Looking for something different than the usual Hollywood fare? Anime movies are a great place to start! It’s no secret that the Japanese art of animation is home to some of the most imaginative and innovative films ever made, with a style and sense of humor that’s completely unique.

The anime industry consists of over 430 major production studios, including the most memorable names like Studio Ghibli, Gainax, and Toei Animation. Studio Ghibli has been at the forefront of Japanese animation since it was founded by Miyazaki, Takahata, and producer Toshio Suzuki in 1985. It pioneered a kind of hand-drawn animation that is instantly recognizable for its sweeping panoramas, evocative watercolor backdrops, and soft pencil lines that give the impression of watching a moving painting.

Are anime movies a rare treat for you? Do you want to watch one but are not sure where to start? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! If you want something that catches your fancy, check out our list of the best anime movies with the highest-rated entries in the genre.

From the touching moments of Your Name to the thrilling adventures of Princess Mononoke, there are plenty of great anime movies to choose from!

#1

Spirited Away

Spirited Away

2001 | 2h 5m 
 

Hayao Miyazaki’s classic fantasy anime movie about a young girl who gets lost in a world of spirits. Spirited Away has been the highest-grossing film in Japanese history for a long time, having earned over $395 million worldwide. It has been recently surpassed by Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, released in 2020. Spirited Away is also the only Japanese movie to win an Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

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Shoto Todoroki
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This one was actually pretty scary as a kid, mostly because of No Face

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#2

Your Name

Your Name

2016 | 1h 47m 

 

If you’re an active member of the anime community, there’s a 100% chance that you’ve heard about this movie. It depicts a high school student in Tokyo and a high school girl in the Japanese countryside who suddenly and inexplicably begin to swap bodies and live each other’s lives. This top anime movie has everything you can look for: outstanding graphics, a catchy soundtrack, a breathtaking plot, and of course, the tears.

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raviosa hyuna
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

yup! THIS IS REALLY GOOD! 10/10 šŸ‘šŸ»

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#3

Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle

2004 | 1h 59m 
 

This is one of Studio Ghibli’s most beloved films and for a good reason. The story follows Sophie, a teenage girl who spends time at her late father’s hat shop. After meeting Howl, a powerful wizard, she ends up cursed by a witch to look like an old woman. Howl will use all his talent to return Sophie to her former youth and beauty.

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Shoto Todoroki
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The Merry Go Round song is always a favorite, I also like Howl's Castle.

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#4

My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro

1988 | 1h 26m
 

When two young girls move to the country to stay with their sick mother, they meet the magical spirits who live in the nearby forest. The film is partially autobiographical. When Hayao Miyazaki and his brothers were children, his mother suffered from spinal tuberculosis for nine years and spent much of her time hospitalized. He once said the movie would have been too painful for him to make if the two protagonists were boys instead of girls.

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Thomas Naas
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Made me remember how magical and mysterious the world is from a childs perspective. I still look for mystery and wonder, just not from the supernatural.

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#5

Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke

1997 | 2h 13m 

There are a lot of good anime movies out there, but Princess Mononoke is still a representative work from Ghibli Studio and one of the most acclaimed anime movies. On a journey to find the cure for a curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war. In this quest, he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime. With its epic story and breathtaking visuals, Princess Mononoke is a landmark in the world of animation.

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#6

A Silent Voice

A Silent Voice

2016 | 2h 10m 

A Silent Voice follows a former bully turned outcast who decides to reconnect and befriend the deaf girl he had tormented when he was a kid. The movie covers some heavy themes like suicide, disability, bullying, social alienation, and the pursuit of redemption. A Silent Voice is a little gem among the new anime movies and deserves all its recognition.

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Red
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I recommend reading the manga after watching the movie. Then, if yall are still in the mood for tears, watch the AMV of Alex and Sierra - Little did you know for this movie.

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#7

Kiki's Delivery Service

Kiki's Delivery Service

1989 | 1h 43m 
 

During her mandatory year of independent life, a young witch finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service. When she begins questioning herself and loses her magic abilities, she must overcome her self-doubt to get her powers back. This ’80s anime represents a heartwarming, gorgeously rendered tale of a girl discovering her place in the world.

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Shoto Todoroki
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This movie made me want a black cat...Sailor Moon did too

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#8

Castle In The Sky

Castle In The Sky

1986 | 2h 5m 

Another one of Hayao Miyazaki’s works of art. Two kids with a magic crystal must race against pirates and foreign agents in a search for a legendary floating castle. Castle in the Sky thrillingly encapsulates Studio Ghibli’s unique strengths with a storytelling palette as rich and brilliant as its animation.

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#9

Grave Of The Fireflies

Grave Of The Fireflies

1988 | 1h 29m
 

Towards the end of WWII, the American army is terrorizing the local population of Kobe. 14-year-old Seita sees his mother dying in front of his eyes, in agony from the extensive burns on her body. With no parents to take care of him, he’ll have to survive through the end of the war while also becoming a parental figure for his 4-year-old sister. Grave Of The Fireflies is based on the author’s personal experience during the Kobe firebombing in 1945. It was written as a personal apology to Keiko, his little sister, who he failed to save from starvation.

