Everybody loves anime movies, and I know I can't be the only one who has trouble choosing which one to watch next. There are an infinite amount of options, from the beloved Studio Ghibli films, to the beautiful Makoto Shinkai films.There's something for everyone! Here is a list of my favourites, and for you to watch on your next movie night.
Starting off strong with A Silent Voice. It's well known and liked for a reason. The story revolves around a girl with impaired hearing who is bullied constantly in her younger school years, who reunites with her past bullies in suprising ways. The story deals with coming of age, mental health, and living with disabilities. It also deals with heavier themes such as suicide, bullying, and depression. Overall this is a beautiful, eye-opening film that has amazing visuals and conveys a deep message, but beware, be prepared to shed a few tears watching this!
This touching movie about finding one's path in life features Hana, a woman who married a werewolf, and has his children. He eventually dies, leaving her to care for their two half-human, half-werewolf children, Ame and Yuki. This is a great film which includes both lighthearted and funny scenes, as well as a healthy balance of emotional and sad themes.
Spirited Away is one of Studio Ghibli's most well known and liked film of all time. It follows Chihiro, a 10 year old girl, who along with her parents, find their way into the spirit world. When her parents turn into pigs, she meets Haku, a boy who says he will help her escape, and save her parents. To do this, she gets a job at a bathhouse specifically for spirits. This movie is perfect for people of all ages, and will stun you with its whimsical worlds, magic, and amazing animation.
19 year old Hinako Mukaimizu moves to a town by the ocean for college, and to do what she loves: surfing. She is rescued by Minato Higedeshi from her apartment, which caught fire from fireworks. They spend time together, and eventually fall in love. However, Minato dies from a tragic accident, and Hinako is overcome by grief, and must learn to find joy again after his loss. Ride Your Wave is a truly touching story that has amazing visuals, and one I would recommend to all.
Colorful is a beautiful film that will be sure to tug at your heartstrings. It tells the story of a dejected soul, who upon reaching the train station of death, is informed that he is "lucky," and will get a second chance of life. He gets put into the body of Makoto Kobayashi, a 14 year old boy who recently commited suicide. Watched over by Purpura, a spirit in the body of a little boy, this soul must find out his greatest mistake in his past life before the his designated time of 6 months in Makoto's body runs out. This movie about finding one's true meaning in life will bring tears to your eyes.
Mitsuha and Taki are two teenagers who live polar opposite lives. Mitsuha lives in a small, tight-knit town that has many traditions and history. Taki however, lives in modern day Tokyo, complete with high rise buildings, modern technology, and cafes galore. The two share a special connection, where they occasionally swap bodies, and must figure out how to fit into each others lives without raising suspicion. One day, Taki seeks Mitsuha out to meet her in person, and finds out that they are tangled in something much more deep and complex. This film was a literal piece of art. The breathtaking visuals, and both funny and emotional scenes will bring tears to your eyes from just the sheer amount of beauty is has.
Doukyuussei is a very nice love story based off of a manga series. It's about two classmates who are pretty much the opposites of each other, a rock band guy who is carefree, and an honours student. Highly recommend this one as it is one if my favourite movies!
Dr. Atsuko Chiba, codename Paprika, works with a machine that allows therapists to enter their patient's dreams. When this machine is stolen, she has to get it back, or it will destroy people's minds. This Sci-fi, psycological thriller is based off the book by Yasutaka Tsutsui will absolutely blow your mind.
31 years ago, the government of Japan dropped an atomic bomb on Tokyo after experiments go wrong. 31 years later, in 2019, a biking gang leader, Kaneda, must save Tetsuo, his friend from a secret government project. Truly an amazing movie, and one I would consider a classic. Filled with action, and would recommend to anyone who likes Sci-fi or action movies.
One day, whilst in a hospital waiting room, an aloof boy discovers a diary. One that belongs to one of his classmates, a popular girl named Sakura Yamaguchi. He discovers that she is suffering from a fatal pancreatic illness and that her days are numbered. The story tells how he accompanies her during her last days.
This one is definitely a tear-jerker. I for one, did cry watching this, so be prepared for the tears.
The story follows Mima Kirigoe, who retires from her musical career as a member of a J-pop group to become an actress. She becomes a victim of stalking, online threats, and murders happening all around her, she begins to lose her grip on reality.
This is what I would call a true psychological thriller. The line between fantasy and reality is blurred to the point where you, the viewer, will even question what is real and what is not. This movie is for older people, as it deals with things such as murder, stalking, mental health problems (mainly psychosis) and rape.
Hello World tells the story of a man that travels back in time from the year 2027 to correct a bad decision.
I never see anyone talking about this film and we need to change that. An underated masterpiece.
Tokyo is experiencing heavy downpours that disrupt the work and lives of everyone living there. Amidst these people are runaway high-school student Hodaka Morishima, who struggles to support himself financially. At the same time, and orphan, Hina Amano struggles to sustain both herself and her younger brother.
Directed by the genius behind Your Name, the two characters fates intertwine in a elegant and complex matter, and with showstopping animation, and cameo appearances of Your Name characters, people of all ages will love this film.
Based off of the one-shot manga by Yuki Midorikawa, the story revolves around a young girl named Hotaru Takegawa, who loses her way in an ancient forest whilst visiting her uncle. Hotaru receives the help of a forest spirit name Gin, and learns that she couldn't touch him or else he'll disappear. Gin leads her out of the forest and warns her to never return, but she promises to come back with a gift.
This is a such a beautiful and heart-wrenching film. I'll even admit that I cried over it so prepare those tissues!
The harmony between animals, humans, and gods begin to crumble. Prince Ashitaka, cursed by a demonized god travels west to conquer the great evil that is rising. There, he meets the wolf-raised girl named San, and he witnesses humans ravishing the earth, and must prepare for a full fledged war between the animals, humans, and gods.
One of my favourite studio ghibli films, and really puts into perspective the importance of preserving/not destroying nature. Definitely one aimed for an older audience, as it carries some heavy themes, and some violence and gore.
Takao Akizuki, a teen boy who skips his morning classes to sit in a beautiful garden meets an older woman, Yukari Yukino. The two begin to bond as they continue to meet in that garden.
This movie has wonderful visuals, and really captures the theme of 'falling in love amidst solitude or sadness.' One of Makoto Shinkai's amazing movies.
A girl who is able to transform into a cat is smitten with her crush. She will go to any lengths just to make him smile, including becoming a full fledged cat. She must fix her mistake by traveling to a whole new world.
This movie was whimsical, magical, and everything I could want in a cat movie. It's childish (in a good way,) and will definitly bring a smile to your face.
Kiki's Delivery Service is a charming tale about a young witch named Kiki, who along with her cat Jiji travel to a seaside town to fulfill the witch tradition of leaving home and living alone for a year. She sets up a delivery service and soon becomes part of the community. The movie contains the ups and downs of starting a new life, and the thrills of helping people.
This is another amazing film from Studio Ghibli and is a good one to watch with family.
Howl's Moving Castle is one of my favourite works from Hayao Miyazaki. It's whimsical, fantastical, and full of magic. The main character, Sophie, has lived an uneventful life until she gets cursed by a witch, making her seek out the wizard Howl to help lift the curse. This story has curses, spells, and castles galore, and is perfect for anyone who loves watching things with kings, wizards, witches, and fire demons!
Those are just some of my favourite anime movies, and I apologize if I missed anything. Be sure to leave any more recommendations in the comments!