I absolutely love Yuasa and Mind Game happens to be my favorite of his work. There is simply something irresistibly charming and mind-blowing about the film.
I have also been surprised by the bashing it has received here recently. Originally it was one of my favorite anime films (and it would have ranked much higher had I made the list back then), but rewatches have tamed my enthusiasm a little.
My opinion of Howl's Moving Castle has long been clouded by the lukewarm impression I had of it when I last watched it many years ago. I remember being critical of its cluttered narrative back then, but my opinion of the film has turned positive as time has passed. I should have rewatched it for this list, but I ended up being lazy and not rewatching anything that I thought I remembered well enough. In any case, it is on the list, but in the bottom half.
As for Departures, I do not find it as brilliant as the consensus on it seems to be. Winning an Oscar seems to have elevated its status higher than it ought to be in my opinion. It is a very good drama, but there are so many more interesting Japanese films out there that it ended up ranking low.
Paprika, on the other hand, was never in the running for the list. I had barely any recollection of it prior to rewatching it a month ago, but I did remember liking it on the first time. The second time proved rather disappointing because I was not able to enjoy anything else but the surreal imagery and Hirasawa's soundtrack. Apart from that, everything seemed to fall apart.
This is actually the reason why I was inspired to compile the list. It is common for a film buff to not be interested in or aware of the more recent Japanese films even though some of them manage to make it to the west thanks to film festivals and adventurous film companies. For someone who is not that familiar with the Japanese cinema of the new millennium, this list offers a varied selection of films to check out. Most of them should be available in one form or other - and only one or two of them have no English subtitles at all. I recommend going through my comments on each film and getting your hands on the films that seem interesting based on my description.
I would say that I consider all the films in the top 15 (or perhaps a few more) to be equally awesome and their inner order is just a reflection of my personal preferences. I love Spirited Away, but it is not exactly one of my absolute Ghibli favorites. In general, I do not tend to rank Ghibli films as highly as most do even though some of their films belong to my favorite films of all time, like Porco Rosso or Only Yesterday. Besides, I love me some weepy Koreeda melodrama.
This is something I also noticed while making the list. It was miraculous that the two top 10 titles with "forest" in the name ended up ranking next to each other. There's something special about the Japanese and their grimdark forests.