Anything that draws out the art lover inside you is ‘anime movies’. You will be taken on a journey that you have never felt before by the acute specifics of the art, the representation of the feelings provided by best anime movies. You’ll understand what we’re referring about if you’ve seen any anime movies before.
So, if you are exploring for a list of the best anime movies of all time, this is the right article for you. Here, we’ll give you a short but thorough rundown of each of the best anime movies to watch.
So prepare to be wowed by some of the most stunning and breathtaking Top anime movies to watch…
Top 25 Best Anime Movies of All Time You Must Watch
1) The Wind Rises (2013)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
The first anime on our best anime movies of all time list comes from Hayao Miyazaki, a renowned Japanese director. Because of its love, music, spectacular scenes, and plot, The Wind Rises (original title -Kaze Tachinu) is my all-time favorite anime film.
The Wind Rises is a fictional biography revolves around the life of Jiro Horikoshi, a well-known aircraft design engineer.
Since he was a child, he aspires to be a pilot. However, owing to his nearsightedness, he is unable to do so.
Later, he designs two fighter aircrafts for Japan during WW2. The anime will take you through the highs and lows of a fighter plane designer’s journey.
This film is Miyazaki’s final masterpiece, bursting off the screen with stunning picture and sound and providing interesting bonus content.
This film is a fascinating and magnificent piece of art that will be remembered for a long time.
2) Akira (1988)
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Akira is a classic Japanese cyberpunk anime movie directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, who also produced the original manga serial. The film was released in 1988.
Akira tells the story of Kaneda and Tetsuo, childhood buddies who are pulled into a dangerous situation. post-apocalyptic futuristic city of Neo-Tokyo’s underworld and compelled to fight for their lives.
Kaneda is a bike gang leader, and Tetsuo is a part of a tough motorcycle crew who becomes embroiled in a covert government project named Akira. When Kaneda sets out to rescue his mate, however, a bloodbath ensues.
The movie is an animation masterpiece and one of the best anime movies of all time.
3) Only Yesterday (1991)
Director: Isao Takahata
‘Only Yesterday’ (original title –Omohide Poro Poro ) is yet another anime movie from Studio Ghibli. It’s a simple anime romance movie of self-discovery set against the visually captivating backdrop of rural Yamagata on Honshu Island.
A working woman embarks on her first trip outside of her home city of Tokyo in this film. She travels to a village to visit her sister’s relatives, where she experiences early life’s flashback.
This anime is for you if you want to experience your childhood through the eyes of Taeko Okajima.
4) Spirited Away (2001)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Spirited Away (original title – Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi) is a sparkling, enchanting, and exquisitely drawn fairy tale that will render viewers intrigued and curious about the world. At the time of writing, ‘Spirited Away’ is one of the highest-grossing Japanese films.
Chihiro is ten years old when she and her parents migrate to the Japanese countryside. Chihiro and her parents come across an amusement park with a stall selling a wide variety of foods after opting for a wrong turn down a wooded road.
Chihiro’s parents start eating and then turn into pigs, to her surprise. Chihiro meets a cast of characters in this mystical world and works in a bathhouse for spirits in the hopes of reuniting with her parents.
In 2003, “Spirited Away” won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, and it remained the greatest film in Japanese box office history until late December.
5) Grave Of The Fireflies (1988)
Director : Isao Takahata
Isao Takahata directed the anime film Grave of the Fireflies (original title – Hotaru No Haka) in 1988. Grave of the Fireflies is a touching story about the relationship between two orphaned brothers, Setsuko and his elder brother Seita, in Japan around the end of WWII.
The film is based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, written by Nosaka, who lost his sister to malnutrition during the Japanese war in 1945. He blamed himself for her death and wrote a story to atone and help him come to terms with the tragedy.
Their mother is killed in the firebombing of Kbe, and their father is killed while serving in the Imperial Japanese Navy. As a result, they are forced to struggle to survive in the face of widespread starvation and their countrymen’s complete indifference.
Some critics have labelled Grave of the Fireflies as an antiwar film due to its graphic and profoundly moving portrayal of the negative effects of war on society and the people who live in it.
6) Your Name (2016)
Director: Makoto Shinkai
In sixth place is a relatively recent film that captured the hearts of those who watched it. If you’re a fan of anime, you’ve probably seen or heard about this anime movie.
Your Name movie (original title – Kimi No Na wa), directed by Makoto Shinkai and released in 2016, describes the story of Taki, a boy from Tokyo, and Mitsuha, a girl from a smallish town, who swiftly and inexplicably start swapping their bodies in order to experience each other’s life.
