the rest of the film or the plot of the original series. These elements also poses additional problems as well, because they clash so much with the rest of the stand-alone plot while also trying to be a jumping off point for the revival of the Code Geass franchise.

Some of the characters are actually really enjoyable in this film. While I would have liked for certain characters to have gotten more screen time, I was generally happy with attention each returning characters got. I especially like how the film furthered C.C. and Lelouch’s relationship, and how traumatized Lelouch is before he is returned to his usual self. While it might have been nice to have the rest of the cast (especially Suzaku) take over, I thought that the filmmakers did a good job making the revival of Lelouch meaningful, and furthering his and C.C.’s relationship. Many of the other characters such as Lyod and Kallen also get interesting arcs and action. The biggest disappointment I had with this films portrayal of returning characters though was how Suzaku and Nunally were treated. It disappoints me that Suzaku never really gets a chance to have his own arc in the film outside of his complex relationship with Lelouch. Things are even worse for Nunally though who ends up for most of the film being a damsel in distress and not given a chance to expand as a character.


The biggest issues with the films characterization though are how the Middle Eastern kingdom’s villainous brother and sister leaders are portrayed. The film wastes a great opportunity to parallel their relationship as siblings with the relationship of Lelouch and Nunally, and also how the movie never really explains their motives. While it might be implied that the princess is trying to help her disabled brother, it is never clear why she wants to break into the mystical C.C. realm other than to obtain power. While her Geass time travel power creates an interesting challenge for Lelouch and his allies, what she hoped to gain from the conflict between Lelouch and his allies was not. By not including some previous grudge against Lelouch or his allies, or having a personal stake in succeeding it makes her motives feel weak and makes it difficult to care about her. While many of the returning characters do have interesting arcs, and Lelouch and C.C. do get developed in a meaningful way, others in the movie especially the new villains really lack the development or depth I was hoping they would get.

Despite my griping as a stand-alone film Resurrection is alright. It isn’t about to change the world, but it does have some fun throw backs to the original series, battles, and neat character arcs. As a sequel though it just doesn’t work. The film seems to go out of its way to downplay the hype it was trying to build with less than stellar animation, weak or missing plot details explaining Lelouches revival, and villains and a plot that are wrapped up by the end of the movie. This movie really should have been created as its own stand-alone work, rather than the beginning of a brand new Code Geass franchise. I really hope that if the creators do continue this series that they present something that is both new or at the very least created with more effort to stand out.

I wish I could say that the Code Geass Movie was the triumphant sequel that I was wishing for. I had hopes that it would somehow within its short run time live up to and continue the original series legacy, but I ultimately I was underwhelmed. If the creators were looking to resurrect the Code Geass franchise they really should have worked harder to make this film more meaningful and stand out beyond the average anime series based movie. Instead this movie felt mostly like it should have been a stand-alone work and like it was falsely advertised as something more than it really was. For these reasons I would recommend this film only for diehard fans of the series, and even then I would not recommend going out of your way to see it.

The music and voice acting is good quality throughout the film. While it doesn’t really cover any new ground, it is one of the best elements this film has to offer. There isn’t really anything bad I can say about the subtitled casts performance (I saw the film with subtitles). The voice acting continues to be excellent and memorable from both the old cast as well as the new characters. The music evokes many of the classic Code Geass musical themes, but doesn’t really provide much in the way of new music. This use of nostalgia isn’t necessarily a bad thing though as the music is one of the most effective elements the film, and does a great job connecting the film with the original series. There really isn’t anything to complain about within Code Geass films sound work; while I miss the Jibun wo for the most part the movie doesn’t really change much from the TV series and is one of the biggest elements the film got right.

Despite some good animation being added, Resurrections animation doesn’t really improve on the TV series. I did like some of the surreal elements that were added into the visuals, and a lot of the backgrounds did create a really impressive sense of setting for this film. The biggest issues with the animation, however is that it looks too much like the original TV series in terms of planning and budget. While many of the animation shortcuts used within TV series are things I can usually forgive from a weekly show with a limited animation budget, in an anime based film I typically expect a much bigger budget and more available time for planning to go into the animation. One scene that particularly bugged me was one taking place during a party where two characters are talking. Animation in this scene just is painfully sloppy and embarrassingly underdeveloped. While I did enjoy the scenery and the surreal elements added, I expected a lot more from this movie in terms of animation especially as a film advertising itself an important sequel.

Resurrection has a major identity crisis. While it markets itself as a sequel, it’s really a standalone film that required certain continuations to work. This poses a major problem because how the film markets itself isn’t what the film turned out to be. The plot of Resurrection starts with C.C. and a revived but doll like Lelouch meeting up in a desert region with Kallen, Sayoko, and Lloyd who are battling a squad led by a Geass wielding soldier from a Middle Eastern Kingdom. After the battle the group ventures into a prison within the Kingdom where C.C. uses a temple to revive Lelouch, and with the help of Suzaku who was captured by the kingdom they all eventually escape. After this they unite with UN forces including many important characters from the original show in order to battle against the kingdom and rescue Nunally from the clutches of the Middle Eastern kingdom’s Geass wielding princess. The problem with this plot is that all of it other than Lelouches revival and different characters teaming up could have just as easily been standalone and are elements that end up being inconsequential to the series as a whole. The other major plot issue is that the parts that are important to the franchise feel extremely out of place. These parts end up feeling like they were tacked on and end up being very downplayed, confusing, and underdeveloped compared to the rest of the film or the plot of the original series. These elements also poses additional problems as well, because they clash so much with the rest of the stand-alone plot while also trying to be a jumping off point for the revival of the Code Geass franchise.

Some of the characters are actually really enjoyable in this film. While I would have liked for certain characters to have gotten more screen time, I was generally happy with attention each returning characters got. I especially like how the film furthered C.C. and Lelouch’s relationship, and how traumatized Lelouch is before he is returned to his usual self. While it might have been nice to have the rest of the cast (especially Suzaku) take over, I thought that the filmmakers did a good job making the revival of Lelouch meaningful, and furthering his and C.C.’s relationship. Many of the other characters such as Lyod and Kallen also get interesting arcs and action. The biggest disappointment I had with this films characterization though was how Suzaku and Nunally were portrayed. It disappoints me that Suzaku never really gets a chance to have his own arc in the film outside of his complex relationship with Lelouch. Things are even worse for Nunally though who ends up for most of the film being a damsel in distress and not given a chance to expand as a character.

The biggest issues with the films characterization though are how the Middle Eastern kingdoms villainous brother and sister leaders are portrayed. The film wastes a great opportunity to parallel their relationship as sibling’s relationship with the relationship of Lelouch and Nunally, and also the movie never really explains their motives accurately. While it might be implied that the princess is trying to help her brother, it is never clear why she wants to break into the mystical C.C. realm other than to obtain power. While her Geass time travel power creates an interesting challenge for Lelouch and his allies, what she hoped to gain from the conflict between Lelouch and his allies was not. By not including some previous grudge against Lelouch or his allies, or having some personal stake in succeeding it makes her motive feel weak and her difficult to care about. While many of the returning characters do have interesting arcs, and Lelouch and C.C. do get developed in a meaningful way, others in the movie especially the villains really lack the development or depth I was hoping they would get.

