10 amazing animated films that didn’t come from Studio Ghibli

When you think of classic anime features, names like Abducted as if by magic and howls Moving castle must come to mind. Over the years, Hollywood and the rest of the world have come to embrace Japan’s whimsical animated films, but this medium is not limited to Studio Ghibli.

Yes, Hayao Miyazaki deserves all the recognition he gets for his legendary work. The Visionary worked diligently to raise the bar for what anime – and animation in general – could do as a medium for storytelling. Millions of creators cite Miyazaki as their inspiration, and many emerging Japanese directors have followed suit. So, if you want to see what these apprentices have been up to with Studio Ghibli’s director classes, just watch their movies.

In the following slides, you can check out ComicBook’s list of some wonderful animated films that are not from Studio Ghibli. The selection extends into genres such as science fiction, romance, fantasy and many more. Every movie proves that there is more to anime feature films than what Miyazaki himself wrote, and many of you may find that you prefer these iconic titles more than movies like My neighbor Totoro Where Ponyo.

Did your favorite anime feature make our list? Contact me on Twitter @Megan PetersCB to let me know and talk about all comics, k-pop and anime stuff!

The boy and the beast

The boy and the beast is the perfect movie to kick off any anime frenzy. The film was directed by Mamoru Hosoda, and its colorful palace will be reminiscent of Disney’s greatest animated feats a lot. And, as you delve into its intricate history, fans will realize that this film is a masterpiece on its own.

The film tells the story of Ren, a young boy who runs away from home after the death of his mother. While living on the streets, the child runs head first in a fantasy world filled with mad creatures and corruption. Ren befriends a bear-like swordsman named Kumatetsu and becomes the snarling elder’s apprentice. The two slowly stumble into their newfound friendship and learn how little the other fits into the worlds they were born into.

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Hotarubi no Mori e

(Photo: Base of the brain)

Hotarubi no Mori e is an undeniably beautiful film. Its pastel colors and soft animations make it easy on the eyes – that is, if you can watch the movie through your tears. The surprisingly heartbreaking film has its hopeful moments, and its mercurial tone makes those fleeting highlights all the more meaningful.

The film, directed by Takahiro Omori, adapts a manga written by Midorikawa Yukiko. It tells the story of a young girl named Hotaru who befriends a quiet forest spirit named Gin on a summer trip. The couple reunite once a year, but Hotaru learns that his friend cannot be touched by any human for fear he will disappear. As their friendship grows, the film’s heroine learns more about her feelings for Gin and their tragic limitations.

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Tokyo Sponsors

Tokyo Sponsors may look like a holiday movie, but the touching feature can be watched anytime of the year and make you cry. Satoshi Kon’s movie hits all the right emotional buttons while still keeping a lot of lightness, and you really have to watch it.

The film follows three homeless characters who stumble upon a newborn baby abandoned on a garbage heap. The various protagonists include a runaway teenage girl, a wandering alcoholic, and a trans woman, but their differences mean nothing in the face of their intertwined destinies. The group goes in search of the baby’s parents in the hope that the family can be reunited, and Tokyo Godfathers frank gaze on the poorest people in society will make you laugh and cry too.

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Summer wars

If you haven’t heard of Summer wars, you will want to train yourself for the ambitious film. The 2009 title was created by Mamoru Hosada, who has since been touted as a lavish Japanese director. And, once you get a taste of this movie, you’ll understand why.

Summer wars tells the story of Kenji Koiso, a genius high school student who visits the city of Ueda with a friend who has come to celebrate his grandmother’s birthday. However, Kenji’s plans are turned upside down when he is accused of hacking a popular virtual world called OZ by a rogue AI. The boy is forced to fix OZ as his infrastructure collapses, and Summer wars depicts the ensuing technological breakthrough with many breathtaking visuals.

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The girl who jumped in time

(Photo: Madhouse)

It’s not hard to find an anime with time travel. The sci-fi storytelling device has become a widely used tool in all areas of entertainment, but The girl who jumped in time did something special with the trope.

The film, which put director Mamoru Hosoda on everyone’s radar, tells the story of Makoto Konno. The girl is an average high school student who unintentionally stumbles upon a device that allows her to jump through time. Makoto uses the jumper frivolously, but when one of her unfettered actions cannot be undone, the heroine’s maturity story goes off the rails in the worst possible way.

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A silent voice

There are few films as beautiful as A silent voice. The film’s aesthetic was done by Kyoto Animation, a leading studio in Japan, and its story is just as beautiful. It strikes deeply with its themes of forgiveness, and its sweet illustrations are sure to lull any viewer to sleep in a rough state.

The film is original and tells the story of Shouya Ishida, a high school student haunted by the memory of a deaf girl he once harassed. Unable to live with his guilt, Shouya reunites with his former classmates Shouko Nishimiya in the hope of redeeming himself. As the couple reconnect, the film shows the devastating effects of bullying on all parties involved, and A silent voice bares the heavy message with calm calm.

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Ghost in the shell

Before Hollywood got their hands on it Ghost in the shell, the series was best known for its seminal anime. The 1995 feature film, directed by Mamoru Oshii, introduced fans to a gritty world where humanity was augmented by machines.

The mind-boggling film tells the story of Major Motoko Kusanagi, a soldier who leads an anti-terrorist cell in a dystopian world filled with terror. She is tasked with tracking down a criminal known as “The Puppetmaster” who can hack cybernetic bodies and commit crimes through these human hosts. Kusanagi digs deep into the disturbing affair before it spirals out of control, but she never saw her connection to the public sector’s most wanted villain come.

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Wolf Children

(Photo: Madhouse)

Wolf Children tells a story of impeccably beautiful beauty whose beauty is eclipsed only by its actual animation. The film, which is also directed by Mamoru Hosada, tells the story of an unconventional family living under a stigma that they never wanted for themselves.

The film follows a woman named Hana, a single mother who moves to the quiet countryside with her two young children after their werewolf father dies in a hunting accident. The children, Ame and Yuki, are bright spots in the melancholy moments of the film, but their charming personalities darken very slightly when they have to decide whether they wish to live among humanity or return to the woods of their ancestors.

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your name

From the outside, your name looks like simple romance with tropes changing bodies for good measure. But, once you’re done with the movie, you realize that the anime is infinitely more resonant than it seems at first glance.

your name comes from director Makoto Shinkai and tells the fantastic story of two time-crossed teenagers who yearn for a new life. When a high school student named Mitsuha wishes to be born as a chic Tokyo boy, she gets her wish when she begins swapping bodies with a student named Taki. However, the couple’s life becomes confused when family, faith, and a frightening meteor get in their way.

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(Photo: Tokyo Film Shinsha)

You can’t talk about iconic animated films without mentioning Akira. Yes, the feature is talked about a lot, but you don’t have to worry if its hype has been overdone. The film is as poignant in 2018 as it was in 1988.

The science fiction epic tells the story of a living world in the aftermath of World War III. Akira takes place in Neo-Tokyo, a cyberpunk town plagued by violence and gangs. Kaneda, a motorcycle gang leader, finds himself chasing government forces when his friend Tetsuo is kidnapped because of his latent psychic powers. But, when Kaneda is drawn into a deep network of terrorist and corruption cells, he doesn’t know if Tetsuo can be saved.


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