They both believe these events are only vivid hallucinations at first, but when the reality of their circumstances dawns on them, they learn to adapt and even enjoy them.
They begin to talk and leave notes on who they are and what they are doing soon after.
However, as they learn more about each other and their lives, they find some troubling signs that their separation is more than just physical, and tragedy follows them.
From its stunning soundtrack to its amazing animation and, of course, its unique tale that captures the viewer from the beginning, this film is an absolute masterpiece.
7) A Silent Voice (2016)
Director: Naoko Yamada
Animation by Naoko Yamada Based on a manga series by 27-year-old Yoshitoki ima, A Silent Voice is a lovely story, a tale of repentance and romance.
A lush musical score and moody ambient sound design add to the experience The original title is Koe No Katachi, which is mysteriously closer to the film’s context when interpreted in the beginning and end credits as “The shape of voice.”
It tells the story of a deaf girl who is humiliated at school. However, one of the bullies, Shoya Ishida, seeks to redeem himself by making amends to the girl while they are both adults. It contains a strong message of anti-bullying.
This anime will undoubtedly have an impression on your soul. You must watch the anime to learn more. It will be well worthy of your money and time. This is definitely one of the best anime movies of all time ever made.
8) Perfect Blue (1997)
Director: Satoshi Kon
Even 23 years after the release, Satoshi Kon’s 1997 Japanese film Perfect Blue (original title – Pâfekuto burû) anime retains its eerie quality.
Adapted from Yoshikazu Takeuchi’s 1991 novel, Perfect Blue anime follows Mima, a former pop singer-turned-actress, as her sense of truth begins to crumble as she is pursued by an obsessive fan and plagued by memories from her past.
Satoshi Kon’s first feature, Perfect Blue anime, is a psychological thriller that has been compared to Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense-filled works.
Perfect Blue is a rare find in today’s oversaturated anime genre: a true psychological horror thriller brimming with violence, menace, and dramatic variety.
9) From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
Director: Gorō Miyazaki
From Up on Poppy Hill (original title – Kokuriko-Zaka Kara ) is a nostalgic look at Japan in 1963 told through the eyes of a young girl living in the Yokohama neighborhoods mentioned in the title. Despite the fact that it was written and “designed” by Hayao Miyazaki.
It is based on the same-named serialized manga by Chizuru Takahashi and Tetsur Sayama that was released in 1980. The film is set in Yokohama, Japan, in 1963.
After the Second World War while Japan was preparing for the 1964 Olympics, Umi Matsuzaki is a high school student who stays at ‘Coquelicot Manor,’ a dormitory.
Umi and Shun Kazama, a member of the school paper club, intend to tidy up Quartier Latin, the school’s clubhouse, while they meet.
Tokumaru, the local high school chairman and a businessman, however, wants to demolish the building for reconstruction, and Umi and Shun, together with Shir Mizunuma, must convince him to withdraw.
The screenplay and direction are compassionate and sympathetic, and the seemingly unremarkable plot is lifted from the mundane by strong dialogue and realistic characters, while the two main protagonists establish a romantic relationship with a twist.
Needless to say, this endearing film is appropriate for people of all ages. Once again, Studio Ghibli has outdone itself.
10) Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
10th position in our best anime movies list is taken up by Ghost In The Shell (original title – Kôkaku Kidôtai). This anime movie is set in the mid-twenty first century, in a world inhabited by cyborgs in artificial prosthetic bodies, in the fictional Japanese metropolis of Niihama, and is adapted from Masamune Shirow’s original 1989 manga.
Major Motoko Kusanagi, commander of Public Security Section 9, a domestic special operations task force commander, is the movie Ghost in the Shell. In the midst of an artificial universe, he starts to doubt the essence of her own humanity.
Motoko and her squad are charged with prosecuting the enigmatic Puppet Master, an elusive hacker regarded as one of the plan’s most violent criminals.
Ghost in the Shell is a spectacular feat of modern animation that serves as a thoughtful, nuanced treat for anime fans as well as a great introduction for newcomers to the medium.
11) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
From the director, Hayao Miyazaki, comes another fantastic anime. ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’ (original title – Kaze no tani no Naushika) was published in 1984 and is considered one of ‘Studio Ghibli’s’ classics. It’s a science fiction fantasy adventure movie.
Humankind set off a horrific ecological catastrophe during a long-ago battle. The expanding Sea of Decay, an immense toxic jungle overflowing with mutated insects and toxic spores, is slowly submerging the planet.
