17. Pom Poko
Often criticized for being too over-bearing in its ecological message, Pom Poko’s main issue instead is that it’s meant to a collection of stories that to flow into one another, based on one group of tanukis’ fight against urban development, but the movie doesn’t feel cohesive, partly because there is no central protagonist. We only get to know each main tanuki so much, and none feel central to the tale—any could step in and play the necessary roles. Still, Pom Poko is unreservedly charming and often hilarious. It’s also a peek into Japanese culture that we often don’t get, a look at a country transforming in landscape and in values.