Howl's Moving Castle, 2004
I was extremely hesitant about watching this movie. I never really cared for Japanese animation, and so I thought that this was going to be just a typical, run-of-the-mill film. How wrong I was. What I didn't know was that this was a film by Miyazaki, and so would be anything but average or run of the mill.
The thing about Miyazaki is that he manages to make his drawings seem alive. You almost forget that you're watching an animated film- everything looks so real, from the backgrounds and landscapes, to the character's faces. What I really appreciated was that their expressions aren't exaggerated as they usually are in a lot of Japanese animation.
What's really cool about Miyazaki is that pretty much anyone who is anyone has voiced a character in one of his movies. Howl's Moving Castle features the voices of Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Billy Crystal, Blythe Danner, and Jean Simmons.
Other filims of interest include Spirited Away (which won the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 2002, I think), Nausica of the Valley of the Wind, Princess Mononoke, Kiki's Delivery Service, and most recently, Ponyo. Seriously, check out his work. It's excellent.