35 Best Anime Movies That You Should Watch ASAP

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Thanks to the wonders of streaming services and their expansions over the last few years, we now have much wider access to anime films and TV shows than ever before!

1.

Spirited Away (2001)

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The story: My all-time favorite, Spirited Away, follows a young girl Chihiro who enters the spirit world of Kami. After her parents are turned into pigs by a witch, Chihiro must work in the bathhouse in order to free herself, and return her family to the human world.

IMDB Rating: 8.6

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.78

2.

Paprika (2006)

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The story: Said to have inspired Christopher Nolan’s Inception, Paprika is about a stolen machine which allows therapists to enter their patients’ dreams. When chaos ensues, only a young female therapist, Paprika, can stop it.

IMDB Rating: 7.7

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.04

3.

Redline (2009)

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The story: This cult anime classic is set in the distant future, and follows a man known as JP who takes on great risks for the chance to win the titular underground race.

IMDB Rating: 7.5

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.28

4.

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

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The story: Based on the manga of the same name, this adult cyberpunk thriller anime is set in 2029 Japan, and follows a cyborg public security agent who hunts a mysterious hacker, known as the Puppet Master.

IMDB Rating: 7.9

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.27

5.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

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The story: An anime with sci-fi and romance themes, the film tells the story of a young girl who gains the power of time travel and repeatedly relives the same day in a time loop. Little does she know, her power is affecting the lives of others! 

IMDB Rating: 7.7

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.13

6.

In This Corner of the World (2016)

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The story: Set in Hiroshima and Kure, Japan, during World War II, an 18-year-old girl, Suzu, gets married and must look after her family, despite rationing and lack of supplies. One day, she meets a girl, Rin, whose secrets worry her.

IMDB Rating: 7.7

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.22

7.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba — The Movie: Mugen Train (2020)

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The story: The film is a direct sequel to the first season of the anime TV series, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. After his family was brutally murdered and his sister was turned into a demon, Tanjiro Kamado became a demon slayer. Now, Tanjiro embarks on a new mission aboard the Mugen Train.

IMDB Rating: 8.2

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.65

8.

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)

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The story: Based on the anime series, Cowboy Bebop, the film is set between episodes 22 and 23 of the original series, and centers on a mysterious terrorist planning to destroy the human population on Mars using a deadly pathogen. Only the bounty hunter crew of the spaceship Bebop may be able to stop the terrorist before the attack!

IMDB Rating: 7.8

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.38

9.

Perfect Blue (1997)

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The story: This psychological thriller anime follows a member of a Japanese idol group who retires from music to pursue an acting career, but as she becomes a victim of stalking and gruesome murders begin to occur, she starts to lose her grip on reality.

IMDB Rating: 8

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.53

10.

Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

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The story: In Tokyo on Christmas Eve, three homeless people discover a newborn baby among the trash and set out to find its parents.

IMDB Rating: 7.8

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.28

11.

Whisper of the Heart (1995)

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The story: A musical, coming-of-age, romantic drama film about a girl who loves reading books, and a boy who has previously checked out all of the library books she chooses.

IMDB Rating: 7.9

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.22

12.

Akira (1988)

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The story: Akira gained cult following upon its initial release and is said to have impacted the Japanese cyberpunk sub-genre. In a dystopian world, it tells the story of the leader of a biker gang and his childhood friend who acquires telekinetic abilities. The result? His friend threatens the entire military complex in the futuristic metropolis of Neo-Tokyo.

IMDB Rating: 8

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.15

13.

Only Yesterday (1991)

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The story: Only Yesterday is more of a realistic drama for anime and follows a 27-year-old unmarried office worker who travels to the rural countryside while reminiscing about her childhood in Tokyo.

IMDB Rating: 7.6

MyAnimeList Rating: 7.44

14.

Belle (2021)

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The story: Sci-fi anime film, Belle, premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival and received a standing ovation that lasted 14 minutes! The film is inspired by the 1756 French fairytale Beauty and the Beast and follows Suzu, a shy high school student living in a rural village. That is, until she enters a massive virtual world and escapes into her online persona as Belle, a globally-beloved singer.

IMDB Rating: 7.1

MyAnimeList Rating: 7.57

15.

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

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The story: Another Studio Ghibli favorite of mine, Howl’s Moving Castle focuses on a young woman who is cursed with an old body by a witch. Her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent and insecure young wizard and his companions who live in his walking castle.

IMDB Rating: 8.2

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.66

16.

The Animatrix (2003)

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The story: Yup, this anime actually features stories relating to The Matrix, the classic 1999 film. The sci-fi anthology tells the backstory of The Matrix film series, including the original war between humanity and machines, and has numerous side stories that tie into the matrix universe and film series.

IMDB Rating: 7.3

MyAnimeList Rating: 7.30

17.

A Silent Voice (2016)

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The story: Based on the manga of the same name, the film follows the story of a former bully who decides to reconnect and befriend the deaf girl he had victimized years prior. It’s a combination of a coming-of-age drama with psychological aspects that deal with themes of mental health, bullying, and platonic love. 

IMDB Rating: 8.1

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.95

18.

Castle in the Sky (1986)

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The story: A young girl and boy possess a magic crystal and must race against pirates and foreign agents in search of a legendary floating castle in the floating city of Laputa.

