What's the most striking animated scene you've ever seen?

The thing about anime and animated films generally is that there’s no limitation on what you can do with them. Unlike live-action stuff, you don’t have to use real-world sets – your only limitation is your imagination.

Sadly, this has often meant only that the paucity of many animators’ imaginations are revealed. But not always. There is a lot of animated imagery that is truly striking and mind-blowing stuff out there, so I thought I’d name a few of my faves and see what others think we can be thankful for this Thanksgiving:

  1. The battle for Zenon (Sp?) in Matrix Revolutions. Sure, live actors were peripherally involved, but for the most part it was the most originally imagined battle scene I’ve ever seen. The sentinels cruising in their geometric formations, the crablike PAKs blasting away on the bridge, the vaguely steampunk digging machines, and the weird cavernous space the battle was fought in – it was just mind-blowingly original, and yet strangely believable.

  2. The home world scenes in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Ab-so-fucking-lutely mind-blowing. The wealth and power of interstellar civilizations is generally portrayed via huge space installations, like the space dock in Star Trek I. But they pale beside the concept of the world-girding home world of the Star Wars society – I forget what they call it, but it’ll always be Trantor to me, because that’s the obvious precursor to all such city/worlds. The skyscrapers that actually do poke their heads above the clouds, the streams of interstellar craft everywhere
    , the interstellar polyglot crowd scenes – it was totally righteous. The battle scenes were pretty damn good, too. Every time I watch this movie, it’s a feast for the eyes.

  3. The flying aerodrome in World of Tomorrow. Actually, most of World of Tomorrow – the whip-armed robots, the bat-winged attack craft, the giant robots marching in formation down the streets of Manhattan – what a feast.
    The aerodrome was the best – despite having come straight outta 30s pulp fantasy, it somehow looked real, a practical facility for conveying air power anywhere. The squadron of aerodromes hovering off Mystery Island toward the end was also also awesome.

  4. The android construction scene that opens Ghost In The Shell II with that otherworldly wailing in the background. It’ll raise the hackles on the back of your neck.

  5. The flooded ghost railway in Spirited Away. This is the kinda imagery that seems to come right out of the subconscious. Great stuff. The prosaic image of the modern commuter rail train gliding along tracks that are a foot or two underwater just had that eerie authenticity going for it.

I know I’ve left out some striking scenes, but I can’t remember them offhand.

There are some arresting images I can think of from adult anime, too, but maybe I’ll save them for another post in deference to all the easily skeeved among us.

The parallel-universe Earth that Studio Ghibli regularly sets their films in never fails to take my breath away.

Like the somewhere-in-time rural Japan that provides the setting for My Neighbor Totoro, with it’s beautiful pastoral vistas.

Or the seaside city that we first glimpse from the air in Kili’s Delivery Service.

I’d love to live in that world.

Maybe not what you’re looking for but I always get a kick out of on scene in Vampire Hunter D:Bloodlust he walks by a mirror and you can see through parts of him showing his half vampire blood. What impresses me most is they make absolutely no effort to call your attention to it just shows the jaw dropping detail they put into that film.

Also the scene where Grove (sp?) puts the smack down on the mutant city…

If you’re including CGI in Fellowship where the Barlog makes his first appearance.

Nearly any scene in Final Fantasy the Spirits Within it’s a shame they couldn’t put a good movie around those visuals. Heck the only good parts of it were blatant rip offs of the Aliens movies.

Some of the cut scenes from Diablo II were very impressive for their time. Watching an angel duke it out was pretty impressive and unexpected (too bad he got his ass whipped. Really lowered my opinion of him but oh well still great to watch)

I have to go with Studio Ghibli too. There are almost no scenes from any of the movies I’ve seen that do not immediately echo some sort of “child within” imagery. Either nostalgia over the “warmth” of the scenery, or creepiness over the child-fears of the weird looking characters.

The first time I saw the scene in this movie where the general baddie is float along a hallway in a space station, I caught myself thinking, “How did they pull off this effect, it looks so natural.” :smack:

I also keep wondering why Bridget Fonda cannot act as well in the flesh as the female lead in this movie until I remind myself that it isn’t Fonda in the first place.

The parting of the Red Sea in Prince of Egypt.

Elastigirl’s problems with automatic doors in The Incredibles.

The flying ticket sequence in Polar Express…as seen in the 3D IMAX version.

The opening scene where you’re just sort of floating through a cemetary with gravestones whipping past on either side of you is also a jawdropper.

What?! Tyrael dominated that fight! There is no question that he was winning the fight handily, when that dumbass narrator guy snuck up behind his back and released the soulstone. I’ll grant you that he was somewhat outplayed, but he most certainly didn’t get his ass whipped thankyouverymuch!