Despite my griping as a stand-alone film Resurrection is alright. It isn’t about to change the world, but it does have some fun throw backs to the original series, battles, and neat character arcs. As a sequel though it just doesn’t work. The film seems to go out of its way to downplay the hype it was trying to build with less than stellar animation, weak or missing plot details explaining Lelouches revival, and villains and a plot that are wrapped up by the end of the movie. This movie really should have been created as its own stand-alone work, rather than the beginning of a brand new Code Geass franchise. I really hope that if the creators do continue this series that they present something that is both new or at the very least created with more effort to stand out than this film was given.

Anime study time: Dashikashi (season 1), Is the Order a Rabbit (season 1), Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed, and No. 6

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I love watching anime, but often it is hard for me to watch as much anime as I use to. Because of my work schedule and of how tired I often am after working I find it difficult to always dedicate time to watching shows like I use to. I tend to watch shows at a slower pace now, enjoy savoring them more, and tend to get distracted by other shows more easily. Currently though I have/had watched five really great shows that I really wanted a chance to write about. These shows have sparked my desire to see more anime, and to try to set aside more time to watch anime when I can. I hope to do more of these reviews in-between lists so that I can keep producing fresh content for this blog, but also to keep me watching.


Dashikashi (season 1): Easily the strangest series on this list Dashikashi is a show about traditional Japanese candy and snack stores called Dagashi. Dashikashi focuses on Kokonotsu Shikada a boy who wants to become a manga artist and move out of his small town to a big city. His father wants him to be the 9th inheritor of his family Dagashi store though. Things only get more complicated for Kokonotsu when Hotaru Shidare a weird Dagashi adoring girl appears in town wanting to incorporate the store into her father’s snack company. Kokonostu father only agrees to go through with this deal however, if she can get Kokonotsu to take over the family business. Kokonostu’s life soon becomes chaotic as Hotaru and his father try to convince him to take over the store, as well his childhood friend and local café owner Saya Hotaru who has a crush on Kokonotsu and doesn’t want him leaving to help her.

Well it could be fairly argued that Dashikashi is just one big Japanese candy and snack commercial, there are elements that make it stand out as worth watching. First off the information about these snacks might seem common place to those who grew up in Japan, but here in the US where these snacks are not engrained as part of our culture the information provided is fascinating. As someone who grew up in a small town culture where I would go to the local snack shop, and as someone who still loves snacks I found myself drawn to the concept of a show set in small town with a focus upon Japanese snack shops and snacks. I am fascinated by the information provided within Dashikashi, I enjoy how it is presented and how it connects to my own experiences growing up.

The second element that sets this show apart are characters, and how they present information. The plot is very thin which is fine in this case because it allows the show to go in just about any direction it wants to (which it does). Dashikashi often consists of a series of small sketches that mostly involve food, drink, or toys and games found in Dagashi. What pulls all of this together and makes this format work are the characters. The interaction between the lead characters are great, but I especially love Hotaru. Hotaru is a perfect foil for the Kokonotsu due to the fact that she is so off the wall and zany, often contrasting his more down to earth personality. While they both are dreamers Hotaru’s obsession with Dagashi’s and her personality makes her stands out as more than some advertising mouthpiece. Hotaru’s interactions are always weird and unexpected, and can range from a history lesson on snack mascots, eating tips, playing games, or just getting drunk off of fake beer or constantly losing contests. The characters and subject matter make this show really engaging; I’m really glad I purchased this series when it was on sale, and I’m really looking forward to finishing it.

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Is the Order a Rabbit: Lately I have really been getting into Slice of life anime thanks to this show. While I have a number of other Slice of Life I still have to watch, this one holds a special place in my heart and is one of my new favorites. Is the Order a Rabbit stars Cocoa an energetic and goofy girl moving to a coastal town and into the Rabbit House café the home of the Kafuu family. Cocoa soon ends up helping within the café along with the stoic middle schooler Chino Kafuu and her pet rabbit/secret grandfather Tippi, and the part time worker Rize Tedeza a military officer’s daughter. Eventually they all end up meeting two other café workers who often join them including the traditionally Japanese and poetic Chiya, and Syaro a poor lesbian with a crush on Rize who everyone other than Chiya thinks is rich. Together the group spends time together enjoying each other’s company.

This is another Slice of Life where the characters rather than the plot drives the show. That isn’t to say there isn’t ever a plot, but mostly the stories revolve around the leads spending time together. While some of the stories are serious, many of them are just watching the characters interact and enjoy themselves. The series plots are often minimalistic, allowing for the entire show to focus on the characters and their heartwarming experiences. This show is definitely not for everyone though, and the enjoyment of it largely dependent on how much you enjoy watching characters just living their lives. I personally feel that Is the Order a Rabbit is a ton of fun though, and that when I revive my favourite shows list it will definitely be added.


Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket: Gundam War in the Pocket is very different from any other show within the Gundam franchise. It focuses on the perspective of Al a child living on “neutral,” colony during the end of the One year war (which is the focus of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series). Once again in this story the Earth Federation decides to hide one of its advanced Gundam mobile suit (a giant robot) on a neutral colony causing their enemies the Federation of Zeon to plan a mission to either steal or destroy the new advanced weapon. Al ends ups being getting himself recruited by a team of Zeon special operatives including a big brother figure named Bernie to help them spy on the Federation and help plan the capture or sabotage of the Federations new robot. Meanwhile Al’s neighbor Christina also returns to the colony in order to secretly test the new Gundam for the Earth Federation, unaware that Al and his new role model Bernie are working with Zeon.

War in the Pocket presents a story of war from a child’s perspective. While it does have a lots of great action and suspense, ultimately the story is different from other Gundam series in that it doesn’t focus on politics or war strategy. Instead it is almost entirely about the experiences of people caught up in conflict and the cost of war. Al finds out throughout the series that war is isn’t glamorous, and often comes with serious costs. The best elements of this show is how it develops its characters. Despite being short War in the Pocket doesn’t rush character develop, and spends most of its time developing the characters and building up suspense. While it is only six episode OVA of average length long, I grew really attached to the characters in this series which made the conflict and suspense carry so much more weight than even many longer anime series. This series lives up to the high bar set by other great Gundam shows like Mobile Suit Gundam, Char’s Counter Attack, and Gundam Seed.


Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: Gundam Seed was clearly designed as a more modern update to the classic Gundam elements. The series focuses on a war between the natural humans of the Earth group, and the genetically modified Coordinators who formed Zaft (which is basically the shows Zeon) caused by the destruction of a major Coordinator colony during the Bloody Valentine incident. Once again the Earth group decides be terrible by this time hiding not one, but six secret weapons on a neutral colony including five advanced Gundam Mobile Suits and the new battleship the Arc-Angel. As a result Zaft comes to colony, proceeds to take all but one of these Gundams and ends up destroying the colony. While this is happening Kira a coordinator who desires peace ends up being roped into piloting the remaining Gundam with the remaining Earth soldiers in order to protect the Arc-angel which contains colony members and his friends. This puts Kira on the opposite side of the conflict from his childhood friend Athrun, who is working with Zaft and trying to convince Kira to join him.

At first I didn’t know how to feel about Gundam Seed. While it had a number of Gundam staples, I was concerned that the show couldn’t differentia itself from the classic Gundam series and that it would be entirely about the conflict between Athrun and Kira, and the two opposing sides. As the series went on though it just kept getting better and better focusing much more on the crew of the Arc-Angel, the moral dilemma’s facing Kira when he is forced to battle his close friend, and his struggles with being placed into a war against his own people that he didn’t really want to be a part of. This doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of great politics, exciting battles, and other character development through in the series as well though. After watching more of this series it quickly became clear that it offers a lot of new elements that are similar to Code Geass (special thanks to my friend Gerrard for pointing this out), while still keeping many of the classic elements that are so great about Gundam series. Gundam Seed quickly got me hooked and is a program that I think is well worth investing in despite its large episode count, especially for Gundam and Code Geass fans.


No. 6: No. 6 is a great example of how to write a dystopian series and gay romance. The series stars Shion an incredibly gifted boy living in a futuristic city where the state rules over its citizens. One day though he helps a young fugitive named Nezumi who sneaks into his house during a storm, and he helps feed and bandage the wanted boy. The security personnel of the city find out about what Shion did though, and strip him of his special rights leaving Shion as an outcaste within the city. He is forced later to take a job as a park janitor managing trash cleaning robots. Shion eventually discovers though that a strange bee is infecting people within the city, and he begins to doubt No.6’s government just before his work partner is also killed one of these bees. This causes Shion to become wanted by the city for disloyalty, and has him framed for his workmates death causing the cities defense force to arrest him. Shion is rescued though from the security forces by Nezumi and travels with him to a wasteland outside the city.

No. 6 is great because of the way it deals with romance. The development of Nezumi and Shion feelings for one another happens slowly, and is filled with up and downs. Both have very different upbringings and world views, including about the city. Shion’s mother and friend lives in No. 6 causing him to want to save it, while Nezumi views all of the city as corrupt and wicked, and hopes that it will collapse entirely. Despite their differences though they both love one another, and their love grows throughout the series. No. 6 is not so much about fast action, as it is two characters trying to survive, find each other, and fall in love. While parts of ending I think tried too hard to be shocking, the ride and romance makes this series definitely worth watching for Sci-Fi and Yaoi fans.

Where are the New Posts? The Answer: Kitsune guest stars Poplurker!!!

Many of you may or may not know my most recent blog posts have actually been on Loryn Stone’s amazing website: I’m very grateful have been invited to write for her pop-culture blog, and I hope that maybe one day she or the other Poplurkers will appear here. For those who haven’t seen my latest posts on Poplurker I did two very major ones, one on The Top Ten Best and Worst Godzilla Films, and a series on the 20 Most Important Transgender Manga and Anime Characters in two parts (part one & two).

For those waiting though for more of the standard blog content on this page, I promise you that I am still working hard on it and that you won’t have too long to wait. I have a number of exciting anime lists I’m working on, as well as some other fun content that I’m really looking forward to posting.

See all you foxes soon,

Secret House of Anime: Anime Series that I love and have influenced me (in no particular order)

nami blog

After lots of editing I’m incredibly excited to finally be able to release this list! This is no means a definitive best of list, but I wanted to create a list that reflected series I personally love and that have affected me. A lot of the series on this list come with stories and wonderful memories that make them very special to me. I hope that you enjoy reading about my experiences with these series and that you discover some new and exciting shows to watch through it.
bebop blog

  1. Cowboy Bebop: Cowboy Bebop changed my life in so many ways. The first time I saw this show was during middle school at a friend’s house. I ended up seeing this show on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and instantly fell in love with it. This was also my first experience watching Adult Swim, before it became super popular, and way before Toonami became a part of Adult Swim and streaming anime online was common. Cowboy Bebop was still a relatively new program at that time, and Adult Swim had a special marathon showing the entire show in one night. I was memorized by less than half way through the first episode, and I stayed up until around 3AM marathoning all of it. I had and have yet to see a show with so many amazing features and that set so many major standards for the US anime industry. Cowboy Bebop’s animation is mind blowing, the plots of each episode vary greatly in tone and yet are often masterpieces despite being radically different, the characters are cool and detailed with each character having their own interesting story arcs developed throughout the show, and the music is also radically varied yet mind-blowingly amazing.
    This anime series is also a masterpiece because it is largely responsible for setting the standard for what a series and an English dub could be. All the voice cast was top notch, fit with their characters seamlessly, and helped push for a higher standard of translation and voice acting. Another element of this show that had a major impact on me was how it introduced me to many important and life changing topics such as how complex and important gender identity can be, and the complexity within various relationships. To this day I don’t think I’ve seen another show that has had the same impact on me as Cowboy Bebop. This series a must-see series, and a rare instance where the English dub is a must watch.


  1. Gankutsuou: the Count of Monte Cristo: Gankutsuou is an anime series that draws inspiration from one of my favourite books. At the beginning of undergraduate degree I was loaned a copy of Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo and ended up falling in love with Dumas’s ornate tale of revenge and loss. The Count of Monte Cristo is epic filled with drama, excitement, and a tale of love and hate, and it amazed me with how the drama in the story seemed to contrast my personality and how I felt my life was at the time. Gankutsuou manages to stir up those same feelings found in the novel, while adding its own twists to the tale and making the story its own. By changing the focus of the story from the Count to the naive son of one of the men that the Count seeks revenge against I felt a real sense of how mysterious, painfully driven, and larger than life the Count appears. Somehow the addition of a science fiction theme, the odd animation style that overlays fabrics, the new characters, and change of focus really does work in this series, and doesn’t detract from the originals themes, but instead is done carefully in a way that enhances them while setting the series apart from a mere retelling. This series is one of the best retellings of a classic work that I have ever seen, and whenever I watch it I am left by the end of the episode amazed and always eager for more.

