The other day I watched Pacific Rim, a movie I'd not managed to catch in theaters due to my convention schedule during the summer. It was a great film, a well executed love letter to the classic Japanese kaiju (monster) movies of decades past, and it was a lot of fun to watch. Of course you can't make a serious movie featuring giant robots without a lot of comparisons with anime, and it was fun to observe the influence of classic robot series like Great Mazinger and Giant Robo on the film design. The ending especially felt like an extended homage to Aim for the Top: Gunbuster, which suited me just fine, old school Gainax fan that I am. I thought the film was great for another reason: having an actual Japanese actress (the lovely Rinko Kikuchi) play a Japanese character. All too often "Japanese" characters in mainstream American media are played by Koreans (Heroes, The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, Star Trek Enterprise, the new Star Trek film remakes), with the unspoken implication being that Japanese are so bad at English they can't perform the roles themselves. Pacific Rim went the extra mile and found a Japanese actress who was great for the part, and I appreciated the extra connection to Japan this brought to the film.
I enjoyed the Japanese pop culture references in Pacific Rim.