An increasing number of anime films are released each year around the world, cementing its place as one of the most popular film genres. As we enter the new decade, it’s time to call a close on one of the greatest anime films ever made, even if it is something that will need to be improved with the passage of time.
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At the modern era, it is customary for anime to be shown on television, but at first, you could only watch anime in the theater. In Japan, the term “anime” was coined in the early 1900s. Studio Ghibli, the studio behind some of the most well-known Japanese anime films, was founded in 1985 and produced its first feature, Castle in the Sky (), in 1986.
In 1937, Walt Disney Productions (Walt Disney Animated Studios) published the first color full-length animation movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the United States. Fans of Walt Disney Studios and its subsidiary, Pixar Animation Studios, may be found on every continent except Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Japanese anime movies are the center of this list, which excludes anime shows that were televised on television. Of course, the TV series’ movie adaptations are meant to be. In this list, you’ll find classics from Studio Ghibli and Makoto Shinkai, as well as new releases that are particularly popular in Japan. In contrast to the many episodes of a TV anime series, an anime film has a single tale that may be completed in 2-3 hours at most.
15. The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
The Castle of Cagliostro ( ), which was released in 1979 as the sequel to Lupin the Third and is widely regarded as Hayao Miyazaki’s debut feature film, was the first of its kind. A casino is robbed by Arsène Lupin III and his sidekick Daisuke Jigen, but they quickly realize that the money they have taken is counterfeit. After that, they travel to the nation of Cagliostro, which appears to be the origin of the fake currency, where they meet the heroine Clarisse.
14. Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998)
Pokémon is now one of the most successful anime and video game series for both adults and children throughout the world, and the first anime film was launched in 1998 with the release of Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back. Ash Ketchum and Pikachu meet Mewtwo, an intentionally created Pokemon, who wonders why he exists in this film. Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution ( EVOLUTION) was remade with the latest technology and released in 2019 as the 22nd Pokemon anime film.
13. Summer Wars (2009)
Released in 2009, Summer Wars () is one of Mamoru Hosoda’s most well-known works. Kenji, a high school student, and his Senpai, Natsuki, who is a year ahead of him, visit Natsuki’s family. Summer Wars is a stark contrast to its predecessors. There is a depiction of rural Japanese culture and customs. The story continues in the virtual reality realm known as OZ at the same time.
12. Wolf Children (2012)
An animated film by Mamoru Hosoda called Wolf Children () was released in 2012. Studio Chizu, which was created by Hosoda himself, produced the film. During her time at Tokyo’s university, Hana encounters a man who has the ability to shift into a wolf. Their children Yuki and Ame have the ability to transform into and back out of wolves as well. As they become older, they’re having more and more internal debates over whether or not they should live as wolves or humans.
11. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Masamune Shiro’s manga inspired the classic anime series Ghost in the Shell. It all began with the release of the first Ghost in the Shell film (GHOST IN THE SHELL / ) in 1995, which spawned the popular anime series.
Mamoru Oshii, one of Japan’s best-known anime filmmakers, directed it. This anime film takes place in the year 2030, when science and technology are at their most advanced. Preventing crime is the primary goal of Public Security Section 9, which includes the chief member, Major Motoko Kusanagi.
10. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train (2020)
Kimetsu no Yaiba, the Demon Slayer The first anime movie adaptation of the Demon Slayer series, Mugen Train ( ), will be released in October, 2020. On Weekly Shonen Jump, a new chapter of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s original manga has just been published in May of 2020. The 26-episode first season of anime has been adapted into a feature film.
Tanjiro, his sister Nezuko, Zenitsu, Inosuke, and Kyojuro Rengoku, the Flame Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps, are the primary characters in this story. Twelve Kizuki and other powerful demons are fighting to save passengers aboard the train.
Drama, Action, Adventure, and Dark Fantasy are all subgenres of the same genre. In charge of the camera: Haruo Sotozaki
9. Nausicaä: Valley of the Wind (1984)
The manga series Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind was first released in 1982 and adapted into an anime film in 1984, incorporating the plots of the first two volumes of the series. Studio Ghibli’s first feature is known as the anime. According to its predecessor animation studio Topcraft, this film was made.
This massive Toxic Jungle, where giant mutant insects thrive, was formed after industrial civilisation was decimated in the catastrophic battle. As the princess of the Valley of the Wind, Nausicaa strives to find a way for humans and nature to coexist in peace.
8. Weathering with You (2019)
Makoto Shinkai’s latest film, Weathering with You (), is one of the year’s most popular anime flicks. By the year 2020, it will have been shown in more than 140 nations and territories. Characters of the anime film are two young people.
