Weekend Watchlist | Anime

By The Pitt News Staff

Whether you grew up with Studio Ghibli movies, watched Cartoon Network’s Toonami block or tuned in for 4Kids’ hilariously Americanized dubs of “Pokemon” or “Yu-Gi-Oh!,” you’re probably at least passingly familiar with anime.

Japanese animation has grown more popular in the West. Most streaming services have an anime section now — with both English and Japanese audio — and Netflix has even started to produce and license anime for Western release. So this week, The Pitt News staff recommends a handful of anime movies and shows you might enjoy.

A Silent Voice (Netflix) // Sinéad McDevitt, Digital Manager

Ah, “A Silent Voice.” The movie my dad calls “the most depressing” ever.

It’s a coming-of-age story about Shoya Ishida, a loner with no friends. The film opens with Shoya not going through with a suicide attempt and, as a result, reuniting with Shoko Nishimiya, a deaf girl he bullied in elementary school. The two start a friendship that later expands into a whole group — allowing Shoya to overcome his social anxiety and fear of looking people in the eyes. 

This film is absolutely gorgeous and manages to make even the most mundane landscapes look vibrant and magical. Although the plot is fairly bare bones — it mostly just follows the group through normal teenage moments — the score, animation and directing manage to suck you in. It’s as if you’re really at the amusement park or watching the fireworks with the characters.

Of course, the film isn’t without it’s darker moments — the third act is absolutely heart-wrenching. However, I’ll let you discover that for yourself.

Howl’s Moving Castle (HBO Max) // Sophie Earwood, For The Pitt News

From the ever-magical Studio Ghibli, “Howl’s Moving Castle” is one strange, wondrous movie. It follows a shy, young girl named Sophie whose life is turned upside down after an evil witch curses her and turns her into an old lady. Sophie then searches for the mysterious wizard Howl to break her curse. Throughout the rest of the film Sophie not only helps Howl end a war between kingdoms, but also breaks his curse and returns his heart to him. And of course, they fall in love.

I really liked this film for the same reason many others call themselves devoted Ghibli fans — its pure imagination and creativity. The film takes you through a world of complete and sometimes bizarre fantasy along with the characters in the titular magical teleporting castle. However, you can’t help but get wrapped up in the absurdity and thrill of it all. 

It made me feel like I was a little kid again — when animated movies were my favorite because they could take me anywhere. And considering this film is about a moving castle, it will most certainly take you to some wild and whimsical places.

Yuri!!! on Ice (CrunchyRoll) // Diana Velasquez, Culture Editor

I have watched this series six times. Possibly more. To be fair, it’s only 12 episodes long at about 22 minutes each, and all “Yuri!!! on Ice” fans will be waiting forever for the release of the sequel. But whether or not “Ice Adolescence” is ever released, “Yuri!!! On Ice” is one of the best sports anime out there and one of the best romance ones as well. 

The show focuses on Katsuki Yuri, a Japanese figure skater stuck in a slump after his recent failure at the Grand Prix. Yuri returns home to his rural fishing village, contemplating retirement, when, out of the blue, Victor Nikiforov — the most decorated figure skater in the world — drops in on Yuri and his family, determined to coach Yuri to stardom. 

What follows is a 12-episode whirlwind of ice skating battles, competitive katsudon eating and quite possibly the cutest romance between the show’s two stars. It’s a great show for LGBTQ+ representation, but it’s also just hysterical and heartwarming. There’s nothing better to watch to make you smile. 

My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead To Doom! (CrunchyRoll) // Sinéad McDevitt, Digital Manager

It’s a tale as old as time. A highschool student dies while playing a dating sim and wakes up in the body of the game’s antagonist who dies brutally. To survive, she has to make sure the plot of the game doesn’t go down its intended path. Oh, and along the way, she ends up winning the hearts of pretty much everyone she meets.

Seriously, “main character dies and wakes up as the antagonist of a game or novel and must work to change the story so they don’t die” is a surprisingly common trope across manga and light novels. However, “My Next Life As A Villainess” was my introduction to the subgenre, so it has a special place in my heart. 

The show is a riot, as Katarina, the main character, goes through the events of the game with her well-meaning but bumbling nature. She’s also completely oblivious to the affections of the men and women competing for attention. 

Oh, did I mention? It’s a bisexual harem show, which is the best kind of harem show. The supporting cast are all colorful and loveable, and you can see any of them eventually ending up with Katarina. Though if you ask me, Maria is the best girl.