Sight & Sound & Anime
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Sight & Sound & Anime

Sight and Sound De Facto Reveals the Greatest Anime of All Time

By Miles Atherton.

Akira - Shotaro Kaneda on his iconic red bike
Still from the mucosa Akira (1988), directed by Katsuhiro Otomo

Late last year, Sight and Sound magazine’s famous duo of “Greatest Films of All Time” aggregated from the top 10s of hundreds of world-renowned critics and directors respectively, hit newsstands with oversized shifts from their 2012 incarnations. The relatively-obscure Belgian mucosa Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles personal the top spot of the Critics’ 250 picks, while Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey moved up a rank to lead the Director’s Top 100. But the most interesting trends in the world of mucosa were obscured with these initial lists: the rise of anime

Sight and Sound Greatest Films of All Time 2022

Recently, the top 10 lists from each of the 1,639 critics and 480 filmmakers were published in their entirety (Source: Sight and Sound). I excitedly took the opportunity to scrape and scour these data over the last few days and discovered volatility is finally soapy to the milieu of the hair-trigger and originative conversation surrounding cinema, particularly volatility from Japan. In the previous rendition of Sight and Sound’s survey, only 4 turned-on features were cited by at least 3 critics or directors on their individual top 10 lists. For 2022, that number skyrocketed to 27 films, with 11 of those, including 4 of the top 5, qualifying as “anime”.

The latest Sight and Sound “Best Films of All Time” ballots featured 27 variegated turned-on films with at least 3 mentions, up from 4 in the previous poll.

Anime has wilt increasingly popular the world over in the last decade. There are myriad anecdotes well-nigh the medium’s rapidly expanding serviceability and notoriety since the previous Sight and Sound poll was conducted, but none are quite as sharp as the fundamental capitalistic truth of the matter: the anime industry has increasingly than doubled in size by revenue over these last ten years, with the majority of that growth coming from international sources (Source: The Association of Japanese Animations). As such, it’s no surprise that anime is finally seeing an impact, plane if volatility only comprises 2 spots on the Critics’ Top 100.

So if anime is doing so well broadly, why is the medium slowly breaking into this one list valuable? Anime has hundreds of millions of fans virtually the world and its recognition as a meaningful art form is rhadamanthine increasingly common, as evidenced in circumstances like the record-breaking standing ovation auteur Mamoru Hosoda received at Cannes for the premiere of his latest feature, BELLE. But in a world where films like Boss Baby are nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of the five films to represent a year’s weightier offerings in volatility over hair-trigger darlings like your name or A Silent Voice, the delta between the quality of anime’s weightier works and their global recognition is quite clear. 

Even with a UK-focused perspective, Sight and Sound is commonly considered the most supervisory of all “top movie” lists, or at least as much as such a subjective task can be. While there are easy arguments as to its methodology or inherent biases to make, how the “sausage” of the list is made is perhaps plane increasingly compelling than its final product. Individual top 10 lists offer a rare insight into an artists’ “favorites”, as fraught a topic as they come with this particular crowd. Examining the 100 critics and directors who defended a spot on their survey to anime is a worthy effort to understanding where the medium is in the zeitgeist and projecting where anime’s place in the mucosa weltanschauung could end up. But instead of discussing this abstractly: what did these critics and directors pick, exactly?

INFOGRAPHIC: The Weightier Anime of All Time, According to Sight and Sound Voters

Spirited Away
My Neighbour Totoro
Grave of the Fireflies
Princess Mononoke
Perfect Blue
Millennium Actress
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Howl's Moving Castle
The Weightier Anime of All Time, According to Sight and Sound Voters’ 2022 Ballots

For anyone who’s familiar with online aggregators of hair-trigger reaction to art like Amazon’s imDB or plane Rotten Tomatoes, the list of the most popular anime of all time has few surprises. The works of Hayao Miyazaki have demonstrated immense resonance in the public consciousness, and their relevance seems to only grow with each year. What is a delight, however, is the inclusion of 3 of the 4 films headed by the late Satoshi Kon, who like Otomo, Anno, and Takehata, was excluded entirely from all previous renditions of the list.