Wolf rain blog

  1. Wolf Rain: Wolf Rain is the sort of anime that people usually either love or hate, personally I love it. Other than the director many of the staff for Wolf Rain had just come from working on Cowboy Bebop. It was clear that they wanted to create an even more mind-blowing style of animation and it shows in Wolf’s Rain. Wolf Rain looks amazing and stands up still as one of the most beautiful looking series of all time. Also returning from Cowboy Bebop was composer Yahko Kanno who provided an appropriately different, but just as breathtaking mostly symphonic orchestral score. This series once again had an incredible voice cast and script with many amazing dub voice actors continuing to uphold a high standard (including the amazing Steve Blum). These technical elements were combined with an interesting and complex show mixing folk tales with science fiction into a journey of discovery. While I know that this series is not for everyone, I would recommend that everyone at least give it a try, because those who enjoy this show (like me) usually love it, and even those that don’t like it will at least appreciate the technical elements that went into Wolf’s Rain.

sailor moon blog

  1. Sailor Moon (original): Sailor Moon has had a huge impact on me not only as an anime fan, but as a person. When I was young before transitioning, Sailor Moon played a huge part in the self-discovery and affirmation of my gender. Despite being teased by my family about it, I would often watch the DIC dub of Sailor Moon usually in secret on Toonami when I could. I would day dream about having the female body I needed, being a part of the Sailor Moon world, and going on adventures while wearing beautiful outfits.
    Sailor Moon also provided a story and world I could relate to. While some people feel that Sailor Moon has too much monster of the week material, I personally found the format great for getting to know the cast.  Often the most important element of the show for me was getting a chance to know each of the characters, to the point where I felt like I knew how they would react in many situations. The Sailor Moon series balanced the action and the cosmic, with the mundane and everyday life well, keeping both interesting, fun, and exciting. It also maintained its feel and elements, while adding exciting and at the time cutting edge elements such as LGBTQIA characters. On top of that the series has an excellent and stylized hand drawn look and a musical score that always gets me pumped. Even without the nostalgia glasses and with the personalized impact this show has had on me, I still think that I would declare it one of the best Magical Girl shows of all time.

ranma blog

  1. Ranma ½: For a lot of older anime fans like me Ranma ½ was a very generationally significant show. Early in US anime fandom Ranma ½ was one of the most popular shows of its time and was a show everyone was talking about and watching. I grew up during the tail end of Ranma’s immense popularity and really got into Ranma during Viz’s second printing of the manga. I was quickly hooked and made Ranma ½ the first manga I consistently collected, despite having only a small allowance in High School. Its comedy, action, world, and concepts all drew me in, and it also became another part of my day dreams and a place of escape from difficulty of the world as a teenage transgender woman.
    While I don’t think that the anime is nearly as good as the manga, the anime series has also had a huge impact on me. Despite not being as good as the manga, the anime series was something that I spend a lot of time watching. Ranma was one of the first anime series that I actively purchased, before DVD’s or streaming anime existed. I vividly recall purchasing a fan translated copy of the 2nd Ranma movie at a local used book store near my grandparent’s house and watching it with my brother. That experience has always stuck with me as one of the most important and enjoyable experiences I have had with an anime. After that I would sometimes find VHS copies of Ranma at Goodwill which I would purchase and watch religiously.  While the world has changed a great deal from when I was first buying and watching the Ranma ½ anime, it still has a unique charm to it with a memorable and unusual soundtrack, and an interesting hand drawn style that reminds me a lot of Sailor Moon and early cell animation. It also remains important to me as a series. I continue to love watching the Ranma anime series, OVA’s, and movies to this day. Ranma ½ for me is the sort of show that I don’t view so much on an empirical level, but rather as an important part of my life and an important experience for me as an anime fan.


  1. Haibane Renmei: Despite my first complete viewing of this series being less than five years ago, this show already holds a special place in my heart. Haibane Renmei is like no other anime series I have seen. Despite being a fantasy series based around coming to another world, Haibane Renmei couldn’t feel more different from most series of these kinds. Haibane Renmei explores an over arcing plot about personal salvation and saving others emotionally, but it is also often slow moving and typically focuses on everyday life for the characters. Haibane Renmei has a lot more in common with shows like Mushishi and Kino’s Journey then it does other coming to a fantasy world based shows that proceeded it like Sword Art Online and Log Horizon, which drew more strongly from shows such as .Dot Hack Sign. I appreciate Haibane Renmei’s slow emotional feel and can relate to many of the internal struggles and questions the show poses about life and death. This show helped me get through my first breakup and a bout of major depression during my busiest period of graduate school. This show also helped me find a way forward through these struggles. For those looking for a series that is smart, relaxing, emotional, and takes its time crafting a detailed and thoughtful story Haibane Renmei is the perfect series to view.

spice and wolf blog

  1. Spice and Wolf: Horo is one of my favourite anime characters of all time. From her design as a red wolf young woman, who is cute while also remaining wild and free; to her personality, which combines extreme wit with a sense of animal like danger, but also a helpful warmth Horo is a character that appeals to me greatly. In many ways she reminds me of the sort of person I want to be or at least be friends with. That isn’t to say that Horo is the only element that I love about Spice and Wolf, the merchant Lawrence’s often laid back, cynical, and deal making personality nicely contrast Horo’s personality and helps develop an odd relationship between them. The plot about changing times, religious shifts, and medieval economies are all fascinating as well, and are highlighted well with the series style and memorable score. This is a great anime for those who love Kemonomimi like me or those who want an unusual anime about economies and changing traditions.

captain harlock blog

  1. Space Captain Harlock: I’m hard pressed to think a character more badass and iconic than Captain Harlock. Though Leji Matsumoto’s works have largely been forgotten or seen as relics in the US, it’s hard for me not to admire the work and story that went into this classic series. Its passionate music and striking scenes are burnt into my mind. Captain Harlock is a series that I personally think holds up as one of the most important Space Opera epics of all time despite its age. Harlock is a character who is larger than life and represents the importance for standing up for what you believe in and being free to be yourself. He and his crew of misfits sail the stars as pirates fighting for what is right, rather than what is easy. These messages I think are largely timeless and have held up for me in a profound way, which makes it one of my personal favourite shows.


