Best Anime Movies You Should Watch

Best Anime Movies You Should Watch
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Whether you’re in the mood for a heartwarming story with lovable characters, or a thrilling adventure full of action and suspense, there’s an anime movie for everyone!

Good anime movies are more than just simple cartoons. Known for their fluid animation, complex character designs, and interesting storylines, these films have become some of the most popular over the last several years.

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Here are the best anime movies to watch that will keep you entertained for hours.

Best Anime Movies To Watch

1. Akira (1988)

Akira (1988)

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Genre: Action, Military, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Horror, Supernatural, Seinen
Released: July 16, 1988
Director: Otomo Katsuhiro

In 1988, a nuclear bomb was dropped on Tokyo, and it still remains uninhabitable at the time of the story. In 2019, 31 years after the attack occurred, Kaneda tries to save his friend Tetsuo from the government project that is attempting to use ESP to make humans more powerful.

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He battles against everyone, from the military to scientists, but with newfound supernatural powers, Tetsuo can fight back. It all leads up to one final battle at the Tokyo Olympics, where he reveals the experiment’s secrets.

2. Your Name (2016)

Your Name (2016)

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Genre: Romance, Supernatural, Drama, School
Release Date: August 26, 2016
Director: Makoto Shinkai

Mitsuha and Taki are the same in many ways. They both strive to be successful and are young that they have never seen what the world has to offer them. Mitsuha is a country girl looking for an unknown city with a prosperous life, while Taki is an architecture student dreaming of a future.

Mitsuha and Taki are living their dreams, but in the process, they realize that it is happening to someone else. When Mitsuha wakes up in Tokyo, she notices that she’s not her old self but a young man living his dream. The same thing happens to Taki, who realizes he’s not himself anymore and is a girl named Mitsuha.

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One main challenge of the main characters is holding back from interfering in each other’s lives, without letting their close ones know about their exchanges. However, they first have to find each other to solve their problem.

3. Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away (2001)

Genre: Drama, Adventure, Supernatural
Premiere: July 20, 2001
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

This story is about a girl who is unhappy with her new home. She is stubborn and innocent and does not want to go to an amusement park that her parents discovered when they moved. When the girl notices that the place becomes different at nightfall, she realizes it’s too late to leave.

The girl’s parents turned into pigs due to a banquet that was not permitted by them. The girl and her family moved to the spirit world so she could try to make friends to save her family and everyone else.

4. Perfect Blue (1997)

Perfect Blue (1997)

Genre: Drama, Psychological Horror, Dementia
Premiere: February 28, 1998
Director: Satoshi Kon

​ CHAM! has been gaining fame for the past two years with fans, but what goes up must also come down. One of the group members, Mima Kirigoe, left the group to become an actress.

The girl feels challenged by the decision because her life takes a turn for the worse once she left her group. After taking a job in a crime drama, her job becomes strenuous on both herself and her manager.

But her obsessive stalker does not accept that she has left her idol image behind and starts to do really bizarre things. Some people from the same cohort as Mima also mixed up fantasy with reality and risked their mental and physical health.

5. A Silent Voice (2016)

A Silent Voice (2016)

Genre: Drama, School, Shounen
Premiere: September 17, 2016
Director: Naoko Yamada

Shouya used cruelty and teasing to overcome his childhood loneliness. Yet, everything changes when Shouko Nishimiya, a hearing-impaired girl, enters his class and is picked on.

Nishimiya lost an expensive hearing aid due to bullying from her peers. The girl’s mother, therefore, transferred her to another school. Now, those who bullied Nishimiya turn against Shouya and bully him. Shouya is then isolated from classmates.

Now in his third year of high school, Shouya is still haunted by childhood regrets. It’s time for him to face the one he harmed most and apologize for past mistakes: Shouko Nishimiya.

6. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

Genre: Romance, Drama, Supernatural
Premiere: November 20, 2004
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Usually, the Wizard Howl is a terrifying-looking castle that walks on its four legs and never stops. The Wizard Howl has gained notoriety for his powers and for his many female admirers. In Sophie’s town, people talk a lot about him, but she does not expect much from her future as the hat maker’s daughter. Instead, she dedicates herself to working in her father’s store.

