Time to get part 2 of that Beginner's Guide to Anime article I started last week out of the way - lest I get distracted and never finish it and years from now, some poor orphan child looking for a handy guide to ease him into the weird world of anime finds himself short changed and goes and watches a load of Jerry Bruckheimer movies instead.
Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke, but no anime top ten of any kind could be complete with just one Miyazaki movie. It's hard to think of a more consistently brilliant director, and equally hard to pick favourites from such a consistently stunning catalogue. But Laputa - renamed by Disney as Castle in the Sky for its international release, for fairly hilarous reasons - was the first anime I ever saw, way back before I had the faintest clue what anime even was, and it blew my mind. Then I rediscovered it years later, and it blew my mind all over again.
Satoshi Kon's death last year left a small but incredibly impressive body of work behind. Again, it's hard (and pointless) to pick out one of his four completed features as his best, since they're all great, but Millenium Actress is my personal favourite. When a documentary filmmaker and his cameraman attempt to interview an ageing actress, they find themselves carried along in her recollections, which jumble in turn with her decades-spanning movie career, and Kon smashes reality, fantasy, history, memory and imagination together into one dizzying whole. Millenium Actress should be incredibly pretensious; in Kon's hands, it's the smartest romantic action comedy ever made.