A significant portion of the anime medium consists of episodic series ranging from anywhere between a dozen to a hundred episodes. For years this practice has been a staple of the industry, but recently Japanese animators have begun to shift at least some of their focus towards making full-length anime films.
Anime anthology films have been far and few between, but almost all have been solidly received. This style of film not only gives fans a variety of delightful stories to watch at once, but also allows Japanese animators to showcase their ideas and experiment with their animation styles. Here are some of the best anime anthology films that fans have been treated to over the years.
5/5 Genius Party and Genius Party Beyond
Brilliant party and Brilliant party Beyond is a combination of bizarre but exciting short films made by Studio 4℃. The first volume of this anthology, entitled Brilliant partywas released in 2007 and contained seven short films, while the second volume, titled Genius Party Beyond, featured five short films and was released in 2008. Each film uses a distinct art style and tells a unique story from renowned Japanese screenwriters.
The films in the first volume include Genius Party, Shanghai Dragon, Deathtic 4, Doorbell, Limit Cycle, Happy Machine, and Baby blue while the other contains Gala, Moondrive, ‘Wanwa’ the Doggy, Toujin Kit, and Dimension bomb. Each story is exciting in its own right and showcases the talents of Japanese animators and storytellers.
4/5 Short Peace
From the creators of Akiracomes an exciting collection of four films under the title Short Peace. This anthology series was published in 2013 and depicts Japan in various eras, both real and fictional. Each film is full of style and tells a captivating story. The Oscar-nominated, Assets follows a lone traveler as he tries to find shelter from a storm and ends up living in an ancient shrine inhabited by spirits.
Combustibleis set in the Edo period and presents a tragic tale of love, which ends up setting an entire neighborhood on fire.Gambo tells the story of a white bear, named Gambo, as he struggles to fight an alien to save a girl’s life. The last film in the anthology, A Farewell to Arms, is a short saga about men fighting robot tanks in the wake of World War III.
3/5 Humble heroes
Humble heroes is a Netflix original anime anthology series created by Studio Ponoc and released in 2018. This anthology features three inspiring stories that succeed in delivering powerful messages to audiences. The first short is called Kanini and Kanino and follows two sibling fish creatures who survive the dangers of the sea and try to reunite with their family.
The second film is called Life is not going to lose and centers around a boy named Shun, who has a severe egg allergy. This condition leaves Shun and his mother struggling to cope with everyday life. The last film is called Invisible and focuses on a man who is never seen by others, causing him to also begin to lose his physical appearance.
2/5 5 centimeters per second
5 centimeters per second contains three short films that center around the same two main characters, but each part is set years apart. The film as a whole shows how difficult it is to maintain long distance relationships and how time eventually forces you to move on. Written and directed by Makoto Shinkai, this romantic drama was beautifully animated by CoMix Wave Films.
The first episode, titled Cherry blossoms, is set in 1991 when Akari first moved to Takaki’s elementary school, where they soon became friends. But over the next few years, the two friends eventually had to move to different corners of the country, making it harder to keep in touch. The second part, called Cosmonaut, is set in 1999 and follows Takaki’s journey through his third year of high school, where he still yearns to talk to Akari but is unable to send her any emails. The last part of the series is called 5 centimeters per second and provides a sad but understandable conclusion to the story.
1/5 Tastes of youth
Tastes of youth is a collection of three incredible short films, all reminiscent of days gone by. Created by Studio CoMix Wave Films, this anthology series features not only captivating visuals, but three beautiful stories set in different cities in China that will leave audiences reminiscing about their younger years and cherished memories. The first short is called The rice noodles and is told from the perspective of a man named Xiao Min, who is seen trying to cope with adulthood but has lost the sense of contentment he had as a child.
The second film is called A little fashion show and plays two sisters who try to make it big in the fashion industry, but the struggle at times starts to feel too much for the eldest. The third film, called Love in Shanghaitells a story of two lovers who end up moving further apart due to misunderstandings.
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