Ask the average Westerner what the best Japanese animated film is, and you're likely to hear one of three responses: Hayao Miyazaki’s Totoro, Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, or get away from me you weirdo, what are you even talking about, I'm an adult and I don't watch cartoons. Regardless, Japan is a country beloved for its animation, and there are myriad amazing anime films that aren't Studio Ghibli.
After Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name topped box offices worldwide and took the title of highest grossing anime film from Spirited Away, it’s clear that the best Japanese anime movies are no longer limited to one studio. Studio Ghibli doesn't have a monopoly on childhood innocence or kids discovering themselves in fantastical settings. Other studios also have more freedom to tell darker stories that question technology, gender and identity, or even the existence of God. These films have fans all around the world, and they're definitely worth watching. Perhaps, for some of you, one of these films will be your introduction to a new world of Japanese animation.