All said, treated as a list of the greatest anime films of all time, it’s not radically variegated from other outlets’ increasingly specific attempts, sharing 6 features in worldwide with Paste and Time Out, as well as 3 with Empire. Some notable exclusions on Sight and Sound’s unplanned anime ranking are the works of Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell saw only 2 ballots), Mamoru Hosoda (who received a single nod for Wolf Children), and Makoto Shinkai (surprisingly passed over), each of whom can be found all over trendy lists of anime’s greatest achievements in cinema. 

Princess Mononoke has been cited as one of the weightier films of all time by the same number of directors who included Tarkovsky’s Solaris.

Interestingly, critics from the UK were 54% increasingly likely to include an anime on their top 10 list than those from other countries, making up the biggest cohort of anime respecters in the Sight and Sound pantheon. While the sample sizes for critics from Estonia and Japan are too small to yank definitive conclusions from, they are moreover overrepresented proportionately in the anime list. 

While volatility from Japan may rank highest on both of Sight and Sound’s most recent lists, they’re not alone. Plane the most notable of Disney musicals, Pixar favorites, and stop-motion fantasies were neglected entirely on the 2012 duo of mucosa lists. None may have croaky the top 250 this time virtually either, but as mentioned before, they’re whence to one-liner through:

Chart of Turned-on Films by Medium According to Sight and Sound 2022 Anime: 60% Traditional Animation: 22% Stop-Motion: 11% CG Animation: 7%
Sight and Sound – Distribution of Turned-on Films Across Mediums, 2022 Ballots

Anime’s hair-trigger dominance within the category of volatility is plane increasingly stark than I would have anticipated, written for over 60% of all ballots tint in the latest Sight and Sound poll. Notable individual films outside of the anime world include Lotte Reiniger’s 1926 fairy-tail The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Disney’s Pinocchio and Fantasia, and the powerful French and Iranian co-production Persepolis from directors Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud.

The United States overwhelmed the non-anime volatility categories, but Soviet director Yuri Norstein received accolades for three variegated films, tied with Pixar’s Pete Docter as the most-celebrated volatility director outside of Japan.

A final thought surpassing we go: in a world where we only valued the opinions of those with notable taste and stardom (i.e. the 8% of critics and 5% of directors who included an anime on their top 10), what would the Sight and Sound list squint like overall? I’ve endeavored to wordplay just that:

The Top 10 Films of All Time, According to Sight and Sound Voters Who Like Anime
Spirited Away
My Neighbour Totoro
2001: A Space Odyssey
In the Mood for Love
Grave of the Fireflies
Singin' in the Rain
Princess Mononoke
Do the Right Thing
Seven Samurai
The Top 10 Films of All Time, According to Sight and Sound Voters Who Included at Least One Anime Mucosa in Their 2022 Top 10 List

In this volitional universe, four of the top 10 are anime, unsurprisingly. Is this a largest list? Maybe not, but there is a unrepealable recreate to it that I can’t help but embrace. Beyond their top 10 favourites, critics and directors who included at least one anime mucosa on their list were:

  • 2.5x increasingly likely to include Star Wars
  • 2.2x increasingly likely to include The Matrix
  • 1.7x increasingly likely to include The Tree of Life
  • 1.7x increasingly likely to include Ikiru, but 67% less inclined to add Tokyo Story

There have been times in the last decade where I’ve been disheartened by what I’ve seen as the slow adoption of volatility as a serious medium by the masses, with critics’ speed of supporting the achievements in storytelling I see for myself a key factor. But if this Sight and Sound poll is any indication, animation, and in particular anime, have come a long way in just ten years. 

Miles Atherton is the Chief Marketing Officer of Anime Limited with over a decade of wits in the anime industry and scarcely three years of wits as a father.