  1. Wandering Son: Finding an anime series that seriously talks about being transgender is nearly impossible. Often transgender characters are at most side characters or comedy reliefs, and their lives aren’t explored fully. As a transgender person I often feel sad that transgender people are often underrepresented or to be treated like a punch line within media. Wandering Son’s treatment of transgender people, however is very different. Staring two transgender kids growing up, this show beautifully explores what it is like to be transgender and young within Japan. Wandering Son takes itself seriously, exploring the perspective of how transgender kids deal with a strictly gendered society. Wandering Son is very emotional in this exploration, and doesn’t stray from talking about the confusion, fear, awkwardness, and sadness as well as the happiness and personal triumphs of its cast. I found myself as a transgender woman sucked into this narrative and the shows gorgeous animation style.
    Seeing a realistic and positive transgender story that presents transgender kids and people’s narratives was so important for me. It felt as though this show was created to give transgender people a voice, and to try to express the complex feelings of being transgender. It’s very hard to explain to others what it personally is like surrounded by a world that often doesn’t see or witness the feelings, challenges, and needs of transgender people, especially transgender children. While no one representation could even cover the transgender experience in its entirety and although this show focuses specifically on the experience of transgender children in Japan, I do feel that it has a universal quality to it that talks directly and frankly about the transgender experience. I think that this show does an excellent of job of trying to represent what it is like to be transgender and can speak not only to me on a personal level, but also to those who aren’t transgender and seeking to understand some of the transgender experience.paranoia-agent blog
  2. Paranoia Agent: Paranoia Agent is a show that I was sadly wrong about when I was younger. When the show first premiered on Adult Swim the advertisements seemed to suggest it was a gritty crime drama about a boy with baseball bat and roller blades who went around whacking people. In some sense I couldn’t have been more wrong about this show. Paranoia Agent like many Satoshi Kon works I would later see is about mental illness, where the story is far deeper and more complex than how it appears on the outside. It wasn’t until years later that I saw this show on anime streamer’s channel and lamented my previous misjudgement. It was so much better than I initially had anticipated based on the ads and was like no other series I had ever seen. Paranoia Agent was the show that pushed me to read and watch ever other Satoshi Kon work I could get my hands on because of its complex plot blending the real and surreal, and the deep characterization of its cast.

bubble gum crisis blog

  1. Bubblegum Crisis: While I was picking up Ranma VHS’s at Goodwill I also stumbled upon this 80’s gem of a series. Bubblegum Crisis is a science fiction anime classic that drew from so many different and interesting sources, combining them into a thrilling world. It included dystopian science fiction, 1980’s culture, terminators, mech suits, and a powerful female superhero team taking on a powerful and evil corporation. This series set the stage for so many series to follow it, and presented a new urban science fiction style.
    I was most impressed by how interesting and powerful the lead women were in Bubblegum Crisis. During the time I was first watching this show, the United States rarely had any empowering female role models, and I hadn’t seen anything as empowering and rocking like Bubblegum Crisis. Girls and women on TV were at best typically relegated to helping male leads or as tokens. Women in U.S. cartoons at the time didn’t usually kick ass or have prominence in the same way they do today. It still sticks with me just how cool and empowered the characters in Bubblegum Crisis were. This series is worth watching if for nothing more than its historical significance and rocking soundtrack, but I feel it is much more than just a historically important show and should be checked out by all superhero, action, and science fiction fans as well.

ghost sweeper blog

  1. Ghost Sweeper Mikami: Ghost Sweeper Mikami proves that not all anime shows must be deep, entirely original, or artistically unusual to be a lot of fun and memorable. Despite being the latest show on this list that I have watched, Ghost Sweeper Mikami earns its place here due to how much fun I had watching it. Mikami clearly draws a lot from Ranma ½’s style of slapstick and action, mixing it with an interesting exorcism-based plot. It didn’t take long before I was drawn into the series wacky humour and characters such as the money hungry Ghost hunting expert Reiko Mikami, her pervert and cowardly assistant Tadao Yokoshima, and the underpaid naïve ghost assistant Okinu.
    What really made this show stand out for me was just how well it executes its jokes. Ghost Sweeper Mikami’s constant references, wacky scenarios and comedic timing reminded me a lot of why I loved Ranma ½. On top of this the show has an amazing opening, a wonderful stylized hand-drawn animation (I’m a huge lover of the hand-drawn style), and interesting characters designs. Despite an interest theme of ghost busting, the primary draw of this series for me is how entertaining it is, and how well it adopts and adapts familiar comedic traditions and material. I have been having a blast watching this series, and feel it is one of the best hidden gems I have stumbled upon and one well worth checking out.


  1. Revolutionary Girl Utena: Revolutionary Girl Utena is a show that very weird and very good. Utena stands out because of its imagination, drawing from many unusual themes such as Yuri, Surrealism, comedy, tournament action, apocalypse, drama, and a show with psychological elements. Trying to explain Utena in terms of these genres though is very difficult. For those who haven’t seen this series the best way of describing it would be that it stars a female prince, who is sent to participate in sword fighting contests in an upside-down castle to win the hand of the Rose Bride. Utena ends up quickly “winning” the Rose Bride Anthy Himemiya and tries throughout the season to help Anthy break free of her demure personality and to protect her against other duelling students, including the school’s student council.
    There is no show quite like Revolutionary Girl Utena, which also stands out due to its unique elements of animation style, score, opening, and plot. I think it’s once again this uniqueness that draws me to so much to this series and makes it one of my favourites. One episode in Utena could be deadly serious, while the next could be about boxing with Kangaroo or body swapping curry. I always get a sense with this show that it’s never clear what will happen next, but that whatever does happen will make sense within the series context. I applaud Revolutionary Girl Utena for taking chances, doing so many original things, and doing those things in a way that worked and enhanced the show. Those looking for something different and interesting will not disappointed if they watch this series.jellyfish-princess blog
  2. Princess Jellyfish: Princess Jellyfish is another show that makes my top 16, because it can effectively blend multiple elements. The story of a Jellyfish loving nerd, working together with other super nerds and a cross-dressing fashionista in order to save their apartment building from redevelopment, this anime blends weird yet relatable comedy and drama together spectacularly. I can’t get enough of this series both in sub and the surprisingly great English dub. Of all the series I have watched this is probably the one I am most hoping gets another season. Every moment of this series was great from seeing the opening of this series which has the most movie references I have even seen in an anime opening, to the final episode that left me wanting more. It is a shame this series has been largely forgotten by others, because it does so many things right and leaves such a great impression.
    I first got to see this show when someone shared this series in anime club, and I was immediate captivated. This show was so good that it ended up becoming something as a club that we would watch each week, and I was fortunate enough to get to see it start to finish. While I have seen and learned about many amazing shows in anime club such as Madoka Magica, Space Captain Harlock, Space Dandy, and Hajime No Ippo this show stands out as one of the best shows I was introduced to. I enjoyed this show so much that I waited with bated breath when this show was licensed and immediately bought a copy of the series at Comic Con after it was released. Surprisingly seeing the series again on my own with the English dub did not diminish my experience with the show. The dub was solid and enhanced my feelings about seeing the show again, which is something that rarely happens.

