Your Name.

Your Name is pretty easily my favorite anime movie. It’s fantastically beautiful in both art and animation, has great characters, has some really well integrated music, and has a great premise. In it, two high school students living very different lives, a boy in the big city of Tokyo, and a girl in rural small town Japan, end up swapping bodies a couple of times a week. The juxtaposition between their lives, and friends, and budgets, and, yes, even genders, is just so much fun. At times, they have to pretend to be each other just so as to not disrupt their normal lives. Eventually, they have to solve a common problem together… separately… acting in each other’s place.

I was blown away by this movie when I first saw it a few years back. If you watch nothing else on this list, watch this one.

Wave, Listen To Me! 

This is a fun show I stumbled upon just a year or two ago. It follows a woman with an energetic and often comically disastrous personality as she tries to make the best of her day to day life. She has this ability to think and talk a mile a minute as she examines and comments on whatever situation she’s gotten herself in.

She is recorded one night in a bar while complaining about her ex boyfriend to an older man she doesn’t know. The next day, she hears her meandering, alcohol-fueled rant played over the local radio station! She rushes to the station to complain only for this older man, who turns out to be a radio station producer, to invite her to take a seat in the recording booth and apologize for her admittedly embarrassing rant on air! Which she does!

It turns out that this radio executive saw huge potential in her in that bar, and he recruits her to lead a late night radio show where she can use all her wit and improvisation and rapid fire thinking to tell stores and perform radio dramas and give silly life advice to callers based on their strange relationship questions.

Wave, Listen To Me! is a fantastic, fun, off-beat show that’s just a little different than anything else out there.

Time of Eve

This one is an interesting show set in the near modern day but where humanoid androids that serve as helpers and household assistants and the like are integrated into society. These androids are required by law to have a little holographic halo above their heads marking them as non-human, but there’s this one out of the way coffee shop called “Time of Eve” where the house rules allow androids to turn off that indicator. The rules also prohibit anyone from inquiring whether a person within the cafe is a human or not.

The show is centered around two high school boys who repeatedly visit the cafe and encounter a variety of different people with different personalities. Some of the people are obviously androids. Some of them are obviously not. And some of the peoples’ statuses are delightfully unclear. The interactions between our two main characters and the cafe’s patrons, each of whom get a fleshed out side story, are just wonderful. Sometimes the stories are endearing. Sometimes they are funny. And sometimes they are tragic. It’s such a great concept that is executed extremely well.

Oh, and you’ll want the movie version instead of the mini-series version. The movie version has all the content of the mini-series, and just a bit more.


This is one of a class of anime that I enjoy where the anime is about a real world activity and really, really knows its subject matter. For instance, there’s various sports anime about baseball or tennis or whatever that get all the details right. Amanchu! is about scuba diving.

In it, we get a shy, introverted girl who has just moved to a new town and started attending a new high school. When she is forced to join a school club, she gets invited to join the scuba club by a wonky, energetic girl who soon becomes her best friend.

I was forced into taking one final elective in college and somehow lucked out at being able to take a sponsored scuba diving course. It was a huge delight to find this anime, because it gets almost everything right. From how the scuba systems work, to the buddy system you use to make sure you and your buddy are safe while diving, to the utter joy it is to be under water and able to breath.

Though based around scuba diving, there’s certainly plenty of fun slice of life content, too. Silly moments and friendship building and all that. But the process of our main character learning to scuba dive is the main draw here.

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

One last movie. Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms is a tale that is both epic in scope but very personal in execution. The movie is set in a magical medieval world where the magic of the world has naturally all but faded to nothing. Mezarte, the dominate kingdom of this tale, has long made use of fantastic flying dragons to maintain its power over its neighbors… but these immortal dragons its troops ride into battle are slowly dying off. In an effort to maintain an advantage over its rivals, Mezarte invades the distant territory of a peaceful people called the Iorph. The Iorph live incredibly long lives, you see, where they barely age at all even over the course of a human lifetime. Mezarte invades, abducts a handful of the Iorph intending to marry them off to produce immortal heirs, and kills the rest.

Our main character, Maquia, is an Iorph who manages to escape the slaughter of her people. As she flees, she stumbles upon a newborn human baby trapped within the arms of his murdered mother. Their wagon just happened to be between the invading army and Maquia’s people. Though Maquia hasn’t even reached full maturity herself, she adopts this human child as her own. The rest of the story is about this virtually immortal girl caring for her son as he ages. The relationship Maquia has with her son changes dramatically over the years as he goes from a baby, to a boy, to a teenager, and beyond. At times, their relationship is heartwarming, but sometimes it is heartbreaking. It all surrounds the question of how do you be a mother to someone when they age and you don’t.

The movie is magical and beautiful and sometimes tragic and sometimes thrilling. It is very well worth watching.