15+ Best Japanese Anime Movies Everyone Should Watch 

Anime is one of the most popular genres, and more amazing anime is released every year. There is no shortage of what you can watch. 

However, if you are new or have just watched a few, finding where to start and what to watch can be daunting. 

Here is the list of the best Japanese anime movies you can start with to make it easier for you. It includes : 

Spirited Away ( 2001)

Image Source: SoraNews24

Rating: 8.6/10 

Genre: Family, Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery 

Chihiro is a ten-year-old girl moving to a small town with her family. However, on their way, they end up in an amusement park that was long ago abandoned and inhabited by gods, spirits, and witches. 

In this world, humans are turned into beasts, including Chihiro’s parents. To get them back, she has to work to make them free. 

My Neighbor Totoro ( 1988)

Image Source: IMDb

Rating: 8.1/10

Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy 

4 years old Mei and 10 years old Satsuki are sisters. Along with their father, both sisters moved to a new house in the country as their mother was hospitalized. Mei and Satsuki wanted to stay close to their mother. 

One day, they discover the forest, which is inhabited by creatures.  

They met a giant rabbit-like creature named Totoro, also a spirit. 

Grave Of The Fireflies ( 1988)

Image Source: TOA

Rating: 8.5/10

Genre: War, Drama 

The story focuses on two siblings, Seita and Setsuko. They both are living in declining days during World War II. After a firebombing by American soldiers, they get separated from their parents. 

Both have to rely on each other while they struggle to keep themselves alive in between the war. 

Tokyo Grandfathers ( 2003)

Image Source: IF

Rating: 7.8/10 

Genre: Comedy, Adventure, Drama 

The story focuses on a Christmas day in Tokyo,  about three homeless friends, including Hana, a trans woman, a young girl, and Miyuki song with Gin, a middle-aged bum. 

While they were foraging through the trash cans, they saw a newborn baby. Hana dreamed of being a mother, and she convinced everyone to keep that baby. 

But the next day, they found a key with the baby. All three decide to find the parents, and they start their adventure together, 

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Image Source: AGMTW

Rating: 7.8/10

Genre: Adventure, Family 

Kiki is a 13 years old witch, still a little green and headstrong. However, she is resourceful, determined, and imaginative.

With the help of Jiji, her talking cat, she is all set to live her independent life. Kiki finds it challenging to fit in. To support herself, she runs an air courier service. 

Princess Mononoke ( 1997)

Image Source: LetterBoxd

Rating: 8.4/10 

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy 

Ashitaka is a young prince infected with an incurable disease passed by a board god/ demon. He would die if he didn’t find the cure to eliminate the curse. The only hope he has is to travel far too quickly. 

Reaching there, he gets help from a deer god and ends up fighting between animal inhabitants living in the forest and an iron mining town, killing the forest. There he meets Princess Mononoke. She is a human who is raised by wolves and leads the battle from the animal side. 

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Image Source: Sportskeeda

Rating: 8.2/10 

Genre: Fantasy, Family, Adventure 

An 18 years old girl named Sophie is cursed by a witch that turns her into an older woman. To find a way to break the curse, she ends up moving to the castle of Howl, a young magician. She meets the fire demon Karishifa.

He demands to make a deal where Sophie breaks the contract between him and the howl, and the demon will help her to lift the curse on her. 

Your Name (2016)

Image Source: Youtube

Rating: 8.4/10

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance 

Natasha is a straightforward high school student who is the daughter of the town’s mayor. 

She lives with her grandfather and sister and is bored with her life in a small town. Natasha wanted to try her luck and visit Tokyo. 

One day, she wakes up finding herself in the body of high school student Taki who lives in Tokyo. 

Weathering With You ( 2019)

Image Source: Artforum

Rating: 7.5/10

Genre: Fantasy, Drama, Romance 

The story is about a high school boy running away from home. He reaches Tokyo, where he befriends a girl with the superpower of manipulating the weather. 

Silent Voice ( 2016)

Image Source: RC

Rating: 8.1/10

Genre: Drama 

The story is about Shoya Ishida, a bully in his class. He bullies his classmate Shoko Nishimiya, an impaired-hearing girl. After crossing the line, she leaves the school and transfers to another. 

