adult-animation

Best Adult Animation films ever made (20+1list)

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Best Adult Animation films ever made

written by Souranath Banerjee

Adult Animation films!? But aren’t animation supposed to be for kids?

Well, the answer is Yes and No!

First of all we have to understand that ‘Animation is not a genre, but an art form.’

Although mostly Animation is been associated with children, them being taken for granted as the perfect target adult-animationaudience, but then, filmmakers most often use the art of animation to tell stories that are highly subversive in nature, tales of immense maturity been told under the guise of a children’s film!

And then, some others make such exquisite pieces of artistic animated Cinema aimed ONLY for the grown ups, the so called adults!

(But don’t get too excited because I am not talking of hentai or any other form of explicit or animated porn at the moment. At least not in this article!)

This particular list contains some of the Best Adult Animation movies that are often very realistic in approach, sometimes they are issue-based (specially wars or political turmoil), others are philosophical, may be allegorical or satirical (based on various metaphors), and obviously a few of them contain decent dozes of violence and sex that are not at all meant for the juniors!

So, here we go!

20. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbMl6DjhJ1I

Adult-AnimationFour boys, an R-rated movie and of course the war against Canada!

Directed by Trey Parker and writer Matt Stone (who also wrote the original South Park television series), one of the most hilarious comedy but not exactly meant for kids though.

The highest grossing animated film with an R rating till date and also the most mount of profanity used in any animated film ever! 

19. It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN8Kd3zR_mE

Adult-Animation Comprised of three short films released over a period of 2006-2011, all directed and narrated by Don Hertzfeldt.

It’s the story of Bill, his world, his dreams, his revelations; all uniquely animated on paper with stick figures, shot on 35mm camera with experimental optical effects merged with real footages.

Funny yet deep and highly intellectual, undoubtedly the most philosophical animated cinema I have seen till date!

18. Paprika (2006)

Papurika (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_vUmm8Z0fM

Adult-AnimationThree scientists at the Foundation for Psychiatric Research invented a device that allows people to record and watch their dreams. But then their precious invention gets stolen and the worlds of dream and reality collide and merge into one horrific surreality.

Directed by Satoshi Kon, this anime is by far the most creative yet disturbing film in the list infused with a terrific soundtrack. Highly recommended!

17. Chico & Rita (2010)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgmBLyItITA

Adult-AnimationA passionate piano player and a beautiful singer, both young and full of dreams and ambitions – and yes, they become lovers! But their roads to success seem different, can their love survive against all the odds?

Directed by Tono Errando, Javier Mariscal and Fernando Trueba, this is one rare and brilliant animated romance between two ‘real’ people depicting true human emotions!

16. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Kôkaku Kidôtai (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2MEaROKjaE

Adult-AnimationThe year 2029. The mysterious and elusive cyber criminal, the Puppet Master is being hunted by a cyborg policewoman and her partner.

Directed by Mamoru Oshii, this is a futuristic, hyperrealistic and fantastic animated thriller that recently got made into live-action feature Ghost in the Shell (2017) starring Scarlett Johansson as the sexy cyborg cop (though the animated version is much better). 

It also has the animated sequels Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004) and Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (2008) which are definitely worth your time.

15. Fantastic Planet (1973)

La planète sauvage (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgCxCZNkQ9E

Adult-AnimationThe story of the unknown sci-fi world of Ygam where the masters are the beasts and the humans are their slaves. And here comes a revolution!

Directed by René Laloux, a film so masterly creative and epic in its content and animation style; beautiful and surreal and deservingly the winner of the Special Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival!

14. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)

Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no tobira (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au1AO1xaEts

Adult-AnimationThe year 2071. A terrorist bombing has released a deadly virus and a high-priced bounty is set for the capture of whoever is behind it. Can the bounty hunter crew of the spaceship Bebop encash the reward?

Directed by Shinichirô Watanabe, Tensai OkamurYoshiyuki Takei and Hiroyuki Okiura, a classy film made on the famous animated series by the same name. Adult in content but great storytelling!  

13. Princess Mononoke (1997)

Mononoke-hime (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OiMOHRDs14

Adult-AnimationA deadly curse that changes the fate of a young warrior, and he finds himself in the midst of a war between the humans and the Gods of the forest. And then he meets Princess Mononoke!

Directed by the acclaimed Hayao Miyazaki, a marvellous film dipped in Japanese myth and folklore, with enough blood and violence to make it count in this list.

A few other films from the same director that are more suited for adults than children are The Wind Rises (2013) and Spirited Away (2001).

12. Fritz the Cat (1972)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PADIloikkhg

Adult-AnimationThe first animated film to receive an ‘X’ rating and it opened the gates of the future nuisance that followed!  

Directed by renowned Ralph Bakshi, this one is one hell of a comic satire on the 60s NewYork scenario, with a cat being the main centre of attraction/attention.

Funny, comic and full of adult jokes,  an animated sex comedy – easygoing and entertaining as well.

11. Barefoot Gen (1983) 

Hadashi no Gen (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjLYP_X80GA

Adult-AnimationDirected by Mori Masaki, this is a a disturbing tale of a boy from Hiroshima, and how his life changes during the WW2.

