Top 43 Best Anime Movies

In the art of animation, the Japanese is one of the most famous and successful for mixing the old with the modern. The years go by and they never make the move from 2D to 3D, but mix different elements within the same canvas. In this list we will see the highlights of Japanese cinema, with animations that marked a before and after in the world of anime. Let’s get started!

1. Akira (1988)

akira anime movies

Genre: Action, Military, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Horror, Supernatural
Premiere: July 16, 1988
Director: Otomo Katsuhiro

A young psychic causes an explosion in Tokyo, sparking World War III in 2019. Now, a restored version of the city known as Neo-Tokyo is filled with gang violence and anti-government terrorism.

In this place, Shoutaro Kaneda is the leader of “the Capsules”, a group of misfits known for riding custom motorcycles and always in conflict with their rivals, “the Clowns”.

Shoutaro’s best friend, Tetsuo Shima, has an accident after an encounter with an individual with supernatural powers who escaped from a government institution.

During this encounter, Tetsuo discovers hidden abilities that he begins to develop. Meanwhile, the government seeks to quarantine it to prevent the power that once destroyed the city from wreaking havoc again.

2. Your Name (2016)

Your Name Peliculas Anime

Genre: Romance, Supernatural, Drama, School
Premiere: August 26, 2016
Director: Makoto Shinkai

Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana are two sides of the same coin. Mitsuha is a country girl who has been dreaming all her life of moving to the prosperous city unknown to her. While Taki is a dedicated and hard-working student who dreams of having a future in architecture.

Their daily lives are interrupted when one day, Mitsuha wakes up in a room that is not hers, and discovers that she is living her dream: she is in Tokyo. But seeing himself in her mirror, he realizes that it is no longer her, but a young man whom she does not know (Taki). On the other hand, Taki gets the same surprise.

They both have to deal with not interfering too much in each other’s lives and try not to let their close ones notice the exchange, but to solve the mishap they are in, they must first find each other.

3. Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away Anime Movies

Genre: Drama, Adventure, Supernatural
Premiere: July 20, 2001
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Chihiro Ogino is a spoiled, stubborn and innocent girl who is not so interested in the amusement park that her parents discover during their move. When Chihiro begins to notice that the place is not what it seems at nightfall, it is already very late.

She is alone, because her parents turned into pigs by eating a banquet that did not belong to them. Her family and her inadvertently moved to the spirit world. Now the little girl must try to live with these beings and gain her trust if she wants them to help her save her family and that everyone comes out of her unharmed.

4. Perfect Blue (1997)

Perfect Blue Peliculas Anime

Genre: Drama, Psychological Horror
Premiere: February 28, 1998
Director: Satoshi Kon

J-pop idol group CHAM! He has been gaining fame among his fans and followers for two years, but good things always come to an end. A member of the group, the young Mima Kirigoe, decides to leave the group to become an actress.

This decision proves to be a challenge for the girl, since her life takes an unexpected turn once she leaves her group. Trying to outgrow her good-girl image of her, she accepts a role in a crime drama, and her job becomes increasingly demanding on her and her manager, Rumi Hidaka.

But as if this were not enough, Mima has an obsessive stalker who does not accept that the girl has left her idol image behind . The group of hers who left her seems to be doing much better without her, and an anonymous website begins to steal her identity in a very detailed way. All this, added to her stress, makes Mima begin to lose the distinction between fantasy and reality, and puts her mental and physical health at risk.

5. A Silent Voice (2016)

A Silent Voice Peliculas Anime

Genre: Drama, School
Premiere: September 17, 2016
Director: Naoko Yamada

Shouya Ishida used cruelty and teasing to get rid of his boredom as a child. When Shouko Nishimiya, a hearing-impaired girl, joins her class, Shouya and her classmates select her as an easy target.

When Nishimiya loses an expensive hearing aid due to bullying from her peers, the girl’s mother notifies the school and transfers her. Those who supported Shouya by bullying her now turn against her when the girl is gone, and Shouya ends up alone and isolated from the rest of her class.

