Everyone knows that for years now, the Academy Awards’ Best Animated Feature has been less about quality and more about which movie voters saw with their kids that month. Of course, this does not mean that the winners of the Academy Award for Best Animation did not deserve this award. Despite the variety of films nominated in this category each year, Disney and Pixar have always dominated the category, and as a result, some of the best animated films made outside of the United States are overlooked. Especially in the history of the Oscars, the anime industry has won the Oscar for the best animation of the year only once, and that is Spirited Away, produced by Studio Ghibli.
So, in the continuation of this article, we want to introduce you to 10 of the best Japanese animes that deserved the Oscar award for the best animation of the year. Since the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature didn’t exist until 2001, our list doesn’t include anime made before that year. With only one exception, we have also avoided franchise anime. In this list, we will have both former Oscar nominees and films that were not nominated. Although this list focuses only on Japanese anime, it should be noted that there is also some great work in other countries that is worth checking out; Animes like The Boy and the World, The Girl Without Hands and Wolfwalkers. But for the present article, this is you and these 10 anime films that should have won the Academy Award for the best animated film of the year.
1- Millennium Actress
Satoshi Kan is one of the best animators in the history of cinema. He directed only a few films before his death in 2010, but all of his works are among the enduring masterpieces of Japanese cinema. Famous Hollywood directors such as Darren Aronofsky and Christopher Nolan are clearly influenced by the works of Satoshi Kahn and consider his films to be among the best in the history of cinema. You can argue that any of Satoshi Kan’s films deserve an Oscar, but here we have to mention Millennium Actress.
The story of an old woman’s life told through her career in the film industry, in the middle ground between Kahn’s unique talent as a stylish filmmaker and his passion for entering dark places and telling stories about ordinary and real people. Placed. The anime Millennium Actress is a story about rebirth through narrative, a mysterious box whose meaning and message is very simple: “We live and we die.” You can spend hours on end unraveling the film’s carefully twisted motifs, but either way, the film’s emotional climax ruins everything.
2- Mind Game
Masaki Yuasa is also one of the best animators in the history of cinema. After directing the hit Devilman Crybaby for Netflix, he has become a critical favorite for his visuals such as Night is Short, Walk On Girl. His Inu-Oh film in collaboration with Taio Matsumoto is also one of his best works in recent years. But before his position in the world arena, even before directing popular series like Kaiba and The Tatami Galaxy, he made the anime film Mind Game: an anime film in which the meaning of life ignores all the laws of physics and cause and effect.
This movie is a different picture of the animation style and its effects, which combines beauty and ugliness equally. But the beauty of this anime is so much that it will win anyone’s heart. This movie was released in the United States only years after its release, and maybe that’s why it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar, but it was undoubtedly one of the best anime of the year.
Redline is a movie where cars move fast. In a galaxy controlled by criminal syndicates and overinvestment, a driver named Sweet GP unexpectedly wins a ticket that allows him to participate in the biggest car race. But the competition takes place on a dangerous planet called Roboworld, where there is also a cute girl named Sonoshi. Redline anime is a personal project that took seven years to make.
With the help of his colleagues, Takeshi Koike was able to make the strangest and most exciting film he could. The result is a unique work of science fiction that creates an amazing world, just so that funny characters can drive in it at a speed of thousands of kilometers per hour. The biggest ambition of the movie is to portray the feeling that the main character of the movie experiences from driving at such high speeds, and no other movie has been able to do a similar job in this capacity.
4- The Tale of Princess Kaguya
As the only anime director to ever win an Academy Award, Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki needs no introduction. But his colleague Isao Takahata is a director with similar and even more credit than Miyazaki. His work ranges from the detailed dramas about ordinary human life in Only Yesterday to the shocking dramas such as Grave of the Fireflies and supernatural comedies such as Pom Poko. His latest work, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, takes a Japanese folk tale and uses advanced technology to create a masterpiece with a vast space like a watercolor painting.
This movie is one of the most magnificent and beautiful anime movies ever made, and its best sequences create such a sense of amazement in you that you will only experience when a large volcanic mountain erupts. The story of the movie is long but the ending will make you cry. More than any other film on this list, it feels like a crime that The Tale of Princess Kaguya didn’t win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Boy’s love comics are very popular in Japan, but only in the last few years have we seen anime adaptations of them. After making the hugely popular psychological anime TV drama Penguindrum, Shuko Nakamura is now adapting the Doukyuusei comic, meaning classmates, a simple story about two high school boys who develop a deep relationship. Shuko Nakamura’s precise direction perfectly recreates the atmosphere of the comic while the teenage characters of the story experience a fascinating life under the impeccable writing of the screenwriter. At just one hour long, this short film is content to be an ambitious film about the sweet story of teenage love.
