Top Anime Movies: Explore the Best of Animation!

Welcome to our guide to the top anime movies! If you’re a fan of anime or just curious about this vibrant and dynamic art form, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through the best anime movies across various genres, categories, and time periods.

From classic films that defined the genre to new releases that are taking the anime world by storm, we’ve got you covered.

must-watch anime movies

Whether you’re looking for romantic anime movies to tug at your heartstrings, action-packed thrillers to get your adrenaline pumping, or thought-provoking dramas that explore the human condition, there’s an anime movie out there for you. With so much to discover, let’s dive in and explore what makes anime movies so unique and captivating.

Key Takeaways

  • We’ll be exploring the best anime movies across various genres, categories, and time periods.
  • Anime movies offer a unique and captivating art form.
  • From classic films to new releases, there’s an anime movie out there for everyone.

What Makes an Anime Movie Stand Out?

Anime movies are animated films that originate from Japan. What makes anime movies unique is the artistry, technical skill, and cultural influences that contribute to their appeal. The artistic style of anime draws inspiration from traditional Japanese art, manga (Japanese comics), and Western animation.

One distinctive feature of anime is its use of vibrant colors and attention to detail. Scenes are often animated with meticulous precision, showcasing the unique characteristics of each character and environment. The animation, combined with compelling storytelling, creates an immersive viewing experience that captivates audiences.

Another notable characteristic of anime movies is their often complex narratives, which explore deep themes such as morality, identity, and the human condition. Anime movies often utilize storytelling techniques such as flashbacks, nonlinear narratives, and unreliable narrators to create a sense of intrigue and mystery.

Furthermore, anime movies are often steeped in Japanese cultural traditions and folklore. They frequently incorporate elements of Japanese mythology and historical events, adding to the richness and depth of the storytelling. This cultural influence has also allowed anime to develop its own unique genres, such as mecha (giant robots), shonen (young male protagonists), and magical girls.

Overall, what makes anime movies stand out is their ability to combine stunning animation, captivating storytelling, and cultural richness to create a viewing experience that is truly unique.

anime movies

Must-Watch Anime Movies of All Time

Over the years, the anime movie industry has produced a vast array of exceptional films that have left a lasting impact on audiences. Here are some of the must-watch anime movies that have contributed to the medium’s success and popularity.

Movie TitleGenreOverview
AkiraAction, Sci-FiSet in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, Akira follows the lives of two teenage bikers who become involved in a government conspiracy involving psychic abilities.
Spirited AwayFantasyDirected by acclaimed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away tells the enchanting story of a young girl named Chihiro who finds herself trapped in a surreal and magical world.
Grave of the FirefliesWar, DramaA powerful anti-war film, Grave of the Fireflies portrays the heartbreaking story of two siblings struggling to survive in Japan during the aftermath of World War II.
Your NameRomance, FantasyA beautiful love story that transcends time and space, Your Name follows the lives of two teenagers who inexplicably swap bodies and embark on a journey to find each other.
Ghost in the ShellSci-Fi, ActionSet in a futuristic society where cybernetic technology is the norm, Ghost in the Shell revolves around a team of elite agents investigating a mysterious hacker known as the Puppet Master.

These anime movies have received critical acclaim and are beloved by fans around the world. Whether you’re a long-time anime enthusiast or a newcomer to the medium, these films are sure to captivate and entertain you.

must-watch anime movies

The Best Romantic Anime Movies

When it comes to anime movies, the romance genre is a popular and heartwarming category that has captured the attention of viewers worldwide. These movies offer emotional storytelling, unforgettable characters, and moments that touch the heart and soul.

While there are many romantic anime movies to choose from, some stand out as the best of the best. Here are the top picks:

TitleDirectorRelease Date
Your NameMakoto Shinkai2016
A Silent VoiceNaoko Yamada2016
5 Centimeters per SecondMakoto Shinkai2007
The Garden of WordsMakoto Shinkai2013
Hotarubi no Mori eTakahiro Omori2011
romantic anime movies

Your Name, directed by Makoto Shinkai, is a must-watch romantic anime movie that transcends time and space. The story follows a high school boy and a girl who swap bodies intermittently and must navigate the complexities of each other’s lives.

