The medium of anime has grown immensely in popularity in the past couple of years, so every year, we see a lot of new anime movies released that tell all kinds of stories.
Since we have so many titles to explore, it was high time for me to create a list of the best anime movies of all time. This list contains titles that are decades old and titles that were released a little over a year ago, but I can say with certainty that you will love watching every movie mentioned in this list.
Unlike the classic anime movies that more or less focused on a particular genre, anime movies of today present refined bits of entertainment with mesmerizing storylines spanning genres from sci-fi, rom-com, and slice-of-life to wars, post-apocalyptic worlds, and even horror.
Interestingly, these films offer the same breathtaking visuals and richness characteristic of any anime series, but within the limited time bracket of 90-minutes or so.
But with such vastness and easy access, you may have difficulty deciding on a movie. So, here is a list of the best anime movies you must watch at least once in your life!
The Best Anime Movies to Watch in 2022
43. The Boy and The Beast
The Boy and the Beast is a unique take on the Alice-in-Wonderland sort of myth with a balanced blend of action and emotional depth.
The story begins when 9-year-old Ren loses his mother in a car accident. With no sign of his father, the boy shuns all legal care and wanders off on the streets of Shibuya, eventually stealing food to survive.
But his life changes for good when he stumbles across the Mighty Beast, Kumatetsu, who is also the prospective heir to the Lord of the Beast Realm, the Grand Master.
However, Kumatetsu’s stern personality is too intimidating to be followed by his community.
Therefore, he must prove himself worthy of succession by raising a disciple. And so, he sees Ren as his only hope, offering him an apprenticeship.
This initiates a surprising journey of a master and novice, one seeking recognition and the other looking for a place to belong.
But, unbeknownst to them, they end up finding much more than their original deal.
42. Penguin Highway
Adapted from a Japanese sci-fi novel by Tomihiko Morimi, Penguin Highway is a coming-of-age film directed by Hiroyasu Ishida. While it explores bullying, it also highlights how a child’s raw perception can be far more creative than a learned adult’s methodical thinking.
Aoyama is a 10-year-old who is often mocked for his remarkable intelligence.
One morning, his entire town gets strangely flooded with penguins. Since nobody knows the source of these penguins, Aoyama and his friends decide to resolve this mystery.
Eventually, they discover that penguins follow a singular path, the “Penguin Highway.”
Further digging leads them to discover even more bizarre events. However, the cause of all this commotion turns out to be much more perplexing than the mere presence of penguins.
41. Ninja Batman
While the debate of whether Robert Pattinson is better than Christian Bale’s Batman is still ongoing, the DC collaboration with anime is an entirely different matter.
If anything, Ninja Batman brings out the best of both anime and DC verse.
It starts with our beloved Batman trying to destroy “the Quake Engine” – Gorilla Grodd’s latest and most lethal invention at Arkham Asylum. However, the machine accidentally gets activated, causing the entire building to vanish.
As things settle downtown, Batman finds himself standing alone amid a strange road.
Soon, the realization dawns he has been transported from Gotham city to Feudal Japan, transcending space and time.
However, his amusement is cut short by many samurai factions attacking him from all sides. A little digging and Batman comes to know that he wasn’t the only visitor from Gotham.
Now, he must correct all the wrongs, or history will change forever.
A mermaid yearns for her human lover and resolves to leave the sea behind. However, her influential father is against this decision.
Sounds too familiar?
That was expected as Ponyo is the anime adaptation of the Little Mermaid. But the movie is not a beat-to-beat duplicate.
Instead, Hayao Miyazaki shows much more creativity with Ponyo, which could easily be interpreted as a brilliant attempt at eclipsing the Little Mermaid.
As the once-human sorcerer – Fujimoto takes his family for an outing, his eldest daughter – Brunhilde, slips off on the back of a jellyfish. However, she gets stuck inside a glass jar, only to be rescued by a 5-year-old boy, Sosuke.
Using her magic, the mermaid transforms into a human girl whom Sosuke nicknames “Ponyo,” thereby giving Brunhilde a human identity.
The encounter leaves Ponyo deeply in love and casts a spell to grow permanent limbs. But her selfish decision causes an imbalance in nature that must be restored, or all the living creatures may end up dying.
39. The Anthem of the Heart
Initially, Jun Naruse is introduced as a chatty girl. Her obsession with fairy tales leads her to believe that the Love Hotel on the hilltop is a Castle.
Unfortunately, she witnesses her father accompanying another woman around the ‘Castle’ and relays the tale to her mother. The discovery of the affair leads to her parents’ divorce.
