Many anime fans are likely familiar with CoMix Wave Films as the production company of Makoto Shinkai’s blockbuster hits: Your Name, and Weathering With You.
However, most people don’t know that the company has produced more great anime films, aside from Shinkai’s most recent films.
In this article, we’ll introduce five of the best films developed and/or distributed by CoMix Wave, including both non-Shinkai works, and a couple of lesser-known Shinkai films that every fan should check out.
1. Nekketsu Jinmenken LIFE IS MOVIE
One of the most over-the-top anime from Comix Wave Films, Nekketsu Jinmenken LIFE IS MOVIE is a sci-fi action anime film starring a spunky female university student named Ai and a dog with a human face.
On Earth, a strange extraterrestrial disease ravages the planet.
This disease, known as the Cold Heart Syndrome doesn’t attack the physical health of humans the way normal diseases do. Instead, it fills people with negative thoughts and feelings.
Only Ai and the human-faced dog from space can save the world from an impending apocalypse.
Please note that Nekketsu Jinmenken LIFE IS MOVIE hasn’t received a lot of attention overseas. I checked most streaming sites and was only able to find it on Hulu Japan (no English subtitles) and BANDAI Channel (no English subtitles).
In order to watch it with English subs, you’ll likely have to buy the DVD from places like Play Asia or Otaku Mode.
2. Someone’s Gaze
Definitely one of the shortest anime films out there, Someone’s Gaze is also one of the best.
With a runtime of just around 6 to 7 minutes, this powerful work of art just may be one of the best films by Comix Wave and Makoto Shinkai.
Longer isn’t always better, and Someone’s Gaze proves that sometimes a 7-minute film can evoke more emotion than a 9-hour trilogy.
Released alongside Shinkai’s Garden of Words, Someone’s Gaze is about a young woman learning to make it on her own in Tokyo and coming to terms with the aging of her parents and childhood pet.
For any young adult living away from home who has parents or pets they love, this anime will hit you with all the feels in less than 7 minutes.
With such a short time commitment, you should definitely add Someone’s Gaze to your watchlist.
3. Flavors of Youth
Flavors of Youth is a Chinese anime film developed by ComixWave and is made up of short stories set in China.
With a 75-minute runtime, the directors manage to pack in three short and sweet stories about youth.
The first story is about a young boy’s favorite noodles and the memories he associates with them. The second is about an aging model who is past her prime.
The final story is a tragic case of childhood friends and “the one that got away”.
With much of the same team behind Shinkai’s greatest works, Flavors of Youth has beautiful graphics and an art style akin to Your Name.
4. Peeping Life
Don’t let the name fool you into thinking this is some weird hentai.
Peeping Life is one of the most unique and innovative anime series I’ve ever seen.
The concept of the series is to give people a glimpse into the lives of others through short comedy sketches via CGI animation.
I didn’t expect much when I started reviewing the series. However, I must say that Peeping Life had me giggling within the first 40 seconds. Different seasons have different themes.
I particularly liked the sketches featuring the “typical Japanese couple”, and those who are or have been in a relationship before can easily relate.
The light humor and simple animation style reminded me a lot of the early days of Youtube when videos didn’t take themselves so seriously and people were creating videos just to elicit a quick laugh from the viewer.
To make the series even more interesting, the scenes were ad-libbed by the voice actors who were just given the situation and starting lines and ran with it.
Therefore, Peeping Life is a blend between improvised theater and anime, the first of its kind as far as I know.
Please note that throughout my searches, I couldn’t find any English subbed versions of Peeping Life.
Therefore, you will need to know beginner or basic Japanese to watch this show. Luckily, most of the series is available for free on Youtube.
5. Voices of a Distant Star
With a runtime of around 30 minutes, Voices of a Distant Star isn’t quite as short as Someone’s Gaze.
However, it is definitely another one of Makoto Shinkai’s best works and biggest hidden gems. If you’re a fan of 5 Centimeters Per Second, you’ll definitely like Voices of a Distant Star.
The film puts a sci-fi twist on stories about lovers torn apart by distance and time.
Many reviewers have said that Shinkai has a serious “the one that got away” complex, and if that is true it only makes his films about loss more powerful.
Set in an alternate future, Voices of a Distant Star is about Mikako and Nogoro. The two are junior high school students who have had feelings for each other for a long time, but haven’t mustered up the courage to say it out loud.
Things take a turn for the worst, when one day the Earth is attacked by mysterious alien beings.
Mikako becomes a talented pilot of the UN Space Army, while Nogoro remains on Earth, and the two can only communicate via text message. The farther Mikako gets from Earth, the longer it takes for their text messages to reach each other.
While the graphics may seem a bit dated, I truly believe Voices of a Distant Star is one of the biggest hidden gems of Shinkai’s career.
I hope you discovered at least one anime you didn’t know about in this list of the best anime from Comix Wave Films. Please note that we didn’t mention Your Name, Weathering With You, or other Shinkai blockbusters, as we assume most people already know about them.
If you’re looking for a full list of Shinkai’s works, check out our complete guide below: