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The 17 Best Anime Movies You Shouldn't Miss

A few anime movies stand out as the best of the best in the diverse world of anime, providing audiences with an exceptional fusion of storyline, originality, and artistic vision. These are the best anime movies, treasured classics that have permanently altered the face of world cinema.

Cecilia Jones
Dec 05, 20234947 Shares141356 Views
A few anime movies stand out as the best of the best in the diverse world of anime, providing audiences with an exceptional fusion of storyline, originality, and artistic vision. These are the best anime movies, treasured classics that have permanently altered the face of world cinema. Join us as we discuss a selection of these outstanding movies that you must not miss.

Tenki No Ko

The two main characters of the Tenki No Ko anime
The two main characters of the Tenki No Ko anime
"Tenki No Ko," also known as "Weathering With You," stands out as one of the world's most beloved films, a fact that few would dispute. Its popularity transcends borders, thanks in large part to its exceptional storytelling.
This movie delves into the remarkable power of anime as a medium, leaving an indelible mark on the world. At its heart, it is a captivating romance story, which undoubtedly contributes to its widespread appeal.
What truly sets "Tenki No Ko" apart are its brilliantly crafted characters, particularly Hodaka Morishima and Hina Amano. These characters breathe life into the narrative, offering viewers an unforgettable cinematic journey.

Suzume

The cover of the Suzume anime
The cover of the Suzume anime
On her usual route to school, Suzume Iwato unexpectedly crosses paths with Souta Munakata, an adventurer on a quest to uncover abandoned and forgotten places. Intrigued by Souta's mission, Suzume decides to join him in exploring a nearby ruin. As they venture deeper, their curiosity leads them to a mysterious door, which opens up to reveal a surreal universe. To their frustration, they can only observe this enigmatic realm but are unable to step inside.
Their adventure takes a bizarre turn when Suzume stumbles upon a peculiar stone that miraculously transforms into a cat-like creature, darting away into the unknown. Little does Suzume know that her carelessness in leaving the door ajar sets off a chain of perilous events.
This "keystone" holds the key to a malevolent force's escape, which begins to wreak havoc across Japan. Now, Suzume, fueled by her determination to make amends, forms an unlikely alliance with Souta, who is equally committed to preventing the spread of evil. Together, they embark on a race against time, aiming to locate and seal all the open doors before their nation faces impending destruction.

Bubble

The two main characters of the Bubble anime
The two main characters of the Bubble anime
Five years ago, a phenomenon of unprecedented magnitude gripped the world's attention - an inexplicable deluge of gravity-defying bubbles descended upon the Earth, each imbued with mysterious powers.
Amidst the ensuing chaos, Tokyo found itself at the epicenter, trapped within an immense bubble following a cryptic explosion. Once the proud capital of Japan, it now stood as a forbidden zone, its inhabitants forced to abandon the city due to the profound alterations in gravity that rendered life untenable.
Yet, not everyone vacated the city's ruins. Orphaned children, defying the law, remained, their days marked by perilous parkour battles amidst the crumbling remnants of Tokyo's once-vibrant structures.
Among them was Hibiki, a remarkable participant capable of navigating between these enigmatic bubbles. One fateful day, he hears cryptic sounds emanating from the towering Tokyo Tower, a siren call that stirs his curiosity and sets him on a journey of discovery.
Little does Hibiki know that his path will intersect with that of an enigmatic girl named Uta, and together, they will unravel the secrets deeply intertwined with the cataclysmic event that forever reshaped their world.

Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata Fine

Several characters of the Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata Fine anime
Several characters of the Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata Fine anime
Here's an underrated gem for anime enthusiasts, one that might be flying under the radar for many fans. Trust me, though, when I say it's far better than you might expect. "Saenai Heroine" is a delightful Comedy Romance movie brought to life by none other than Cloverworks, one of my all-time favorite studios.
The story revolves around a passionate group of individuals dedicated to creating a game. Yet, as with any teamwork endeavor, there are numerous aspects to consider, including the pursuit of romantic connections.
That's precisely what this movie delves into - the intricacies of juggling a love life while pursuing your creative passions. It's a rare treat to encounter such a captivating harem story in today's anime landscape, so savor every moment of it while you can.