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Shoto Todoroki
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Once was enough for me, as a kid I didn't expect to cry so much with this movie

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#10

Ponyo

Ponyo

2008 | 1h 41m 
 

Five-year-old Sosuke meets Ponyo, a young goldfish princess who longs to become human after falling in love with him. Hayao Miyazaki drew most of the sea and wave imagery himself, experimenting and making it as expressionistic as possible. The opening twelve seconds, involving vast schools of fish and undersea creatures, required 1,613 pages of conceptual sketches to develop.

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#11

Wolf Children

Wolf Children

2012 | 1h 57m
 

Best Animation Film at the Japanese Academy Awards of 2013. After her werewolf lover dies in an accident while hunting for food, a young woman is left alone to raise their werewolf children while keeping their real nature hidden from society. A heart-wrenching must watch anime that shows how strong a parent can become for the sake of their own children.

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raviosa hyuna
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I cried ugly on this one šŸ˜­šŸ˜­šŸ˜­šŸ’” its so sad. prepare tissue yall

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#12

Akira

Akira

1988 | 2h 4m 
 

A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo by turning a biker gang member into a rampaging psychic psychopath. This is one of the first Japanese anime films to have the characters’ voices recorded before they were animated. While this is the typical practice in American animation, the animation is generally produced first in Japan. The movie takes place in 2019 and depicts Neo-Tokyo creating a new Olympic stadium. Coincidentally, Tokyo was scheduled to host the 2020 Summer Olympics before the pandemic delayed them until 2021.

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#13

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

2006 | 1h 38m 
 

Makoto acquires the power to travel back in time and uses it for her own personal benefits. Little does she know that she is affecting the lives of others just as much as her own. This coming-of-age comedy drama has mad inventiveness to spare! An imaginative and thoughtfully engaging anime film with a highly effective visual design.

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Muani Puii
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I badly recommend this for people who like slice of life stuffs

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#14

The Secret World Of Arrietty

The Secret World Of Arrietty

2010 | 1h 34m 
 

The Clock family members are four-inch-tall people who live hidden in another family’s residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their teenage daughter, Arrietty, gets discovered by a human boy. As always, Studio Ghibli never ceases to amaze with the number of small details: in the Borrowers’ home, there are three cups with playing card symbols (heart, diamond, and club). The only symbol they do not have is the spade, which in many cultures is considered to be bad luck.

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Shoto Todoroki
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My favorite version of the Borrowers

#15

Perfect Blue

Perfect Blue

1997 | 1h 21m 
 

Perfect Blue is one of those anime movies to watch without thinking twice. It follows the story of a pop singer who gives up her career to become an actress, but she slowly goes insane when she starts being stalked by an obsessed fan and what seems to be a ghost of her past. The film was supposed to be a live-action feature but became an anime when several backers abruptly pulled out in pre-production.

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James Yee
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

OMG this is such a great movie and should be higher. A thriller that really changed my opinion of what anime could be when it first came out.

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#16

Garden Of Words

Garden Of Words

2013 | 46m 
 

A teenage boy and a woman find an unlikely friendship in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Without arranging the times, the two start to see each other over and over again, but only on rainy days. According to the animator Makoto Shinkai, the movie is a love story about people who feel lonely or incomplete in their social relations but don’t feel that they need to fix this loneliness.

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#17

The Boy And The Beast

The Boy And The Beast

2015 | 1h 59 m 

When an orphan living on the streets of Shibuya stumbles upon a fantastic world of beasts, he’s taken in by the fierce warrior beast Kumametsu, who’s looking for an apprentice. Despite the slow start, The Boy And The Beast is one of the most beautiful stories about the inner journey towards maturity.

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#18

Whisper Of The Heart

Whisper Of The Heart

1995 | 1h 51m 
 

A love story between a girl who loves reading books and a boy who has previously checked out all of the library books she picks. Some of the backgrounds, clouds, and flying islands were painted by the artist Naohisa Inoue. Inoue sent an invitation to Hayao Miyazaki for one of his exhibitions since he was a huge fan. He didn’t expect anything, but Miyazaki showed up, and after buying one of Inoue’s paintings, Miyazaki asked him if he wanted to work for Ghibli’s next movie.

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Shoto Todoroki
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I have a copy of this movie where everything plays fine except in one part, right after MC girl (I forgot her name) finishes singing the spin on Country Roads and the MC boy (I forgot his name) teases them and walks off. He makes some weird blipping noise.

#19

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

2001 | 1h 55m 

2071. A terrorist explosion releases a deadly virus on the masses, and it’s up to the bounty-hunting Bebop crew to catch the cold-blooded culprit. The full English title of the film is Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. However, supposedly due to copyright disputes over the subtitle Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, same as the famous song by Bob Dylan, the name was shortened to just Cowboy Bebop: The Movie for its release in the United States.

