grace hartzel’s guide to manga and anime
Our 35th Birthday Issue cover star us talks us through her love of the enchanting world of anime.
My best friend's older sister introduced manga to me when I was about 10. She was super into it and we would all watch together and play video games. She was also an amazing artist and would draw manga characters all the time. Those were some very good memories. We would have sleepovers and watch all the Miyazaki films. I love it so much because it makes me feel like I'm in another world while I'm watching it; the characters are beautiful and so creative — there is nothing else like it in the world!
1. Hayeo Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli
He co-founded the studio with Isao Takahata in 1985, forever changing the anime industry. They created the classics like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, Kiki's Delivery Service and Castle in the Sky. These are just a few of the most magical films ever made from the mind of Miyazaki. They were my first introduction into the anime world and I remembered watching them over and over ever since I was small. I loved the feeling of being lost in the world the films would create.
2. Belladonna of Sadness by Eiichi Yamamoto
Another great mind of the Japanese film industry. When I was a little older I discovered Eiichi's films which are more dark and twisted. YOU HAVE TO SEE his film Belladonna of Sadness. From the wonderful era of the 70s, it's so perfectly psychedelic. It will transport you to a place you have never even imagined. I love the way he would draw Belladonna, her beauty is breath-taking. This film is one of my absolute favorites. Also, the soundtrack is very special.
3. Zero Kiryu and Yuki Cross
These characters are from a beautiful anime series called Vampire Knight. This love story is epic, and never ending, really, because the manga series goes on for a while. It's difficult to explain this anime. It's heart-breaking and I'll never forget it. I love when the characters are drawn so fragile and long and slender.
4. Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion
She's so mysterious and raw. You just wanna know her or be her but she is very dark. I actually died my hair blue for a bit because of Rei. This anime is mind-exploding and the end will drive you mad, but there is nothing to compare.
5. Howl from Howl's Moving Castle
Another Studio Ghibli film, this one has dug deep in my heart, I will forever have a major crush on Howl. The wizard who will eat your heart.
6. Ryuichi Sakamoto
Is one of the most talented Japanese composers of all time. His most famous piece, "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence," you may have heard. But my favorite is called "Thousand Knives," I literally feel like I'm floating and want to cry when I listen. He is well known for his classical music but actually in the late 70s, he started the epic synth pop band called Yellow Magic Orchestra. He is basically a genius and a magician. You need it, babyyyyyy give it a listen.
7. Ghost in a Shell
This one I have major feelings for. Made in the late 80s, it's based in a futuristic world with bad ass cops.
8. Tokyo Ghoul
This anime is newer but holds its own in the anime industry. It will give you chills. The ghouls have been among us for centuries and eat humans. When the lead character gets his organs replaced with a ghoul's, he starts to change.
9. Fruits Basket
An adorable love story. Me and my little sisters have re-watched this series many times. It's about Zodiac characters in real life and a cute little girl.
Another classic series, about a girl accidentally transported to the Sengoku period full of demons and monsters. Super good!
Check out Grace on the cover of i-D's 35th Birthday Issue.
Text Grace Hartzel