Spirited Away (2001)

A gorgeously animated, deeply imaginative tale of greed and growth, told so effortlessly through a child’s sense of wonder and straightfaced acceptance of eccentricity and abstraction. The film’s sullen, arguably spoiled protagonist breaks out of the utterly greed-based, money-driven societies all around her, the “real world” of her parents and the dream logic world of…

Princess Mononoke (1997)

For what is ostensibly a children’s film, “Princess Mononoke” examines that age-old theme of the conflict between humanity and industrialisation with nature with more depth and nuance than most stories that explore it, let alone children’s stories. The preservation of nature and progress of civilisation are not treated here as moral binary oppositions but as…

My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)

A much lighter affair than director Isao Takahata’s earlier works like “Grave of the Fireflies” or “Only Yesterday”, “My Neighbors the Yamadas” continues those film’s trends of using unconventional animation stylings to couch a story in an impressionistic, free-flowing style reminiscent of memory. Here, a stylised comic-strip watercolour aesthetic is achieved, in the process rendering…