Two years ago I wrote a post about our top 10 anime films to watch as a family. I had plenty more classics I would add, but it was a group effort from our whole family. The post got a lot of hits over lockdown so I decided to share some more anime favourites that we have watched in the last year. Our children are 9, 12 and 14 and have enjoyed all of these. Although I would aim some of these at older children.
Here we go, in no particular order:
A Letter to Momo
Director: Hiroyuki Okiura
A recent watch for us and one we really enjoyed. A young girl named Momo has just moved to a remote island called Shio, from Tokyo, with her mother, after the death of her father. Her mother grew up on the island. It takes her a while for Momo to start settling in. Strange things start happening in her home and on the island. Her home is being haunted, as it were, by some imp-like creatures or goblins. These goblins have been sent from above to do a job and re-connect Momo to her deceased father through an unfinished letter. Plenty of comedy moments and great animation.
A Whisker Away
Directors: Junichi Sato, Tomotaka Shibayama
This can be found on Netflix. A school girl named Miyo is in love with her classmate Kento Hinode, but he doesn't feel the same way. Miyo repeatedly tries to get Kento's attention by transforming into a blue-eyed cat who he adores. Miyo then goes to the mask seller, a larger than life character, to try and stay in cat form so she can be with Hinode. A cute film and a recommended watch.
When Marnie Was There
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
My 12 year old daughter particularly enjoyed this although she cried a couple of times. We are huge Studio Ghibli fans and this was the animation studio's last film. It is beautifully animated and magical as you'd come to expect from Ghibli movies. The movie starts with 12 year old Anna, due to her bad asthma, she's sent to stay with relatives of her guardian in the Japanese countryside. Anna loves to draw and is a very quiet girl. She goes out exploring and finds an old manor house, whilst the tide is out she wanders across and see's a young blonde girl in the window. Her name is Marnie. Anna goes regularly to the house, but there is a mysterious twist. I won't spoil it but it is a lovely film based on a children's book written in 1967 by British author, Joan Robinson.
Weathering With You
Firstly, I found the animation absolutely stunning, the artwork is a visual treat.
The movie is based during the wettest rainy season on record in Tokyo, a 16-year-old young man named Hodaka, has run away from home and finds himself homeless in Tokyo looking for work. One evening a teenage waitress, Hina, gives him a free burger and he falls for her. Hina is actually a “sun girl” - Hodaka has been researching myths for a magazine. Hina has magical powers and can bring a halt to the rain with a prayer.
I adore this film and have watched it twice now. Another beautiful animation from Makoto Shinkai. High-school girl Mitsuha longs for another, more exciting existence. One day, her wish comes true, as Mitsuha appears to awaken in Tokyo in the body of teenage boy named Taki. These teens have basically swapped bodies. It has a real Romeo and Juliet feel when disaster strikes in the form of a meteor shower. It is a real feast for the eyes with a wonderful storyline.
Whisper of the heart
This is one of the older Studio Ghibli films that I hadn't previously seen but found myself engrossed in. A usual coming of age story line where a young girl Shizuku, who loves to read and longs to be a writer, follows a cat on the train one day. She drops her book which is picked up by a boy named Seiji. She ends up following the cat to an antique shop where she befriends the old man who owns it (Seiji's grandfather). The young pair end up falling for each other.
The girl who leapt through time
Wolf Children is a favourite of ours and this movie is made by the same director.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time tells a wonderful story. It is based around three friends Makoto, Chiaki and Kousuke. Makoto accidentally gets the power to time travel, and takes advantage of her new abilities. This was an entertaining and enjoyable watch I would recommend it to any anime fans.
The Garden of Words
Myself and my husband watched this one together on a rainy day, I would suggest it is more for teens and adults as it is more of a grown-up storyline. A teenage boy has been skipping his morning lessons on rainy days, to sit in a lovely park garden and sketch shoes, he is training to be a shoe maker. A mysterious older woman is also in the garden, every morning, she seems sad and alone and drinks every day. Again, I won't spoil it for you all - but it is beautifully animated and a very enticing story.
A Silent Voice
We first watched this at the beginning of lockdown last March - it is now a firm favourite of mine. This film is based on a manga series. The tale is about a school bully named Shoya who picks on a girl in his class who is hearing-impaired, named Shoko. As they grow up he starts to feel bad about the way he treated Shoko in the past and tries to befriend her. It is an emotional and beautiful film, get the tissues ready as you can't help but sympathise with Shoko.