(upbeat music) Everybody knows that Studio Ghibli is basically the Disney of Anime, universally beloved by viewers of all ages with exquisitely crafted tales of love, loss, and personal growth, but there’s so much more to the weird, wild world of Anime than Studio Ghibli. So, in today’s episode of The Dan Cave, we’re gonna run down some of the greatest non-Studio Ghibli Anime movies to see before you hen-die. Perfect Blue. Now, I’ve included this Satoshi Kon masterpiece on my list of best horror anime previously, but it’s straight up just one of the best Anime movies period. It’s the story of a pop star named Mima who gives up her career in music to pursue an acting career. Now, not all of her fans take kindly to this change, and one in particular begins stalking her. The psychological thriller takes a turn for the seriously creepy though, when people on set start getting brutally murdered. To make matters worse, Mima thinks that she might be responsible, and the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur for her in a seriously alarming way, kinda like what happens to me the night after I wake up after ordering a large pepperoni pizza, and it’s all gone. Who ate it?! A Silent Voice. Now, we’ve all done things in our past that we regret, but how many of us actually take meaningful action to make amends for our past transgressions? Well, such is the core theme of A Silent Voice, in which third-year high school student Shoya Ishida is haunted by the horrible things he did in his youth. He’s forced to confront these things when he’s reunited with Shoko Nishimiya, a deaf girl who he mercilessly bullied in elementary school and caused her to eventually transfer schools. What follows is a genuinely heartwarming story about a young man coming into his own and seeking to right the wrongs for which he is responsible. It’s an examination of the long-lasting effects of bullying from both perspectives, and that, quite frankly, sounds like a film the world needs to see right about now. Barefoot Gen. While many of you have likely seen the simultaneously heartwarming and soul-crushing Grave of the Fireflies from Studio Ghibli, far more of you haven’t seen the brutal and unflinching Barefoot Gen, which showcases the horrific realities of World War II and the bombing of Hiroshima from the perspective of a child chronicling his firsthand experience of this unbridled devastation. Keep a box of tissues nearby and let yourself have the ugliest cry in ages, but don’t you dare look away because this is an important piece of history that must not be allowed to repeat itself under any circumstances. Paprika. The final film of Satoshi Kon makes Inception look like Babytown Frolics, and it beat Christopher Nolan to the punch by a solid four years. Nice try, Chaz. Paprika tells the story of a near-future world where scientists have developed a revolutionary new therapy technique called dream therapy. By using a small device, doctors can see their patients’ dreams and even alter their subconscious from within. One doctor, adopting the dream persona of Paprika, a literal Manic Pixie Dream Girl, begins using the dream machine illegally to help patients outside the facility, which is all well and good until the machine is stolen and reality and dreams begin to merge in terrifying ways, you know, like they do. What follows is a mind-bending head trip of a movie that should induce a Pavlovian response in anyone who enjoyed Persona 5, Inception, or their freshman year psychology course. Your Name. One of the best movies of last year, or 2016 if you’re being pedantic, Your Name is a beautifully told, bittersweet sci-fi love story about two high schoolers, Mitsuha, a girl living in rural Japan, and Taki, a boy living in Tokyo, who wake up one morning to find that they’ve switched bodies despite never having met. Yikes! They wake up in their own bodies the next day, but it keeps happening at random intervals over the days and months ahead. Over the course of their Freaky Friday situation, they learn to communicate and help each other improve their lives and even begin to fall for one another. What follows, though, no one will see coming, and it’s something that I dare not spoil here because, after having four tiny wines on an international flight, this movie destroyed me in the best way possible, and no, not like that gross United flight recently where someone befouled the bathroom so badly, they were forced to land. Kyle. The Boy and the Beast. An orphaned boy doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of society. He runs away from his home, only to find himself caught up in a fantastical world full of monsters, mystery, and mayhem. Once there, he must learn an important lesson about himself and grow up in the process. It’s a tale as old as time and one executed beautifully by Mamoru Hosoda’s The Boy and the Beast, which, at its core, is a story about two outsiders, an orphan named Ren and a loudmouthed, surly warrior beast named Kumatetsu who are trying to carve out an identity for themselves in a world where they quite don’t feel like they fit in, and you know, that’s kind of how I feel whenever someone brings up the fact that they just love cardio. You’re the (bleep) monster and not a cool one like Kumatetsu! 5 Centimeters Per Second. Few people pull off romantic comedies about how people’s relationships change across great distances and over long periods of time like Makoto Shinkai in 5 Centimeters Per Second. For anyone who’s had a long lost love or someone for whom they’ve carried a torch for years and years, despite not living in the same place, this is a film for you. It might be a bitter pill to swallow, but the saga of Takaki and Akari’s friendship and romance over the course of their meeting in elementary school through adulthood will likely ring true for you in one way or another. So, instead of scrolling through your ex’s Instagram posts at 3:00 in the morning and accidentally liking one from four years ago like a real creepazoid, just watch this instead and move on with your life. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. What would you do if you discovered you had the power to travel through time? Would you visit the far-flung future and see if we ever get flying cars? Would you go back to the past and murder baby Hitler, or would you use it to fix minor mistakes to your own selfish benefit? Probably number three if you’re anything like me, and if you’re anything like me, you might also be Makoto Konno, the star of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, except Makoto, like the heroines of most time travel stories, discovers that her actions have ripple effects and can lead to terrible consequences for others around her. What follows is Makoto using a limited number of leaps through time to try and fix what she managed to break before time itself is irreparably broken, and what’s that? It’s time for me to leap to the next one. Tokyo Godfathers. Even though Christmas has come and gone, it’s never too early or too late to watch another Satoshi Kon classic. Seriously, he’s like a one-man Ghibli. Tokyo Godfathers is a beautiful, touching, and impossibly charming movie about the story of three homeless people, an alcoholic man named Gin, a trans woman and former drag queen named Hana, and a teenage runaway girl named Miyuki who discover a newborn baby that’s been abandoned in the garbage on Christmas Eve. With a train station locker key as their only clue, this unlikely trio sets out to find the baby girl’s parents. Like all Satoshi Kon movies, this is replete with memorable characters, dynamic visuals, and has a real sense of humanity, but Tokyo Godfathers shines a light on a part of Japan than often goes unseen and ignored, the downtrodden and disenfranchised, and in that respect, Kon shows us there can be true beauty, and those are some of the best non-Ghibli Anime movies you need to watch before you die. Now, you might be asking, “What about classics like Akira or Ghost in the Shell?” Now, obviously, you should watch those too. I mean, come on, you just mentioned them. You’re a smart cookie. Put two and two together, but tell me. What are your favorite non-Ghibli Anime movies? Let me know in the comments below and give me a non-Ghibli thumbs up while you’re there. Now, be sure to like and subscribe or else you might miss next week’s episode about the story of a ditzy girl who goes on a road trip with a massive forest spirit to go to their high school reunion so they can impress their old classmates with an elaborate lie and not just the fact that one of them is a giant forest spirit in My Neighbor Totoromy and Michele’s High School Reunion. Until next time, keep on digging.