Sophie’s simple life is changed when she is rescued by a wizard, Howl, and a jealous witch who places a curse on Sophie. To abandon the curse, Sophie must take an adventure with the eccentric companions in Howl’s moving castle while the threat of war looms over her home.

7. Princess Mononoke (1997)

Princess Mononoke (1997

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Premiere: July 12, 1994
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

After defeating the demon boar, Ashitaka is cursed by the demon with demon powers. Even though he has these new abilities, they will drain his health.

Ashitaka tries to find a cure, but in the process, he encounters conflict with Lady Eboshi and her plans of urbanizing the city while cutting down the forest’s trees. Many plants and animals will be threatened.

San is furious with how the humans have destroyed their environment, and Ashitaka is trying to find some balance between them. He’s dealing with the demonic power from within him as he fights for both sides and tries to maintain harmony.

8. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Genre: Action, Mecha, Police, Psychological, Science Fiction, Seinen
Premiere: November 18, 1995
Director: Mamoru Oshii

In 2029, Niihama is a futuristic city with an advanced science of cybernetics. Many citizens have robotic parts which are more functional than their human counterparts.

Section 9, which protects public safety by fighting corruption and terrorism, is headed by Motoko Kusanagi when she takes on the case of a hacker who uses cybernetics to have unparalleled skills.

9. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Romance, Science Fiction
Premiere: July 15, 2006
Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Makoto Konno, who is about to graduate from high school, isn’t sure what he wants to do with his future.

The story follows Makoto, a young girl. When she learns that she has the power to move through time, she starts making different choices in her life.

10. The Boy and the Beast (2015)

The Boy and the Beast (2015)

Genre: Adventure, Supernatural, Drama
Premiere: July 11, 2015
Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Kyuta, an orphan that lives on the streets of Tokyo, enters a world of beasts where he is adopted by Kumatetsu, who is also looking for a perfect apprentice. They continuously bicker but train together and eventually form a close family bond.

11. Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Premiere: November 8, 2003
Director: Satoshi Kon

It’s the day before Christmas, and three homeless friends experience their own Christmas miracle. Searching a dumpster for a Christmas present, they discover a newborn baby.

Despite having nothing, the three friends keep the baby and name her Kiyoko, which means “pure.” The three protagonists search for Kiyoko’s mother; based on what they know about her from her belongings, they find her.

12. Paprika (2006)

Paprika (2006)

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Psychological, Science Fiction, Thriller
Premiere: November 25, 2005
Director: Satoshi Kon

After losing the DC Mini, which allows people to record and view their dreams, three scientists go on a quest with a police inspector and a “fairy” named Paprika to find who stole it.

They will try to identify the thief in a battle of psyches since, little by little, they cross the thin line between reality and dreams.

13. The Wolf Children (2012)

The Wolf Children (2012)

Genre: Fantasy, Slice of Life
Premiere: July 21, 2012
Director: Mamoru Hosoda

The story follows Hana, a young woman who falls in love with a mysterious boy who turns out to be a werewolf, the last of his kind. The couple stays together despite the difficulties, and when Hana becomes pregnant, they decide to raise the children together.

After an accident, Hana loses her crush and is left alone with Ame and Yuki, two little boys who enjoy switching between their human and wolf forms a like.

Hana has to deal with these little ones alone, and the story is heartwarming and realistic as they move into the country. These little ones question their nature and deepest animal instincts with such a vast world around them.

14. The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)

Genre: History, Fantasy
Premiere: November 23, 2013
Director: Isao Takahata

A humble farmer cutting bamboo finds a nymph within the branches, and he brings her home to show her to his wife. Amazingly, the couple watch as the nymph transforms into a baby, and they adopt her as her daughter.

They give her the name Kaguya, convinced that this young woman will one day be a princess, and finding a fortune inside another branch of bamboo, the father moves to the capital to give her the life of a princess that Kaguya deserves.

15. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Genre: Historical Drama
Released: April 16, 1988
Director: Isao Takahata

Setsuko and Seita are a sibling couple dealing with the ravages of war in Japan. After losing their mother during a bombing, they move to live with relatives who cannot take care of them, and decide to go on an adventure together where they only depend on each other to survive.

16. Metropolis (2001)

Metropolis (2001)

Genre: Adventure, Supernatural, Drama
Premiere: May 26, 2001
Director: Rintaro

Metropolis is a story that highlights the importance of emotions and how they separate humans from everything else. The protagonists are a young man and his uncle, a private investigator.