However, her father blames Jun for wrecking their family by telling on him.
This causes the crying Jun to imagine a fairy egg, cursing her and sealing her words to ensure she never hurts anyone again. Now, whenever the poor child tries to communicate, her stomach aches, shutting her up.
Years later, Jun’s high school teacher signed her for a musical event alongside three other students. On her way to refuse this opportunity, she overhears one of the other students singing.
The ethereal voice leads Jun to fancy singing her story to the world, and that one wish changes everything.
The story gracefully captures a kid’s shattering experience through her parents’ divorce. It also signifies how the perception of a father can define values for his child.
Mirai is a magical tale fabricated from Director Mamoru Hosoda’s own experiences of fatherhood when his firstborn met his younger sibling for the first time.
The story highlights how the shift in parents’ attention can alter the entire world for a child.
A four-year-old boy, Kun Oota, lives a peaceful life with his architect dad, executive mom, and Yukko, the family dog. However, things drastically change with the arrival of his baby sister, Mirai, who is the new center of attention for the whole family.
This causes Kun jealousy, and he throws tantrums on the slightest of whims.
However, nothing stops Kun’s parents from loving Mirai.
Now, Kun must learn to share his parents’ attention. But doing so will require wisdom from the past and hope from the future. Finally, Kun needs to stand in a new role as the eldest son and a big brother.
37. Whisper of the Heart
Shizuku Tsukishima is a 14-year-old precocious bookworm who frequents the library and sometimes writes poetry, especially alternate lyrics to the song “Country Roads,” originally by John Denver.
One evening, she discovers that the same person, Seiji Amasawa, has checked out all her books. This kindles in her a desire to meet this mysterious person who shares her literary taste.
Later Shizuku curiously follows a peculiar cat on the train and ends up in an old-fashioned antique shop. However, all her attention gets absorbed by “the Baron,” a noteworthy cat statute with life-like features.
The Baron’s attraction compels her to revisit the same shop.
Eventually, she finds Seiji in that shop, who is not just a book enthusiast but an ambitious violin maker. As their relationship grows, Shizuku discovers her own passion for writing as a means to profess her feelings.
The story expresses teenage struggles through a blossoming romance.
However, the movie has a sad tinge to it as it’s the farewell gift from Director Yoshifumi Kondo, who died of heart complications at the age of 47.
36. Tamako Love Story
Tamako Market is an anime series exploring the daily life of Tamako, a high school girl whose family owns a restaurant. However, the film Tamako Market or, more appropriately, “Tamako Love Story” is an emotional roller coaster featuring teenage romance and coming-of-age themes.
As her high school life is ending, Tamako Katashirakawa seems only concerned with her baton twirling practices for a perfect performance at Usagiyama Marching Festival.
Gradually, she grows aware that everyone she had ever known would be moving away to pursue their dreams. The realization prods Tamako to doubt her future plans of just running the family restaurant.
Unbeknownst to her, even her childhood best friend, Mochizo Oji, intends to leave and study at a University in Tokyo. However, when Mochizo tells her about his departure, he also confesses his feelings for her.
And now, Tamako must simultaneously face her feelings for him and his absence.
35. Sword of the Stranger
In the Sengoku Period of Japan, a young orphan, Kotaru, steals to feed himself and his hungry dog, Tobimaru. But for some mysterious reason, hundreds of assassins from China’s Ming Dynasty have started to target him.
Running for his life, Kotaru stumbles across a troubled ronin, Nanashi, who saves the boy from being killed. However, the encounter leaves Tobimaru poisoned and wounded.
This leads desperate Kotaru to hire Nanashi as a bodyguard until they find a cure for Tobimaru. However, the journey turns even more dangerous as the secret behind Ming’s Dynasty interest in Kotaru unravels.
Conceivably, the movie features the best display of swordsmanship in the entire anime verse, especially the battle between Nanashi and Luo-Lang, a distinguished Ming Commander.
Even though Sword of the Stranger is famed for its graphics, it also does incredible justice to how a single person’s consciousness can make a huge difference.
As dreams hold our biggest desires, they may as well be the key to untangling our deepest secrets, repressed memories, and disruptive behaviors.
Believing that studying dreams will help in psyche therapy, a group of scientists developed “DC Mini” – a machine that allows its user to share dreams with another person.
This also implies that anyone with this machine has unlimited access to people’s subconscious.
Psychologist Dr. Atsuko Chiba and scientist Dr. Kosaku Tokita worked tirelessly for DC Mini’s success. But, Chiba developed an alter ego, Paprika, who works as a detective consultant for catching criminals during her nighttime.
