Best Japanese Anime Movies: Everything We Know so Far

Anime is now one of the most popular film genres, with hundreds of new anime films released each year throughout the world. With the arrival of the 2020s, it is about time we ended the best anime film of all time, albeit this list should be modified as time passes.
Anime is frequently broadcast on television these days, but at first, you could only view anime on enormous screens in the theatre. An anime film first appeared in Japan in the early 1900s. When it comes to iconic Japanese anime films, Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 and released Castle in the Sky () in 1986.

The first color full-length animation picture, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in the United States in 1937 by the American film firm Walt Disney Productions (Walt Disney Animation Studios). There are many fans of Walt Disney Studios and its spinoff Pixar Animation Studios all around the world today.

The best anime movie list on this page focuses on Japanese anime movies rather than anime series that are shown on television (Check out the top anime series here!). Of course, movie adaptations of TV series are planned. Check out the 30 best anime movies of all time, including world-famous Studio Ghibli and Makoto Shinkai anime as well as the most recent flicks popular, particularly among Japanese audiences. Unlike TV anime series, which have multiple episodes, an anime film has a single tale that takes no more than 2-3 hours to see.

Spirited Away

best japanese anime movies

Spirited Away Poster provided the photo.

Spirited Away is a timeless classic that combines current Japanese sensibilities with old Japanese myths and legends. A family on their way to a new house stumbles into an apparently abandoned theme park, launching their daughter into a bizarre ghost world as she attempts to save her parents.

Along the trip, she meets numerous extraordinary beings who either aid or hinder her mission. Spirited Away, like every other Studio Ghibli film, is a visual marvel. The outstanding voice acting and stunning animation entice you into this incredible adventure. Please keep in mind that the Ghibli Museum is a must-see attraction in Mitaka City, Tokyo. You may walk from Mitaka Station to the museum through Inokashira Park in around 20 minutes.

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Totoro, My Neighbor

“My Neighbor Totoro” is a fantasy film about family. Another Studio Ghibli classic, this is a delightful film. A family moves into a new home and meets the friendly nature spirits of the neighborhood.
They then discover more about the unusual world of the ghost and use their assistance to solve their own difficulties. The film is sweet, sad, amusing, and terrifying at times. It’s a lovely story for both young and old.

The Grave of the Fireflies

best japanese anime movies

Grave of the Fireflies is a well-known and darker anime film. During the final months of World War II, a pair of siblings strive to survive. This is a difficult film to see and should not be shown to small children. It depicts loss after loss and enormous quantities of human pain.

The film has been interpreted in a variety of ways, most notably as an anti-war film, however, the director denies this. This is a really unpleasant picture that is a fantastic introduction for anyone interested in seeing how the often fun medium of anime can be utilized to represent darker subjects.

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Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke is a wonderful and sweeping epic that chronicles the story of a young cursed prince’s exile into a forest in the midst of a deadly battle between ancient spirits and industrializing humanity.

In many ways, the film is sympathetic to both sides, and the English voice cast is superb. This film, another fantastic gift from Studio Ghibli, is filled with romance and adventure. Even if you are not a fan of anime or animated movies, you should watch this film if you are looking for an epic fantasy film.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

best japanese anime movies


Kiki, an apprentice witch, starts a delivery service by broom. The film follows her through different disasters. It’s a lighthearted coming-of-age story. It’s a joy to watch Kiki mature and learn as a person and as a witch (witches are really charming in this film’s world).

This is yet another film from Studio Ghibli, and you can sense their influence in the high quality of the animation and narrative. It’s an excellent film for children, especially since the major characters are themselves, youngsters, learning their way in the world. This intriguing animated picture is available on DVD here.

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Sky Castle

Studio Ghibli made its debut with this wonderful epic. We are introduced to a bizarre world consisting of air pirates and flying cities, where we accompany a young couple in their quest to protect a magical crystal from the hands of an ambitious and cruel man. The journey takes many unexpected turns before concluding brilliantly. This is a thrilling adventure, attractive, and action-packed animated picture.

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