A Silent Voice, directed by Naoko Yamada, is a heartwarming story of redemption and forgiveness. The movie depicts the relationship between a former bully and the girl he bullied, who stutters and is deaf.

5 Centimeters per Second, also directed by Makoto Shinkai, tells the story of two childhood friends who are separated by distance and time but remain connected through their memories and emotions.

The Garden of Words, also directed by Makoto Shinkai, explores the relationship between a high school student and a woman he meets in a Japanese garden during his school breaks.

Hotarubi no Mori e, directed by Takahiro Omori, is a beautiful and bittersweet story of a girl who cannot touch anyone without causing them harm and the boy who befriends her each summer in the forest.

If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming and emotionally-driven story, these romantic anime movies are sure to deliver. With their stunning animation, unforgettable characters, and inspiring messages, they are a testament to the power of love and human connection.

Classic Anime Movies That Defined the Genre

Classic anime movies have left an indelible mark on the medium, influencing generations of animators, filmmakers, and anime fans. These films are timeless and continue to be celebrated for their artistic achievements, unique storytelling techniques, and groundbreaking animation styles. Here are some of the classic anime movies that have defined the genre:

AkiraKatsuhiro Otomo1988
Grave of the FirefliesIsao Takahata1988
Ghost in the ShellMamoru Oshii1995
Princess MononokeHayao Miyazaki1997
Perfect BlueSatoshi Kon1997

Akira and Grave of the Fireflies, both released in 1988, are considered milestones in the history of anime. Akira was the first anime movie to achieve widespread international success, showcasing the potential of the medium to tell complex stories with mature themes. Grave of the Fireflies, on the other hand, is a heartbreaking portrayal of the human toll of war and has cemented its place in animation history as a masterpiece.

Ghost in the Shell, directed by Mamoru Oshii, explores themes of identity, consciousness, and technology, and has been praised for its philosophical depth and stunning animation. Princess Mononoke, created by Hayao Miyazaki, is a sprawling epic that highlights the conflict between nature and humanity, and features some of the most beautiful animation ever created.

Finally, Perfect Blue, directed by Satoshi Kon, is a psychological thriller that defies expectations and challenges the boundaries of what can be accomplished in animation. Its use of surreal imagery and complex narrative structure have made it a cult classic and an essential entry in the anime canon.

Classic anime movie

Exploring the Latest Anime Movies

For anime fans, keeping up with the latest releases is a must. With so many new anime movies being released each year, it can be difficult to stay on top of all the latest offerings. Here are some of the newest and most popular anime movies that have been released or are scheduled to be released soon:

The Deer King

new anime movies

The Deer King is a stunning new anime movie from Studio Colorido, the same studio behind Penguin Highway and Burn the Witch. The movie follows a young girl named Yumemi as she embarks on a journey through a magical forest in search of the Deer King. The movie has been praised for its beautiful animation and captivating storytelling.

Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop

new anime movies

Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop is a charming romance anime movie that tells the story of a shy boy named Cherry and a cheerful girl named Smile who meet by chance in a shopping mall. The movie has been praised for its unique animation style and heartwarming storyline.

Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train

new anime movies

Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train is the highly anticipated continuation of the popular anime series. The movie follows the main character Tanjiro, his sister Nezuko, and their friends as they board a train in search of a demon terrorizing passengers. The movie has broken box office records in Japan and has been praised for its stunning animation and intense action scenes.


new anime movies

Belle is an upcoming anime movie from acclaimed director Mamoru Hosoda, known for his work on The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Wolf Children. The movie follows a young girl named Suzu who becomes a virtual popstar in a digital world, but struggles with her newfound fame and the pressure to conform to society’s expectations. The movie is set to be released in Japan in July 2021.

These are just a few examples of the latest anime movies that have captured the attention of fans. With so many new releases coming out all the time, there’s always something new and exciting for anime lovers to discover.