Now in his third year of high school, Shouya is still haunted by his misdeeds as a child. Filled with regrets, he decides to seek forgiveness from the person he hurt the most: Shouko Nishimiya.

6. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Howl's Moving Castle Anime Movies

Genre: Romance, Drama, Supernatural
Premiere: November 20, 2004
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

That chewing, smoking castle that never stops walking is the home of the famous wizard Howl. He is infamous for his magical abilities and his popularity with women. In Sophie Hatter’s town there is a lot of talk about him, but she, being the daughter of a hatter, does not expect much from her future and dedicates herself to working taking care of her father’s store.

Sophie’s simple life is turned upside down when the wizard Howl rescues her from a sticky situation, but this brings her more problems. A jealous witch places a curse on Sophie that turns her into an old woman. Now the girl just wants to return to normal, but to do so, she must accompany Howl and his eccentric companions in her howl’s moving castle, while a war threatens the only home she knows.

7. Princess Mononoke (1997)

Princess Mononoke Movies Anime

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Released: July 12, 1994
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

After saving an Emishi village from a demon boar, Prince Ashitaka’s arm is cursed by the creature. This grants him demon powers, but drains his health each time he uses them.

Ashitaka decides to search for a cure, but on his journey he encounters the conflict in the city of Iron, where Lady Eboshi wants to urbanize the town. This will deforest the forest and threaten the life of the creatures that live there.

The holy spirits are furious at the destruction the humans have brought them, and Princess San is their spokesperson. Ashitaka tries to find a harmony between both sides, while he fights with the demonic power that is slowly consuming him.

8. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Ghost in the Shell Peliculas Anime

Genre: Action, Mecha, Police, Psychological, Science Fiction
Premiere: November 18, 1995
Director: Mamoru Oshii

It is the year 2029, and the city of Niihama has become a metropolis with highly advanced technologies. Due to the improvement in cybernetic science, many citizens are able to replace their body parts with robotic parts.

The world is more connected than ever before, and section 9 public safety is charged with fighting corruption, terrorism, and other threats that come with globalization. In section 9 is Motoko Kusanagi, who handles the case of the hacker known only as the “Puppeteer”. The body of this criminal is entirely cybernetic, which gives him unparalleled powers.

9. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Movies Anime

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Romance, Science Fiction
Premiere: July 15, 2006
Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Makoto Konno is about to graduate from high school, but is struggling to decide what to do with his future.

Between enduring pressure from his teachers and spending time with his friends, Makoto finds that he now has the ability to leap through time. The story follows the young woman as she becomes familiar with her newfound power.

10. The Boy and the Beast (2015)

The boy and the beast Movies Anime

Genre: Adventure, Supernatural, Drama
Premiere: July 11, 2015
Director: Mamoru Hosoda

When Kyuta, a young orphan living on the streets of Shibuya, enters a universe full of beasts, he is adopted by Kumatetsu, a rough-and-tumble fighting beast looking for the perfect apprentice. Despite their constant bickering, Kyuta and Kumatetsu begin training together and form a close family bond.

11. Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

Tokyo Godfathers Peliculas Anime

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Premiere: November 8, 2003
Director: Satoshi Kon

It’s the day before Christmas, and three homeless friends experience their own Christmas miracle. Searching a dumpster for a Christmas present, they discover a newborn baby.

Despite having nothing, the three friends keep the baby and name her Kiyoko, which means “pure”. The three protagonists embark on a search for Kiyoko’s mother, based on what they know about her from her belongings they found her with.

12. Paprika (2006)

Paprika Movies Anime

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Psychological, Science Fiction, Thriller
Premiere: November 25, 2005
Director: Satoshi Kon

After losing the DC Mini, which allows people to record and view their own dreams, three scientists go on a quest with a police inspector and a “fairy” named Paprika to find who stole it.

They will try to identify the thief in a fight of psyches, since little by little they are crossing the thin line between reality and dreams.

