- Catherine Leone
5 Anime Movies and Series with Inspirational Messages and Creative Art Approaches.
A Silent Voice - 2016
A Silent Voice has a new take on friendship and forgiveness while discussing suicidal ideation and attempts. Throughout the movie, you follow the main character as he overcomes his past transgressions in hopes of making amends before his planned suicide date. This film redefines what it means to have a voice and the messy entanglement of high school emotions.
From a technical perspective, this film does an amazing job at portraying light and the absense thereof. We see a lot of contrast in many of the scenes where sunlight peeks through tree branches, sunsets dynamically illuminate faces, and a soft glow looms over the entire film. The use of snapshot flashbacks are not only beautifully illustrated, but they provide key context to the current storyline while not being distracting to the viewer. The use of contrasting colors and light sources while creating a cohesively muted pallette is a subtle way for viewers to feel a romanticized environment these characters have found themaelves in.
A Silent Voice can be watched on Netflix, Prime Video, Vudu, or Apple TV.
Violet Evergarden - 2018
The story of Violet Evergarden is a rollercoaster of emotions. As soldier in the fictional Leidenschaftlich Army, Violet is wounded in combat and loses both of her arms. The series follows Violet as she learns to maneuver her new prosthetics, her rehabilitation into civilian life, the loss of her love interest and superior, and her new job that requires her to be human for once. The plot thickens as you go deeper in the series and, without spoiling anything, I can say you will become more infatuated with each episode and help her find out what it means to say "I love you".
The writing and voice acting in this series is phenomenal. The raw emotions of the characters shine through your scteen and truly make you experience them right along side the characters. I found myself feeling embarrassment, awkwardness, and anxiety as Violet wholeheartedly learned to be "normal". The animation and art in this series is truly breathtaking. Each scene pushes the use of light and dark while creating a realistic approach to shading, especially with textures and elements such as grass, metal, fabric, and fire. The western feel of Violet Evergarden's setting will leave you yearning for more as everything seems so similar, yet so foreign.
Violet Evergarden can be watched on Netflix and Funimation.
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop - 2020
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop follows teens Cherry and Smile as they work to overcome their own obstacles with communication and to simultaneously learn to adapt to the other's communication style. Music and haiku play huge roles in this movie as they become common grounds for conveying feelings, mending hearts, and making lasting connections. A summer whirlwind of personal growth provides the foundations for a lasting friendship with the potential of a budding romance.
This film is a vivid, poppy style anime that was influenced by 1980s pop art of Eizin Suzuki. We can see these inspirations in the vibrant color choices and the harsh lines in the shading. There is something very nostalig about the flow of this film and the progression of the storyline that is both commforting and enticing.
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop can be watched on Netflix.
A Whisker Away - 2020
A Whisker Away follows the tale of Muge as she desperately aches for the attemtion of her crush, Hinode. Her only access to him is through a magical Noh mask, allowing her to become a cat name Taro, and one of Hinode's only friends. We see the relationship between Hinode and Taro grow while the relationship between Hinode and Muge remains strained at best. Through the movie, we are able to watch personal growth from each character as they struggle to tell their truths and keep eachother safe. There are contextual hints at real life struggles of divorce, personal identity, young love and infatuation, depression, self love, and self advocacy.
The fantasy aspect of this film livens up the serious tones of the plot while allowing for important emphasis on a person, emotion, or object. The film's heavy focus on cats and a fantastical "other side" is reminiscient of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away. Renderings of sunbeams and glowing surfaces are excellent examples of exempliary artitic style in this anime. As a new twist on the classis enemies to lovers trope, A Whisker Away is a film worth watching.
A Whisker Away can be watched on Netflix.
Bubble - 2022
Bubble is a sci-fi post-apocolyptic movie featuring unique concepts such as life or death parkour tournaments for resource trades, mystical and nearly sentient bubbles, and gravity anomilies. We follow a hearing-sensitive young man, Hibiki, who participates in these tournaments and is exceptionally talented. He is standoffish and keeps to himself until he meets a girl he will later call Uta. Hibiki and Uta play out a supernatural spin of The Little Mermaid as their dedication to one another uncovers mysteries surrounding these sentient bubbles.
The film is extraordinary when looking at the viv snd colorful art style. Objects and people move seamlessly across the screen and you feel attached at the hip with chracters are they parkour through dangerously dynamic courses. There is a great sense of uniqueness with the character designs, plot, environment, and music.
Bubble can be watched on Netflix.