Popular Anime Movies with Wide Appeal

Some anime movies have become more than just entertainment; they have become cultural phenomena. These films have achieved worldwide popularity, reaching audiences far beyond the typical anime fanbase. Here are some of the most popular anime movies that have captured the hearts of viewers around the world:

Movie TitleRelease YearGenreBox Office (USD)
Your Name2016Romance/Fantasy$358.3 million
Spirited Away2001Fantasy/Adventure$355.5 million
Princess Mononoke1997Action/Fantasy$159.4 million
Dragon Ball Super: Broly2018Action/Adventure$100 million

Your Name and Spirited Away are undoubtedly two of the most successful anime movies of all time. Both movies have captured the hearts of audiences around the world with their stunning artwork, unforgettable characters, and touching stories. Princess Mononoke, another classic from acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki, is also a fan favorite, combining action and fantasy elements with a deep exploration of environmentalism and human nature. Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a recent addition to the list, breaking box office records and introducing a new generation of fans to the thrilling world of Dragon Ball.

popular anime movies

These movies have not only achieved commercial success but also received critical acclaim in the industry. Their influence on the anime genre and beyond is undeniable, inspiring countless artists, writers, and filmmakers. If you haven’t watched these movies already, now is the perfect time to do so!

Exploring Different Anime Movie Genres

Anime movies span a wide range of genres, and each offers unique and exciting storytelling experiences. Whether you’re into action-packed adventures, heartwarming romances, or spine-chilling horrors, there’s an anime movie out there for you.

Action Anime Movies

Action anime movies are characterized by thrilling fight scenes, high stakes, and dynamic characters. Examples of must-watch action anime movies include:

Movie TitleGenreRelease Year
Ninja ScrollAction/Fantasy/Supernatural1993
My Hero Academia: Two HeroesAction/Superheroes2018
Action anime movies

Fantasy Anime Movies

Fantasy anime movies take viewers on incredible journeys to mystical worlds filled with magical creatures, ancient civilizations, and unforgettable characters. Examples of great fantasy anime movies include:

  • Spirited Away
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Princess Mononoke

Horror Anime Movies

For fans of spine-chilling thrills and macabre stories, horror anime movies offer plenty of scares and suspense. Some of the best horror anime movies to watch include:

  • Perfect Blue
  • Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
  • Tokyo Ghoul: The Movie
Fantasy and horror anime movies

Romantic Anime Movies

Romantic anime movies explore the beauty and complexities of love, often featuring heartwarming stories, compelling characters, and emotional depth. Some of the most beloved romantic anime movies include:

Movie TitleGenreRelease Year
Your NameRomance/Fantasy/Drama2016
5 Centimeters per SecondRomance/Drama2007
Kimi no Na WaRomance/Fantasy/Drama2016

Sci-Fi Anime Movies

Sci-fi anime movies transport viewers to incredible futuristic worlds filled with technological advancements, fascinating scientific concepts, and extraordinary adventures. Some of the best sci-fi anime movies to watch include:

  1. Akira
  2. Ghost in the Shell
  3. Metropolis
Romantic and sci-fi anime movies

These are just a few examples of the many genres that anime movies explore. No matter what your interests are, there’s bound to be an anime movie that will captivate and inspire you.

Highest-Grossing Anime Movies of All Time

While commercial success doesn’t always equate to quality, it’s still worth exploring the anime movies that have generated significant revenue at the box office. These films have not only captivated audiences but have also made a significant impact on the anime industry as a whole. Here are some of the highest-grossing anime movies of all time:

Movie TitleYearBox Office Gross
Your Name2016$358 million
Spirited Away2001$347 million
Weathering with You2019$193 million
Demon Slayer: Mugen Train2020$190 million and counting
Howl’s Moving Castle2004$235 million

These movies have achieved box office success due to various factors, including captivating storylines, stunning visuals, and innovative animation techniques. Moreover, they represent the global appeal of anime movies, transcending cultural and language barriers.

The success of these movies has also contributed to the growth of the anime industry, increasing production budgets and opening up new markets. Their impact is undeniable, and they serve as a testament to the creativity and artistry of the anime medium.

