Animation allows for the kind of limitless creativity that most live-action directors can only dream of. But while American animators today for the most part embrace the trend of family-oriented computer animated films, another influential genre of hand-drawn animation continues to flourish in Japan. Japanese anime styles are popular around the world for good reason, and these seven films represent the hand-drawn action and humor of anime at its best and most creative.
1. Princess mononoke
Almost every movie by Hayao Miyazaki, one of the founders of Japanese animation titan Studio Ghibli who is often compared to Walt Disney in terms of national influence, deserves a place on this list, but I have a soft spot for the powerful environmentalist mythological tale of Princess mononoke. Seen through the eyes of the young warrior Ashitaka, it is the story of the struggle between the vengeful gods of an ancient forest and the feudal society that anger them by consuming their resources to feed and clothe their people. The allegorical story is filled with beautifully rendered creatures and characters who draw the line between evil and good, making it a film as rich in subject matter as it is in stunning visuals.