Things turn awry as the technology gets stolen; however, the theft proves to be an inside job.
Now, the scientists must walk through dreams to apprehend all criminals and recover DC-Mini. However, this requires them to face their deepest desires and resolve their subconscious troubles.
While the movie is famous for its unique idea, it has explicit scenarios of childhood trauma and sexual violence. And so the mature content may be too triggering for certain audiences.
33. The Garden of Words
True companionship is not bound by age, status, profession, or even gender. Such is the case with two strangers who skip work on rainy mornings and sit silently in a garden.
One of them, Takao Akizuki, is a teenager who dreams of becoming a shoe designer. Meanwhile, his mysterious partner is Yukari Yukino, a beguiling beauty with troubled feelings of alienation.
Both never formally introduce each other, but one day Yukari bids farewell with a literary note.
The beautiful poem mesmerizes Takao, who finally reconsiders their social association to be something much more intimate.
However, things change when he accidentally meets her outside the garden. And now, they must acknowledge each other while accepting the gap in their social standings.
32. When Marnie Was There
Anna Sasaki is a reclusive, shy twelve-year-old girl suffering from severe asthma attacks. Her physician recommends a change for cleaner air. Consequently, her foster parents send Anna to her adoptive aunt living near the sea in a small rural town.
The change does help Anna to relax a bit and focus on her sketching.
But her life takes a swift turn when she comes across a supposedly abandoned mansion named the “Marsh House.” Peering through the windows, she finds several people chatting and dancing around.
Awed by her discovery, she accidentally bumps into a mysterious girl of her age, Marnie. Both girls take an instant liking to each other.
Marnie’s outgoing personality fascinates Anna, who revisits her every night. However, as the plot unravels, it shows that Marnie and Anna share much more than just a friendly bond.
31. Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro
While celebrating his latest heist, Arsene Lupin III discovers that all his spoils are just counterfeits. However, the original-like quality of these “Gothic Bills” compels him to find their source.
Consequently, he and his colleague, Daisuke Jigen, travel to Cagliostro – a small but thriving nation, to seek answers. On their way, Lupin ends up saving a mysterious woman who turns out to be Clarisse d’ Cagliostro, the only daughter of the late Duke d’ Cagliostro.
But Clarisse is trying to escape a forced marriage with the current regent – Count Cagliostro, who seeks to steal Clarisse’s family’s estate.
Seeing a damsel in distress, Lupin decides to help her.
Others, including Goemon Ishikawa XIII, Fujiko Mine, and Kouichi Zenigata, also join his quest for different reasons. However, the plot twists as decades-old secrets of Castle Cagliostro resurface.
30. Tokyo Godfathers
Though Satoshi Kon’s Tokyo Godfathers beautifully encapsulates raw human emotions and collective conscience, it’s primarily recognized as one of the few anime movies emphasizing the significance of “Christmas Miracle.”
On Christmas eve, three homeless individuals rummage through trash, hoping to find some ‘Christmas Present.’ However, they find a forsaken baby with a note, a key, and a bag.
Feeling pity for the child, they name the baby “Kiyoko” and decide to find the baby’s mother. And so, they start skimming through her bag for clues about her heritage.
Their quest makes them travel through various corners of the city. Eventually, they face their abandoned lives and ghosts from their pasts. And so, the only thing keeping them on track is Kiyoko, who indeed turns out to be their very own Christmas miracle.
29. Wolf Children
Hana, a young college student, falls deeply in love with an enigmatic guy attending one of her classes. On the full moon, he reveals that he too loves Hana, but he is a werewolf who can transform into a wolf.
But as love sees no reason, Hana remains adamant about her feelings.
Eventually, she marries the wolf-man and begets two werewolf children – Ame, a boy born in rainfall, and Yuki, a girl born in snowfall. But when the wolf-man succumbs to an accident, Hana is left with enormous grief and a responsibility to care for her wolf children all on her own.
Fearing for their safety, Hana moves to a remote location.
However, Hana faces more significant challenges as the children grow without anyone to guide their wolf nature. And so, despite being a fictitious tale, Wolf Children acknowledges the real-life struggles of a single mother.
28. In This Corner of the World
In this movie, Sunao Katabuchi paints one of the most realistic and horrifying images of life before and after the war. However, this experience comes from the eyes of an ordinary youth struggling to survive one day at a time.
Suzu Urano is a passionate and poetic 18-year-old woman who lives in a small town on the outskirts of Hiroshima. Her life changes when she gets married off to Shuusaku Houjou, a man from another town she barely knows.