Highest-Grossing Anime Movies of All Time

Anime Movies That Have Won Critical Acclaim

While commercial success is a significant indicator of a movie’s impact and popularity, critical acclaim is a testament to its artistic and storytelling achievements. Here are some anime movies that have received high praise from film critics and industry experts:

TitleYearAwards and Nominations
Your Name2016Nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 89th Academy Awards, Winner of Best Animated Film at the 49th Sitges Film Festival
Spirited Away2001Winner of Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards, Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival, and many more awards
Grave of the Fireflies1988Winner of Best Animated Film at the 12th Yokohama Film Festival and various other awards
A Silent Voice2016Winner of Best Animation Film at the 71st Mainichi Film Awards and the 26th Japan Movie Critics Awards, and many more nominations

These anime movies have demonstrated exceptional storytelling, artistic craftsmanship, and cultural significance that have impressed both audiences and critics alike. They have become timeless works that continue to inspire and captivate viewers, and they have elevated the anime genre to a level of artistic respectability and recognition.

Your Name anime movie scene

Exploring Anime Movies from Different Animation Studios

Anime movies are produced by various animation studios, each with their own unique style and strengths. Here are some recommendations based on the track records of different animation studios:

StudioNoteworthy Works
Kyoto AnimationThe Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, K-On!, A Silent Voice
Studio GhibliSpirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke
BonesFullmetal Alchemist, My Hero Academia, Mob Psycho 100
MadhouseDeath Note, One Punch Man, Akira
Production I.G.Ghost in the Shell, Attack on Titan, Psycho-Pass

These are just a few of the many great animation studios that produce anime movies. Each one has its own unique style and strengths, so be sure to explore their filmographies to discover more great anime movies.

anime movie studios


Anime movies have carved out a unique niche within the world of animation, captivating audiences with their artistry, storytelling techniques, and cultural influences. From classic films to the latest releases, there is no shortage of must-watch anime movies across diverse genres and categories.

Whether you’re a fan of romantic anime movies, action-packed adventures, or critically acclaimed works, there’s an anime movie out there for everyone. Anime studios have created masterpieces that explore themes of love, loss, friendship, and hope, resonating with audiences across the world.

Take a Journey through the World of Anime!

We hope this article has inspired you to explore the vast and diverse world of anime movies. With so many exceptional works to choose from, there’s never been a better time to join the millions of anime fans worldwide.

Whether you’re new to anime or a seasoned veteran, there’s always something new to discover within the medium. So grab some popcorn, get comfortable, and immerse yourself in the mesmerizing world of anime movies!


Q: What are some keywords related to anime movies?

A: anime movies, best anime movies, popular anime movies, new anime movies, top anime movies, must-watch anime movies, classic anime movies, highest-grossing anime movies, romantic anime movies.

Q: What makes an anime movie stand out?

A: Anime movies stand out due to their unique artistry, storytelling techniques, and cultural influences.

Q: What are some must-watch anime movies of all time?

A: Some must-watch anime movies of all time include a mix of classic and contemporary films that showcase the diversity and excellence of anime storytelling.

Q: Which are the best romantic anime movies?

A: The best romantic anime movies capture the hearts of viewers with emotionally-driven stories, heartwarming relationships, and unforgettable moments.

Q: Which classic anime movies defined the genre?

A: Classic anime movies have shaped the genre and established the foundations for future animated works through timeless stories, groundbreaking animation styles, and influential directors.

Q: What are some of the latest anime movies?

A: The latest anime movies include both upcoming releases and recent releases that have garnered attention and acclaim within the anime world.

Q: Which anime movies are popular with wide appeal?

A: Popular anime movies with wide appeal have gained widespread popularity and have become cultural phenomena within the medium.

Q: What are the different anime movie genres?

A: Anime movies cover a range of genres including action, fantasy, horror, and sci-fi, with recommendations for outstanding films in each genre.

Q: Which are the highest-grossing anime movies of all time?

A: The highest-grossing anime movies have achieved significant financial success, contributing to their box office success and impact on the industry.

Q: Which anime movies have won critical acclaim?

A: Anime movies that have won critical acclaim showcase artistic achievements, storytelling prowess, and cultural significance recognized by experts, critics, and award ceremonies.

Q: What are some anime movies from different animation studios?

A: Explore anime movies produced by different animation studios, each with their unique styles, strengths, and noteworthy works. Recommendations are provided based on the studios’ track records.