The film brilliantly portrays the disastrous aftermath of the atomic bomb, and also the overall effect it had on Japan.

A brilliant tale – hard hitting, deeply emotional, told from the perspective of a little boy.

10. Watership Down (1978)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji-LqBskNyE

Adult-AnimationA survival story of a group of rabbits who are always in danger of predators ready to catch them, kill them, eat them – in a sense not very different from our own human world!

Directed by Martin Rosen the film is adopted from the famous novel by Richard Adams by the same name.

And not exactly for the kids, since it is a pretty violent and ruthless film to be animated!

9. Wicked City (1987)

Yôjû toshi (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jDSbHomlrs

Adult-AnimationThe peace between the mortals and the supernatural world is being threatened and two professionals are given the responsibility to protect an old sleazy man of importance. But can they do their job successfully?

Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, this anime contains extreme sex, nudity and violence that almost pushes it to the Hentai territory.

Probably the only other anime film that can compete with this one in terms of erotic animated visuals is Hideki Takayama‘s animated feature Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend (1989).

8. Waltz with Bashir (2008)

Vals Im Bashir (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J9uoLMhMhs

Adult-AnimationDirected by Ari Folman, a superb animated take on the first Lebanon war of 1982.

Through many meetings and interviews, an Israeli film director tries to recollect his memories of the war, the time when he was in the army.

Four years to finish, the first ever animated film nominated for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar!

7. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Hotaru no haka (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vPeTSRd580

Adult-AnimationDirected by Isao Takahata, this is the story of a young boy and his little sister who tries their best to struggle and survive the brutality of the war.

A story told with such power and innocence, emotionally tragic yet such blissful and appealing.

Visually spectacular and masterfully animated in style, one of my personal favorite of all times.

6. Persepolis (2007) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PXHeKuBzPY

Adult-AnimationDirected by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi, this is a powerful film that tells the story of an Iranian girl, growing up during the times of Islamic Revolution!

An animated satire, originally based on a comic-book; though the film has a comic touch but overall pretty serious in content, definitely not aimed for kids in mind.

It is a bold biographical journey of co-director Marjane Satrapi.

5Waking Life (2001)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbPgprcMtjo

Adult-AnimationDiscussions regarding the purpose of the existence and the meaning of life can be pretty heavy stuff but this animated feature manages to maintain an overall dreamy psychedelic mood that creates an unique experience for the viewers!

Directed by Richard Linklater, yes, my favorite director does it again! A superb story told in a cool and slow manner. Also check out a very interesting film called A Scanner Darkly (2006) by the same director.

4. Akira (1988)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUqd8qNaNg0

Adult-AnimationAnime became a global phenomenon with the release of this film and it is undoubtedly the most popular and expensive anime of the time – production cost 10 million!

Directed by Katsuhiro Ôtomo, one of the most visually challenging drama pact with some memorable soundtracks.

Violent, edgy, gritty and dark, a film that remains with you for a lifetime.

3. Anomalisa (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT6QJaS2a-U

adult-animationA man bored with his life is desperately seeking for some excitement, some incentive to go on. And finally he meets a girl who seems to be perfect!

(Click for the review)

A highly sensitive and melancholic film with the best stop motion animation ever!

Directed by Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman, this film is a rare gem that needs to be cherished and relished forever.

2. Perfect Blue (1997)

Pafekuto buru (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXQraSkOOGs

Adult-AnimationA retired pop-star who is set to become an actress is stalked by an obsessed fan, but soon things becomes too dangerous to handle.

Paranoia, violence, sex and above all a creepy feel that makes the film both disturbing and exciting at the same time.

Directed by Satoshi Kon, this is one haunting animated thriller that will certainly make you very uncomfortable. A must watch!

1. Belladonna of Sadness (1973)

Kanashimi no Beradonna (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WkcLMapo_Y

Adult-AnimationAbused and banished from her village, a woman unknowingly makes a treaty with the devil and  gains magical ability. But soon the devil wants his share!

Directed by Eiichi Yamamoto, a story told metaphorically with highly explicit symbolisms.

A poetic epic, an avant- garde feature of exquisite beauty and certainly the most artistic film I have ever seen!

and (The ‘+1 film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. Sita Sings the Blues (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y5_zJ1xfQs

Adult-AnimationThe epic Indian tale of Ramayana told from the perspective of Sita, and her choice of narration is to sing soothing Jazz songs from a forgotten era!

Directed by Nina Paley (autobiographical to a certain extent) perfectly complimented by the ever-melodious voice of Annette Hanshaw.

Enriched with enough satirical humour, a much underrated gem that has the potential brilliance to compete with some of the best animated features across the globe!

A few other Adult Animation films not exactly made for the kids are: The Triplets of Belleville (2003), Yellow Submarine (1968)The Illusionist (2010), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)Coraline (2009), Animal Farm (1954), Tokyo Godfathers (2003), Beowulf (2007), Heavy Metal (1981), The Plague Dogs (1982).

Similar Interest: Best Animated Films of 2015 

Similar Interest: Best Animated Short Films

 Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com and www.imdb.com.

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