13. The Wolf Children (2012)

The Wolf Children Movies Anime

Genre: Fantasy, Slice of Life
Premiere: July 21, 2012
Director: Mamoru Hosoda

The story follows Hana, a young woman who falls in love with a mysterious boy who turns out to be a werewolf, the last of his kind. The couple stays together despite the difficulties, and when Hana becomes pregnant, they decide to raise the children together.

After an accident, Hana loses her crush and is left alone with Ame and Yuki, two little boys who enjoy switching between their human and wolf forms alike.

Hana has to deal with these little ones alone, and the story is heartwarming and realistic as they move into the country. With such a vast world around them, these little ones begin to question their nature and their deepest animal instincts.

14. The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)

The Tale of Princess Kaguya Movies Anime

Genre: History, Fantasy
Released: November 23, 2013
Director: Isao Takahata

A humble farmer cutting bamboo finds a nymph within the branches, and he brings her home to show her to his wife. Amazed, the couple watch as the nymph transforms into a baby, and they both adopt her as her daughter.

They give her the name Kaguya, convinced that this young woman will one day be a princess, and finding a fortune inside another branch of bamboo, the father moves to the capital to give her the life of a princess that Kaguya deserves.

15. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Grave of the Fireflies Movies Anime

Genre: Historical Drama
Released: April 16, 1988
Director: Isao Takahata

Setsuko and Seita are a sibling couple dealing with the ravages of war in Japan. After losing their mother during a bombing, they move to live with relatives who cannot take care of them, and decide to go on an adventure together where they only depend on each other to survive.

16. Metropolis (2001)

Metropolis Movies Anime

Genre: Adventure, Supernatural, Drama
Release: May 26, 2001
Director: Rintaro

Metropolis is a story that highlights the importance of emotions and how they separate humans from everything else. The protagonists are a young man and his uncle, who is a private investigator.

The story takes place in a distant future where humans and robots live together, but not harmoniously. Many robots are forced to live underground and are killed for entering areas where they are not authorized. They are a kind of servants for the human race. The protagonist meets a robot named Tima and the story follows the development of their friendship and relationship.

17. Ninja Scroll (1997)

Ninja Scroll Movies Anime

Genre: Adventure, Historical, Horror, Supernatural, Romance, Samurai, Fantasy
Released: June 5, 1993
Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri

The inhabitants of the Shimoda town have been dying due to a plague. The local government, the Tokugawa clan, send a group of ninjas to investigate, but a mysterious force kills them. The sole survivor is a woman named Kagerou, who is taken prisoner. A mercenary named Jubei rescues her, but her interest in the mission she wants to accomplish, and her cause, is temporary.

18. Millennium Actress (2002)

Millennium Actress Peliculas Anime

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Historical, Romance
Premiere: September 14, 2002
Director: Satoshi Kon

The Ginei film studio is planned for demolition after the millennium. Former employee and filmmaker Genya Tachibana decides to honor the occasion with a commemorative documentary for the company’s star, Chiyoko Fujiwara. She was the favorite actress during the Shouwa era. Chiyoko’s story takes you on a journey through Japan’s cinematic history that transcends the boundaries of reality.

19. Summer Wars (2009)

Summer Wars Peliculas Anime

Genre: Science Fiction, Comedy
Premiere: August 1, 2009
Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Kenji Koiso is a math genius who accepts a summer job in the hometown of the girl he likes, Nagano. When he arrives, he discovers that his family has gathered to celebrate the 90th birthday of the family’s matriarch.

Natsuki, his girlfriend, asks him to pretend to be her fiancé, and among this confusion, Kenji will try to solve a mathematical equation that causes a parallel world to collide with the earth.

20.5 centimeters per second (2007)

5 centimeters per second Movies Anime

Genre: Slice of Life, Drama, Romance
Premiere: March 3, 2007
Director: Makoto Shinkai

The story is told in interconnected segments. We follow a young man named Takaki through life, where cruel winters, technology, and adult obligations converge to test the delicacy of love.