Yea, kickass fight.

The first time I saw Akira, parts of that movie just had my jaw dragging the carpet…

The “Fucking Flowers” sequence in The Wall. And the Eagle sequence, too, for that matter. Great stuff.

Oddly enough the most striking scene I can think of in an animated film is from Studio Ghibli’s “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” where Nausicaa sets down the gunship and the glider on the lake in the middle of the Sea of Corruption. The clarity of the water, going down, seemingly forever, is both beautiful, and chilling, especially when the Ohmu’s eyes start glowing and they come to the surface…

Similarly “Castle in the Sky’s” scene when the floating city/castle of Laputa just falls apart… I get chills seeing that, even now.

Spirited Away. Damn near the entire film.

And in an entirely different vein, the ping-pong demonstration scene from The Ping-Pong Club.

The sea turtle in labor serve!poink poink poink

Check out the anime version of Metropolis.

The cityscape is awesome!

And the Cowboy Bebop movie has gorgeous city scenes, more detailed & realistic than anything I’ve ever seen in animation.

I’ll second the motorcycle race scene in Akira.

There are two other Miyazaki movies that come to mind:

  1. I tuned into a movie involving a tiny fighter systematically blowing a fleet of huge lumbering airships out of the sky. I found out later that it was the Americanized version of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

  2. Pretty much all of Princess Mononoke.

The first time I saw the first few episodes of Robotech on TV. Basically from where the main gun fires until where Rick and Minmei get stuck in the hull of the SDF-1. It was kind of like watching a non-gay amalgamation of Transformers and GI Joe but instead of yelling “yo Joe” and little parachutes ejecting when a plane was hit, the characters were believeably panicked by the sudden attack and the giant robots would tear each other (and their humanoid pilots) apart with laser and cannon fire and even their bare hands. I had never seen anything like that on afternoon cartoons before.
Similarly, the first time I accidently turned on Cowboy Bebop at 12:00am during my random channel surfing. I forget the episode name but it involved some dogfight over and around some city.

Samurai Jack.

Never have I seen such grace of motion in an animated film. Check out the monks practicing in the Shaolin episode, or the amazing Black Ninja/White Ninja Duel.

In the latter, an evil ninja, who is invisible in the shadows, fights Jack, who knows a technique to vanish in the sunlight. The scene takes place in a windmill with odd holes in the walls, and is a chaos of stark, oddly shaped patches of black and white. Best, most beautiful fight scene ever.

Mine will probably seem hokey…

The Iron Giant had some amazing artwork in it, but the most striking scene was early in the movie, when Hogarth was walking through the woods with his flashlight. Typical dark, foreboding forest scene, but everything in the beam of his flashlight exploded into color and light. I can’t describe it to do it justice, but it was amazing, and incredibly realistic.

I just watched The Wall for the first time last night. Weird stuff, those flowers. I’d have to say the trial scene was maybe the most striking to me, though, with the viewpoint zooming in on the mummy/puppety thing’s eyes while the singing goes “Craaaazy…toys in the attic, I am craaaazy…”

Although I can’t think of any particularly standout scenes, I remember being stunned when I first saw Toy Story. The computer animation was just so incredible; even though it’s been surpassed by now, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so awestruck by a movie, especially an animated one.

I agree that Studio Ghibli stuff is visually stunning but the first thing that came to mind was something that stays with me, a scene from Perfect Blue.

There’s a shot of a character effortlessly gliding down the street, stepping lightly on the tops of the streetlights that opened up a sense of wonder in me that is rare. I can’t quantify what about that did it, but some combination of the emotions in the scene, the music, and the visuals really made for an amazing moment.

A lot of the visuals in The Animatrix.(Including some of the best gore I’ve ever seen in a movie.) You can pretty much take your pick.

Metropolis. (Especially the climax. Best use of non-original music in a movie soundtrack I’ve seen in a long while.)

85% of Last Exile.

Ditto for Wolf’s Rain. (The last few episodes alone— :eek: the visuals weren’t even all “Star Wars” style scenes. They just captured raw emotion so well. And I watched the dub.)

My Dad was impressed by one shot in Princess Mononoke, where you see a feudal village being attacked in the distance, and can see the swords glinting in the sunlight.

The evil toy collector’s face, as he’s asleep and snoring, in Toy Story 2.

The pure, late-1950s ambiance in Iron Giant. There’s no way you could have done that in a live-action movie.

Don Bluth’s Secret of NIMH—god, how could I pick a favorite scene? Ridley-freakin-Scott couldn’t have done better.