Tutu blog

  1. Princess Tutu: Princess Tutu is a show that I watched after several anime reviewers recommended it, and I can safely say that it deserved the hype it was given. Princess Tutu is one of the best children’s anime and magical girl series I have ever seen with great animation, unique characters, and a fantastic classically themed score. I was also quickly drawn into its uses of fairy tales, dance, and classical music to tell a beautiful and complex story, while also drawing from magical girl shows. Princess Tutu is especially exciting because it doesn’t talk down to its viewers. Despite being aimed at children, Princess Tutu has complex themes, emotions and many twists that would feel at home in a great more adult aimed anime like Revolutionary Girl Utena, while retaining a classical magical girl feel. While many other magical girl shows are based on a formula, Princess Tutu did something incredibly original by including its stylized music, dance, and story book elements directly into the story. Princess Tutu is the perfect example for me of a show that lives up to the hype and blends its themes directly into the story.

lum blog

  1. Urusei Yatsura: Originally, I was planning on making sure that this list of my favourite picks was limited to fifteen shows. I wanted to tell stories and talk about the impact that only the most important anime had on to me. At first, I had thought that I had established the list and I didn’t have this pick on it or the honourable mentions. When I saw more of this show with my girlfriend Hana though, I was reminded why this is one of my favourite series and adaptions of all time. After watching this series, I knew it had to be on the main list somewhere but wasn’t sure what I would drop too keep it to fifteen. I realized that although I felt this series needed to be on the list, I also couldn’t bear to move any of the other shows to the honourable mentions or remove any show from my fifteen. In the end I ended up finally caving in and adding this series to the list as number sixteen, which is something I do not regret.
    Urusei Yatsura is a comedy where it feels like anything can and will happen, and that the show makers took great care to capture the manga’s series feel. Though the animation has not dated as well as Ranma, I feel that empirically this show does a better job of capturing the originals off the wall slapstick humour and wacky characterization. This show is mainly on the list because it is so incredibly wacky and funny. Takahashi clearly had a lot of fun writing the show’s many odd setups and plots, and this adaption captures that joy perfectly. Urusei Yatsura is a show that I often get lost in, where I’m always wanting to see more of and lose track of everything else. As a fan of all things Takahashi and growing up reading her comics the manga for this series was one that I always wish I could have read more of. I’m super excited that the manga is being reprinted so I can finally read it and I hope that this release will help to get the anime’s license rescued by Discotek or Viz.

Honorable mentions

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  1. Magical Emi: As many of my readers and friends know I love obscure magical girl shows, especially from the 1980’s. Magical Girl shows in the 80’s were often aimed at young girls, and often featured more emotional content and less violent conflict than the magical girl most people are now generally use to today. Of all the shows of this genre from the 1980’s so far my favourite has been Magical Emi. Magical Emi is a cute show with an interesting premise. It stars the girl Mai who gets the power to transform into the teenage stage magician Magical Emi so that she can help her grandparents magic act. Like many 1980’s anime series this show is very simple and focuses largely on Mai working to promote her grandparent’s magical act when it becomes noticed by a TV producer, while also working out her feelings for her teenage love interest Shou Yuuki. The series is so powerful because it is so simple, fun, and sweet, but stands out because of its focus on stage magic which presents a wonderful twist on the 80’s magical girl genre, while also exemplifying it.(Blank)
    Magical Emi captures the essence of magic, heart, and wonder found in 80’s magical girl shows effectively, making it one of my personal favourites of the era. Despite this show being my favourite of the 80’s, I tend to love the wonder and awe that many other Magical Girl shows of the time also represent. Shows of this period bring me back to the joy I felt as a child watching and exploring exciting fantasy worlds filled with love and the magical. While I appreciate the diversity, creativity, and action that later Magical Girl shows have, many shows recently have taken more violent, cynical, and sexualized content, and dark routes. There is definitely a place and was a need for these twists, and diversity of content and themes, but I still feel an attachment for 1980’s style of show that tends to be simpler and more focused on more positive emotions.CLAMP group blog
  2. CLAMP Anime series: I thought long and hard about which of the many series created by the all women creator group CLAMP would be on this list. I was finding it hard though to pick just one out of the many amazing series I have seen. Each series by this team has something unique to offer, and a good reason why it might have belonged individually on this list. Magical Knight Rayearth has a beautiful design, an amazing blending of concepts, a surprising plot twist, amazing music and a cute Chibi aesthetic; while XXXHolic has wonderful characters, a dream like aesthetic, and does a great job of contrasting animation between characters to define them; Angelic Layer was a great adaption with lots of heart and an amazing blend of Shonen tournament and Shoujo drama themes; while Chobbit’s features an unusual story and a conversation on the human relationship with technology; Card Captor Sakura is an amazing Magical Girl show with two amazing series, a more gentle and emotional aesthetic, and an interesting take on relationship dynamics; while Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles featured amazing dimension hopping stories and mind bending twists. All these shows and more have been very important to me, so much so that I found it impossible to choose just one. Rather than filling up and expanding my honourable mentions list or having to make the difficult decision of choosing only a limited few CLAMP work’s, I instead decided that it would be best to put all the CLAMP series I have seen into this one spot. CLAMP as a group has had such huge impact on me and the anime industry, which is why I wanted to highlight all their outstanding works in this entry.laughing blog
  3. The Laughing Salesman: The Laughing Salesman makes it on this honourable mention list alone for its title character’s frightening appearance. Moguro Fukuzo’s unnerving huge smile, and gleefully sadist eyes and laugh helps to make him one of the scariest figures of all time. What is even more frightening and effective about his two series though is how the salesman antagonizes his victims. The Laughing Salesman takes pleasure in destroying people by getting them to destroy themselves. He often gives people exactly what they want or think they want, knowing that they will either be consumed with their passion and/or that they will disobey his conditions and suffer for it. He then departs each episode with a disturbing grin on his face and his terrifying signature laugh. This is one of the strangest and most disturbing horror anime series of all time relying on physiological horror within rather than with graphic violence or nightmarish imagery.
    mononoke blog
  4. Mononoke: Mononoke is series that immediately stands out for its artistic nature. Not only does its animation stand out with a style similar to a surreal woodblock painting, it also presents a unique for the way it focuses on traditional styles of Japanese storytelling. Mononoke is like Japanese traditional ghost or Yokai stories blended with mystery. Each story is slow and thought out, designed to take advantage of an otherworldly tension. As a fan of Japanese folk tales and artistic anime, this series immediately caught my attention when I first viewed it and drew me into its unusual aesthetic, making it one of my favourites. After first seeing this show in my college anime club I sought out and purchased this series when it was first released at Comic con, and happily marathoned it. This series is one of the best anime series for fans with an acquired taste and is hidden gem series there are and is well worth trying out.


