Top 20 Japanese Animated Movies of All Time


Anime fever is spreading like wildfire. Today, the anime is more popular than ever. Although anime is generally associated with series, the world of Japanese animated films is incredibly rich and diverse. However, the hardest part is finding some gold material to watch out for. Whether for a newbie or a regular seasoned anime watcher.

Speaking of gold, here are some of the best animated films of all time. A foolproof list of must-haves!

1. Chihiro (2001)

Obviously, sitting at the top is the phenomenal Abducted as if by magic (2001) by Studio Ghibli. One of the most iconic films ever created, Abducted as if by magic was the first animated film to receive an Oscar. Trying to save her parents, Chihiro, a 10-year-old girl, made it her mission to escape the spirit world. This beautifully hand drawn film is a blessing to the world.

2. Alter With You (2019)

Writer-director Makoto Shinkai has created another visually pleasing and delicate piece of art. This romantic fantasy is about a 16 year old boy Hodaka, a high school student. Hodaka runs away from her home and meets and falls in love with a mysterious girl who can manipulate time. The film is packed with incredible images and soundtracks and also won Animation of the Year and Outstanding Music Achievement at the 43rd Japanese Academy Awards.

3. Princess Mononoke (1997)

Another Studio Ghibli masterpiece, Princess Mononoke is full of adventure and magical elements. Based around the 14th century, this film cites an epic battle between humans against the gods. Cursed by a boar spirit, Ashitaka, a young prince is in search of a cure. Upon meeting a strange girl raised by wolves, Akshita finds herself caught between the feuds of humans and gods. The film is an incredible tale that revolves around both spirituality and the environment.

4. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Did you know that Wachowski The matrix (especially the digital rain sequence), was it heavily inspired by a cyberpunk animated film? Ghost in the shell 1995 is an excellent science fiction movie worth every second of your time. This beautiful futuristic movie is set in 2029 where a cyborg policewoman is looking for a hacker called The Puppet Master. In addition, a live-action starring Scarlet Johansson was also released in 2017, which sparked much controversy.

5. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

A classic Japanese family movie, My neighbor Totoro is a fast fun watch. Satsuki, 10, and her sister Mei, 4, and their father move to the countryside. The girls embark on new adventures as they befriend the forest spirits.

6. Wolf Children (2012)

Wolf Children is a beautiful, heartfelt story about a young mother and her two children. Following the tragic death of her husband, (a wolf man) Hana is left alone to care for her two half-wolf children. Hiding the identity of the world, the trio struggle, because they live in the countryside.

7. Your name (2016)

A world famous film, your name is another work of art by Makoto Shinkai. A magnificent romantic tale about two high school students who exchange their bodies in their sleep. In short, the visuals, soundtracks and unique storyline will surely win your heart.

8. Ponyo (2008)

Studio Ghibli definitely dominates the charts with just as much success. In this fantastic world of Ghibli, a 5 year old boy named Sosuke saves a goldfish and calls him Ponyo. Falling in love with Sosuke, Ponyo now dreams of becoming a human. Although Ponyo succeeds in becoming a girl, she also disrupts the balance of nature and poses a threat to Sosuke and his village. The film is like a more mystical version of The little Mermaid.

9. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

One of the first projects of the Ghibli Empire. It has been 1000 years since civilization perished after the apocalypse. However, Nausicaä, a young princess, has dedicated her life to bringing peace to this toxic post-destruction world.

10. Akira (1988)

A gold standard for animated films. Akira revolves around Neo-Tokyo after WW3, in 2019. One of the pioneering animated films that introduced the world to Japanese anime. Moreover, it is considered to be one of the most expensive films of its time.

11. Castle in the Sky (1986)

Castle in the sky follows two orphaned children, Princess Sheeta and Pazu on a crusade to find the mystical floating city of Laputa. The children are being chased by evil sky pirates who are looking for the treasure of the long lost fortress. Also, inspired by Gulliver’s travels, it is another wonder of the house Ghilbi.

12. The Garden of Words (2013)

The most aesthetic film for the eyes. Garden of words is another of Makoto Shinkai’s masterpieces. With real-life scenes and stunning illustrations, the film also offers a promising storyline. Takao, a 15 year old boy aspires to become a shoemaker. He meets Yukino, a 27-year-old woman in a park, and the two bond around common feelings. In short, the film portrays both warmth and coldness, with a relationship without a future. (not a stereotype eh?)

13. The Girl Who Leaped In Time (2006)

A coming-of-age film about a girl with the power to travel through time. As she discovers her new deep powers, Makoto uses her time-jumping abilities to solve her silly problems. On the other hand, she realizes that there are several consequences to the interference of time and perhaps this new power is not the solution to all of her problems.

14. 5 centimeters per second (2007)

Manufacturers of Alter with you, Your name and the garden of words, Writer-director Makoto Shinkai never fails to amaze his viewers. Likewise, 5 centimeters per second is a beautiful love story divided into three parts. Each segment focuses on different moments in the life of a boy named Takaki Tono and revolves around his unrealized love for his childhood friend Akari.

15. Paprika (2006)

This psychedelic thriller is based on a psychotherapist who uses a machine to enter the dreams of her patients. However, the world is in complete disarray after one of these machines is stolen. If this sounds familiar to you, then yes, it was an inspiration for Christopher Nolan’s award-winning film, Creation.

16. Summer Wars (2009)

A unique coming-of-age movie with a twist. A math prodigy posing as a classmate’s fiancé ends up solving a complex math equation. As a result, the artificial intelligence of a virtual world is on the verge of destroying the Earth.

17. Perfect Blue (1997)

Singer-dancer, Mima leaves her group of pop idols to shine alone as an actress. As she prepares to explore the new world of acting, she encounters deadly threats from obsessive stalkers and her ghosts from the past. Meanwhile, as people start to die around her, Mima loses sight of her reality.

18. Red line (2009)

Redline is the most famous and deadly race in the entire galaxy. The runners would do anything to win. Action-packed and beautifully animated, Redline is a great, fast-paced science fiction.

19. Ocean Waves (1993)

A sweet nostalgic film with a love triangle between high school friends. The arrival of a new transfer student, Rikako proves fatal to the relationship of two best friends as they both fall in love with the same girl. Another magnificent creation from Studio Ghibli.

20. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Studio Ghibli never ceases to amaze us with their beautifully handcrafted animation. Certainly, with magnificent art and strong characters howls the moving castle should be on your “watch list”. In this magical world, a young woman named Sophie is cursed for living in the body of a 90 year old. Howling a young wizard who lives in a moving castle is the one who is able to heal her.

Tell us about some of your favorite animated movies in the comments section below!

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Source: LeSmartLocal

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