21. Hiroshima (1983)

Hiroshima Movies Anime

Genre: Drama, Historical
Released: July 21, 1983
Director: Mori Masaki

Gen and his family live in the city of Hiroshima as Japan draws ever closer to the end of World War II. Gen’s father has begun to believe that the war cannot be won, earning the anger and indifference of the town, and alienating him from his neighbors. Cut off by local merchants, food becomes scarce for Gen and his family. However, these concerns begin to fade as the American military launches its final assault on Japan with its most terrifying weapon.

22. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion (1997)

Neon Genesis Evangelion The End of Evangelion Peliculas Anime

Genre: Sci-Fi, Psychological, Drama, Mecha
Released: July 19, 1997
Director: Hideaki Anno

After defeating the last Angel, Shinji Ikari enters a deep depression that influences his decision to accept the existence of humans, or give up his individuality. Meanwhile, Nerv is engaged, with Gendou Ikari and Rei Ayanami at the center. They look to Lilith for the answer to their ideals and the future they have planned for the world.

The End of Evangelion is the true ending that replaces the controversial attempt that Neon Genesis Evangelion bestowed on its viewers. This is how an alternative version of the events is born, complementing or completely supplanting episode 25 and 26 of the series.

23. Castle in the Sky (1986)

Castle in the Sky Movies Anime

Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Released: August 2, 1986
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

A boy bumps into a mysterious young woman who has just floated down from the sky. The young woman named Sheeta was persecuted by pirates, the army and secret government agents. To help her escape from her, they begin an adventure involving different airships, searching for Sheeta’s identity in a floating castle of a lost civilization.

24. Memory of Marnie (2014)

The Memory of Marnie Movies Anime

Genre: Drama, Mystery
Premiere: August 2, 1986
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Anna is a 12-year-old girl who suffers from severe asthma. The doctors treating her decide to send her to the country to get some fresh air. There, she dedicates herself entirely to her hobby of illustrating, but one day, walking through the countryside, she discovers a mysterious mansion that seems uninhabited. When Marnie, a young blonde, appears to leave that place, she gives him more questions than answers about the mansion and its origins.

25. In the Forest of Firefly Light (2011)

In the Forest of the Light of the Fireflies Movies Anime

Genre: Drama, Romance, Supernatural
Premiere: September 17, 2011
Director: Takahiro Oomori

Also known as Hotarubi no Mori e . Hotaru Takegawa has spent her entire life listening to the story of a Mountain God. At six years old, she decides to explore the ancient forest of the story when she goes to visit her uncle. Hotaru is lost, and desperate for help from her, she finds her a masked forest spirit named Gin. The girl cannot touch him, because she will disappear, but despite this, she helps her out of the forest.

Gin makes Hotaru promise not to come back, but she ignores him and promises her a gift when she returns. The years go by, and Gin and Hotaru grow closer despite being separated by distance and the spirit world. The problem arises when they begin to develop romantic feelings for each other, which makes the strict no-touch rule a real test.

26. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Movies Anime

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Premiere: March 11, 1984
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

In the distant future, humanity destroyed the Earth with “the seven days of fire”. Now, few human settlements remain in it. One of them is the Valley of the Wind, where a princess named Nausicaä tries to understand, rather than destroy, the toxic jungle that surrounds her.

27. The anthem of the heart (2015)

The anthem of the heart Movies Anime

Genre: Drama, Romance, School
Premiere: September 19, 2015
Director: Tatsuyuki Nagai

Jun Naruse was a talkative girl who didn’t think much before saying what she sees or what she believes. Because of this, she destroys her parents’ relationship when she finds out her dad is having an affair and innocently mentions it to her mother. Unable to bear the blame for this event, she has an apparition of hers: a magical egg that seals her lips and promises that only then will she be able to allow everyone to have a happy ending.

Already in high school, Naruse is still unable to speak without feeling a searing pain in her stomach. But her predicament is about to be put to the test when she is selected to lead a musical for the school, where she discovers that perhaps the curse of the egg doesn’t apply if she is singing. After meeting the kind and talented Takumi Sakagami and hearing him sing, her desire to express herself becomes overwhelming.

28. The Garden of Words (2013)

The Garden of Words Movies Anime

Genre: Romance, Drama, Slice of Life
Premiere: May 31, 2013
Director: Makoto Shinkai

Takao Akizuki has a dream: he wants to go into the shoe business. One rainy morning he decides to skip class to design shoes in a beautiful garden. In that place he meets Yukari Yukino, a beautiful woman. Takao offers to make him new shoes, and they begin to meet repeatedly during the rainy season.

Without realizing it, they become supportive of each other where their company eases their worries. But when the rain begins to disperse, the relationship they have established will have to be tested.

29. Vampire Hunter D (2000)

Vampire Hunter D Movies Anime

Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Horror, Drama, Romance, Fantasy
Premiere: August 25, 2000
Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri

In the distant future, vampires rule the night, but their numbers are being decimated by bounty hunters. One of them is D, the half human and vampire. When a young member of a wealthy family is kidnapped by the vampire Meier Link, they hire D and the Marcus brothers to rescue her from her. In a race against time, D and the brothers battle demons and monsters to save the girl, and begin to suspect that she wasn’t taken against her will.

30. Maquia: An Immortal Love Story (2018)

Maquia An Immortal Love Anime Movies

Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Premiere: February 24, 2018
Director: Mari Okada

Maquia is a woman who lived in the land of Iolph, but due to a special condition that her people have, she is not able to age. After the war ends her prospects and her future, Maquia is left alone and aimless. In a forest she meets Wasteland, a young human and mortal. Maquia watches him grow up and develops a relationship with her former protégé, but eventually they will have to deal with the idea that Maquia doesn’t age while Erial does.

31. Whispers of the Heart (1995)

1 - Best Anime Movies - Whispers of the Heart

Genre: Slice of Life, Drama, Romance
Premiere: July 15, 1995
Director: Hayao Miyazaki, Yoshifumi Kondou

Shizuku is a girl who is on vacation and dreams of finding a talent that she is passionate about. One day, she notices a curious cat on a train, and she chases after him. This fateful encounter leads her to Seiji, a young boy determined to fulfill her dreams, and to the Baron, a magical cat figure who teaches her to listen to the whispers of her heart. Now, Shizuku’s adventures will surpass even her most fantastical stories.

32. Weather With You (2019)

2 - The best anime movies - Weather with you

Genre: Slice of Life, Drama, Romance, Fantasy
Premiere: July 19, 2019
Director: Makoto Shinkai

Hodaka is a high school student who decides to move from the island he lives on to Tokyo. However, his life is not a fantasy, and he soon runs out of money. After getting a job at a dodgy magazine, he meets a young woman named Hina, a fateful encounter in such a big city. As he gets to know the girl better, he discovers that he has the power to change the weather and clear the rain.

33. The Wind Rises (2013)

3 - Best Anime Movies - The Wind Rises

Genre: Drama, Historical, Romance
Premiere: July 20, 2013
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Jirou Horikoshi has always dreamed of being a pilot, but his eyes have never cooperated. Despite being nearsighted, he doesn’t give up on his dream related to airplanes, and enrolls in Tokyo Imperial University to study aeronautical engineering. After his arrival coincides with the Kanto earthquake in 1923, he meets Naoko Satomi, a woman who will change his life for the better.

34. In this corner of the world (2016)

4 - The best anime movies - In this corner of the world

Genre: Historical, Drama
Released: February 24, 2018
Director: Sunao Katabuchi

This story follows a young woman named Suzu Urano, who in the year 1944 moves to Kure, Hiroshima, to live with her husband’s family. When World War II begins, Suzu’s life is thrown into chaos. Her perspective, will to live and her bravery take us by the hand in a moving story during one of the saddest and most violent times in Japanese history.

35. Kiki: Home deliveries (1989)

5 - Best Anime Movies - Kiki: Home Deliveries

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Magic, Fantasy
Premiere: July 29, 1989
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Kiki dreams of becoming a real witch. Together with her chatty kitty Jiji, she will do her best during the adventure of her life. When she lands in a small town, she decides to set up a delivery service with her broom, and this process teaches her about the independence and responsibility of being an adult and growing up.