  1. Monster and Master Keaton: Naoki Urasawa is a genius and nowhere is this more apparent than with two the anime adaptions of his series Monster and Master Keaton. Both did his amazing stories justice, directly adapting them brilliantly to an anime setting. Whether bringing to life the nail-biting story of the doctor who accidently saved a human monster or the down to earth story of an amazing multitalented man, both series capture the complex characters and design used by Urasawa in his comics. What is most incredible about these adaptions though is how they handle the story. Somehow, they both capture the pacing and plot of the original manga, but do not come off as inferior copies or as ill paced. It’s incredible how well these two series handle Urasawa’s incredible work, breathing life into them while showing great respect.
    These series were too good not include on this list for this reason. I grew up reading Urasawa and consider him one of my all-time favourite manga creators. I remember when the book store chain Border’s was going out of business buying all of his manga series Pluto, and then not being able to put it down till it was finished. I always admired how he made the dramatic feel real. Nothing in his writing even when it fantastical feels forced in, and even the best and worst characters in his stories often feel very human. These anime series capture that humanness, recreating his manga and adapting their tone carefully. It’s clear that a lot of work went into capturing the original’s vision, and that work really pays off in the Master Keaton and Monster anime series.land_of_the_lustrous blog
  2. Land of the Lustrous: Generally, digitally animated anime not only doesn’t interest me, but feels pointless and ugly. In most cases I find the cg style is needlessly distracting, something that could be done better in traditional animation, and something that interferes with the story. None of these things, however are the case with Land of the Lustrous. This series feels like it strongly belongs in the digital style which fleshes out its world and character designs, without hurting the plot or being distracting. Not only is Land of the Lustrous the best digitally animated series I have seen, but it is also quickly becoming one of my personal favourite anime series. The only reason this series wasn’t included on the main list is that I have yet to finish it, and it is still such a new show for me.
    I not only admire Land of the Lustrous for its physical aspects though, I also love its story. Like many wonderful anime series like Gankutsuou, this show’s science fiction story continues to grow and develop, and always ends on a suspenseful cliff hanger. Land of the Lustrous also is interesting in that its characters lack a defined gender, and although they are humanoid they have unique properties depending on how they evolved. This series is probably the closest one on this list at the moment to making the main listcase close
  3. Case Closed: It would be impossible to talk about some of my favourite anime series without talking about one of longest running and best mystery shows Case Closed (Detective Conan). While I have had more experience with the Conan manga series and prefer it over the anime series, I still very much admire the anime’s adaptions. I love mysteries and am a huge fan of classic mysteries novels such as the Maltese Falcon, Sherlock Holmes, The Fiend with Twenty Faces, and the Long Goodbye (to name just a few). This series pays great tribute to these classic books and holds up with the best of them. Often despite having very short format, Case Closed managed to get me gripped by the mystery unfolding and trying to solve the crime along with the show’s lead Conan. The mysteries are well written and often offer just the right amount of challenge to keep me guessing, but also are not so obscure that they make me feel cheated by the conclusion. Case Closed is so much fun to watch and is something that I could pretty much watch forever, with constant new episodes, movies, and manga stories continuing to be released despite the series starting back in 1994.
    sherlock hound blog
  4. Sherlock Hound: Miyasaki’s anime adaption of Sherlock Holmes holds a special place in my heart. I first got to see this series as a kid, where I would rent Sherlock Hound VHS tapes from my local video store in Storrs, CT. I was the perfect age for this humanoid dog version of Sherlock Holmes, and I loved the classic light mystery and action feel. What immediately stuck out at the time as unusual about this show was the fantastic English dub. Not only did the dub far exceed the typical dubbing quality of the time, but it also used English voice actors with realistic traditional English accents. Sherlock Hound was also great because it was filled with creativity, drawing from its source material and adapting it for a Japanese children’s action show with the help of famed director Hayao Miyazaki. This show remains one I have a lot of fond memories of, and that I still to love to watch.
  5. Mister Ajikko: Food Wars owes a lot to Mister Ajikko, a cooking show from the 1980’s that originated many of the cooking contest tropes. Personally, as much I love Food Wars, I prefer this show to it. Mister Ajikko’s over the top competitions and characters, mixed with interesting cooking information is something that I don’t even think Food Wars tops. What I really love about this show is how its lead Ajikko is directed so much towards a dream. Despite his skill and his desire to continue his father’s restaurant and legacy he continues to be dragged into competitions where he helps people in his neighbourhood, learns, and grows.
    I feel that Mister Ajikko has a slight edge on Food Wars for several reasons. First, because the lead character is younger and more localized than in Food Wars, we get a chance to learn and become invested in his family and have them be an important direct part of the story. As the viewer I want Ajikko to succeed, because he tries to help others around him while continuing to follow his father’s dream. It also it doesn’t hurt that the eventual villain of the show becomes an evil cooking group run by Dracula (he has both the castle and cape) and that his young rival is basically a younger version of Ryoga from Ranma 1/2. Another reason I love this show is because it was one I watched along with my girlfriend Hanna. We got to share the joy and excitement of this series together. It was always so much fun talking about the various characters and contests, while watching the show at the same time as she was. While I know that cooking contest shows are an acquired taste, this is show that I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys Food Wars and other similar cooking competition shows.maison_blog
  6. Maison Ikkoku: I don’t think it is a surprise by now that I love the works of Rumiko Takahashi. While there are many adaptations of her works, those adaptations can be very hit or miss. Maison Ikkoku is without a doubt one of the hits. This show does a great job capturing romance and drama, along with Takahashi’s zany slapstick provided by the lead’s obnoxious neighbours. Unlike series such as Ranma or Urusei Yatsura, a large part of Maison Ikkoku is serious romance and drama. Blending these with slapstick is a challenge, thankfully this adaption is up to the task. While this is another series that I have read more of the manga than I have seen of the anime adaption, I don’t feel the anime lags in any apparent way when compared with the manga. Both do an excellent job of telling a story that is both heart-warming and funny. Watching this series always makes me smile, and I’m glad I get to share my love of it with others.

Secret House of Anime: Food Series

This month Secret House of Anime will be looking at cooking shows. Cooking anime series have been a major part of the anime industry for a long time and have taken many forms. While cooking based shows are not as widespread as other genres of anime, such as sports or magical girl shows, cooking still has been a major theme for many great shows. Whether cooking anime is primarily focusing on the food, drink, or its characters, cooking anime tends to feature interesting and often delicious mouth water recipes. For those who are fans of food or cooking, there are so many amazing cooking shows to see, covering nearly every element of food and drink preparation.

cooking papa

Cooking papa: Not all cooking anime are portrayed as fast paced competitions or shows about learning to be amazing chef. This is evident by the show Cooking Papa a family slice of life and light comedy show. Cooking Papa follows a working family, where the Japanese traditions of cooking are subverted. In Japan traditionally, the wife typically provides meals for the family, but in Cooking Papa this is subverted. The father of the family Kazumi Araiwa cooks well and is the one who cooks for the family. This becomes a source of both pride and embarrassment for Araiwa who often passes off his great cooking at the office as his wife Nijiko cooking. Cooking Papa is a great early example of anime series featuring male chefs, such as Sweetness and Lightning.