The Valley of the Wind, on the edge of the sea, is home to Nausicaä, who is willing to risk anything to save her people and bring peace and health to them.
The plot is set in a future world that has been destroyed by apocalypse. You’ll also see the struggles and hope for the world’s redemption.
12) Paprika (2006)
Director: Satoshi Kon
Satoshi Kon’s last feature film before his death in 2010 was Paprika (original title – Papurika). The story is set in a near-future Japan, where a futuristic experimental machine known as the DC Mini allows users to communicate with their own and other people’s visions.
The DC Mini’s untapped strength threatens to surround the entire world in a living lucid dream where truth and imagination become indistinguishable as a distressed investigator seeks illicit in-dream therapy from an enigmatic individual identified as Paprika.
Paprika is, without a doubt, a classic. It’s no surprise that Kon’s final film is regarded as a wonderful partner of form and subject because the animation medium lends itself so well to dream capers.
Everyone should see Paprika, which is beautifully drawn and written, and now is the best time to do so.
13) In This Corner Of The World (2016)
Director: Sunao Katabuchi
Japanese period anime “In This Corner of the World” (original title – Kono Sekai No Katasumi Ni) is a dreamily sentimental time capsule of civilian life under the devastating tide of war, concentrating more on culinary achievements with food rations than on the inexpressible terror of the atomic bomb.
This anime depicts the life of an 18-year-old girl during World War II. She is married to a man in Hiroshima with whom she is totally unfamiliar.
During the war, however, she is continuously finding out how to survive the best she can in an uncertain and new world while coping with a number of unfavorable and daunting circumstances.
The film uses on-screen dates to remind us where we are in history, much like a book, and everybody knows what happened on August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima.
It’s this perception of history that gives the first half of “In This Corner of the World” an understated poignancy, as it merely portrays rural life in Japan before the world turned upside down.
In This Corner Of The World is a much more emotional experience, and while you won’t get the same instant catharsis from seeing lovebirds reunite after a decade apart, I believe the story in this film will have just as much of an effect on you. It will actually require longer effort to get there.
14) Princess Mononoke (1997)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
If you like Studio Ghibli anime films, this movie is certainly for you. ‘Mononoke Hime,’ or ‘Princess Mononoke,’ has it all: action, romance, and a touch of humor.
It also has a brilliant storyline that will make you doubt yourself from a number of perspectives. This one is mainly concerned with environmental concerns such as environmental protection and natural resource degradation.
Ashitaka saves his village from a brutal attack by killing a demon who is really the giant boar god Nago incarnated in fury. During the fighting, Ashitaka is cursed by the Boar God’s wrath and pain, and he gets a demon mark on his right arm. According to curse, the mark would spread across his body and destroy him.
Village elders send Ashitaka to westward in search of a cure, and when he arrives in Tatara, the Iron Town, he finds himself in the middle of a fierce battle: Lady Eboshi of Tatara, who encourages constant deforestation, is pitted against Princess San and the divine spirits of the forest, who are raging at the destructions by humans.
As the opposing powers of nature and humanity collide in a desperate fight for survival, While battling the hidden demon within him, Ashitaka tries to get the two together.
Princess Mononoke is a story about the relation between technology and nature as well as the path to peace that mutual acceptance will lead to.
15) Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
‘Hayao Miyazaki’s’ ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ (original title – Howl no Ugoku Shiro) is a fantasy action anime movie written and directed by him. It follows the life of Sophie, a young woman. She becomes a 90-year-old woman as a result of a spell.
She flees her home in the hopes of breaking the curse or at the very least seeking a solution to her current plight. She comes across a moving house belonging to a wizard called ‘Howl’ along the way. This film will also carry you to the adventures of ‘Sophie’ and ‘Howl.’
Howl’s Traveling Castle is a wonderful film for anime fans of all sorts, from Otaku to those who have never seen anime before.
Once again, Miyazaki shows us that Love is the greatest force of transformation, and no other anime movie has yet been able to capture its meaning as faithfully and intensely as Howl’s Moving Castle.
16) Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (2018)
Director: Mari Okada
This anime movie (original title – Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou) is Mari Okada’s film directorial debut anime film, which was released in 2018, is one of the most recent on our best anime movies list.
The anime will take you on a journey through the lives of an ordinary boy and an immortal girl. Maquia – an orphaned Iorph girl lives with her friends, and yet she feels lonely. But the tranquil lives of Iorph are broken in an instance when the Mezarte army invades their territories on a dragon fleet, seeking the blood that provides Iorph long life.