As the homesick bride tries to adjust to her husband’s household, the second World War takes its full swing. This furthers her struggles as she lives away from her parents through such difficult times.
However, war leaves none unscathed. And so, Suzu learns all the etiquettes of war while losing her close family members one at a time.
27. Ninja Scroll
After being betrayed and forced to kill his own fellows for survival, Jubei Kibagami becomes an itinerant mercenary. However, he grows a strong disgust for political factions and wishes to remain neutral forever.
But, he still gets involved when he kills another ninja to save Kagero, a kunoichi and the sole survivor of her team.
Since Kagero was here to investigate a peculiar plague that took the life of all the residents living in a small town, she decides to continue her mission.
Though Jubei rejects helping her further, the man he had already killed was a member of the elite ninja group – the Devils of Kimon, who will hunt down anyone killing their comrade.
This gets further twisted when a government agent poisons Jubie, coercing him to kill all the Devils of the Kimon to obtain the antidote. While Jubei fights for his life, he discovers several dark secrets of the government and mercenaries.
Though Ninja Scroll is considered a masterpiece, accurately depicting Japan’s Edo Period, the movie is too graphic featuring blood-curdling violence and triggering depictions of sexual assault.
26. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
One thousand years ago, an apocalyptic nuclear war, aka the “Seven Days of Fire,” destroyed all the civilizations and ecosystems. The poisonous ashes gave rise to a ‘Toxic Jungle’ hosting large populations of giant mutant insects.
Currently, the survivors live in loose colonies with moderately harsh regions.
One farming colony, The Valley of the Wind, is protected from the toxic jungle because of its placement across the seas. Its 16-year-old princess, Nausicaä, frequently explores the jungle and has the ability to communicate with mutant insects.
While she is researching the plants to stop the encroachment of the Toxic Jungle, her kingdom comes under attack by airships from the Kingdom of Tolmekia.
However, their attack is not meant to seize the Valley of Wind but to revive a dangerous weapon used during the Seven Days of Fire.
Now, it befalls the people of the Valley of the Wind and Nausicaä to save the remaining humans from another catastrophic event.
25. Pokemon Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back
When the leader of Team Rocket Syndicate, Giovanni, found the DNA source for ‘Mew,’ an ancient Pokémon with psychic abilities, he decided to recreate the Pokémon as “Mewtwo” to use as a biological weapon.
Eventually, Giovanni hires Dr. Fuji, a cloning expert and a desperate father hoping to bring back his deceased daughter, Amber.
However, the experiment goes awry, with Mewtwo destroying the lab and most of its staff.
On discovering that it was born as a weapon, Mewtwo develops deep resentment for all of humanity and even Pokémon. So as his first move to kill all life, Mewtwo lures in the best Pokémon trainers for a tournament.
The invitation also reaches Ash Ketchum and his friends Brock and Misty.
Excited for the matches but unaware of Mewtwo’s sinister plans, Ash and his friends now hold the responsibility to change Mewtwo’s perception or see the world’s end.
The movie splendidly emphasizes the power of choices in determining our identities.
24. A Whisker Away
After her mother left, Miyo Sasaki rejected all affectionate efforts of her stepmother, Kaoru. However, she only sees one escape from this family misery, her crush Kento Hinode.
But her confessions come in the most unorthodox and sometimes even annoying ways. Consequently, Kento keeps on rejecting her.
One day, Miyo receives a peculiar mask that allows her to turn into a white cat. This transformation allows her to freely interact with Kento, who nicknames the Miyo-turned-cat ‘Tarou.’
Since Tarou keeps revisiting Kento, the boy starts sharing all his feelings with the plush cat.
However, several of his issues can only be resolved by a human. So, Miyo must either tell Kento about her cat-form or convince him to trust her in her human form.
But things become even more difficult because Miyo’s cat transformation seems to be somewhat permanent as she starts to forget her human self.
23. Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel I, II & III
Holy Grail Wars are considered the bloodiest of clashes amongst seven mage masters and their chosen servants, granting one wish of the victor through the artifact, the Holy Grail.
But a decade ago, the fourth Holy Grail War destroyed Fuyuki city with at least 500 casualties.
One survivor, Shirou Emiya, aspires to become a Hero of Justice just like Kiritsugu Emiya, his savior and adoptive father. However, Shirou gets accidentally dragged into the fifth Holy Grail War when he witnesses a battle between servants and ends up summoning Saber as his chosen servant.
As the war continues, a series of strange incidents keep on repeating.