Mister Ajikko: Mister Ajikko is one of the first food competition anime series and remains one of the best. The show combines the Shonen focus on children adventure, with the fierce competition of cooking tournament style show. Mister Ajikko stars the boy Ajikko a young cooking prodigy who is carrying on his father’s legacy, with the help of his mother and relatives.  Throughout the show he is placed in intense cooking contests to help his restaurant and the local neighbourhood. This attracts the eye of a major cooking group lead by Japan’s most famous chef and restaurant critic. The show is jam packed with cooking action, but it is the period where Ajikko struggles, and must use his wits and skills to improve that is most thrilling. This show helped to influence and establish the tropes of the tournament style cooking show used by shows such as Chūka Ichiban! and Food Wars, and also remains one of the best food-based competition shows.


Oishinbo: Oishinbo is a classic and one of the first major food-based series in Japan, remaining popular to this day in both Japan and the United States. Oishinbo focuses on reporter Shiro Yamaoka who is tasked with the creation of the “Ultimate menu,” for his newspaper. Yamaoka is an excellent chef and food critic despite his sarcastic and slacker attitude. This series has a straightforward feel but contains a lot of details about food and food preparation. With 136 episodes, a long running manga series, and several OAV’s and movies this show has clearly has shown lasting power and earned its place among some of the most important cooking series.


Chūka Ichiban!: Chūka Ichiban! Is another important landmark in the cooking tournament genre. This work features Mao the son of a legendary Szechuan style chef Pai, who is training to one day carry on his mother famous cooking legacy. What sets Chūka Ichiban! apart from other shows of its kind is it’s setting of ancient China. This show draws upon China’s deep regional cooking traditions to create show based entirely on Chinese cooking, while balancing action with Shonen style drama and comedy.

yakitate Japan

Yakitate Japan: Yakitate Japan is a cooking show all about bread. Featuring Azuma, a teen with the special talent for making bread known as the “Hands of the Sun,” this show focuses on Azuma’s hope to create a uniquely Japanese style bread and to earn his place in the famous Japanese bakery Pantasia. This show combines a tournament style, with over the top themes of Shonen comedy and odd character design. With an unusual theme of cooking bread and strange characters this series stands out as wacky and memorable.


Bartender: Bartender is all about making drinks and helping people. It stands out as a series that focuses primarily on relaxing and how people can be helped with their problems through cocktails. This show features Ryuu Sasakura the bartender for the special bar Eden Hall, a bar designed to help those with problems find respite. The series frequently focuses on a variety of perspectives and is convincing in its portrayal of the power of drinks. Even if you have never drunk alcohol or stopped drinking a long time ago like me, this series still feels powerful and enchanting.


Ristorante Paradiso: Ristorante Paradiso is very different from many of the shows on this list, in that it focuses primarily around the characters rather than the food. This series stars Nicolette who at first wants revenge on her estranged mother but ends up being swept up by the older glasses wearing servers and chefs of the restaurant Casetta dell’Orso, a restaurant that her mother frequents also frequents. Another distinguishing factor of this series is how well preserves the character driven emotions and the unique designs of the original manga series created by Natsume Ono. Complex and emotional this show is nice break from food anime based around cooking and competition.

Yumeiro Patissiere

Yumeiro Patissiere: While many great cooking series combine cooking with Shonen elements, there are few great Shoujo series that also feature food. One of the best of these is Yumeiro Patissiere where Ichigo Amano a beginner chef with amazing tasting abilities is placed in a top-level cooking class with a group of cooking “princes.” Determined to succeed she works hard with the help of magical fairies to become a great chef. This series is wonderfully sweet and can be enjoyed by all ages.


Toriko: Toriko is a Shonen show all about hunting and cooking fantasy food. Unlike most cooking shows, Toriko is aimed at the fantastic and not base on real dishes. Toriko is instead primarily about the hunting of fantastical and monstrous creatures to cook. Toriko himself is a muscularly Shonen hero with more in common with heroes from other Shonen shows like Naruto, Bleach, Dragon Ball and One Piece, then other cooking leads. Despite this, for Shonen fans this show is a blast and is often unfairly over shadowed by other Shonen works.

food wars

Food Wars: I know I’ve talked a lot about the Food War manga and series in previous posts here ( and here ( ), but it is a show that can’t be left out of this category and needs to be mentioned. One of the most recent and influential cooking shows of all time, Food Wars features a combination of modern Shonen and tournament style features. With a great variety of characters both in personality and design, and an amazing variety of delicious foods this shows stands out as one of the best food-based anime series. As previously mentioned Food Wars stars the teenager Soma as he battles along with his friends to become the best chef he can, while remaining humbled and helpful to those around him. Food Wars currently is the top selling food-based anime in the United States, and it’s easy to see how it’s refinement of cooking into a battle has made it a fan favourite.

sweetness and lightning

Sweetness and Lightning: Sweetness and Lightning is another amazing Shoujo style title that focuses on defying traditional Japanese gender norms. After the death of his wife, Kouhei Inuzuka is left to care for his young daughter Tsumugi, despite having little experience in cooking nutritious meals. Things being to change, however when he accepts the help of his student Kotori Iida, whose mother owns a family restaurant and is often out for dinner leaving her alone. Kouhei comes to learn through his experiences at the restaurant about cooking and the importance of fresh meals with the family; through his experiences cooking at the restaurant and providing Kotori with company. Sweetness and Lightning is a very sweet series about people helping each other, and about seeing the value in things people often take for granted. It stands out as another wonderful series focused on single (or mostly single) parenting such as Usagi Drop, Wolf Children, and My Neighbor Totoro. (Special thanks to Breana Ceballos for reminding me to include this important series)

silver spoon

Honourable mention: Silver spoon: While not primarily based upon food, I feel it would be wrong to not mention Silver Spoon. In Silver Spoon Yuugo Hachiken enrolls in a farm school to get away from the stress of his daily city life, but quickly finds that this style of school is far from easy. What really makes this show stand out as a food show is its explanation of farming and how food is developed. Particularly noteworthy is the episode where the students of school decide to make pizza from scratch and then gather and cook pizza together as a team. Silver Spoon is a pleasant comedy show that is notable for its interesting characters and discussion of farming, a topic rarely focused on in anime and manga.

Welcome to Secret House of Anime


Welcome to The Secret House of Anime, a place to learn all about anime. This is a continuation of the previously blog series that I (Kitsune Hatfield) started at my previous job as a teen librarian at the Old Town Newhall library where I talk about important anime series, movies, and creators (Found: and ). As someone who has been a fan of anime for a long long time and have seen a lot of shows, I thought it would be nice and fun to use my experience and give back to those who are new to anime or looking for shows outside of what they usually see. In this blog I will often feature top ten lists about important shows and movies within a genre that I feel represent anime best and that are important to anime history. Also, I will be including other aspects of fandom such as and anime/manga character discussions and will also be reviewing books and non-anime animated shows. In addition to this I will also even occasionally look at other things that interest me such as local restaurants, comic book shops, or ginger beer in this blog. I hope you find this home exciting and find the topics within interesting. For other great blogs on fandom including anime please visit the amazing fandom sites, and