Maquia manages to flee and meets another orphaned baby boy. With the support of some new friends, Maquia raises this child, named Ariel. However, as the time passes, Maquia and Ariel’s relationship evolves as well.
Finally, what makes ‘Maquia’ so convincing is the dedication to emotional details, which has been honed over by years of writing romantic youth dramas (both animated and live action). Even though the lead character can’t age, it’s a coming-of-age tale in many respects.
17) I Want To Eat Your Pancreas (2018)
Director: Shin’ichirô Ushijima
‘I Want To Eat Your Pancreas,’ also known as ‘Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai,’ tells the story of a girl who is diagnosed with a chronic illness.
And, before she dies, she wants to achieve all of her wishes. Along the way, she takes the aid of a classmate named ‘Haruki’ to help her fulfil her wishes.
At first, the young man prefers to be pitiless against her plight, but ultimately decides to comply with her request and accompany her in the days ahead.
Their separate fates become intertwined over time as a result of this perilous connection. Sakura’s unpredictable nature and utter cluelessness would disturb the protagonist’s quiet and peaceful existence, forcing him to open his heart and rediscover the true meaning of life.
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas may appear to be a typical romantic drama about a dying individual, but it’s really a heartfelt life well lived and friendships with a tight storyline and well-rounded characters.
It’s truly impressive that this film works as well as it does, and that it also manages to impress you with a few twists and turns that will leave theatregoers in tears.
18) Castle In The Sky (1986)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Castle in the Sky (original title – Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta) is the third motion picture by the Japanese director of animation, Hayao Miyazaki, and the first film produced by Studio Ghibli.
An epic blockbuster back when it was released, Castle in the Sky was a technological wonder in the ’80s that brought awe-inspiring locations to a film-watching experience. It tells the story of a boy and a girl in the 19th century and their hopes of finding the castle in the sky.
The plot, which takes place on a science fiction alternative Earth, focuses on a teenage farm girl named Sheeta floating down from the sky with a mysterious necklace who is discovered by Pazu, an orphan. Pazu’s father spent years searching for the key of Laputa, an ancient castle in the clouds.
They begin a quest to find it themselves, but the air pirates known as the Dola Gang and the army are not far behind, looking for the castle—and its own.
Danger is everywhere, and the battle for the very future of humanity could be on the horizon.
Another reason for watching the film is the one-liner dialogue that reflects the characterizations of the characters and clearly sculpts their positions through their conversations.
19) The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya (2013)
Director: Isao Takahata
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (original title – Kaguyahime no monogatari) is the 2013 Japanese Anime fantasy drama movie produced by Studio Ghibli and directed by Isao Takahata, centered on the folk tale The Bamboo Cutter.
Influenced by a 10th-century Japanese folk tale, This anime movie follows the story of a magical baby discovered in the bamboo tree trunk that develops into a young woman and draws the attention of a bunch of high society admirers, before learning that she must return to her home on the Moon.
Takahata’s film, like many others in the Studio Ghibli canon, is a mix of magical and melancholy, with shots of fairytale sweetness coexisting with more complex themes of female liberation within patriarchal systems.
Flaunting narrative complexity, frankness, and visual elegance, This anime movie is a contemporary animated gem with a timeless style.
20) My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
My Neighbor Totoro (original title – Tonari no Totoro) is directed by the well-known director ‘Hayao Miyazaki’ and was released in 1988.
This anime is a fusion of reality and fantasy. Satsuki and Mei are two sisters who relocate in a new house in postwar Japan that is nearby to the hospital where their ill mother is being treated.
They made friends with a giant bunny-like spirited creature called ‘Totoro’ when they arrived in the new place and continue on adventures with their new furry friends.
Totoro and his friends are only visible to a child’s eyes, but they easily demonstrate their magical powers, mesmerizing the girls.
This film has received high acclaim for its heartwarming and emotional story telling and has consistently placed high on critics’ best films of all time lists. My Neighbor Totoro is a must-see film for the whole family!
21) Patlabor 2 (1993)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Mamoru Oshii’s most influential work is Patlabor 2 (original title – Kidô keisatsu patorebâ – 2), an atmospheric political thriller that developed the aesthetics and aura that would later become his trademark.
The members of Kiichi Gotou’s Patlabor unit have gone their separate lives three years after the Babylon Project conspiracy is settled. Shinobu Nagumo, Gotou’s romantic crush and comrade, remains with the Patlabor squad.