6- In This Corner of the World
Adapted from a famous comic series written by Fumio Kono, the anime In This Corner of the World tells the story of a young girl who is going to marry a woman living in the coastal city of Iba, a city that is a few kilometers away from the city of Hiroshima. It is narrated in the last years of World War II. Sonao Katabuchi and his colleagues spent years researching the historical period and extensive filming to create the most faithful atmosphere of that era.
The result of these efforts is a very delicate story of everyday life and perseverance, which is told in perfect detail, an anime whose entry into the realm of suspense and horror is so gradual that the audience may not realize that it is deep in the trenches of hell, until It is already too late. This anime is the greatest achievement of the MAPPA animation studio and perhaps the best film that was made before the studio was sold.
7- Your Name
In the years since its release, many have talked about the movie Your Name, which is one of the most successful anime in the history of this genre. In any case, the story of this anime is very similar to the 2006 romantic drama The Lake House starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. First of all, the anime Your Name was Makoto Shinakai’s first feature film. But beyond that, this anime is a romantic body-swapping comedy that has repeatedly shown itself to be much better and more glorious than you’d first imagine, an anime that does a unique job of portraying online friendship. he is doing it.
Mitosha lives in the village and Taki lives in the city. By changing their bodies, they get to know the external details of each other’s lives. But very soon the amount of space and distance that separates them becomes a problem for them. The question this anime asks is how much money, time, and sacrifice are you willing to pay for someone you’ve never met. The anime Your Name is not the only movie that asks this question, and it is not even the best anime of the year. But there was a reason why this movie made a noise and the Oscar judges should have at least recognized it as one of the best animations of the year.
8- Liz and the Blue Bird
On the surface, Liz and the Blue Bird looks like the kind of warm-hearted drama about a slice of everyday life that you’d expect from renowned anime studio Kyoto Animation. But if you look a little more closely, you’ll find that Liz and the Blue Bird is an art film: a tight, dark tale of darkness and light that traps two teenage girls inside a school building and then, like a Deep surgery explores the contradictions within their relationship. Naoko Yamada has created one of the most enduring and unique soundtracks in this anime, using mathematical equations and the sounds of objects found in the school.
This anime had to compete with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse for the Academy Award for the best animated film of the year, which is clearly one of the best superhero animations in the history of cinema and a masterpiece of 3D animation. Although Liz and the Blue Bird is a bit more difficult for the general audience to watch, it is a fearless and different anime film in its own size and style, just like the previous film.
9- Children of the Sea
One of the biggest challenges of adapting a comic is capturing the essence of visual motion without sacrificing the powerful appeal of still images. Children of the Sea faces a similar challenge in anime artist Daisuke Igarashi, whose work captures the beauty and danger of nature in an inimitable way. Although the anime version failed to recreate the psychological appeal of the comic version, in its best moments, Children of the Sea does a good job of creating the beauty of Igarashi’s work: the process through which life is born and lived, the process that Through it, the character of the female protagonist changes during one summer.
There are images in this anime (rain that looks like fish, a beautiful image of an underwater shark, an explosive climax where life in the sea is revived) that are some of the most shocking sequences in the history of anime of this genre. . If you are interested in the ocean and marine life and have enough patience, we recommend you to watch this anime.
10- On-Gaku: Our Sound
On-Gaku is a quiet story about three high school villains who decide to form a band. Their peers are so impressed by their music that they invite their group to a rock music festival, leading to an explosive musical frenzy that ranks as one of the most enduring in anime history. Adapted from an independent comic and the first directorial experience of an animator and his team in seven years, On-Gaku: Our Sound deviates from popular trends in the anime genre and is very simple.
The design of the characters is very simple and not very attractive, and the environment of the story is not very impressive. Sequences pass as the characters stare at each other, searching for words. But this movie is very successful in portraying the vulgarity of teenage life and raw sense of music. At the climax of the story, when the heroes of the story perform and the words they have been looking for for so long finally arrive, the beauty and honesty of the story is enough for anyone to believe in the power of rock.