RetroCrush offers anime fans a chance to watch tons of classic movies and shows from the last several decades for free. However, while old-school fans might be intimately familiar with some of the classic titles on the catalog, others might be overwhelmed by the sprawling collection. Where do you begin when everything is a 'classic?'
This is far from a comprehensive list of all the great anime on the platform, but if you want to watch some vintage gems, these are five films you'll get a real kick out of.
Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade
Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is a nightmarish portrait of an alternate version of Japan where Germany won World War II. In this alternate timeline, Kazuki, a member of the Kerberos Panzer Police, is left traumatized after a young girl blows herself up in front of him. What follows is an exploration of fascist government, the horrors of war and how violence can break people in ways that leave them more like wolves than men.
Jin-Roh is written by Mamoru Oshii, more famous for directing Ghost in the Shell. Some would argue this 1999 film is on-par with Ghost in the Shell in terms of deep philosophical musings. However, in terms of its cold visuals and disturbing imagery, Jin-Roh ranks among the most profound 90s anime films ever. If you enjoy this, a South Korean live-action remake, Illang: The Wolf Brigade, is on Netflix.
Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer
Urusei Yatsura is a classic manga written by Rumiko Takahashi, the same woman who created Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha. While Urusei Yatsura had a sprawling run on television, most fans regard the second film, Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer, as one of the franchise highlights. It's a surreal film that centers on a day not coming on time.
At the time, Beautiful Dreamer felt like a departure from the manga fans had come to love. Still, in time, many fans have re-evaluated the film as a powerful work by its director, Mamoru Oshii -- the same person who wrote Jin-Roh and directed Ghost in the Shell.
Appleseed is a cyberpunk anime, adapting the work of Shirow Masamune. The OVA film focuses on cybernetic police fighting terrorists, offering a showcase of some of the coolest sci-fi weaponry ever put to animation. The story is pretty straightforward and feels like a rough draft to the work that Masamune would later do on his seminal cyberpunk manga, Ghost in the Shell.
At an undetermined point in the future, the paradise city of Olympus sits as a perfect intersection of robotics and human culture. Order is maintained by the police, who are hot on the trail of a violent terrorist who believes the forces that control the order in Olympus don't have humanity's best interests at heart.
Memories is an anthology film based on three manga short stories by Katsuhiro Otomo -- the same manga writer who created Akira. Otomo directed one of the segments himself, while the other two are handed off to other acclaimed anime talents. Among the many people involved with this production is Perfect Blue director Satoshi Kon, Robot Carnival director Koji Morimoto and Darker Than Black director Tensai Okamura.
Each of the three segments in Memories takes a simple sci-fi concept and explores the characters that fill those worlds. The first segment, "Magnetic Rose," focuses on a deep space explorer responding to a strange distress signal from a ship with no life on it. The second segment, "Stink Bomb," focuses on a scientist who accidentally turns himself into a walking biological weapon while trying to cure the flu. The final piece, "Cannon Fodder," focuses on a boy growing up in a city that constantly needs to fire rows of mounted cannons to fight off "the enemy." Each is simple but profound.
Kite: International Version
Sawa is a young girl turned assassin who murders the people police cannot capture. She slaughters corrupt business people, pedophiles and other scum of society that law enforcement wants to kill but can't legally bring in. Sawa eventually meets another assassin who is roughly her age. They form a bond that might alter the trajectory of Sawa's life forever.
Kite is a classic extreme anime. Released originally as an OVA, Kite was re-edited into a singular film when redistributed internationally. When initially released, 15 minutes of Kite were censored due to its extreme content. The International Version is the complete package and, naturally, one of the most widely watched anime films on RetroCrush. If you want to know about this legendary anime, watch Kite: International Version.