2004, Sony Repertory, 126 min, Japan, Dir: Katsuhiro Ôtomo

Writer-director Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s follow up to AKIRA is just as brilliantly visualized as that earlier anime classic. In mid-19th-century England, boy inventor James Ray Steam receives a mysterious device from his grandfather with instructions to guard it carefully. When operatives from the O'Hara Foundation arrive to steal it, it becomes clear why: The “steam ball” can be used as a power source for highly destructive weapons. Again dealing with themes of science and militarism, Ôtomo has created a rip-roaring adventure that’s as entertaining as it is thought-provoking. In Japanese with English subtitles.

2009, Lionsgate, 102 min, Japan, Dir: Takeshi Koike

Takeshi Koike’s feature debut is a sensory assault that plays out like DEATH RACE 2000 on crack. Speed demon JP (Takuya Kimura) is determined to win the Redline, a violent intergalactic drag race set to take place on a planet run by warlike cyborgs. “The most insanely exciting, visually exhilarating anime film you've seen in decades.” - Tim Maughan, Anime News Network. English dubbed version.

1995, Lionsgate, 82 min, Japan, Dir: Mamoru Oshii

Director Mamoru Oshii’s anime masterpiece anticipates many of the themes from THE MATRIX. In the near future, a sentient computer program named Project 2501 tries to control the cyber and human worlds; standing in its way is kick-ass, super-sexy cyborg cop Major Motoko Kusanagi and her team at Section 9. In Japanese with English subtitles.

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