Josee To Tora To Sakana-Tachi

Two characters of the Josee To Tora To Sakana-Tachi anime with the female sitting on a wheelchair
Two characters of the Josee To Tora To Sakana-Tachi anime with the female sitting on a wheelchair
Prepare to be enveloped in a heartwarming and awe-inspiring cinematic experience. This movie is a masterclass in love, but not your typical kind of love. It's a tale of serendipity and how the most unexpected connections can flourish into something profoundly beautiful over time.
Meet Kumiko and Tsuneo, two individuals whose initial encounter is anything but ordinary. However, as their story unfolds, their connection deepens, leaving an indelible mark on our hearts. Their relationship becomes so endearing that it has the power to move even the most stoic of viewers to tears.

Kimi No Suizou Wo Tabetai

The cover of the Kimi No Suizou Wo Tabetai anime
The cover of the Kimi No Suizou Wo Tabetai anime
The English title of this film is "I Want to Consume Your Pancreas," a seemingly unconventional title that takes on a profound significance for those who have experienced the movie.
The narrative revolves around Sakura, a young girl grappling with a terminal pancreatic illness, destined for an untimely demise. Upon crossing paths with our emotionally withdrawn protagonist, she embarks on a journey to make the most of her remaining days. In the process, she discovers a love that may well last a lifetime.

Spirited Away

Chihiro Ogino standing beside a white dragon
Chihiro Ogino standing beside a white dragon
Hayao Miyazaki's film marked a pivotal moment in the history of Japanese animation, contributing significantly to Studio Ghibli's global following, following the path paved by "Princess Mononoke" four years earlier.
Enchantingly woven with Japanese folklore and mythology, "Spirited Away" unfolds the tale of Chihiro, a young teenager who finds herself compelled to toil in a bathhouse after her parents undergo a transformation into pigs. Chihiro must navigate the challenges posed by divine patrons, contend with the fearsome Yubaba, the bathhouse's enigmatic proprietor, and unravel the secrets surrounding Haku, the enigmatic shape-shifter.

Princess Mononoke

The cover of Princess Mononoke
The cover of Princess Mononoke
During the production of "Princess Mononoke," Hayao Miyazaki made a famous declaration that he would complete the film even if it meant the potential ruin of the studio. Contrary to his initial intentions, he did not retire following the strenuous journey of bringing this story to life. Instead, Miyazaki charted a path to international acclaim with one of his most breathtaking, intense, and visually striking creations.
Taking place in a fantastical rendition of Japan's late Muromachi period, "Princess Mononoke" revolves around a determined prince's quest to alter a devastating fate and a woman who grew up among wolves, battling for the survival of nature itself.

My Neighbour Totoro

Some of the main characters of the My Neighbour Totoro anime
Some of the main characters of the My Neighbour Totoro anime
"My Neighbor Totoro" stands as one of the most enduringly iconic anime films of all time, perpetually warming our hearts. This cinematic masterpiece teaches us that we can dispel darkness by simply laughing wholeheartedly, and it rekindles our appreciation for the natural world, reminding us of the enduring presence of hope even in the most challenging circumstances.
Delightfully light-hearted yet profoundly meaningful, Hayao Miyazaki's creation follows the journey of two sisters as they grapple with their mother's illness and uncover the enchanting wonders awaiting them in their new rural abode. It's no wonder that Totoro became Studio Ghibli's official emblem, not only due to its irresistibly cute charm but also because of the profound emotions it evokes.

Akira

The cover of the Akira anime
The cover of the Akira anime
Katsuhiro Otomo's adaptation of his own 1982 manga has consistently held its place as one of the finest anime films ever made, and this acclaim is well-deserved. Enter Neo-Tokyo, a futuristic metropolis where disorder and rebellion ignite when a young man wielding extraordinary telekinetic powers threatens to destabilize an entire military complex.
Upon its 1988 release, "Akira" reshaped Western perceptions of animation, challenging preconceived notions about its target audience and content. With its penchant for visceral violence, breathtaking visuals, and a complex narrative, the film has sparked numerous interpretations. Many have viewed it as an allegory for the nuclear threat and a cautionary tale about the direction humanity was headed in the late 1980s.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The cover of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time anime
The cover of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time anime
Mamoru Hosoda, a captivating anime director, has made a remarkable journey from contributing to beloved series like Digimon and One Piece to helming cinematic treasures like "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time."
This film revolves around a teenage girl who discovers her newfound ability to manipulate time, using it recklessly without considering the consequences. "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" stands as a superb coming-of-age fantasy tale, offering a blend of lightheartedness and devilish entertainment. It imparts a vital lesson: the key to a fulfilling life lies in embracing the present moment.
Hosoda, who was initially tapped by Studio Ghibli to direct "Howl's Moving Castle" before creative differences led to his departure from the project, remains a notable figure when discussing the greatest anime films of all time.

