Movies & TV

The Animated Movies Starter Pack: 5 Films and Series the Director of Hayop Ka! Wants You to Watch

Five must-watch films and series for newbies to animated films.

Before you fall for the misconception that anything animated is only for children, let us start off by telling you: That’s a lie. Animation was made to unlock the limits of our imagination, and it just so happens that children have far more imagination than adults.


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The animation industry hides a treasure trove of brilliant content, some of which are a testament to the human capacity for storytelling. The Philippine animation industry might not be at the caliber of Pixar and anime, but perhaps we’re on our way there. There are less than 10 animated feature films in the Philippines, but the latest one, Netflix’s mischievous NSFW film Hayop Ka! might just be the big leap we need to boost the animation industry and show off just how talented Filipino animators really are.

Now, we’ve written about the underrated Filipino animated films that every viewer should watch. But this time, Esquire Philippines talked to Avid Liongoren, the creator of live-action animated film Saving Sally and the new animated romcom Hayop Ka!, about the top five animated films and series that he suggests every animation newbie should watch.

If you adored Saving Sally (by the way, this animated movie is now on Netflix), then you’ll surely love the films and series that are Avid-approved. Here’s everything you need in your animated starter pack:


1| Aggretsuko

Part satire and part death metal musical (yes, apparently this is a thing), Aggretsuko is an anime series on Netflix that captures the bleak humor of bring a corporate slave. Think of it like the anime version of The Office or Hello Kitty in need of some serious therapy. The main character is actually based on a cute Sanrio character, only the show added some hyper-aggressive anger management issues caused by life in the corporate world. Now that’s relatable.

2| Princess Mononoke

Another product of Japan’s animation industry, Princess Mononoke is perhaps the crowning jewel of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli. This epic fantasy animated movie on Netflix has practically become an animated classic. The serious themes of the film, not to mention a warrior princess and a god or two, make it a must-watch for anyone who loves brilliant storytelling.

3| Persopolis

This French-Iranian coming-of-age film is a powerful story told through the eyes of a young girl living through the Iranian Revolution. The animated film uses simple black-and-white visuals to tell its story, and the simplicity of it makes the drama even more powerful, proving how animation can drastically impact a story for the better.

4| Mary and Max

A stop-motion masterpiece that’s both whimsical and poignant, Mary and Max follows two pen pals on opposite sides of the world who find comfort in each other’s letters. It’s a story of friendship, not of romance, between two people separated by a generation. Wholesome to the core, it’s bound to make you weep a little (or a lot).

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5| The Nightmare Before Christmas

This Tim Burton classic never gets old. The Nightmare Before Christmas continues to dazzle and entertain even more than 20 years after it was released. There’s a timeless magic to story, which sprung from the loopy imagination of Tim Burton. Light-hearted but still a little haunting, it has surely inspired many to become fans of animated films.


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BONUS: Hayop Ka!

After binging on these animator-approved films, stream this animated movie on Netflix this weekend. This hilarious romcom is full of hilarious one-liners, a witty animal world, and an all too brilliant cast of characters (and voices) that will make you laugh at each scene. It's a feel good film that will leave you in stitches, and if that isn't enough, then check out the brilliant animation and cinematography that will make you want to pause each shot just to appreciate the art. 

Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story drops on Netflix on October 29. 

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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