Say the word anime and most people's minds will immediately jump to Studio Ghibli. That's a connection made with good reason after all - ever since they arrived on the scene, Hayao Miyazaki and company have overseen some of the finest animated works in the business. Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Grave of the Fireflies, Porco Rosso, My Neighbour Totoro... the list just goes on and on.
But they're not the only studio turning out brilliant animation on the far side of the world. Indeed, over the past decade, with Ghibli's output slowed as they considered their future, several other masters of the art, old and new, have had their chance to shine in the spotlight.
With that in mind, we've put together a collection of some of the best in the business that don't bear the Ghibli seal - from high-school fantasias through to mecha-action deconstructions and everything in between.
This is by no means a definitive ranking of course, with plenty of fantastic features missing from this list. In the interest of attempting to craft a balanced selection, we've limited directors to a single pick, even though one or two could have filled such a lineup all on their own - and even then, there's still a multitude of brilliant picks that have missed the cut.
10. Night Is Short, Walk On Girl (Masaaki Yuasa, 2017)
Anime has no shortage of particularly distinctive styles, but this effort from veteran director Masaaki Yuasa stands out from the crowd with its rather unique shadings and naturalistic flavour, delivering a rom-com that, true to its university setting and life, is in no hurry to get to where it's going. It may have met with more mixed reviews outside of its native Japan, but its adaptation of the Tomihiko Morimi book was warmly received at home for good reason.
Something of a spiritual follow-up to its director's prior television series The Tatami Galaxy - also adapted from a Morimi light novel - it follows the stories of two unnamed students across one evening, ahead of a date, as they are waylaid by various misadventures involving parties, guerilla theatre, perverts and spirits, to name a few.
Yuasa is a particularly respected figure in the industry - he was one of only a handful of outside people brought in to helm episodes of the acclaimed television series Adventure Time - and even though this film hits the occasional misstep along the way, it's still an intriguing creative work that's worth checking out.