Now, Shirou is adamant about finding the “Shadows” who are mercilessly taking lives in the dark corners of Fuyuki city. He even makes alliances to prevent deaths.
Meanwhile, his friend, Sakura, comes down with a mysterious sickness.
The plot keeps twisting, breaking all stereotypes while building suspense throughout the anime movies. And so, if you are looking for an action-thriller, then Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel trilogy is definitely worth watching.
22. A Silent Voice
A Silent Voice is an exceptional movie underlining the struggles of a repentant bully. It emphasizes that even though a bully must be punished, it should be handled with sensitivity because the bully is still a child.
Shoya Ishida, a high school student, keeps on having panic attacks. It’s to the point that he cannot look people in the eye as he sees red “X” marks instead of people’s faces.
Finally, he decides to end his misery by jumping into the river.
Just before jumping, he decides to see Shouko Nishimiya, a deaf girl he and his friends had bullied in their middle school.
Since authorities only found Ishida guilty, they made an example out of him. The incident made Ishida regret his behavior, but at the same time, he himself became a target of bullying.
But no teacher or fellow ever helped his case, making him suffer in silence.
Now that he has nothing to lose, he is ready to see Nishimiya. However, he must face his past mistakes with courage and seek forgiveness wholeheartedly.
21. Castle in the Sky
A young orphan girl, Sheeta, gets kidnapped by the government agent, Muska. However, their airship gets attacked by Air Pirates, Captain Dola, and his crew, who seek Sheeta’s amulet.
Taking advantage of the chaos, Sheeta jumps down the airship.
However, her amulet helps her survive the fall, and she lands right in the arms of another orphan, Pazu, from the mining district. Pazu takes Sheeta home and tells her about his dream of visiting Laputa, the legendary floating city.
However, their conversation comes to a halt when pirates and government agents chase them to Pazu’s home. Eventually, the two embark on a journey to Laputa, with several antagonists on their heels.
But why is everyone so concerned with Laputa, and what does Sheeta have to do with it?
As secrets of Sheeta’s past unravels, the story becomes even more enthralling, bringing its viewers to the edge of their seats.
20. Ghost in the Shell
The movie is set in 2029 in Niihama, aka “the New Port City,” a technologically advanced fictional Japanese city. The city is advanced enough to replace limbs, torso, and even portions of brains with robotic parts.
In fact, a human brain can live within an entirely metallic body.
Since all brains are linked to several networks, the world has become far more interconnected, giving a new meaning to the word “Globalization.”
The Public Security Section 9 is responsible for maintaining order by controlling threats, including corruption and terrorism. However, an enigmatic hacker, the “Puppet Master,” has been cracking through human brains, stripping his victims of their memories.
Now, Major Motoko Kusanagi has taken the task of capturing the Puppet Master. However, the investigation leads her to question her own nature and makes her circle around her personal life.
19. Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light
Hoping to see the mountain spirit, a six-year-old Hotaru Takegawa gets lost inside the ancient jungle. She is then found by Gin, a masked spirit boy who leads her out of the woods.
When Hotaru shows her gratitude, Gin warns her never to touch him as a human’s touch will make him disappear forever.
Still, Hotaru keeps revisiting Gin every year for her summer vacation, creating an unusual bond.
While Gin doesn’t age, Hotaru grows into a beautiful young woman. However, their relationship has now turned into a budding romance.
But they are cursed never to touch each other.
The movie is based on the manga of the same title. The story gracefully captures the dilemma of two star-crossed lovers from different realms who are ready to compromise anything just to share some time together.
18. KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! – Legend of Crimson
Even the Demon Lord’s forces fear the Crimson Demons because of their mage expertise and advanced magic. Since Megumin and Yunyun are members of Crimson Demons, they are also considered the most impressive of the clan.
But Yunyun receives an urgent letter supposedly from her father, telling her about certain demon transgressions and demanding something odd from her. When she informs Kazuma Satou and others about it, they decide to investigate before believing the message.
While the message turns out to be a prank from a fellow clan member wanting to become a writer, the joke has already initiated a series of bizarre misunderstandings.
Eventually, Megumin decides to visit her family. Gradually, a dark realization sets in when everyone realizes that the letter was indeed true in some sense.
And now, they must figure out the true parts of the letter from the fake ones, halting the inevitable destruction of their world.
17. Weathering with You
In 2021, Hodaka Morishima, a high school student, flees from his troubled home and lands in Tokyo, which is currently experiencing incessant rains. When he suffers hunger pangs, he is helped by Hina Amano, a young employee at McDonald’s.
