“Normally when you see the words “essential”, “complete”, “ultimate”, or “indispensable” in the title of a book, it’s a sure indication that it is anything but…however in the case of this title, it may actually be true… wonderful guide and source of information.”
Tim Janson, Mania Weekly Book Buzz
“…well-researched articles are an enjoyable read, but will stand up to academic uses as well.”
Anime Comic News
“…this lush volume contains an essential mix of some of the finest visually-stunning movies of our time. From politically charged non-fiction sagas to imaginative fantasy tales, this ultimate guide has something to satisfy everyone’s taste.”
Southwest Public Libraries
Written in 2008 for Ilex Press, as a companion for their 500 Essential Graphic Novels, this is a good-looking book, packed with gorgeous full colour pictures and high-quality glossy paper. The publishers wanted a listing of the best stand-alone titles available in English, a reference for the DVD buyer or filmgoer not sure what to choose from the increasing number of anime titles instore and even, occasionally, on TV. (Sadly, TV series had to be omitted for lack of space to do them justice. They deserve their own book.)
The title is interpretive rather than definitive – the book includes short series and made-for-video items as well as theatrical movies. Only titles with English dub tracks or subtitles are listed, and all are available in the English-speaking world, though a few must be ordered on the Internet from specialist suppliers.
The picture research for the book was one of the most enjoyable parts of the process. Steve Kyte gave me an enormous amount of help with finding images, though due to an editorial oversight the huge “thank you” he was due for picture research was omitted from the book. I’m happy to be able to correct that oversight here – readers owe a great deal of the visual pleasure they’ll get from this book to him.
Shown below are the UK edition, an alternative UK cover design and the US edition. The final UK design is more dynamic, and red always catches the eye – very important in today’s crowded bookstores – but I like the alternate version’s dark elegance.