Having grown up with Kimba, Speed Racer, and Gigantor, it took me a long while to appreciate the maturity and sophistication of anime. It was more than campy characters and saccharine story lines, not to mention super robots and leggy heroines of unimaginable proportions. From Akira to Princess Mononoke and Vexille, the latter of which I watched tonight, anime is at its best when it combines fantastic worlds with profound but accessible themes regarding the fate of the earth and the growing impact of science and technology. As we become more dominated by gadgets and circuitry, at what point do we cease to be human? And can a machine-based intelligence achieve symbiosis with organic life? Lastly, how will the earth react to our high tech foolishness? As much as I enjoy American comic book movies, i.e. the Marvel franchises, Japanese anime for me will always be a source of inspiration and philosophical insight that westernized super hero movies and their pedestrian platitudes can never achieve.