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#20

From Up On Poppy Hill

From Up On Poppy Hill

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Red
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My 8 year old bounces between this and totoro as her favorite movies. Occasionally she'll throw in whispers of the heart.

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#21

The Cat Returns

The Cat Returns

2002 | 1h 15m 
 

After helping a cat, a teenage girl is involuntarily engaged to a cat prince in a magical world. This was originally going to be a short straight-to-video project. Still, producer Toshio Suzuki was so impressed with director Hiroyuki Morita’s storyboards, especially the main character Haru, that he encouraged Hayao Miyazaki to give this a cinematic release. So far, this is Studio Ghibli’s only spin-off or sequel feature film.

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mrnaga
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah, it is beautiful but the script is straight to video quality. Go for Whisper of the Heart and ditch this.

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#22

Ghost In The Shell

Ghost In The Shell

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Thomas Naas
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Great concept. Good scifi with lots of espionage and political intrigue as well as philosopical exploration of consciousness and sentience.

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#24

When Marnie Was There

When Marnie Was There

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Shoto Todoroki
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Something tells me that this one going to be sad...but I don't know what it is?

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#25

Summer Wars

Summer Wars

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James Yee
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This was a great launch for the newer generation of movie makers. Loved it.

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#26

The Tale Of Princess Kaguya

The Tale Of Princess Kaguya

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#27

Ninja Scroll

Ninja Scroll

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Omawumi Jessica Adokpaye
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I watched it when I was a kid, and the local cable company thought it was an ordinary cartoon and put it on the kiddies slot. It was traumatizing, to say the least. With the nudity and all that. That company should have been sued.

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#29

Porco Rosso

Porco Rosso

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Red
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I was honestly hesitant to watch this. But it grabbed my attention early on, and didn't let go. Honestly, this masterpiece is part of the reason I became a writer. Its the standard I strive to live up to (though I write lite novels, not movies, but the point remains valid).

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#32

I Want To Eat Your Pancreas

I Want To Eat Your Pancreas

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Aakash
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's one of mine most favourite movie

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#33

NausicaƤ: Valley Of The Wind

NausicaƤ: Valley Of The Wind

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Shoto Todoroki
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I can't with this movie, everytime I try to watch it I just tune it out

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#34

Demon Slayer - Kimetsu No Yaiba - The Movie: Mugen Train

Demon Slayer - Kimetsu No Yaiba - The Movie: Mugen Train

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#35

Final Fantasy Vii: Advent Children

Final Fantasy Vii: Advent Children

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Red
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Hard disagree. I watched it once as an anime movie and wasn't overly impressed. Went back and watched it as a sequel movie to a video game, and was blown away. The key difference is, it should be viewed as a continuation of a story, not a standalone.

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#36

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising

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Shoto Todoroki
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This one was cool the big battle at the end was visually fun to watch

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#37

Blood: The Last Vampire

Blood: The Last Vampire

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mrnaga
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Love that. I can see the Ghost in the Shell influences in the secret government agency that hunts vampires with a vampire.

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#38

Vampire Hunter D

Vampire Hunter D

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Thomas Naas
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes, every womans dream to get hooked up with someone who is cold to the touch, doesn't breath, and needs to drink human blood to stay alive; a match made in hell.

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#39

Tales From Earthsea

Tales From Earthsea

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Shoto Todoroki
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

A lot of people said it drags on and it's slow and boring. I want to watch it but I'm not sure.

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#41

A Whisker Away

A Whisker Away

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Urbosa
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This movie is amazing. I cried tho...

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#43

Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex - The Laughing Man

Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex - The Laughing Man

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#44

Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal

Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal

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mrnaga
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I like how they did the OVAs style completely different from the series. Bold move.

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#46

PokƩmon: The First Movie

PokƩmon: The First Movie

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Shoto Todoroki
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This one right here is my childhood! I love tbis movie with a passion! Pikachu crying hurts every time

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#47

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust

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Thomas Naas
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Another vampire story? That dead horse has been beaten so many times. There is nothing romantic or compelling about the undead.

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#48

Lupin The Third: The Castle Of Cagliostro

Lupin The Third: The Castle Of Cagliostro

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Shoto Todoroki
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I remember Lupin, I didn't know it had a movie. I just remember the series

#50

The End Of Evangelion

The End Of Evangelion

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Shoto Todoroki
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I was gonna try and say thing but I just wanted to say the theme is now playing in my head

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#51

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star Of Milos

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star Of Milos

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Shoto Todoroki
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I FMA is my childhood, you might see me say this again

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#52

Fist Of The North Star

Fist Of The North Star

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Thomas Naas
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Embarrasingly macho, with the most pretentious, stilted dialogue I've ever been subjected to. Crypto fascist with a real creepy undercurrent of homosexuality. Script seemingly written by pre-pubescent victims of bullying.

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