IMDB Rating: 8

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.26

19.

Weathering with You (2019)

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The story: A high school boy runs away from his rural home to Tokyo and befriends an orphan girl who has the power to control the weather.

IMDB Rating: 7.5

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.31

20.

Wolf Children (2012)

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The story: Spanning across 13 years of a young woman’s life, Hana falls in love with a werewolf whilst in college, and following his death, must raise their half-wolf, half-human children.

IMDB Rating: 8.1

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.59

21.

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ (2015)

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The story: Another entry into the Dragon Ball Z world, this martial arts sci-fi film depicts the return of the villain Frieza, who, after his resurrection, goes into extensive training with the sole purpose of exacting his revenge against Goku.

IMDB Rating: 7.2

MyAnimeList Rating: 7.05

22.

Ninja Scroll (1993)

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The story: A demonic clan of killers is hellbent on overthrowing the Tokugawa Shogunate, and so, Jubei, a mercenary swordsman, must defeat them with the help of a ninja girl and a government spy.

IMDB Rating: 7.8

MyAnimeList Rating: 7.61

23.

Barefoot Gen (1983)

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The story: Barefoot Gen is a war drama anime loosely based on the manga series by Keiji Nakazawa. Taking place from a child’s point of view, the film depicts World War II in Japan and the events surrounding the bombing of Hiroshima.

IMDB Rating: 8

MyAnimeList Rating: 7.77

24.

The Wind Rises (2013)

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The story: This historical drama film is a fictionalized biographical film of Jiro Horikoshi. Having longed to become a pilot but unable to do so because of his nearsightedness, he goes on to become the designer of the Mitsubishi A5M fighter aircraft and its successor, used by the Empire of Japan during WWII. 

IMDB Rating: 7.7

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.10

25.

Your Name (2016)

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The story: A high school girl living in a rural town wishes to be a Tokyo boy in her next life, that is until her wish comes true when she inexplicably begins to switch bodies intermittently with a real high school boy in the city.

IMDB Rating: 8.4

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.86

26.

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

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The story: A professor’s two young daughters who have moved to the country to be near their ailing mother soon find wondrous adventures with the forest spirits who live nearby.

IMDB Rating: 8.1

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.26

27.

5 Centimeters per Second (2007)

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The story: A romantic drama following a young man named Takaki, told in three interconnected segments which explore his life and the relationships he has with the girls around him.

IMDB Rating: 7.5

MyAnimeList Rating: 7.59

28.

Porco Rosso (1992)

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The story: In the 1930s, an Italian World War I ex-fighter living as a freelance bounty hunter is cursed and transformed into an anthropomorphic pig.

IMDB Rating: 7.7

MyAnimeList Rating: 7.95

29.

Memories (1995)

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The story: This animated sci-fi film is a compilation of three standalone short films which encompass different genres:

Magnetic Rose is about two explorers in the far reaches of space who stumble across a derelict mansion.

Stink Bomb tells the story of a hapless lab technician who unintentionally consumes experimental drugs that enhance his flatulence to a dangerous degree.

Cannon Fodder sees a fortress city and a young boy who wishes to surpass his father by becoming a reverent artillery officer.

IMDB Rating: 7.5

MyAnimeList Rating: 7.72

30.

Bubble (2022)

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The story: In an alternate world, bubbles raining down upon the world have broken the laws of gravity, and Tokyo has been completely cut off from the outside world. All that remains is a group of young people competing in parkour team battles across the Tokyo skyline after losing their families. 

IMDB Rating: 6.3

MyAnimeList Rating: 7.30

31.

Her Blue Sky (2019)

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The story: After a tragic accident took their parents away 13 years ago, Aoi Aioi lives with her elder sister Akane, but decides she wants to move to Tokyo to relieve her sister’s burden and pursue a musical career — aspirations which were inspired by Akane’s ex-boyfriend, Shinno, who left one day after moving to Tokyo to become a professional guitarist.

One day, Aoi comes across the 18-year-old version of Shinno from 13 years ago, and the current 31-year-old Shinno returns to town having changed drastically. Now, there are two Shinnos in existence, but why is the Shinno from the past present?!

IMDB Rating: 6.7

MyAnimeList Rating: 7.49

32.

Metropolis (2001)

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The story: Unfortunately for some, this is not an anime reboot of Fritz Lang’s influential Metropolis. But, it is a pretty cool futuristic story about a nephew and uncle who find themselves on the hunt for the mystery behind a robot girl called Tima.

IMDB Rating: 7.2

MyAnimeList Rating: 7.53

33.

Princess Mononoke (1997)

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The story: An epic historical fantasy film set in the late Muromachi period of Japan, which sees a young Emishi prince and his struggle between the gods of a forest and the humans who consume its resources. On his quest, the young prince meets San, a warrior princess adopted by the wolf goddess.

IMDB Rating: 8.4

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.67

34.

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (2021)

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The story: A young student becomes a sorcerer and seeks to control the cursed spirit of his childhood friend.

IMDB Rating: 7.9

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.51

35.

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

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The story: In Kobe, Japan, two siblings face a desperate struggle to survive during the final months of the second World War.

IMDB Rating: 8.5

MyAnimeList Rating: 8.50

What do you think is the best anime movie on here? Or, can you think of any others you would have liked to have seen on the list? Tell us in the comments!



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