Things turn out when Shoya ends up getting bullied. Leaving no friends to speak of or a future for himself. This makes him realize his fault. He sets the journey to find his redemption. 

Ponyo ( 2008)

Image Source: MUBI

Rating: 7.6/10

Genre: Comedy, Adventure 

Sosuke is five years old. He is a sailor’s son and lives a quiet life with his father and mother. 

One day, he rescues a goldfish trapped in a bottle. However, she is not an ordinary goldfish, but the wizard’s and sea goddess’s daughter. She uses magic to transform into a young girl. Sosuke and Ponyo fall in love with each other. 

But using such magic causes an imbalance in the world. Also, Ponyo’s father finds mighty waves to find Ponyo.

5 Centimeters Per Second ( 2008)

Image Source: MS Wiki Fandom

Rating: 7.5/10

Genre: Romance, Family, Drama 

Takaki and Akari are two classmates, and during their time in elementary school, they become close friends. 

Akari moves to a different city due to his parent’s job. Time and distance test their friendship as they get more and more apart. 

Paprika ( 2006)

Image Source: RR

Rating: 7.7/10

Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller, Drama, Mystery 

Three scientists fail to protect their device, which allows people to record and see what they dream about. 

A thief uses the device for entering people’s minds, using it for his own benefit and creating chaos. 

With the help of the spirit name Paprika, Chiba, Tokita, and Shima set out on a journey to find a way to stop the chaos from getting out of hand.  

Summer Wars ( 2009)

Image Source: MUBI

Rating: 7.4/10

Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi, Comedy 

 An eleventh-grade math genius, Kenji Koiso, accepts the summer job at Nagano, where Natuski ( his crush) lives. When he arrives there, he finds out about the celebration that her family is doing for their 90th birthday of the family matriarch. 

At Natuski’s request, he agrees to pretend to be her fiance. Kenji now has to focus on both jobs at one time. 

Perfect Blue ( 1997)

Image Source: MUBI

Rating: 8/10 

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller 

Mima has lived a life of idols and is part of a famous idol group called CHAM. She decides to leave that life to pursue acting.

She chooses to perform as a rape victim and pose in nudes to make herself on top. However, one day, she confronts the past she left behind. 

The Anthem Of The Heart ( 2015)

Image Source: IMDb

Rating: 7.3/10

Genre: Family, Drama 

The story focuses on a young girl whose careless words resulted in her family splitting up. The guilt made her voice lose to a mysterious Egg Fairy. She gets cursed to not hurt anyone by using her words. But her way of seeing things starts to change when she encounters friendship and music. 

Her Blue Sky ( 2019)

Image Source: IMDb

Rating: 6.7/10

Genre: Romance. Music, Drama 

The storyline focuses on Shinnosuke, Akane, and Aoi. Akane and Shinoo fall in love when they are high school teens, but they have to sacrifice their love due to their priorities. 

After a long time, both ex-lovers unite, exploring the hidden secrets, finding their true dream, and understanding the importance of each other. 

In This Corner Of The World ( 2016)

Image Source: AGMTW

Rating: 7.7./10

Genre: History, War. Family 

The story is set during World War II in Hiroshima, focusing on the life of an 18 years old girl who got married and now has to make food for her family. Despite the lack of supplies, rationing, and struggling with daily loss of life, she maintains the will to live and take care of her family. 

Wolf Children ( 2012)

Image Source: IMDb

Rating: 8.1/10

Genre: Family, Drama 

Hana, a young woman, met a mysterious man during her university time. She knows he is a werewolf and the last of his kind. Even so, they fall in love and start living together. 

Hana gives birth to a baby boy and a girl. But one day, her partner unexpectedly dies, leaving her alone with her two children, who also have the same traits as their father. 

Not only does she have to protect them from society, but she also has to find a way to raise two baby werewolves on her own. 

Akira ( 1988) 

Image Source: Letterboxd

Rating: 8/10

Genre: Sci-fi, Thriller, Drama 

World War 3 destroyed Tokyo, and after 31 years, the city was newly made known as Neo – Tokyo. However, things keep happening that will decide the fate of the world.

The prophecy is that ‘Akira’ will return and remake the world. But in the middle of chaos, at a tender age, Tetsuo and Kaneda set a chain of multiple events that trigger Doomsday. 

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