The story occurs in a distant future where humans and robots live together, but not harmoniously. Many robots are forced to live underground and are killed for entering areas where they are not authorized. They are a kind of servant for the human race. The protagonist meets a robot named Tima, and the story follows the development of their friendship and relationship.

17. Ninja Scroll (1997)

Ninja Scroll (1997)

Genre: Adventure, Historical, Horror, Supernatural, Romance, Samurai, Fantasy, Shounen
Premiere: June 5, 1993
Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri

The inhabitants of Shimoda town have been dying due to a plague. The Tokugawa clan’s local government sends a group of ninjas to investigate, but a mysterious force kills them. The sole survivor is a woman named Kagerou, who is taken, prisoner. A mercenary named Jubei rescues her, but her interest in the mission she wants to accomplish, and her cause is temporary.

18. Millennium Actress (2002)

Millennium Actress

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Historical, Romance
Premiere: September 14, 2002
Director: Satoshi Kon

The Ginei film studio is planned for demolition after the millennium. Former employee and filmmaker Genya Tachibana decide to honor the occasion with a commemorative documentary for the company’s star, Chiyoko Fujiwara. She was the favorite actress during the Shouwa era. Chiyoko’s story takes you on a journey through Japan’s cinematic history that transcends the boundaries of reality.

19. Summer Wars (2009)

Summer Wars (2009)

Genre: Science Fiction, Comedy
Premiere: August 1, 2009
Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Kenji Koiso is a math genius who accepts a summer job in the hometown of the girl he likes, Nagano. When he arrives, he discovers that his family has gathered to celebrate the 90th birthday of the family’s matriarch.

Natsuki, his girlfriend, asks him to pretend to be her fiancé, and among this confusion, Kenji will try to solve a mathematical equation that causes a parallel world to collide with the earth.

20. 5 centimeters per second (2007)

5 centimeters per second

Genre: Slice of Life, Drama, Romance
Premiere: March 3, 2007
Director: Makoto Shinkai

The story is told in interconnected segments. We follow a young man named Takaki through life, where cruel winters, technology, and adult obligations converge to test the delicacy of love.

21. Hiroshima (1983)

Hiroshima (1983)

Genre: Drama, Historical
Premiere: July 21, 1983
Director: Mori Masaki

Gen and his family live in the city of Hiroshima as Japan draws closer to World War II’s end. Gen’s father has begun to believe that the war cannot be won, earning the anger and indifference of the town, and alienating him from his neighbors. Cut off by local merchants, food becomes scarce for Gen and his family. However, these concerns begin to fade as the American military launches its final assault on Japan with its most terrifying weapon.

22. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion (1997)

Neon Genesis Evangelion The End of Evangelion (1997)

Genre: Science Fiction, Psychological, Drama, Mecha
Premiere: July 19, 1997
Director: Hideaki Anno

After defeating the last Angel, Shinji Ikari enters a deep depression that influences his decision to accept the existence of humans or give up his individuality. Meanwhile, Nerv is engaged, with Gendou Ikari and Rei Ayanami at the center. They look to Lilith for the answer to their ideals and the future they have planned for the world.

The End of Evangelion is the true ending that replaces the controversial attempt that Neon Genesis Evangelion bestowed on its viewers. This is how an alternative version of the events is born, complementing or completely supplanting episodes 25 and 26 of the series.

23. Castle in the Sky (1986)

Castle in the Sky (1986)

Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Premiere: August 2, 1986
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

A boy bumps into a mysterious young woman who has just floated down from the sky. The young woman, Sheeta was persecuted by pirates, the army, and secret government agents. To help her escape from her, they begin an adventure involving different airships, searching for Sheeta’s identity in a floating castle of a lost civilization.

24. Memory of Marnie (2014)

Memory of Marnie (2014)

Genre: Drama, Mystery
Premiere: August 2, 1986
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Anna is a 12-year-old girl who suffers from severe asthma. The doctors treating her decide to send her to the country to get fresh air. There, she dedicates herself entirely to her hobby of illustrating, but one day, walking through the countryside, she discovers a mysterious mansion that seems uninhabited. When Marnie, a young blonde, appears to leave that place, she gives him more questions than answers about the mansion and its origins.

