@shalba: It's funny that in the end I put almost every Ghibli movie NOT directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Of course that means I listed less than half of the studio's total output, but people almost always mention Miyazaki when they bring up great anime films and never mention any of Ghibli's other films outside of Grave of the Fireflies. But I find that you have to like a very specific type of movie to like Miyazaki stuff and people who aren't into fantasy adventures often just don't enjoy them.
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For most games I start at normal/medium and will bump it up to hard if there is a New Game+ mode I want to play. For some hard shooters I'll play on easy on consoles as I suck at console shooters. Also for some very complex strategy games I'll either start or eventually drop to easy. Like Europa Universalis I tried so many times to play on normal. Mostly ended up not making it more than 20 or 30 years before being reduced to a vassal if not outright defeated. Eventually I accepted I wasn't going to pull off anywhere close to a full campaign on anything but easy so I went with that. I very rarely start on hard. I honestly can't think of the last time I did that. I'll play the Halo games in co-op on Legendary with some great teammates but Halo is also one of the few games that actually changes enemy placement and behavior with increased difficulty.
EDIT: Also I always play Metal Gear Solid games on the easiest difficulty since I am only playing to see what hilarious(ly terrible) twist Kojima will come up with next and could care less about the actual gameplay.
@brackstone: Luckily for you in the Ghost in the Shell films (not the show) the Major is given black hair. The purple hair was exclusive to the much more light hearted show. Do a google image search if you want to see her in her movie form where she is much more realistically drawn. If you end up liking the films and the show I would recommend Serial Experiments Lain as a followup. It deals with similar themes albeit with less violence and lower quality animation than the GITS films. It's not a very long show. Some other worthwhile movies with similar plots include Paprika by Satoshi Kon, Summer Wars by Hosada, and Metropolis by Rintaro. There are quite a few shows with similar themes but I'll let others recommend their favorites there.
EDIT: Also, if you don't mind watching some films very heavy on Japanese mythology and pop culture, all of Isao Takahata's films feature art that is quite different from your standard anime. My Neighbors the Yamadas I feel loses almost all of its humor in translation but if you want something that looks nothing like your standard anime then at least watch the trailer. Pom Poko is a bit more standard but still I think quite distinct. Again, though, I feel like it loses a lot in translation. Both Only Yesterday and Grave of the Fireflies have anime face designs but the characters are all realistically drawn. No crazy costumes or colors and all the characters are realistically proportioned.
For everyone mentioning Death Note I thought I would say that it is probably one of the better shows for those who generally dislike anime but it does have a lot of the Japanese weirdness that a lot of anime haters dislike, and also involves a lot of Japanese mythology that isn't explained upfront.
I tried really hard to stay away from any film or show featuring heavy use of Japanese mythology, hence why I left off Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. But if you have a friend who simply hates the crazy combat in anime but wouldn't mind strange Japanese stuff definitely take a look at Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon's films.
@xyzygy: You're welcome! If you haven't looked through the whole thread then be sure to check out the various films mentioned if you haven't. Ghost in the Shell and GITS: Innocence, Akira, every Studio Ghibli film, all of Satoshi Kon's films, all of Hosada's films, Metropolis, and many of the others mentioned. Also not mentioned is the short Voices of a Distant Star which is a personal favorite of mine. It's a short (like 30 minutes long or so) but is absolutely brilliant. As I said at the start, that list was for anime haters and wasn't a list of the best anime out there. But I think this thread has covered almost every worthwhile anime film.
@pimblycharles: I know several people who love Whisper of the Heart. I wouldn't place it at the top of my Ghibli film list but it's a great film. But, as mentioned, it is not a Miyazaki film. He produced and helped write it, but Kondo directed it.
@aetheldod: I couldn't decide if I liked Skycrawlers. Oshii's films are so strange. They feel more like philosophy lessons than actual stories. It definitely wasn't the Ghost in the Shell followup many had hoped for. I still have to see Avalon. Oshii's live action stuff I find is even more obtuse than his anime at times.
@crusadernoremorse: I liked the second film. It is even more filled with philosophical musings than the first and the Major is not seen at all after her death at the end of the first film. I know a lot of people dislike it but I think it is great.
@kcin: No doubt Ghost in the Shell both the show and the films are great, but for those who don't like anime I'm not sure those shows would bring them in. But definitely for fans of cyberpunk I would probably say Ghost in the Shell is the best cyberpunk universe out there.
@guanophobic: They are adults by the end so I put it there. Only Yesterday is told half through flashbacks so only a part of it takes place with her as an adult there as well. I was honestly struggling to come up with any romances not exclusively involving teens and those were the best options I could come up with.
@zelyre: Right that was kind of the point of this list. Being the best anime film doesn't matter to those that don't like the combat focus of a lot of anime. I am in no way denying any of the films being mentioned are great but I highly doubt someone who dislikes DBZ or Naruto for its content would enjoy Akira or Ninja Scroll or Jin-Rob any more.
@believer258: Ghost in the Shell and Cowboy Bebop are both excellent but with this list I was trying to go for anime with a western feel to them so I left both out. But definitely both great shows and films featuring adults. I mentioned Perfect Blue in the list. I didn't include it as an official entry just because of how weird it is, but all of Kon's films and his OVA are worth watching.
@mannymar: I really debated putting Paprika. In the end I didn't include it just because of how weird it is, but anyone who enjoys the two Satoshi Kon films I listed would do well to look that one up as well, in addition to Kon's other films and OVA.
@sydlanel: I was including androids and cyborgs with mechs which is why I left out Ghost in the Shell and Metropolis. I loved Serial Experiments Lain and Haibane Renmei but both just felt so Japanese and this was trying to be a list that would appeal to those people who don't like crazy Japanese things, hence also leaving out Jin-Roh. Personally I'm not a fan of Gungrave. There are quite a few shows I would put on a list before that. But I know there are a lot of fans of it. Not my thing though.
@internetjames: You know despite having seen some of the live action stuff from the Kerberos Saga I never got around to watching Jin Roh. But every film of Oshii's I've seen both live action and anime are pretty difficult to follow and filled with philosophical mumbo-jumbo. Plus I felt like the Kerberos stuff was a little too close to mechs at times. I would of course list some of Oshii's work on a list of best anime ever.
@mezmero: I wasn't trying to appeal to people on this site, hence the title of the thread being about friends. I was more thinking of those friends you might have who like neither games nor anime.
@video_game_king: I haven't had a chance to see Wolf Children yet. I included The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and obviously left out Hosoda's follow up Summer Wars. Wolf Children has those weird monster things though, right? I felt like that would probably disqualify it, but I'll form an opinion once I get around to seeing it.
It wasn't a ton of time lost, maybe only 10 hours, but somehow when playing the original God of War my save got corrupted so that during the final boss fight when you had to perform the final QTE the game would freeze. Literally the last piece of input in the entire game and I couldn't do it. I ended up not beating the game until it was rereleased on PS3. Not a huge amount of time but just for it to be the very final part of the final boss battle made it terrible. Since then whenever I play a game that allows you to keep multiple save slots I always alternate between two slots so that I never get into that situation again.
Also had a hard drive die on me when I hadn't backed it up in several months so I lost at least a couple hundred hours worth of saves on that.