Originally published on Set The Tape
Cartoons are great, don’t you think? They’re an awesome way to tell stories and to entertain in a way that live action just can’t do. Whilst animation is a medium that is often used in children’s entertainment, it’s easy to forget that there are some animated films that you should definitely not let the kids watch (we’re looking at you, hentai!).
As Loving Vincent goes on general release, taking an animated palette to a serious adult biographical drama, we take a look at ten other animated movies best suited for an adult audience…
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Grave of the Fireflies is a film that tells the story of two young siblings as they try to survive in the final months of World War 2 in Japan.
The film tells an incredibly human story, one that doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war. It hammers home that it’s not just those on the battlefield that suffer, but innocent people, women and children. It tells a story about war that can only be told by people who have suffered at its hands.
Bleak yet beautiful, Grave of the Fireflies will emotionally break you and stay with you long after the credits have finished rolling.
Ninja Scroll (1993)
Ninja Scroll blends beautiful animation with a story of sex, sorcery, and swordplay in a story that follows a wandering Ronin as he battles a team of ninjas with supernatural powers that are trying to overthrow the shogun.
Filled with brutal violence and amazingly choreographed action sequences, Ninja Scroll is a samurai story as good as any other that has been put on screen. The film would go on to have a lasting legacy with a sequel, animated series, and comic series following its success.
Fritz the Cat (1972)
Fritz the Cat has the honour of being the first animated film to receive an X rating in the United States, and follows the title character in his quest for sex, drugs, and social revolution; a bizarre look into the social movement of the 1960’s, examining free-love, the drugs lifestyle, racism, and politics.
Waltz with Bashir (2008)
Waltz with Bashir is an animated Israeli war documentary, depicting the director Ari Folman searching for his lost memories of his experience as a soldier in the 1982 Lebanon War.
Taking a look at some of the atrocities that took place during the war, and people’s desire to try to forget what happened, Waltz with Bashir doesn’t shy away from the true horrors of the world.
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)
Following the success of the South Park television series the first (and to date only) big screen adaptation is a bizarre mix of comedy, social commentary, and musical that takes a typical South Park style look at censorship and freedom of speech.
Whilst the animation is dated, even in comparison to later episodes of the show, it still manages to make relevant points about the world.
Perfect Blue (1997)
Based upon the novel ‘Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis’ by Yoshikazu Takeuchi, the film follows a young pop idol who wants to quit music and pursue acting. What follows is a thriller that explores fame, obsession, and a descent into madness.
Often compared to the works of Dario Argento and David Lynch, Perfect Blue is a film that uses animation to create a film that warps reality and messes with the mind in a cinematic experience that will stick with you long after viewing.
Heavy Metal (1981)
An anthology film of science fiction and fantasy stories adapted from the Heavy Metal magazine.
With a mixture of animation styles and tones the film can at times feel somewhat disjointed, but for fans of rock music there’s an amazing score from various artists such as Blue Oyster Cult, Journey, and Black Sabbath.
A Scanner Darkly (2006)
Based upon the Philip K. Dick novel, A Scanner Darkly was filmed as a live action film before each individual frame was animated over, creating a unique animation style. The film is set in the near future, where an undercover cop develops multiple personalities due to a drug called Substance D when trying to infiltrate the supply chain.
With a story that explores the drug trade and psychological and mental health, A Scanner Darkly is definitely not a film for children.
Persepolis is a French-Iranian film based upon the autobiographical graphic novel of the same name by Marjane Saltrapi. The film charts the coming of age story of a young girl in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.
The film may use a simplistic black and white animation style, yet manages to create a moving and emotionally engaging film that manages to be funny, dramatic, and hard hitting.
It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012)
It’s Such a Beautiful Day is a black comedy-drama animated and produced by individual man, Don Hertzfeldt. The film follows a stick figure character named Bill, who is struggling with a degenerative condition that causes memory loss and strange visions.
Despite the small theatrical release, It’s Such a Beautiful Day received huge critical acclaim for its humour, as well as it’s emotion.
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