Some of my recommendations from another thread:Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen)
Heartbreaking fact-based story about the effects of the Hiroshima bomb, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. the Schindler's List
of anime. Based on the directors own experiences as a Hiroshima survivor.Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies)
Another heartwrencher. About an orphaned boy and his little sister struggling to survive during WWII. Based on the semi-autobiographic novel by the same name. Pulls no punches.
And the epic Ghost in the Shell
- Poetic reflection on identity and humanities relationship with technology. They pretty much remade this and called it The Matrix
. Some of the most iconic scenes and set pieces in The Matrix
are lifted straight from this animation, as well as some of the philosophy and a lot of the art direction. Also a great little philosophical narrative on artificial intelligence and transhumanism. And one of the best opening credits of any movie:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA0EVZbnOW4
Maybe a little too dated to be the kind of state-of-the-art visual feast you're looking for, but my faves nonetheless.