WHEN IT COMES TO ANIMATED FILMS, there's one name that guarantees quality for adults as well as kids. Of course, I’m referring to... Hayao Miyazaki. The gentle, magical children’s films of this master of Japanese anime are a relief from frantic American kidvid, while films with more grownup appeal like Princess Mononoke and the current Spirited Away deserve to be rescued from the cartoon ghetto and placed with the best recent movies, period.

My Neighbor Totoro
—Kids move to the country and discover a world of magical forest creatures. What sets this above similar Hollywood tales is 1) a genuine feeling for nature and childhood, and 2) mythical creatures that are more like wild animals than lounge comedians.

Kiki’s Delivery Service—Harry Potter fans will love this film about a 13-year-old witch and her cat (charmingly voiced by Kirsten Dunst and Phil Hartman), who starts a broom-based delivery service.

Princess Mononoke—An ecological fable with the scale of Akira Kurosawa’s samurai epics and the imaginative density of Tolkien; full of “you’ve never seen that before” wonders, it also surprises by not making it easy to choose sides between civilization and nature.

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