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20 Best Anime Movies You Cannot Miss [2024 Update]

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Jun 11, 2024• Proven solutions

Most anime movies are originally produced in Japan, but their popularity spans worldwide. Anime movie has made it to the most-liked genre list and is widely viewed by people of all ages, gender, and nationalities. An anime movie is mostly based on science fiction, fantasy, or supernatural creatures. These movies feature extraordinary graphics and highly engaging plots that attract viewers.

Choosing the best anime movie can be hard as there are countless such movies. But, if you are looking for a must-watch anime movie, read ahead for our ultimate list of top anime movies.

20 Best Anime Movies You Can Watch Online

Below we have listed the anime movie we consider to be the best amongst the hundreds and thousands of others.

Top Anime Movies Genre Director Release Time
Spirited Away Drama, Fantasy Hayao Miyazaki 2001
Princess Mononoke Fantasy Hayao Miyazaki 1997
Howl's Moving Castle Fantasy Hayao Miyazaki 2004
Ghost in the Shell Science Fiction, Crime Mamoru Oshii 1995
Psycho-Pass Action, Sci-fi Naoyoshi Shiotani 2012
Your Name Sci-fi, Drama Makoto Shinkai 2016
A Silent Voice Drama Naoko Yamada 2016
Akira Cyberpunk, Sci-fi, Action Katsuhiro Ôtomo 1988
Weathering with You Fantasy, Drama Makoto Shinkao 2019
Grave of the Fireflies War, Drama Isao Takahat 1988
Perfect Blue Thriller, Drama Satoshi Kon 1977
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Fantasy, Romance Mamuro Hosoda 2006
My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising Sci-fi Kenji Nagasaki 2019
Wolf Children Fantasy, Drama Mamoru Hosoda 2012
Your Lie in April Musical, Romance Takehiko Shinjo 2015
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas Romance, Drama Shin'ichirō Ushijima 2018
Whisper of the Heart Romance Yoshifumi Kondo 1995
One Piece: Stampede Action, Adventure Takashi Otsuka 2019
Death Note Crime, Action, Thriller Tetsuro Araki 2006
Dragon Ball Super: Broly Adventure, Fantasy Tatsuya Nagamine 2018

1. Spirited Away

Release Time: 2001

Genre: Drama, Fantasy

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

The masterpiece created in the anime movie industry is certainly 'Spirited Away.' It is a very gripping story of a 10-year old girl who accidentally wanders into a mysterious land with her parents who are transformed into pigs as a witch curse. The girl, Chihiro, starts working for the witch Yubaba, who takes away her original name, changing it to Sen. The main character Haku saves Chihiro from trouble, and they become acquainted. You can watch a free anime movie like this one and be taken to the world of Sen as she tries to keep her real name alive and portrays an extraordinary character of a happy spirit. 

2. Princess Mononoke

Release Time: 1997

Genre: Fantasy

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Princess Mononoke is classified as the best anime movie of all time. This anime movie was aired years ago and is based on a much ancient Muromachi period. The fantasy movie revolves around the life of the main characters. One is a clan's prince, Ashitaka, And the other is a young girl, San, who lives in the woods and was raised by the wolves. As the fantasy unfolds, Ashitaka can be seen struggling to strike an understanding between humans and nature so that he and San may live together. It is widely viewed and loved globally owing to the hyper-realistically attractive plot of the anime movie.

3. Howl's Moving Castle

Release Time: 2004

Genre: Fantasy

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Another impressive anime movie by the master filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki is Howl's Moving Castle. You can watch this free anime movie that is originally based on the British novel. As a young and beautiful girl is reviled by a witch and turned into a 90-year old woman, she discovers a magic castle and a handsome wizard. The powerful wizard might be the chance to her freedom and youth again. The highly gripping plot of this anime movie that takes viewers on a journey through fantasyland is the basis for its worldwide popularity.

4. Ghost in the Shell

Release Time: 1995

Genre: Science Fiction, Crime

Director: Mamoru Oshii

Ghost in the Shell is a pioneer anime movie based on the Manga by Masamune Shiro. It was released decades ago, but it shows life in 2030. As the anime movie features a world where technology is highly advanced, a cyborg policewoman is seen fighting crime using her extraordinary powers. The main characters, such as Major Motoko Kusanagi and the members of Public Security Section 9, are also seen preventing crime in this evolved era. This action-packed anime movie is well-loved by fans as it displays striking graphics and thrilling action scenes. 