36. I want to eat your pancreas (2018)

6 - The best anime movies - I want to eat your pancreas

Genre: Slice of Life, Drama, Romance
Premiere: September 1, 2018
Director: Shinichiro Ushijima

One afternoon in April, recluse Haruki Shiga is visiting a hospital, and comes across a curious manuscript. In it, the life of a terminal patient with a pancreas disease that will soon take her life is narrated. Inquiring about the manuscript, he discovers that it belongs to her classmate, the popular Sakura Yamauchi. Now, Haruki is the only one who knows his secret.

37. Josee, the tiger and the fishes (2020)

7 - The best anime movies - Josee, the tiger and the fishes

Genre: Slice of Life, Drama, Romance
Premiere: December 25, 2020
Director: Koutaro Tamura

Tsuneo and Josee meet by chance on a morning walk. Tsuneo is a young university student who wants with all his might to fulfill his dreams, and Josee is a young woman who has given in to them because of her condition. She is confined to a wheelchair, she doesn’t like to go out, she lives shut up in her house with her books and paintings and she doesn’t have a social life. When Tsuneo helps her during a mishap, Josee’s grandmother hires him as her caretaker.

38. In the same class (2016)

8 - The best anime movies - In the same class

Genre: Slice of Life, Romance, School, BL
Premiere: February 20, 2016
Director: Shouko Nakamura

When Hikaru Kusakabe, a high school student with a passion for music, sees that Rihito Sajo, the most diligent boy in the class, refuses to sing for the choir, he is shocked. He finally found the weakness in him. When he finds out that Rihito is not refusing, but that he feels insecure in his ability, he offers to tutor him for the project. Thanks to this interaction, they establish a relationship that, in Hikaru’s case, develops into an almost irresistible physical attraction.

39. Promare (2019)

9 - Best Anime Movies - Promare

Genre: Action, Mecha, Sci-Fi
Release: March 24, 2019
Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi

Thirty years have passed since the appearance of the Burnish, mutant beings that have destroyed humanity with their fire. Now, a new group of mutants will try to threaten the fragile stability that remains, and it will be Galo Thymos’s job to confront them. This story narrates the epic enmity between two groups that fight for their ideals.

40. Redline (2009)

10 - Best Anime Movies - Redline

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Sports
Released: August 14, 2009
Director: Takeshi Koike

Redline is the most dangerous car racing tournament in the universe. It takes place once every five years, and JP has always dreamed of participating. He needs to test the limits of his highly modified car. But he will face government groups and criminal mafias who want prestige for themselves. Among these contestants, JP will meet Sonoshee, a captivating host who could spell doom for him.

41. Violet Evergarden: The Movie (2020)

1 - Violet Evergarden The Movie

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Slice of Life
Premiere: September 18, 2020
Director: Taichi Ishidate

With the invention of the telephone, the work of the “Auto Memory Dolls” is becoming increasingly irrelevant. However, Violet continues to gain fame thanks to her work writing letters, but her only wish has not been fulfilled.

Likewise, thanks to his time interacting with human beings and their emotions, little by little he will learn what the love that his beloved Gilbert once professed for him means. Is it possible that the man who swore to love her is still alive?

42. Fruits Basket: Prelude (2022)

2 - Fruits Basket Prelude

Genre: Drama, Romance
Release: February 18, 2021
Director: Yoshihide Ibata

This film summarizes the events of the series, as well as having a special segment dedicated to Tohru Honda’s parents, Kyoko and Katsuya.

43. My Neighbor Totoro (1998)

3 - My Neighbor Totoro

Genre: Adventure, Supernatural
Premiere: April 16, 1998
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Set in 1950s Japan, a man decides to move to the countryside with his two daughters to be closer to his sick wife. There, the girls embark on adventures that soon turn into something magical thanks to the presence of a curious animal called Totoro. This completely harmless being will accompany them to nurture their imagination and help them overcome a difficult moment.