A terrorist group begins working from within the military to cause devastation and mass political chaos in Japan, preying on the public’s mistrust of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force.
Nagumo discovers that the terrorist plot’s leader is none other than Yukihito Tsuge, her longtime mentor and boyfriend.
Gotou reorganises his former Patlabor squad, led by Noa Izumi, the pilot. Nagumo must come to terms with her fraught past relationships in order to save Japan as she leads the team on a quest to apprehend Tsuge.
Patlabor 2 is packed with political thriller that emphasizes on ambiance, emotion, and a slow pace over gigantic robot wars.
22) Dragon Ball Super: Broly (2018)
Director: Tatsuya Nagamine
Dragon Ball Super: Broly (original title – Doragon bôru chô: Burorî) is basically divided into two parts, the first of which concerns Broly’s terrible childhood and the end of the Saiyan race.
The 12th feature film in the Dragaon Ball series is an anime-adventure-martial arts film from Japan. The plot begins with the origins of the Saiyan warrior race and progresses through the Dragon Ball storyline with major twists.
The plot picks up after the incidents of Dragon Ball Super’s Universe Survival Saga, and it reintroduces the returning protagonists Goku and Vegeta. The film revolves on the duo’s encounter with Broly, a formidable Saiyan warrior.
What’s interesting here is that it is a familiar ground that would render most Dragon Ball fans groan on any other instance, but Dragon Ball Super: Broly finds a fun and effective way to convert all that chaos.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is an utter accomplishment on all fronts. It sets a new norm for what is feasible in Dragon Ball movies, and not only does it offer an exciting new story, it also fills loopholes in old ones. It’s filled with a fan service for loyal fans, but it also has plenty of twists.
23) Wolf Children (2012)
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Wolf Children (original title – Ôkami kodomo no Ame to Yuki) is a one-of-a-kind blend of coming-of-age drama and magical realism, told through the eyes of a selfless mother. It’s a film that can quickly elicit strong feelings.
Following the death of their werewolf father, Hana, a single mother, raises two very odd half-human, half-wolf twins. As difficult as it is to raise young children herself, Hana’s challenge is made even more difficult by the fact that she must often conceal her children’s true nature from the outside world because they do not yet have the ability to regulate their abilities.
Wolf Children is a touching and heartwarming film full of magic and optimism that will leave an indelible impression.
24) Whisper Of The Heart (1995)
Director: Yoshifumi Kondō
Whisper Of The Heart (original title – Mimi wo Sumaseba) was 1995’s greatest Japanese film. This is also the first Studio Ghibli film not directed by Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata, as well as the first Japanese film to use the Dolby Digital audio technology.
Shizuku (Yoko Gonna), a teen living in Tokyo’s Tama Hills, is the subject of the film. When we meet her, she notices that an anonymous boy named Seiji has taken out three of the same books as her, and her mind starts to race – who is Seiji?
Curiosity drives her to seek him out, and she soon discovers his grandfather Shiro’s store, which provides her with the motivation to begin making her own job.
Whisper of the Heart is all about how youngsters understand the world, about learning to develop and having the agency to do so, which Shizuku’s father and Seiji’s grandfather both understand. It’s not really about fully solving a problem; rather, it’s about discovering the start of their journey, which is less of a traditional coming-of-age story and more of a tale of self-actualization.
25) Millennium Actress (2001)
Director: Satoshi Kon
The last film in our best anime movies list is Millennium Actress (original title – Sennen Joyû). It is a Japanese anime film directed by Satoshi Kon and produced by Studio Madhouse. It was released in 2001. It tells the story of a documentary maker who investigates the life of a veteran actress, and it blurs the lines between fact and cinema. It is based on Setsuko Hara’s life.
Chiyoko Fujiwara was a well-known actress who abruptly ended her career at the height of her fame. Genya Tachibana is a filmmaker who is looking for her to make a documentary about her life.
Chiyoko’s life spans the turbulent years leading up to World War II, while her film characters span the Sengoku era to a futuristic space age.
Millennium Actress is an enchanting film that is a must-see for anime fans of all ages.
If you’re new to anime, this list will serve as an inspiration for you. On this article, we’ve included some of the best anime movies of all time.
We can assure you that all of these best anime movies to watch can introduce you to another universe from which you will never want to return. Even if you just watch one of these best anime movies, you will be hooked. We hope you enjoy the best anime movies on this list.
If you think, we have missed out any of your favorite movie off the best anime movies list , do tell us about your favorite anime films in the comments section. We’d be delighted to hear from you!
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