The 10 Best Anime Movies To Stream Now

  • Although Hulu has a relatively small section of animated movie titles, what it has provides a great introduction to the genre.
  • From influential classics that shaped the genre to modern masterpieces, we’ve found the 10 best animated movies on Hulu.
  • Anime fans will also want to check out Hulu’s library of anime shows, including this collection of the top 20 anime shows on Hulu.
  • Hulu is available for $5.99 per month with ads or $11.99 per month for an ad-free option. There is also a free try Available: First month free for Hulu, or first week free if you opt for Hulu with Live TV.

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The 10 Best Animated Movies on Hulu

Akira (1988)

Thirty years after its release, Akira remains a daring pinnacle in the history of animation. This mega budget feature has some of the most detailed animations in history, leaving it as fresh today as it was when it was released. A mesh of psychic warfare, 80s Japanese cultural criticism, and sci-fi biker combat, Akira does its best to condense a massive manga series into a two-hour movie. Although the result is sometimes confusing, Akira is a timeless film. As you watch, write down any anime you’ve seen before that references Akira somehow. You will fill a whole notepad.

Akira Trailer


the Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Anime is often seen as an art form that can tell action stories, comedies, or romances, but nothing else. the Grave of the Fireflies is a devastating example of the genre’s reach, a dark World War II story with a heartbreaking ending. Set in Kobe, Japan, after the city was firebombed, the Grave of the Fireflies explores the fight of two orphans for their survival. The animation is truly breathtaking, a nice wrap for an otherwise dark story. If you want to experience the dramatic possibilities of anime, take the time to the Grave of the Fireflies.

the Grave of the Fireflies

Crazy Anime

ninja scroll (1993)

ninja scroll was a worldwide success, which was talked about in the same breath as Akira and ghost in the shell. The Wachowskis even cite the film’s over-the-top, gravity-defying fights as a significant influence on their Matrix trilogy. Set during the Edo period, the film follows a wandering swordsman named Jubei, who is poisoned by a spy who needs help. In exchange for the antidote, Jubei must agree to help stop a vile warlord and his collection of mystical demon warriors. The story may be cliché, but the inventive action is amazing. (Be warned: ninja scroll contains a scene of sexual assault.)

Ninja Scroll Trailer

Attack on Planet B/YouTube

Trigun: Badlands Rumble (2010)

TrigunThe mix of kinetic action and post-apocalyptic world-building has made it a beloved series. Rumble of the Badlands lets you get a taste without watching the whole series. Vash the Stampede is off to a new job, tracking down the legendary Gasback. Twenty years ago, Vash got in the way of one of Gasback’s heists. Now, rumor has it the criminal is back, with a $300 million bounty on his head. Vash sets off to seek his share of the profits, wading through countless bullets and bounty hunters along the way.

Trigun: Badlands Rumble

Attack on Planet B/YouTube

Afro Samurai Resurrection (2009)

Born from the mind of Takashi Okazaki, Afro samurai was inspired by the artist’s love of hip-hop and American representations of Japanese culture. Samuel L. Jackson stars as Afro Samurai, welder of Headband Number 1, an artifact with divine power. Resurrection is the second film in the series, so the plot – involving finding blindfold number 2 – can get confusing. But you don’t have to keep up with the beat to enjoy the movie’s jaw-dropping art and fight scenes. Instead, enjoy this brilliant blend of street art sci-fi and classic ninja combat for the visual feast that it is.

K: Missing Kings (2014)

One of the best parts of watching anime movies on Hulu is being able to catch up on the series first. Take K: Missing Kings for example. Alone, the film makes no sense. But if you take the time to watch the first season of K ahead of time, you are in for a wonderful time. Unbeknownst to the populace, the psychic Seven Clans of Color secretly control the world. Set after the events of the first season, Missing Kings follows a group of warriors as they search for their absent ruler. Giving more would be a sin, but this elegantly animated series is worth investing your time in to fully appreciate the accompanying film.

K: Missing Kings Trailer

Legend of Heroes: Paths of Heaven (2011)

This adaptation of the cult classic PlayStation Portable RPG is a fast-paced action-adventure for fantasy fans looking for magic and sword fighting. 10 years after the Liberl Kingdom nearly fell to the Erebonian Empire, the mystical little land is still rebuilding itself. With the help of a magical bracer guild, Liberl is safer than ever. Even more exciting, Estelle Bright, daughter of legendary Bracer Cassias, finally joins the Bracers. But when their father’s airship goes missing, Estelle and her adoptive brother Joshua find themselves trapped in a potentially deadly adventure to retrieve it. Exciting, beautifully animated and ended too soon hero legend makes you want more.

Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky animated movie trailer

Salazar Daley/YouTube

Fafner: Heaven and Earth (2010)

Mecha combat has a deep history in anime even though it is underrepresented in the anime movie library on Hulu. Fafner: Heaven and Earth is a happy exception. Set in 2148, after the original Fafner series, heaven and earth introduces viewers to a world recovering from a war against a powerful alien enemy. Traumatized and injured, the people of Tatsumiya Island began to rebuild. But the discovery of a mysterious child on an unmanned submarine triggers the start of a new conflict that no one could have anticipated. If you like the gritty mecha world of Gundam, to give Fafner: Heaven and Earth 88 minutes of your time.

Fafner: Heaven and Earth


Sword Art Online Extra Edition (2013)

There should be more movies like Sword Art Online Extra Edition. Summarizing the first seasons of the anime in film format, Additional edition is a simple way to familiarize yourself with Sword Art Online world. Sword Art Online takes place in a future where humans live and play in various online MMORPG worlds. A mix of action, sci-fi and goofy fan service, Additional edition is a fresh, funny and fast-paced crowd-pleasing anime. There are a ton of Sword Art Online content on Hulu, but it’s a great place to start.

Sword Online Art Extra Edition

Crazy Anime/YouTube

Fairy Tail the Movie: The Phoenix Priestess (2012)

Fairy tale is a cute anime series whose world of wizards and magic should be instantly familiar to anyone who loves fantasy. In Phoenix Priestess, Natsu and his band of magical warriors find themselves trapped in the Duke’s devious plot for immortality. Unlike many films that continue the storylines of a previous series, Phoenix Priestess is a blissful standalone experience. Save the search for another time and jump headfirst into the funny and magical world of Fairy tale.

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*First published: May 19, 2019, 7:00 a.m. CDT

Jean-Michel Bond

John-Michael Bond is a tech reporter and culture editor for Daily Dot. A longtime cord cutter and early adopter, he’s an expert on streaming services (Hulu with Live TV), devices (Roku, Amazon Fire), and anime. A former editor for TUAW, he knows all about Apple and Android. You can also find him regularly performing stand-up comedies in Los Angeles.

Jean-Michel Bond

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