The word “anime” is very often associated with “anime series,” which are undoubtedly well-loved and attract more and more fans every day. However, diving into an anime series can prove itself to be quite the commitment as some of the most popular ones count 100+ episodes. Although some shorter, yet no less amazing series can be found if one takes the time to do a bit of digging around, one needs to be prepared to invest a lot of time into this world.
An easy solution to take the first step into this incredibly rich and diverse world is to turn to anime movies. To make this process easier, here is a list of the 10 best anime movies of all time, according to IMDb.
10 Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind – 8.1
The first anime movie on this list was one of Hayao Miyazaki‘s first films and is still very much loved today. Released in 1984, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind tells the touching story of a young princess who dedicates her life to better understanding the world she lives in.
A thousand years prior to this story, an apocalyptic war caused by the industrial and technological growth of humankind destroyed civilization and gave birth to a toxic forest that has since spread to most parts of the world. While Nausicaa believes in sharing this world, others aim to ride the planet of this toxic forest by force.
9 Neon Genesis Evangelion: The end of Evangelion – 8.1
Despite its many reboots, retelling and alternative endings that make it a little tough to follow, Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most popular mecha series, and for good reasons.
Although it first appears to be just a good old mecha series, Neon Genesis turns out to be a very dark story that explores deep and complex subjects such as depression. Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion serves as an alternative ending to the original series and picks up right after the 24th episode.
8 Wolf Children – 8.1
This movie follows Hana, a single mother raising two very peculiar half-human, half-wolf children after the death of their werewolf father. As hard as it is to raise young children alone, Hana’s task is rendered even more complicated as she also has to hide her children’s true nature from the world as they are not yet able to control their abilities.
Wolf Children is an incredibly sweet and heartwarming movie filled with magic and hope that will be sure to leave a mark.
7 My Neighbour Totoro – 8.2
For anyone who knows even a little bit of anime movies, it won’t come as a surprise to find a few Studio Ghibli movies listed here, and even less of a surprise to see that most of those Studio Ghibli films were directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Of course, all of his movies are just as amazing and worth watching, but a few stand out a little more.
Although not the highest-rated, My Neighbour Totoro is without a doubt the most well-known of Miyazaki’s movies, and one does not need to have seen the film to recognize its adorable and oh-so fluffy creature.
6 Howl’s Movie Castle – 8.2
Howl’s Moving Castle is inspired by the novel of the same title written by British author Diana Wynne Jones. The story is set in a world where magic and 20th-century technology co-exist and a war between two kingdoms is raging.
A young woman named Sophie is cursed by a witch to live the remaining of her life as an old woman. Sophie seeks the help of a wizard named Howl who also happens to be at the heart of the resistance against the tyrannical king.
5 A Silent Voice – 8.2
Released in 2017, A Silent Voice took the world by storm and made itself a place among the best rated and most well-loved anime movies of all time. Despite its bright and colorful design, A Silent Voice tells a deep, emotional, and powerful story that takes the viewer through a rollercoaster of emotions.
The movie explores incredibly deep and hard subjects such as suicide and bullying. A Silent Voice follows two children through middle school and high school as they struggle to find their place in the world and learn that each of their actions has deeper and darker consequences than they would have thought.
4 Princess Mononoke – 8.4
In his quest to find a cure for his curse, Prince Ashitaka finds himself caught up in a war between the god of the forest and humans. Along his travels, he meets a young woman named San who was raised by wolves and seems to be more of a wild animal than a human being.
Together, they will fight to protect the God of the forest from the corruption brought by man and their hunger for power. While Princess Mononoke is pretty graphic and targets a more mature audience, it is definitely a must-see.
3 Your Name – 8.4
In the third position is a fairly recent movie that instantly claimed the hearts of all who saw it.
Released in 2016 and directed by Makoto Shinkai, Your Name tells the story of a boy from Tokyo named Taki and a girl named Mitsuha from a small town, who suddenly and inexplicable start swapping bodies.
This movie is an absolute masterpiece, from its beautiful soundtrack to its incredible animation and, of course, its unique story that grips the viewer from the very first second.
2 Grave of the Fireflies – 8.5
At the peak of World War II, Seita and Setsuko’s mother died from severe burns after their house was bombed. Seita, a teenage boy, and his younger sister Setsuko are left without a guardian and do their best to survive on their own in this scary world.
Although Grave of the Fireflies more than deserves its high rating, it is important to know that this movie dives deep into some tough and sensitive subjects. As beautiful as the movie is, one should prepare themselves to enter this incredibly sad, intense, and intimate story.
1 Spirited Away – 8.6
In first place is a phenomenon of a movie and one that beats a number of records.
Spirited Away is the most successful movie in Japanese history and received universal praise. Spirited Away was the first, and still only, hand-drawn non-English-language movie to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
This coming-of-age story taking place in an Alice in Wonderland-esque world filled with spirits and creatures, and is hands-down one of the most beautiful and fascinating anime movies ever made.
While series often take the spotlight, anime has also produced some fantastic movies. Here are the 10 best anime films, according to IMDb.