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Top 10 Anime DVDs

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There are plenty of folks who still equate Japanese animation with Pokemon and can't get used to the flat faces and weird storylines. But the plunge is worth taking. At their best, anime are as intelligent as the best feature films, and their daring plots can make the most jaded heads spin. Here are the best looking, most exciting anime DVDs.

1. Akira

Katsuhiro Otomo's 1988 classic is still the gold standard. An engaging plot and dazzling animation that has aged very little make this a must have. I watch it once a week. Look out for the two-disc special edition.
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2. Spirited Away

In Hayao Miyazaki's Alice-in-Wonderland tale, the wonders never stop. The beauty and inventiveness of the animation, coupled with the director's legendary humanity and warmth, make this one of my favorite films, animated or otherwise. A must-see spectacle.

3. Ghost in the Shell

The plot of this "Neuromancer"-influeced Sci-Fi spectacle is somewhat abortive, but don't let that bother you: the visuals are stunning, making this a very rewatchable DVD.

4. Princess Mononoke

In Japan, Princess Mononoke was the #1 grossing movie of all time until Titanic dethroned it. Hayao Miyazaki's ecological fantasy is smart, touching, and offers a mature and balanced view of a complicated issue.
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5. Grave of the Fireflies

One of the most devastating war movies ever made, this classic tells the fate of two orphans after their city is firebombed.

6. Ninja Scroll

The 1994 hit "Ninja Scroll" provides classic samuari action and involving adventure set in feudal Japan.
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7. Cowboy Bebop

A TV series rather than a feature film, Cowboy Bebop is good sci-fi fun with a hip edge and a sense of humor that's one step more sophisticated than the prevalent giggle-fests.
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8. Blood: The Last Vampire

"Blood" is short, but it is oh-so-beautiful to behold. The digital animation is truly amazing. As the title suggests, the gore isn't bad either, for those who enjoy a bit of decapitation.
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9. My Neighbor Totoro

It was hard to pick only three of Miyazaki's films for this list. My Neighbor Tortoro is his most innocent film, gorgous, sweet, and suitable for children yet wise and compelling for adults with a sense of wonder. All of his films are highly recommended, including Kiki's Delivery Service and Castle in the Sky.

10. Perfect Blue

A dark psychological thriller that's an excellent example of the genre's flexibility -- you will be scared witless for the main character, a pop singer who wants to start a movie career. Careful: may cause nightmares.
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