6 Japanese anime movies for your starter kit

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Ghost in the Shell is superbad.
Ghost in the Shell features a cyborg heroine, Matoko Kusanagi.

by Tori P. Haynesworth

1. Akira
Set in futuristic neo-Tokyo 2019 (a little creepy, since that’s a few years away), biker gang teenager Tetsuo Shima receives psychic powers and fights against other characters with telepathy, while biker leader Shotaro Kaneda helps government officials save his fellow comrade and to keep imprisoned the psychic Akira.

2. Ninja Scroll
During the Tokugawa Shogunate era, demonic ninjas known as the Eight Devils of Kimon are plotting to take over the Japanese government. Main protagonist Jubei Kibagami, accompanied by shogun spy Dakuan, goes through a whirlwind of adventures to stop them. In addition to having a graphic-novel series, this franchise also has an animated show.

3. Ghost in the Shell
Cyborg federal agent Maj. Motoko Kusanagi trails the “Puppet Master,” who illegally hacked into the minds of cyborg-human hybrids. With her partner (Akio Otsuka), Kusanagi corners the hacker, but curiosity about her identity sends the case in an astonishing direction. There are also sequels Ghost in the Shell: Innocence and Stand Alone Complex.

4. Vampire Hunter D
Based on a graphic novel, a badass, half-human vampire named D becomes the hero of a village town haunted by vampiric and demonic entities. A young girl asks for his help, but D also has to rescue her from the clutches of Count Magnus Lee. There’s a sequel to this one too, entitled Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.

5. Crying Freeman
A Japanese assassin is hypnotized and trained by the Chinese mafia to serve as an agent to complete their missions. Every time he kills someone, he sheds tears (hence the title). There’s also a spot of romance with Emu Hino, who Freeman is appointed to kill. This became a live action movie in 1995.

6. Perfect Blue
Pop-idol singer, Mima Kirigoe, wants to break away from the singing life and the group CHAM to pursue acting. Her transition is anything but smooth. Add in another twist of dealing with psychotic fans, as she begins to lose trust in the people she’s come to know.