If you only ever watch one Anime feature, it should be The Place Promised in Our Early Days, a science fiction romance by Makoto Shinkai. This is a superb piece of work, and at the moment there is a perfect 720p copy on YouTube. Play it full screen in HD, click the captions button for English subtitles, and see what American animators can’t do.
Long before Hugh Laurie’s Gregory House, there was House, a bizarre 1977 Japanese movie about a haunted house that eats unmarried girls. House adheres to the Japanese Pop culture obsession with schoolgirls, and it’s essentially a ghost story, but with an amazingly varied, unrelenting series of creatively twisted, comic-horror images.
Because the movie is so utterly strange, it’s no surprise that on Amazon the customer reviews are all over the place. Watch the trailer and you’ll know whether or not you want to see the whole thing.
The anime Gunslinger Girl may have a disturbing premise — school age girls turned into assassin cyborgs — but the music used for the opening credits, by the Scottish band the Delgados, is outstanding. I especially love the ethereal part after 3:30.