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Great Science fiction animation (not CGI)


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#1 Moontanman

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 10:33 PM

Here are what I think are the best science fiction animated films of the 20th century!

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#2 CraigD

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 02:37 AM

Good picks, Moontan :)

However, IMHO they’re all more art and fantasy than science fiction.

Hard SF animation is, in my experience, rare, semi-hard less rare, space-opera and fantasy as common as dirt.

A few that come quickly to memory: 1987’s Lily C.A.T., an Alien-inspired semi-hard horror film; 1997-1998’s fan-loved series Cowboy Bebop, a semi-hard ... well, somewhat hard to succinctly describe ... jazz-inspired space-cowboy/girl road-buddies/tragic love story; and the only truly hard SF animation that comes quickly to mEMORY, 1987’s Wings of Honneamise and 2003-2004’s Planetes.

These are all considered anime, a genre plagued by scientifically senseless tentacle monsters, giant robots, and physically absurd martial arts. There are many animes in the cyberpunk genre, much of suffering from these plagues. A couple of standout in my mind is 1998’s famous (at least among anime-lovers) Serial Experiments Lain and 2003’s 22-episode Texhnolyze, the former widely considered a terribly sad story, the latter filling me with the most sorrow of any film I’ve yet seen.

#3 maikeru

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 06:31 AM

Watch Ghost in the Shell or Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. In addition to some of those Craig mentioned, these are among my favorites. Better to watch them in the original Japanese, for those who can understand Japanese. :)

#4 CraigD

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 12:12 PM

Watch Ghost in the Shell or Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. In addition to some of those Craig mentioned, these are among my favorites.

The Ghost in the Shell movies and series – which I’d classify as “non-dystopic cyberpunk” (it’s clearly cyberpunk, as the blurring of the boundary between biological and mechanical/computerized is its main theme, but not distopic, as it’s less dark and pessimistic than “classical” cyberpunk) – are practically must sees for animation fans, I agree. :yes:

They stand out, IMHO, as having lots of humanly impossible jumping and fighting (by people with mechanical bodies that only look like normal human ones), robots of various sizes (non quite “giant”), but avoid the usual anime clichés by making a laudable effort to have them be technologically realistic.

GITS uses both hand-animation and CGI production, but this is true of my favorites mentioned above, and nearly a practical necessity of any animation striving for scientific realism – managing rendering geometry and lighting is, I think, a waste of a human artist’s effort. This brings up the “good CGI/bad CGI” question of the best blending of hand-drawing and computer rendering, and some artistic issues such as how much intentionally unrealistic, “cartoonish” style should be used in a SF film. It’s a subjective, in-the-eye-of-the-beholder question, which you’ve gotta watch the films (often more than once) to entertain. :)