Eventually, Hodaka gets employed by Keisuke Shima, the owner of a small magazine publishing company. And so he is assigned to research the urban legend about humans who can control the weather.
But during his work, Hodaka comes across shady men forcing Hina to work in their club.
He saves her but discovers that Hina is an orphaned child who is also experiencing a financial crisis while striving to raise herself and her younger brother.
However, Hina has a secret talent as she can control the weather by praying.
Hodaka sees her ability as a potential business, suggesting she become the “Sunshine Girl,” someone who will clear the sky for special events such as outdoor weddings.
While things improve for a while, power comes at a certain cost. And now, Hina and Hodaka must see the consequences of their actions.
16. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train
This particular movie in the Demon Slayer series, covering the Mugen Train arc, turned out to be not just one of the best anime movies of 2020 but also one of the best in a long time.
The story follows the repeated accounts of mysterious disappearances related to a train. The Demon Corps believe it’s related to demons and has sent several teams to resolve the situation.
However, none has yet succeeded.
Kyoujurou Rengoku, the Flame Hashira and one of the strongest in the Demon Slayer Corps, decides to handle this task himself.
But Rengoku’s team is an odd array of new Demon slayers, including Tanjirou Kamado, a boy trying to find a cure for his sister; Zenitsu Agatsuma, a boy whose powers awaken during his sleep; and Inosuke Hashibira, a unique swordsman who was raised in the jungle by a boar.
While they journey to unravel the mystery of disappearances, they end up walking right into the demons’ trap. And now, they are not just risking their own lives but 200 souls traveling with them inside that peculiar train.
15. Howl’s Moving Castle
Sophie, a young milliner, encounters Howl, a charming wizard, on her way to see her sister. However, this incident causes jealousy in the Witch of the Waste, who ensnares Sophie and turns her into an old crone.
Consequently, Sophie has to leave the safety of her home and travel to the countryside.
Eventually, she stumbles across Howl’s castle, where she meets Markl, Howl’s apprentice, and Calcifier, the fire demon responsible for the magic of Howl’s fortress.
Meanwhile, Sophie’s nation is caught up in a war with a neighboring kingdom searching for its lost prince. And so, Howl is invited to fight the war but refuses nonetheless.
Though Howl will help Sophie, she must assist him in return by pretending to be his mother.
Like other movies by Hayao Miyazaki, Howl’s Moving Castle also has a deeper meaning to it that you’ll figure out when you watch it.
Redline is the famed race of only the best drivers from the entire universe that commences every 5 years with just one rule – there are no rules.
This makes redline far riskier than average races because drivers are allowed to use all kinds of engines, weapons, and strategies. And so, participating means being pushed to one’s limits while staying ready to embrace death at any moment.
But this year’s race is exceptionally dangerous as it’s supposed to happen in Roboworld – a location riddled with criminals and military bases.
However, this also makes this year’s redline one of the most exhilarating experiences.
And so, Driver JP, a daredevil, is drawn to this race. He wishes to beat all, especially the highly skilled Sonoshee McLaren, a beautiful woman, and the only other human participant.
Despite the dangers, JP has decided to use only a swift engine and no weapons for the race. But as he drives through the racing track, he discovers the secret reason behind choosing Roboworld as the racing location.
In 1988, a large explosion tore the entire Tokyo City into bits. Now, in 2019 the restored version of Tokyo, aka the “Neo-Tokyo,” is overrun by criminals spreading violence and terrorism.
Currently, a lack of transparency in government policies has led to several protests across the city. Among the repeated protesters is Shoutarou Kaneda, the leader of the biker gang called “The Capsules,” who are rivals to another biker gang, “The Clowns.”
During one protest, Kaneda’s best friend, Tetsuo Shima, ends up colliding with an Esper from the clowns. While both parties survive, Tetsuo has abrupt changes in his telekinetic abilities.
Though Kaneda tries his best to calm him down, Tetsuo becomes even more unstable. Eventually, Tetsuo’s energy reaches the verge of exploding.
Now, the only hope for survival is Akira, another Esper with unparalleled powers. However, the government is still lying to keep Akira hidden.
12. Kiki’s Delivery Service
Aligned with mage traditions, 13-year-old Kiki must spend one year on her own to become a fully-fledged witch. And so, she hops onto her broomstick and flies to the Port City of Koriko with her black cat, Jiji.
She settles down with a kind-hearted baker, Osomo, who is heavily pregnant at the time. In return for accommodation, Kiki must provide courier services to the Osomo’s bakery.
