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Anime Movie Rentals

1- Princess Mononoke DVD
This anime epic from director Hayao Miyazaki made critic Roger Ebert's list of 1999's 10 best films. Infected with an incurable disease, Prince Ashitaka (voiced by Yoji Matsuda) travels to the Far East in search of a cure and finds himself caught in a battle between the forest's animals and a mining town. Princess Mononoke (Yuriko Ashida), a human raised by wolves, leads the animals, but higher powers intent on killing may prevail.

2- Ghost in the Shell DVD
With fantastic visuals enhancing the complex story line, this cyberpunk classic movie rental set the standard for future anime features. In 2029, a hacker known as the Puppet Master (voiced by Iemasa Kayumi) is taking over the minds of computer-enhanced humans. Government agent cyborg Motoko Kusanagi (Atsuko Tanaka) is charged with apprehending the villain, unaware that the fiend is searching for her as well -- with plans to carry out a diabolical mission.

3- Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind DVD
Faced with almost certain destruction of her planet's natural resources, warrior princess Nausicaa rallies her people against an evil queen's rampaging army in an effort to give her homeland a new lease on its future. Hayao Miyazaki directs this environmentally conscious anime that transports viewers to a magical place -- the Valley of the Wind -- where the ultimate showdown between good and evil will play out. Includes a voice talent featurette.

4- Kiki's Delivery Service DVD
In director Hayao Miyazaki's gentle, animated adventure, young witch Kiki (voiced by Kirsten Dunst) moves away from her family to practice her craft, but she finds that making friends in a new town is difficult. With her cat, Jiji (voiced by Phil Hartman), in tow, Kiki puts her broom flying skills to work for a baker's wife by starting an express delivery service. She quickly discovers, however, that she can't take her abilities for granted.

5- Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence DVD
Writer-director Mamoru Oshii's animated thriller concocts a complex follow-up to his monster hit, Ghost in the Shell. It's now 2032, and machines and people have grown so similar they're virtually interchangeable. The fate of the human race hangs in the balance, and a robot with human tendencies, Batou, is the only one who's able to decipher why humanity has lost its allure. When he figures out the answer, he'll face life's ultimate questions.

6- The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury DVD
Aeon Flux creator Peter Chung steps even farther out of the proverbial animation box with this edgy new series about escaped convict Riddick (voiced by action star Vin Diesel). The story picks up where the series left off in the movie Pitch Black: Riddick has been abducted and is being kept aboard a spaceship by money-hungry bounty hunters, who must deal with his overwhelming wrath. He's determined to be free again, even if he has to kill.

7- Grave of the Fireflies DVD
Named Best Animated Feature at the 1994 Chicago International Children's Film Festival, this film proves that not all anime tales are pixie-dust fantasies or brutal sci-fi standoffs. Orphans Seita (voiced by Tsutomu Tatsumi) and Setsuko (Ayano Shiraishi) fight for survival in post-World War II Japan, but society is harsh. Soon, they come to the somber conclusion that they can neither escape the hardships of war nor find enough food to survive.

8- Cowboy Bebop: The Movie DVD
Based on the animated television series, Cowboy Bebop is set on Mars in the year 2071 and tells the story of a spaceship captain, Spike Siegel (David Lucas), and his band of vigilantes. When one of them witnesses a deadly terrorist attack, they all set out to catch those responsible and, more importantly, cash in on the reward money.

9- Metropolis DVD
Set in a strictly segmented industrial labyrinth populated by humans and robots, this stylized anime adventure provides a new look at the tension between humans and androids seen in Fritz Lang's cinema classic. While searching for rebel scientist Dr. Laughton (voiced by Simon Prescott), Ken-ichi (Brianne Siddall) finds Tima (Rebecca Forstadt), a young girl bereft of memory and speech -- the new android created to take over Metropolis.

10- Akira DVD
Based on the popular anime series, Akira is the story of two childhood friends, Tetsuo and Kaneda, who are pulled into the post-apocalyptic underworld of Neo-Tokyo. Kaneda is a bike gang leader, and Tetsuo is a member of a tough motorcycle gang who becomes involved in a covert government project called Akira. On his way to save Tetsuo, Kaneda runs into a group of anti-government activists and corrupt scientists, and a bloody battle ensues.

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