10 anime movies for new fans
There are so many anime movies that it can confuse newcomers. When newcomers to anime ask where to start watching, most fans usually throw a series or manga at them and call it a day. While that might work, most people don’t have the time or attention span to really dedicate themselves to a series of up to 100 anime chapters or episodes.
So why not movies? Movies are usually short, around an hour and a half to two hours, and focused enough to provide a full experience.
These are 10 anime movies that newcomers will enjoy and older anime fans might want to reevaluate or just enjoy.
Note: This article reflects the views of the author and contains spoilers.
10 movies like Akira and Your Name to introduce newcomers to anime
One of the most infamous animated films of all time, Akira tell it madmax-style story of a post-nuclear apocolypse land and its survival. It is appreciated for its amazing animation, especially for the 1990s, its popularization of anime in the United States (or at least helping it) and its cyberpunk and dystopian world.
For what it’s worth, it was also one of the most “truly adult” animated movies at the time that didn’t try to censor itself. It helped the idea that animation wasn’t just for kids. It’s pretty graphic though, so be prepared for some body horror towards the end if you’re watching it for the first time. This one is recommended for fans of cyberpunk, blade runner etc
2) Studio Ghbili films
Studio Ghbili is a Disney-like animation studio in Japan, with Hayao Miyazaki even citing several Disney films as inspirations.
If you need to start a newcomer with any mainstream animated movie, pick any Ghibli movie and they’ll be ready! Let it be the strange but wholesome Taken away as if by magicthe more difficult it is Princess Mononokeor even Nausicaa of the Valley of the Windthere will surely be a classic for almost everyone.
3) Your name
Does anyone remember the movie Horrible Friday? It was about a teenage girl and her mother swapping bodies and coming to terms with the pitfalls, trials and tribulations of each other’s lives.
your name is it, but in the romantic genre, where a city boy and a country girl swap bodies. Aside from the relatable love story despite class differences and fantasy elements, the musical score is heartbreaking. It is also the third highest-grossing animated film of all time.
4) The girl who crossed time
Similar to Tokyo avengers and other similar time travel stories, The girl who has crossed time can have a weird time travel story, but it’s still a heartfelt animated film about mistakes and fixes.
It’s the story of a girl who acquires the ability to time travel and uses it for frivolous actions, and then has to deal with the consequences. Similar to Back to the future Where Doctor Who, newcomers and older anime fans who love time travel stories will love this one.
5) Perfect Blue
perfect blue is a psychological thriller in the vein of Front/Off Where Fatal attraction. It chronicles the horrific ordeal of a hunted Japanese idol suffering from psychosis after a series of brutal murders are committed in her name. Similar to Stephen King novel Misery, the killer is initially thought to be a stalker fan, but the conclusion destroys that claim.
The film deals with murder, mental health issues and attempted sexual assault. It’s perfect for thriller and murder mystery fans (and Death threat fans), and the animation still holds. It will keep viewers guessing until the end.
6) Cowboy Bebop
One of the franchise entries here, cowboy bebop the film is a must for sci-fi fans and bounty hunters. Although it is part of a series, no prior knowledge is required to enjoy the movie since it is a prequel to the original series.
Fans will recognize the characters, and newcomers will be introduced to everyone from Faye to Spike. The sci-fi and bounty hunting tropes are also reversed in the film.
7) The wind is picking up
The wind picks up is a different type of anime film, being an animated autobiography of Mitsubishi A5M and A6M Zero aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi. It is also one of the last films that Hayao Miayaki (of the famous Studio Ghibli) made before retiring.
Although Miyazaki has since come out of retirement in 2017 to direct How do you live? (released in 2023), The wind picks up still worth watching as an animated autobiography. As this is an adaptation and not just a documentary, there will be edits or omissions, but it’s still a movie worth watching for the simple idea of seeing someone who wants to fly.
8) Ghost in the Shell
As cowboy bebop, it is the second franchise animated film that does not require any prior knowledge. While ghost in the shell as a franchise is older than the movie, it’s still worth looking at the cyberpunk visuals, storytelling, and musical score.
It’s set in 2029 Japan and follows Motoko Kusanagi as she tracks down a mysterious puppet master. There are cyborgs, hacking, and philosophical themes about self-identity in a technologically advanced world. Fans of cyborgs and futuristic themes would love this one.
9) Lupine III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
The third and final franchise animated film on this list, Lupine III is a series about thieves, caricatures and cartoons trying to make money while avoiding detectives. Cagliostro Castle The anime film was Miyazaki’s very first project and is still considered excellent due to its storytelling and sense of humor.
The plot involved Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon being sucked into disrupting an arranged marriage after trying to make counterfeit money a reality.
It’s a fun ride from start to finish for anyone who loves Robin Hood and James Bond combined.
10) Tokyo Godfathers
From the same director as perfect blue, corn very different, Tokyo Godfathers is a film about three homeless people raising a baby. It’s more positive and optimistic then perfect blue and certainly says a lot about the human condition with the protagonists being homeless.
It helps that the story is also good and heartwarming to watch. This one is for people who love comedy and magical realism in their movies.
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