5. Psycho-Pass

Release Time: 2012

Genre: Action, Sci-fi

Director: Naoyoshi Shiotani

Psycho-Pass is a free anime movie streaming worldwide and building fans owing to its storyline. As the name suggests, this anime movie introduces an innovative judgment system known as Sibyl System. People are analyzed and given a psycho pass after assessing their criminal intent. But, the climax is introduced as a new police recruit Akane Tsunemori starts questioning the authorities. As she discovers what is actually right and wrong, the anime builds suspense in this dystopian-themed anime movie.

6. Your Name

Release Time: 2016
Genre: Sci-fi, drama

Director: Makoto Shinkai

The best anime movie released recently is 'Your Name.' It features a strange phenomenon that leads to the swapping of the lives of two individuals. The boy residing in Metropolitan Tokyo, Taki Tachibana, and a rural Japanese girl Mitusha Miyamizu are on a path to find whose body they are inhabiting. This anime movie simultaneously features two different lives as they try to discover each other. It unfolds quite spectacularly while being emotional and humorous at the same time.

7. A Silent Voice

Release Time: 2016
Genre: Drama

Director: Naoko Yamada

An emotionally exceptional anime movie, A Silent Voice, is also based on the Manga series. It brings to light the social issues mostly faced by teenagers and school-going teens. The story unfurls as a deaf girl, Shoka, is continuously harassed and bullied by Shoya, her classmate. But, the anime movie is highly appraised as it takes a positive turn when the harasser realizes his mistake and sets out to make amends. You can watch this free anime movie which is incredibly moving and raises sensitive issues like suicide, bullying, parental divorce, etc.

8. Akira

Release Time: 1988

Genre: Cyberpunk, Sci-fi, Action

Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo

Yet another amazing anime movie based on a best-selling manga series is Manga. It is based in Neo-Tokyo, which is collapsing due to World War 3. The twist comes when the Biker gang Bosozoku member Tetsuo Shima is involved in an accident, and the military experiments on him, resulting in a murderous being with supernatural powers. This story also features the gang leader Shotaro Kaneda, who, alongside Tetsuo, gets involved in a conspiracy involving a guy named Akira. This free anime movie is renowned due to the high-end animations and remarkable visuals. This adds to the reasons why you should definitely watch anime movie like this one.

9. Weathering with You

Release Time: 2019

Genre: Fantasy, drama

Director: Makoto Shinkao

Makoto Shinkao again takes the lead by directing an outstanding anime movie that has become one of the most viewed anime movies recently. An islander boy Hodaka leaves his home for the bustling life of the Metropolitan city of Tokyo. There, he runs into a young girl, Hina, who lives all by herself. Soon, he discovers that Hina holds power to bend the weather to her will. And she uses that power to bring sunshine into people's lives on their significant days such as weddings, etc. Both Hina and Hodaka become close and explore her powers in secret together until evil pops up and the movie plunges into a moving climax. The suspense of this anime movie has been keeping the viewers glued to the screens.

10. Grave of the Fireflies

Release Time: 1988

Genre: War, drama

Director: Isao Takahat

A phenomenal anime movie by Isao Takahat features the struggling life of two siblings trying to make do in the country torn apart by war. It is an extremely emotional anime movie that displays the after-effects and repercussions of war. The 14-year old boy, Seita, tries to rebuild his life with a 4-year old sister. As the movie progresses, the young kids can be seen surviving on scraps and looking for happiness in the ruins of what is left. The stunning and shocking reality of the wars is accurately depicted in this moving movie, making it one of the best anime movie ever.

11. Perfect Blue

Release Time: 1977

Genre: Thriller, drama     

Director: Satoshi Kon

Perfect Blue is the best anime movie that features the fusion of various genres, ultimately presenting a masterpiece. This anime movie follows the life of a pop-star turned actress whose life is stalked and threatened by her past, an obsessed stalker, and the ghosts following her all the time. She suffers humiliation, privacy breaches, and psychological issues. This gripping thriller shows the life of a star behind the limelight. Its emotionally gripping plot has built a huge fanbase.

12. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Release Time: 2006

Genre: Fantasy, romance

Director: Mamuro Hosoda

This particular anime movie revolves around three high schoolers, namely, Makoto, Kosuke, and Chiaki. Among these, Makoto discovers that she can time travel. By using this power, she travels into the past. But, soon, she realizes that her actions are going to cost her in one way or the other, and she learns that time waits for no one. It also explores other common interests possessed by teenagers, such as love, studies, and career. This anime movie certainly features an excellent fantasy plot that attracts fans.