25. In the Forest of Firefly Light (2011)

In the Forest of Firefly Light (2011)

Genre: Drama, Romance, Shoujo, Supernatural
Premiere: September 17, 2011
Director: Takahiro Oomori

Also known as Hotarubi no Mori e. Hotaru Takegawa has spent her entire life listening to the story of a Mountain God. She decides to explore the story’s ancient forest at six years old when she visits her uncle. Hotaru is lost and desperate for help from her; she finds a masked forest spirit named Gin. The girl cannot touch him because she will disappear, but she helps her out of the forest despite this.

Gin makes Hotaru promise not to come back, but she ignores him and promises her a gift when she returns. The years go by, and Gin and Hotaru grow closer despite being separated by distance and the spirit world. The problem arises when they develop romantic feelings for each other, which makes the strict no-touch rule a real test.

26. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Premiere: March 11, 1984
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Humanity destroyed the Earth with “the seven days of fire” in the distant future. Now, few human settlements remain in it. One of them is the Valley of the Wind, where a princess named Nausicaä tries to understand, rather than destroy, the toxic jungle that surrounds her.

27. The anthem of the heart (2015)

The anthem of the heart (2015)

Genre: Drama, Romance, School
Premiere: September 19, 2015
Director: Tatsuyuki Nagai

Jun Naruse was a talkative girl who didn’t think much before saying what she saw or believed. Because of this, she destroys her parents’ relationship when she finds out her dad is having an affair and innocently mentions it to her mother. Unable to bear the blame for this event, she has an apparition of hers: a magical egg that seals her lips and promises that only then will she be able to allow everyone to have a happy ending.

Already in high school, Naruse is still unable to speak without feeling a searing pain in her stomach. But her predicament is about to be tested when she is selected to lead a musical for the school, where she discovers that perhaps the curse of the egg doesn’t apply if she is singing. After meeting the kind and talented Takumi Sakagami and hearing him sing, her desire to express herself becomes overwhelming.

28. The Garden of Words (2013)

The Garden of Words (2013)

Genre: Romance, Drama, Slice of Life
Premiere: May 31, 2013
Director: Makoto Shinkai

Takao Akizuki has a dream: he wants to go into the shoe business. One rainy morning he decides to skip class to design shoes in a beautiful garden. In that place, he meets Yukari Yukino, a beautiful woman. Takao offers to make his new shoes, and they begin to meet repeatedly during the rainy season.

They become supportive of each other without realizing it, and their company eases their worries. But when the rain begins to disperse, the relationship they have established will have to be tested.

29. Vampire Hunter D (2000)

Vampire Hunter D (2000)

Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Horror, Drama, Romance, Fantasy
Premiere: August 25, 2000
Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri

In the distant future, vampires rule the night, but their numbers are being decimated by bounty hunters. One of them is D, the half-human and vampire. When a young member of a wealthy family is kidnapped by the vampire Meier Link, they hire D and the Marcus brothers to rescue her. In a race against time, D and the brothers battle demons and monsters to save the girl and begin to suspect that she wasn’t taken against her will.

30. Maquia: An Immortal Love Story (2018)

Maquia An Immortal Love Story (2018)

Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Premiere: February 24, 2018
Director: Mari Okada

Maquia is a woman who lived in the land of Iolph, but due to a special condition that her people have, she cannot age. After the war ends her prospects and future, Maquia is left alone and aimless. In a forest, she meets Wasteland, a young human and mortal. Maquia watches him grow up and develops a relationship with her former protégé, but eventually, they will have to deal with the idea that Maquia doesn’t age while Erial does.

31. Whispers of the Heart (1995)

Whispers of the Heart (1995)

Genre: Slice of Life, Drama, Romance, Shoujo
Premiere: July 15, 1995
Director: Hayao Miyazaki, Yoshifumi Kondou

Shizuku is a girl who is on vacation and dreams of finding a talent that she is passionate about. One day, she notices a curious cat on a train and chases after him. This fateful encounter leads her to Seiji, a young boy determined to fulfill her dreams, and to the Baron, a magical cat figure who teaches her to listen to the whispers of her heart. Now, Shizuku’s adventures will surpass even her most fantastical stories.

