If you've never seen an animated film with a plot you could really sink your teeth into, the 10 best action animes of all time is a good jump-off point. There's nothing wrong with trying to ford the waters of Japanese animation on your own, but without this helpful guide, you could take a wrong turn and end up floating down tentacle-porn creek without a paddle.
- "Akira" – The seminal cyberpunk classic, this film provides a glimpse into a dark future. While government experimentation on populace may seem a bit far fetched to you, its results as depicted here will make you suspend your disbelief enough to want to yell "Tetsuo!" all day long.
- "Here and There, Now and Then" – When a boy rescues a girl after school, does he get a Good Samaritan merit badge? Hell no! He gets transported to a water-deprived future where his conscription into an army of child soldiers is actually the least pressing of his concerns. While this is not exactly a feel-good, anime fun ride, its eerily accurate depiction of a totally plausible political situation and how the front-line action affects the little guy will keep you utterly entranced.
- "Elfen Lied" – There are no elves in this, but don't be disappointed, because they've been replaced by a genetically modified government experiment who enjoys ripping civilians, soldiers and military bases in half with her psychic limbs. Not for the faint of heart, or those who aren't into gory, twisted plots.
- "Cowboy Bebop" – In the future, humanity's expansion into space will pretty much face the same problems we do now just trying to get along with each other. Drugs, bounty hunters, hackers and organized crime syndicates all have their place in the world of tomorrow, and the fact that space is cold and unloving doesn't make things any easier for people just trying to pay for a meal.
- "RahXephon" – When you discover that your entire life is a lie, you might have a few issues with your parent or guardian. When you find out that they've also built an entire city of lies around you, nobody will blame you for taking their giant combat robot out for a highly destructive test drive.
- "Samurai Champloo" – If you don't enjoy historical dramas, maybe you should try watching an anime with insane samurai vs. ninja fights, opium plantation raids and a hip hop soundtrack. This modern anime take on feudal Japan is anything but slow, and you don't need to be too familiar with the time period to enjoy it.
- "Fist of the North Star" – Imagine what would happen if Mad Max taught everything he knew to Bruce Lee. Add a few biker gangs of mutants, and you've got enough five-fingered death touch fodder for a good long time. With multiple individual fights per anime episode, this classic will teach you all you need to know about deadly accupressure.
- "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" – Wanna see where our crappy environmental policies are going to get us? Check out this film for the low-down on how giant carnivorous insects and toxic fungal forests can really affect your game plan. Beautifully animated motion scenes don't hurt either.
- "Steamboy" – A beautiful steampunk epic, this action-filled anime feature film will have you drooling, and if you fancy yourself an artist, breaking your sketchbook out to try to understand how anyone could draw so well. Ten years of production really paid off here.
- "Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure" – An interesting short series, it offers a lighter-hearted take on how different possibilities affect our universe. Meeting your parallel self wouldn't be too bad if you had a fighting mecca.
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