Hodaka, a high school student from a distant island in Tokyo, escapes from his parents and heads to the city. In the midst of the bustling metropolis, a little girl named Hina manages to make a living. They meet each other and use her magical talent to manipulate the weather to benefit many others who wish for beautiful weather on significant days like weddings and festivals. There are many topics to consider when reading Weathering with You, such as unusual weather phenomena, child rearing, poverty, and so on.
7. 5 Centimeters per Second (2007)
This is a must-see anime film for followers of Mokoto Shinkai, the new boss of the anime industry. In 2007, it was hailed as the best of his early work. Cherry Blossom, Cosmonaut, and 5 Centimeters per Second are the three short segments of the anime.
The story begins with Takaki, the main character, and the heroine Akari’s first love story in elementary school. The two characters mature and the story reaches its apex in the last episode. There is only the beautiful truth, with no supernatural powers or exciting battles.
6. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Among families around the world, My Neighbor Totoro () is one of Studio Ghibli’s most popular films. Hayao Miyazaki’s fantasy anime was released in theaters in 1988 as part of a double feature with Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies (), another Ghibli Studio Ghibli director.
In the 1950s, Tokorozawa in Saitama Prefecture serves as the scene for My Neighbor Totoro. One day, Satsuki and her family decide to go to a small village where they would live with their father Tatsuo and her younger sister Mei. Her mother is being cared for in a nearby hospital. Totoro, a mythical monster, appears one day to greet the children. Start with this if you have never seen a Studio Ghibli film.
5. Princess Mononoke (1997)
The 1997 release of Princess Mononoke () was the highest grossing movie in Japan at the time. It’s also regarded as one of the best Japanese movies in the world. It is said that Hayao Miyazaki, the film’s director, spent nearly two decades developing the story and bringing it to the screen.
During the Muromachi period (1336-1573), Ashitaka, the prince of a tribe, and San, an orphan reared by wolves, are the film’s two protagonists. People and environment are at odds, and Ashitaka is working to find a solution.
4. Akira (1988)
Manga by Katsuhiro Otomo and the anime film adaptation of Akira () were released in 1988 respectively. This anime film was based on the three volumes of the manga series that had been published by 1988, but its conclusion was completely different from what was found in the manga.
Due to the commencement of World War III in 2019, Tokyo has been reduced to rubble. Bosozoku group leader Shotaro Kaneda and his childhood friend Tetsuo Shima are the two primary protagonists of Akira. After a motorcycle accident, Tetsuo obtains a supernatural power, and this is where the narrative begins.
In 2019, this anime film resurfaced because it prophesied that Tokyo would host the 2020 Olympic Games.
3. Your Name (2016)
In 2016, Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name () was hailed as the best anime of the year both locally and internationally. Between 2016 and 2018, the popular anime film was shown in more than 120 countries and territories, making it the most successful Japanese anime film at the foreign box office.
Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu are the protagonists of the story, which takes place in Tokyo and the countryside. At some point in the future, they find that their bodies have been swapped with each other. Despite the peculiar situation, Taki and Mitsuha are learning more about each other.
Both Tokyo and Takayama in Central Japan were heavily influenced by real-life events when creating the fictional city of Your Name.
Fans will want to visit the locations shown in the film because of how well Makoto Shinkai captures the real world.
2. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (), directed by Mamoru Hosoda, was one of the most significant works of Japanese animation in 2006. Based on Yasutaka Tsutsui’s best-selling 1967 sci-fi novel, this fantasy anime film depicts a different plot than the novel’s one.
The anime takes place 20 years after the events depicted in the novel. The three primary protagonists of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time are all high school students: Makoto, Kosuke, and Chiaki. This anime depicts a typical high school student’s pursuits of love, schoolwork, and a future job path. Makoto, on the other hand, has noticed that she has the ability to time travel.
Because of its uniqueness and novelty when it was first introduced to anime audiences, time travel is now a common plot device for many of the genre’s most beloved works.
1. Spirited Away (2001)
What is the greatest anime film ever made? Spirited Away (), Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s 2001 masterwork, is deserving. Since its premiere in 1995, it has been the highest-grossing film ever made in Japan, winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in the 75th Academy Awards.
It is revealed that the witchy curse has converted Chihiro’s parents into pigs when the 10-year-old girl and her parents wandered into an unfamiliar land. In order to support them, she resolves to labor hard in the bathhouse under the authority of the witch Yubaba, and she takes on the alias Sen.
In addition to Chihiro, the cast includes the major character Haku, the twin witches Yubaba and Zeniba, and the enigmatic beast Kaonashi (No-Face) (Sen). Depending on how you look at it, there are many different ways to enjoy Spirited Away.