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12 Best Anime Movies that should be on every Anime fan’s Watchlist

(Last Updated On: November 24, 2022)

Anime has become one of the most popular film genres, with numerous new anime films released each year around the world. With the arrival of the 2020s, it is past time to determine the best anime film of all time, though this list should be updated as time passes.

Although it is common for anime to be broadcast on television these days, anime was originally only available on large screens in theaters. In Japan, anime films first appeared in the early 1900s. In terms of well-known Japanese anime films, Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 and launched Castle in the Sky in 1986.

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Given below are some of the top anime movies that everyone must watch. The good thing is that you can find these anime movies on Netflix as well! This list has some of the best romance anime movies for you.

Tokyo Grandfathers (2003)

Tokyo Godfathers is a heartwarming and beautifully written anime holiday film that will make you laugh as well as cry. Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue portrays three homeless people (a drunk, a drag queen, and a runaway) who discover an abandoned newborn on Christmas Eve. The trio makes the decision to familiarize the child with its mother and take trips through the alleys of Tokyo on Christmas Day, meeting various people who gradually reveal the child’s dark and sad lineage.

Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away is an undeniable crossover hit that persists to enthral and allure audiences across the country, introducing western audiences to Studio Ghibli’s works. The surreal, mythical story follows the mishaps of ten-year-old Chihiro, who discovers a resplendent paranormal bathhouse inhabited by strange and fantastic folkloric creatures and spirits with her parents. It’s a coming-of-age story unlike any other, with conceptual depth, pure creativity, and execution that has become synonymous with Ghibli.

Akira (1988)

Akira is yet another milestone in the medium, with its epic story, breathtaking art style, and ambient soundtrack. Shtar Kaneda and Tetsuo Shima are two teen biker gang members who have no stake in Neo-post-nuclear Tokyo’s apocalypse society. Their Clockwork Orange-style disregard for life is shaken when Tetsuo develops incredible telekinetic abilities, attracting the interest of Colonel Shikishima and his government-backed secret organization. Akira deviates significantly from its fantastic manga source, but every version continues to stand alone in the cyberpunk genre.

Your Name (2016)

Your Name, Makoto Shinkai‘s best anime of 2016, has received acclaim both domestically and internationally. It is one of the best anime movies of all time. Between 2016 and 2018, the popular anime film was screened in over 120 countries, earning the most at the international box office among Japanese anime films.

Taki Tachibana, who lives in metropolitan Tokyo, and Mitsuha Miyamizu, who lives in the countryside, are the two main protagonists of the story. One day, they realize that their bodies have been switched, and this happens intermittently. Taki and Mitsuha are learning more about one another while being perplexed by the strange situation.

Weathering with You (2019)

Weathering with You is Makoto Shinkai’s newest anime film and one of the most watched films in 2019. By 2020, it will be in approximately 140 countries and regions. The anime film features two young characters.

Hodaka, a high school student from a remote island, escapes to Tokyo. Hina, a young girl, stays alive in the city without her parents. They meet and come to aid many people who are hoping for nice weather for important occasions like weddings and festivals by using her mystical power to alter the weather. Weathering with You covers a wide range of topics, including unexpected meteorological phenomena, child raising, poverty, and so on.

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Ghost in the Shell is an iconic anime franchise based on Masamune Shiro’s manga. The popular anime series began in 1995 with the release of the first anime film, Ghost in the Shell.

Mamoru Oshii, one of the most well-known Japanese anime directors, directed it. The above anime film takes place around 2030, when science technology is at its peak. Major Motoko Kusanagi, the main representative of Public Security Section 9, works to stop crime.

Wolf Children (2012)

Wolf Children , regarded as one of Mamoru Hosoda’s masterpieces, was produced in 2012 by Studio Chizu, the director’s animation studio. Hana, the central protagonist, meets a man who can convert into a wolf at a university in Tokyo. After that they have two children, Yuki and Ame, who can transform into wolves and then back into humans. As they grow older, their inner conflicts become more intense: should they live as humans or as wolves?

Summer Wars (2009)

Mamoru Hosoda’s delightful coming-of-age story about a fella who happens to agree to be the phony boyfriend of the girl he likes… on a tour to see her family follows The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. To make matters worse, a rogue army AI causes havoc in the metaverse Oz, threatening to ruin the reunion celebrations (and bring the world to its knees). It’s a beautifully shot coming-of-age story with a cast of eccentric and endearing characters, all intertwined with technical doomsday commentary. It’s fantastic, spiritual, and witty.

Belle (2021)

Mamoru Hosoda’s sixth full-length original anime film, Belle, was released in 2021, following his past work Mirai in 2018. The fantasy newest anime movie garners an international reputation after being divided up all over the world. It is one of the top anime movies in the world. Mamoru Hosoda finished Belle, which was inspired in part by the quintessential rom – com Beauty and the Beast.

Belle is placed in the countryside of Kochi Prefecture and centers on Suzu, a high school girl who lives with her dad. The plot begins when she joins a massive digital space called U as Belle, an avatar, and needs to perform a self-produced song there. It depicts the merging of the online and real worlds through the eyes of several distinct characters.

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, based on the hit anime series, reunites audiences with the star-faring bounty hunters of the spaceship Bebop: Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, Ed, and corgi Ein. In the year 2071, a man releases a lethal bacteria in Mars’ capital city. When a large bounty is placed on the chemical-head, terrorist’s the crew spreads out to capture him. Factually correct to the series’ form, the story features mega-corporation conspiracy theories and numerous swashbuckling surprises and turns, intermixed with Bebop fans’ favorite emotional weight moments.

Paprika (2006)

Many advanced anime fans praised the psychological thriller film Paprika (), which premiered in 2006. Paprika was directed by Satoshi Kon, who is known for the 2003 adventure animated film Tokyo Godfathers. It is premised on the same-titled science-fiction thriller written by famed author Yasutaka Tsutsui in 1993.

It depicts a battle between a fantasy land terrorist who can induce nightmares in others and a fantasy land detective named Paprika. The frightening story revolves around a recently invented psychotherapy device known as DC Mini, the scientific key that allows individuals to access their dreams.

My Neighbour Totoro (1988)

My Neighbor Totoro is amongst the most famous Studio Ghibli films with families all over the world.It is one of the best anime movies to watch. Hayao Miyazaki’s fantasy anime was released in theaters in 1988 as part of a double feature with Grave of the Fireflies, directed by yet another Studio Ghibli leader, Isao Takahata.

My Neighbor Totoro takes place in the 1950s in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture. A family, comprised of a primary schooler Satsuki, her younger sister Mei, and their father Tatsuo, relocates to a rural village. Her mother is being treated at a hospital close to the village. The kids cross paths with Totoro, a mysterious creature. If you haven’t seen any Studio Ghibli films before, this is a good place to start.



With its lengthy tradition, Japanese anime has evolved in a unique way, and its presence in the adventure industry around the world has grown. In the future, a new wonderful anime film will be made and released, and this list will be updated. Not only japanese animation fans, but also newcomers, should watch the best anime movies listed above!

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Raman Panesar
#animeforlife #animeislife #loveitachi
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