32. Weathering with You

Weathering with You

Genre: Slice of Life, Drama, Romance, Fantasy
Premiere: July 19, 2019
Director: Makoto Shinkai

Hodaka is a high school student who decides to move from the island he lives on to Tokyo. However, his life is not a fantasy, and he soon runs out of money. After getting a job at a dodgy magazine, he meets a young girl named Hina, a fateful encounter in such a big city. As he gets to know the girl better, he discovers that he has the power to change the weather and clear the rain.

33. The Wind Rises (2013)

The Wind Rises (2013)

Genre: Drama, Historical, Romance
Premiere: July 20, 2013
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Jirou Horikoshi has always dreamed of being a pilot, but his eyes have never cooperated. Despite being nearsighted, he doesn’t give up his dream of aircraft and enrolls at Tokyo Imperial University to study aeronautical engineering. After his arrival coincides with the Kanto earthquake in 1923, he meets Naoko Satomi, a woman who will change his life for the better.

34. In this corner of the world (2016)

In this corner of the world (2016)

Genre: Historical, Seinen, Drama
Release: February 24, 2018
Director: Sunao Katabuchi

This story follows a young woman named Suzu Urano, who in the year 1944, moves to Kure, Hiroshima, to live with her husband’s family. When World War II begins, Suzu’s life is thrown into chaos. Her perspective will live and bravery takes us by the hand in a moving story during one of the saddest and most violent times in Japanese history.

35. Kiki: Home deliveries (1989)

Kiki Home deliveries (1989)

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Magic, Fantasy
Premiere: July 29, 1989
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Kiki dreams of becoming a real witch. Together with her chatty kitty Jiji, she will do her best during the adventure of her life. When she lands in a small town, she decides to set up a delivery service with her broom, and this process teaches her about the independence and responsibility of being an adult and growing up.

36. I want to eat your pancreas (2018)

I want to eat your pancreas (2018)

Genre: Slice of Life, Drama, Romance
Premiere: September 1, 2018
Director: Shinichiro Ushijima

One afternoon in April, recluse Haruki Shiga visits a hospital and comes across a curious manuscript. In it, the life of a terminal patient with a pancreas disease that will soon take her life is narrated. Inquiring about the manuscript, he discovers that it belongs to her classmate, the popular Sakura Yamauchi. Now, Haruki is the only one who knows his secret.

37. Josee, the tiger and the fishes (2020)

Josee, the tiger and the fish (2020)

Genre: Slice of Life, Drama, Romance
Premiere: December 25, 2020
Director: Koutaro Tamura

Tsuneo and Josee meet by chance on a morning walk. Tsuneo is a young university student who wants, with all his might, to fulfill his dreams, and Josee is a young woman who has given in to them because of her condition. She is confined to a wheelchair, doesn’t like to go out, lives shut up in her house with her books and paintings, and doesn’t have a social life. When Tsuneo helps her during a mishap, Josee’s grandmother hires him as her caretaker.

38. Doukyusei (ClassMates)

Doukyusei

Genre: Slice of Life, Romance, School, Shounen-ai
Premiere: February 20, 2016
Director: Shouko Nakamura

When Hikaru Kusakabe, a high school student with a passion for music, sees that Rihito Sajo, the most diligent boy in the class, refuses to sing for the choir, he is shocked. He finally found the weakness in him. When he finds out that Rihito is not refusing but feels insecure in his ability, he offers to tutor him for the project. Thanks to this interaction, they establish a relationship that, in Hikaru’s case, develops into an almost irresistible physical attraction.

39. Promare (2019)

Promare (2019)

Genre: Action, Mecha, Science Fiction
Premiere: March 24, 2019
Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi

Thirty years have passed since the appearance of the Burnish, mutant beings that have destroyed humanity with their fire. Now, a new group of mutants will try to threaten the fragile stability that remains, and it will be Galo Thymos’s job to confront them. This story narrates the epic enmity between two groups that fight for their ideals.

40. Redline (2009)

Redline (2009)

Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Sports
Premiere: August 14, 2009
Director: Takeshi Koike

Redline is the most dangerous car racing tournament in the universe. It takes place once every five years, and JP has always dreamed of participating. He needs to test the limits of his highly modified car. But he will face government groups and criminal mafias who want prestige for themselves. Among these contestants, JP will meet Sonoshee, a captivating host who could spell doom for him.

 

Jay
I’m Jay, and. I’m an Engineer and Web Developer. I write about everything, from anime to Tech.