A Silent Voice

Some of the characters of A Silent Voice anime
Some of the characters of A Silent Voice anime
There aren't many anime movies directed by women, so Naoko Yamada's "A Silent Voice" is extra special. It's about a high school girl, Shôko, who can't hear well and gets bullied at her new school, so she has to switch schools. Years later, one of the bullies, Shôya, wants to make things right.
The movie deals with lots of important stuff like bullying, growing up, dealing with disabilities, mental health, and forgiveness, and it does it all really well. Oh, and fair warning, it might make you cry, so bring some tissues.

Paprika

Dr. Atsuko Chiba
Dr. Atsuko Chiba
If you're a fan of Christopher Nolan's "Inception," you should definitely check out the utterly captivating "Paprika." Satoshi Kon's film is a vibrant and mind-bending masterpiece that's best experienced rather than explained.
The story revolves around Dr. Atsuko Chiba, a scientist by day and a dream detective by night. She uses a device called the DC Mini to enter the minds of her psychiatric patients.
Kon crafts a surreal and visually stunning world filled with vibrant colors, boundless energy, and bizarre imagery, delving into the enigmatic realm of dreams as the protagonist navigates her professional responsibilities and personal aspirations.

Grave Of The Fireflies

The cover of Grave Of The Fireflies anime
The cover of Grave Of The Fireflies anime
Grab some tissues because this movie might just be one of the saddest ever. Once you've seen it, it's hard to forget. "Grave of the Fireflies" is the most highly praised film by Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata, and it stands as one of the most heart-wrenching animated works ever made.
Set in Kobe, Japan, in June 1945, the story revolves around two siblings who, orphaned by the devastating bombings in their city, struggle to survive in extreme poverty. Adapted from Akiyuki Nosaka's novel of the same name, "Grave of the Fireflies" is both breathtakingly beautiful and profoundly sorrowful.

Kiki's Delivery Service

Kiki flying on her broom at the roof top with some balck and white cats
Kiki flying on her broom at the roof top with some balck and white cats
There's hardly a better anime that captures the essence of burnout than "Kiki's Delivery Service," a deceptively lighthearted movie that conceals a poignant coming-of-age story.
Directed by the masterful Hayao Miyazaki and adapted from Eiko Kadono's beloved book, the film traces the journey of a 13-year-old witch. She leaves her idyllic rural home, embarking on a solo adventure to a bustling coastal city to learn self-reliance. Her greatest talent, flying, leads her to open a delivery service, exposing her to the highs and lows of freelancing.
Beneath its endearing characters - with Jiji the cat earning a special place in fans' hearts - and its thoughtfully explored themes, "Kiki's Delivery Service" marked a pivotal moment for Studio Ghibli. It became the studio's first major box office success, ensuring its future and setting the tone for many more Miyazaki classics to come.

Metropolis

Tima and Kenichi face to face at each other
Tima and Kenichi face to face at each other
"Metropolis," directed by Rintarô, is a remarkable sci-fi mystery thriller that made waves with its stunning visuals and captivating futuristic narrative upon its release.
Loosely inspired by Osamu Tezuka's "Metropolis," which, though not a direct influence, shares similarities with the 1927 classic "Metropolis," the film follows Shunsaku, a private investigator who stumbles upon a sinister plot that poses a grave threat to humanity.
Rintarô doesn't shy away from the comparisons to Fritz Lang's masterpiece, using them as a springboard to delve into the complexities of class struggle within a dystopian society. The movie also delves into thought-provoking ideas about the intricate relationship between humans and robots.

Your Name

Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu looking at each other on a street
Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu looking at each other on a street
Makoto Shinkai's "Your Name" took the world by storm in 2016, earning its place as one of the highest-grossing anime films ever. With Shinkai's signature themes of rain, natural disasters, fantasy, and intense teenage romance, the story revolves around two high school students who mysteriously start swapping bodies, even though they've never met.
This unique premise leads to hilarious moments and a classic romantic comedy setup, but the movie constantly surprises and takes unexpected turns, making it all the more captivating. If you haven't been hearing Radwimps' music score in your head while reading this, it's definitely time to revisit "Your Name."

Conclusion

The best anime movies are the absolute best in terms of plot, animation skill, and emotional impact. These movies transcend geographical boundaries, grabbing the hearts and minds of audiences everywhere.
From the sad and sorrowful to the visually stunning and mind-bending, these anime masterpieces continue to leave an enduring legacy. Don't miss the opportunity to view these cinematic gems that capture the absolute best of anime greatness if you're looking for remarkable stories and gorgeous animation.
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