I remember watching the first Ghost in the Shell movie and being confused and mildly disappointed. up until that point, my only exposure to anime was Akira, which – although it was confusing as well – seemed far more epic in scope. I remember wondering if there were that many full-length anime features that were as good as I thought Akira was, and for a few years, I didn’t think so.
I was, of course, wrong. there were a hell of a lot of really excellent full-length anime features out there, I just hadn’t found them yet.
Now, in my personal continuum of anime features, nothing will probably ever top Spirited Away. That would just be heresy; I’d say that and Akira are on equal footing in my realm.