Eventually, Kiki starts her separate delivery service.
However, starting a business is not as easy as it sounds. Furthermore, Kiki is dealing with the immense pressure of responsibility that comes with adulthood.
The plot is based on Eiko Kadono’s popular young adult novel from 1985. However, Hayao Miyazaki does marvelous justice to the struggles of growing up.
11. Dragon Ball Super: Broly
Dragon Ball Franchise is often crowned as the iconic ruler of manga and anime series. But it has scored millions by creating meticulously detailed anime movies.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is indeed a masterpiece of Director Tatsuya Nagamine.
The movie is packed with action yet defies all expectations with its unusual plot twists.
As history goes, Frieza destroyed Planet Vegeta in order to annihilate all Saiyans. However, some members of the Saiyan race survived, including Goku, Raditz, Nappa, Prince Vegeta, and his brother.
But they were not the only survivors.
It turns out King Vegeta had exiled Paragus out of the fear of his extremely powerful infant, Broly.
Forty-one years later, Broly has developed an intense disgust for other Saiyans. And so, he teams up with Frieza to seek revenge. Meanwhile, Frieza has some other sinister scheme for the Dragon Balls.
However, only Goku and Vegeta can fend off the emergent threat.
10. Summer Wars
Kenji Koiso is a 17-year-old computing genius who works as a moderator for a company offering virtual-reality experiences through an artificial world of OZ.
His crush Natsuki Shinohara invites him on a family trip, but as her fake fiance.
Everything goes smoothly until Kenji logs into his account and unknowingly helps a rogue AI who intends to wreak havoc by hacking his phone.
Now, Kenji and his fake fiance’s family must ally to stop the corrupted AI before it obliterates the entire planet. But it’s twice the trouble for Kenji, as his crush discovers his secret feelings for her.
While Summer Wars is often considered a remake of Hosoda’s previous work “Our War Game,” it has eclipsed several anime movies because of its impeccable graphics and production music.
9. 5 Centimeters Per Second
The movie consists of three short stories capturing daily life’s mundane and ordinary details yet proving to be one of the most gripping narratives. In fact, it’s often considered the most famous work of director Makoto Shinkai.
Toono Takaki and Shinohara Akari were childhood friends who gradually developed romantic feelings for each other. However, the two were torn apart by distance because of their circumstances.
While the two struggle in their long-term relationship, their yearning for each other leaves them unable to connect with other human beings.
And so, both suffer an excruciating pain of loneliness and emptiness.
Still, they will do anything to be together, even if it means that they will cover only 5 centimeters every second of their existence.
8. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
The story follows Makoto Konno, a clumsy girl who discovers she can leap through time. But like any other teenager, she travels back in time to reset her embarrassing moments; and so begins her bittersweet journey of changing everything she dislikes.
Yet, time waits for no one, and every action has consequences.
However, the hard truth comes in the most difficult of manners and from the last person, she could anticipate. And now, Makoto must take responsibility for her actions.
The movie teaches the timeless lesson that we must take at least one leap of faith at least once in our lifetime.
7. Made in Abyss – Movies 1, 2, 3 & 4
Made In Abyss movies contain the crux of anime series of the same title.
The story begins when Riko, an orphan girl, receives a letter from her supposedly deceased mother telling her that she is waiting for her daughter at the base of Abyss, a strange chasm at the heart of her hometown.
So, Riko decides to travel within the Abyss.
However, she takes with him a humanoid robot, Reg, who had come from the second layer of Abyss with no memory of his past life.
As they travel down the Abyss, Riko discovers the unspeakable truth about the creation of this canyon and the strange things residing in its depths.
And so, a question arises if the letter was indeed from her mother or something else.
The tetralogy builds enormous suspense with distinct contours of horror.
6. Princess Mononoke
As the 14th-century dawns, the peace and harmony between Humans and Spirit Gods of Nature begin to tear apart. This manifests when a Demon Boar wreaks havoc in an Emishi village.
Though the teenage prince, Ashitaka, kills the beast, he ends up getting cursed with demonic powers, slowly killing him from within.
When he travels westward searching for a cure, he stumbles across Tatara, a human settlement constantly promoting deforestation.
This insult to nature has raged the gods, who now seek revenge on humanity.
Though Ashitaka seeks to resolve it with Tatara leaders, he must also make peace with Princess San, a girl raised by the sacred spirits of the forest.
Princess Mononoke has received widespread recognition as one of the best anime movies because of its ability to outline one of the most significant issues of the time – human’s role in damaging the environment.
5. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas
The detached and introverted Haruki is a bookworm who comes across a handwritten book titled “Living with Dying.” However, he soon discovers that the book is a diary of his jolly classmate, Sakura Yamauchi.
Later, Sakura confides in him about her terminal pancreatic disease and her limited lifespan.
However, Sakura wanted to live a normal life and has kept her illness a secret even from her best friend, Kyoko. But contrary to her expectations, Haroki does not bother to show her any sympathy.
Consequently, Sakura feels a sense of normal life and gets unnaturally drawn to Haruki.
Eventually, Haruki gets involved in Sakura’s life, with them checking items on her bucket list. However, the mysterious nature of their time together makes Kyoko jealous.
Finally, Haruki becomes Sakura’s joy, her unreactive partner, and her normal. But little does she realize that she, too, is leaving an impact on Haruki.
4. My Neighbor Totoro
Owing to their mother’s illness, Satsuki and Mei relocate with their father, Tetsuo Kusakabe, to an old house near her hospital. However, their new home has Susuwatari, the soot ball spirits that reside in darkness.
Though these Susuwatari leave their house, however, new spirits keep emerging.
One day, Mei ventures into the forest, where she finds a huge rabbit-like spirit and names it “Totoro.” They play together for an entire day, and Mei ends up sleeping on Totoro’s belly.
Things become even more exciting with Satsuki meeting Totoro.
The movie is so famous that ‘Totoro’ has become the poster character for the anime industry and has been used in several marketing stunts.
The movie is also considered Hayao Miyazaki’s most innocent piece of art. It’s also related to his childhood as he too relocated near the hospital because his mother suffered from severe tuberculosis for about nine years.
3. Grave of the Fireflies
If there is one movie the entire world should see right now, it’s “Grave of the Fireflies.”
The movie is a realistic and horrific image of war as it rips apart families, kills off hope, and takes away humanity. It features the approaching end of World War II in 1945, with Americans destroying cities upon cities with their bombings.
The story begins when a firebomb in Kobe hits a teenager, Seita’s home.
With his mother succumbing to her burns right before him, Seita becomes responsible for caring for himself and his baby sister, Setsu. Eventually, they end up at their aunt’s house.
However, war brings the worst out of all people. And so, Seita and his sister suffer for food and other necessities on a daily basis.
As the story moves further, it becomes even more tragic.
Therefore, it’s a must-watch movie, especially now when the world keeps on wondering when World War III will eventually happen.
2. Your Name
Your Name is a phenomenal movie, as it’s still one of the top-grossing anime movies and one of the best by director Makoto Shinkai.
Mitsuha Miyamizu, a timid high school girl, lives in the remote town of Itomori. However, she keeps yearning for a life in a big city like Tokyo. One day, she sees a vivid dream of having a regular life in Tokyo but as a boy named Taki Tachibana.
She enjoys her day to the fullest until she awakes and realizes it was not a dream. The two had actually swapped bodies.
Now, they must live each other’s life to stop anyone from suspecting their odd connection.
But exploring someone by climbing inside their skins can leave a strong mark on anyone. Consequently, both end up developing unnamed feelings for each other. However, their newfound feelings are too late because they are indeed star-crossed lovers, struck with an unusual celestial event.
1. Spirited Away
While moving to their new home, 10-year-old Chihiro’s father takes a shortcut that leads them in front of a tunnel that seems to be in front of an abandoned amusement park.
Despite Chichiro’s protests, his father decides to explore this wilderness.
Eventually, the family enters an empty but fully stocked restaurant. Weirdly, Chihiro’s parents start eating the food without anyone’s permission. Meanwhile, Chihiro finds an enormous bathhouse where a young boy, Haku, warns her to immediately return and cross the river.
However, his warning comes too late as Chihiro finds her parents morphed into pigs. Furthermore, the river seems impossible to cross as it’s now overflowing with water.
Though Yabuba, the witch, offers her a job, she wants much more than Chihiro’s services.
Instead, Yabuba rips a Kanji from Chihiro’s name apart, turning her into “Sen.”
But things get even more twisted when Sen accidentally invites No Face, a spirit inside the bathhouse that was never supposed to come there.
Since anime keeps on introducing new movies with refined graphics and interesting storylines, there is no guarantee that this list will remain the best anime movies in the coming times. However, several of these movies have entertained us for decades and will continue to do so for time immemorial.
So, if you haven’t yet watched an anime movie, now’s the right time as so many awesome titles are released every year. Pick one of the best anime movies featured above, and you’ll find yourself hooked to the medium!
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