Most often ‘Anime Films’ are considered children’s films. But this myth has been broken multiple times over the last decade. Some anime movies and series have intense stories, complex characters, and reflections about the different problems in the world. And many of them broke records as well.
Most often animes portray societal dramas and realities of life that normal movies are afraid of depicting. That’s one of the many reasons anime movies are increasingly gaining popularity. Here, we have listed the 10 best anime movies of all time for you. Have you watched any of these before?
10. Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Anime has been mostly associated with action movies. But Whisper of the Heart, released in 1995, is one of those movies that can put a smile on your face in an instant. Based on the manga (Japanese comic book) with the same title, the movie follows Shizuku, an avid bookworm and an aspiring writer. A beautiful love story blooms when Shizuku meets a violin maker, Seiji, who she thinks might be her soulmate. This breezy romantic comedy attracts those who don’t particularly like anime as well. Watch it on Netflix.
9. Akira (1988)
Katsuhiro Otomo displays his perfect storytelling skill in Akira. It is one of the greatest anime movies of all time and paved the paths for those to come. Did you know, it took 7 animation companies and 10 years to make the visuals? The movie is set in 2019 in Neo-Tokyo, after an apocalypse caused by World War III. A bike gang leader tries to save his friend, Tetsuo, from a secret government project. He fights against anti-government activists, irresponsible scientists, greedy politicians, and a powerful military leader until Tetsuo realizes he has supernatural powers. The movie concludes with a final battle fought in the Tokyo Olympiad exposing the secrets of the government’s ESP experiments on children. The movie perfectly showcases real-world problems like excessive military power. This movie is also getting a 4K remaster and a separate anime series soon. It is still in the development stage.
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8. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)
The movie will surely amaze you because it looks as if a beautiful Japanese painting has come to life. It follows a mysterious Princess Kaguya, who arrives to bring joy to her adoptive parents’ lives. But she finds out she is not a human, but an ethereal being. Further, the film explores the volatile nature of life, the shallowness of wealth and materialism, and the absurd societal roles. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is the masterpiece of Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki. Moreover, it was nominated for the Academy Award as well. Watch it on Netflix.
7. Ghost in the Shell (2017)
If there is a beginner’s guide to anime movies, we give you a 100% guarantee Ghost in the Shell will be there on the list. It is named Cult in the anime movie world. From public to critics, this movie has been loved by all alike and has a great influence on different films made around the world. Set in a high-tech future, Ghost in the Shell follows a cyborg cop whose main aim is to stop a hacker. Did you know this movie has been made twice? The original version released in 1995 and again remade in 2017 with Scarlett Johnson as the lead.
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6. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
When it comes to anime movies, Studio Ghibli and Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki always take the crown. It is the 2nd movie on this list made by the legendary animation artist. In Japan, who doesn’t know the adorable and oh-so fluffy creature Totoro? Combining heartwarming themes like love, friendship, and family in one movie, My Neighbor Totoro is one of the most popular movies in Japan. It became so popular that Totoro is now the official mascot of Studio Ghibli. Watch it on Netflix.
5. A Silent Voice (2016)
Released in 2017, A Silent Voice took the world by storm. Its bright and colorful setting creates a stark difference because the movie depicts a deep, emotional, and powerful story that takes the viewers on a rollercoaster of emotions. The movie explores topics like suicide and bullying. A Silent Voice follows two children through middle school and high school as they struggle to find their place in the world. They learn, in a very hard way, that each of their actions has deeper and darker consequences than they had originally thought. Watch it on Netflix.
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4. Your Name (2016)
To date, Your Name is the 3rd highest-grossing anime movie in the world with a box office collection of $380,140,500. It’s an insane amount of money, we know. So much so that in 2016, Your Name replaced the Academy Award-winning anime movie, Spirited Away which was on top since 2001. Your Name explores themes like Japanese traditions, gender identity, and emotions, with a hint of drama, romance, and humor. The movie follows two teenagers who share a magical connection when they realize that they have swapped bodies. But things become even more complicated when they decide to meet in person. Watch it on Amazon Prime.
3. Princess Mononoke (1997)
The 3rd movie on this list by animation legend Hayao Miyazaki is Princess Mononoke. The film focuses on topics like modernity vs tradition and the confrontation between human greed and nature. It follows Prince Ashitaka, who is in search of the cure for his curse. He finds himself in the middle of a war between the gods of the forest and humans. Along his journey, he meets a woman raised by wolves, named San who has more qualities of a wild animal than a human. Together they fight with the god of the forest to save it from humans’ greed. The movie is targeted at a mature audience. Watch it on Netflix.
2. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Almost 99% of the time in war-related movies, the action sequence overshadow the repercussions left by the war . Grave of the Fireflies from the house of Studio Ghibli explores the cruelty of war. The movie, set during World War II, is centered around Seita and Setsuko, two siblings, whose mother dies of severe burns from a bombing on their house. Now uprooted teenage boy Seita and his kid sister Setsuko are left with no place to live and without a guardian to survive on their own in a wide scary world. These children are surrounded by adults, who are not at all interested in helping them, even when they are dying of hunger. As beautiful as the movie is, you should be prepared to enter Seita and Setsuko’s incredibly sad, intense, and intimate story.
1. Spirited Away (2001)
Last but not the least, in the first position on the list, the phenomenal movie that broke all the world records is 2001’s film, Spirited Away. You’ll be transported into an Alice in Wonderland-like world with Chihiro that is filled with unique spirits and creatures. Spirited Away is still the first and only hand-drawn non-English-language movie to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. If you haven’t watched this blockbuster movie yet, you have no idea what you are missing out on. Watch it on Netflix.
Have you enjoyed reading this list? Which of these have you watched already? Which ones are you planning to watch next? Let us know in the comments section. Until next time, Sayonara!
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