13. My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising

Release Time: 2019

Genre: Sci-fi

Director: Kenji Nagasaki

Another anime movie based on the Manga series, My Hero Academia is superhero fiction. It features a world where the majority of the population consists of people with superpowers, commonly known as Quirks. However, a young boy Izuku, born without any powers, longs to become a superhero like the rest of them. The movie follows the journey of Izuku as he saves a bully from evil and is granted the chance to attend the training school otherwise reserved for superheroes. The plot is suspenseful and keeps viewers guessing as to what will happen in the next scene.

14. Wolf Children

Release Time: 2012

Genre: Fantasy, drama

Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Under the direction of Mamoru Hosoda, this masterpiece was produced by Studio Chizu and can easily be classified as the best anime movie so far. This unique plot features the life of a young woman, Hana, who falls in love with a guy she meets at her college in Tokyo. Little does she know that he is not an ordinary boy but, in fact, a werewolf. Nevertheless, they get married, and 2 kids, Yuki and Ama, are born. The story becomes very interesting when the father dies, and Hana is left alone to care for her children. As Yuki and Ama are not ordinary like their mother, Hana faces numerous issues along her journey.

15. Your Lie in April

Release Time: 2015

Genre: Musical, romance

Director: Takehiko Shinjo

Your Lie in April is a free anime movie also streamed on Netlfix owing to its extraordinary storyline loved by people all over the world. This story features a piano prodigy, Kosei Arima, who breaks down during a performance after his mother passes away. Despite a fine hearing, he is unable to hear his own piano. But, all that magically changes when Kaori Miyazono, an enthusiastic violinist, enters his life and takes him back to his music. This anime movie beautifully unfolds as she herself deteriorates but gives Kosei a new life before she falls fatally sick.

16. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas

Release Time: 2018

Genre: Romance, drama

Director: Shin'ichirō Ushijima

This anime movie is extremely emotional yet humorous. As Haruki stumbles upon a secret diary in a hospital waiting room, he discovers that his classmate, Sakura, is dying from a fatal disease. And soon, they go from classmates to lovers, living life to the fullest by following Sakura's bucket list. A heart-wrenching twist is introduced when fate takes Sakura away from Haruki a little too soon and very suddenly. This exceptional and heart-breaking love story is a must-watch anime movie.

17. Whisper of the Heart

Release Time: 1995

Genre: Romance

Director: Yoshifumi Kondo

Whisper of the Heart follows the life of a young girl and boy as they meet and befriend each other in rather accidental circumstances. Shizuku, a 14-year old bibliophile, discovers that all her favorite books are already being checked out by someone named Seiji. Curious, she is determined to find the boy who shares the same interests as her. But, when she follows a cat riding the train into a shop, she finds him, and they instantly become friends. This anime movie is a story about dreams and passion and the journey they take to fulfill them. It is a very light-hearted comedy and romance anime movie attracting huge fans.

18. One Piece: Stampede

Release Time: 2019

Genre: Action, adventure

Director: Takashi Otsuka

One Piece: Stampede takes viewers to a bustling Pirate Festival. This festival is for pirates and by pirates. From around the world, pirates gather to partake in the treasure hunt organized in this festival. The treasure is from the collection of Golder Roger, the former Pirate king, and all those involved give their all to win it. This anime movie is one of the best action movies and features numerous famed anime movie characters in all their glory, along with the best, most powerful character, Bullet.

19. Death Note

Release Time: 2006

Genre: Crime, action, thriller

Director: Tetsuro Araki

As a thriller anime movie, Death Note features a young high school boy, Light Yagami, who tries to purge the world by using a supernatural diary. Light stumbles upon a diary containing supernatural powers that have the ability to kill anyone whose name is written in it, given that the user knows the person and has seen his face. As Light goes around killing people he deems too immoral to live, he calls for trouble as the police force is after him. This suspenseful anime movie grips the viewers as they try to gauge who is right or wrong.

20. Dragon Ball Super: Broly

Release Time: 2018

Genre: Adventure, fantasy

Director: Tatsuya Nagamine

Dragon Ball Super: Broly is the tale of three Saiyans fighting each other for power and revenge. As Broly returns, Goku and Vegeta encounter powers are unseen before. As the anime movie unfolds, it shows how jealousy and the politics of acquiring the throne lead people to behave. The three warriors are seen fighting, and the whole plot revolves around the legendary Super Saiyan.

Bonus Tip-Record Anime Movie with Wondershare Filmora for an Anime Explanation

Wondershare Filmora is an all-in-one video editor loaded with professional-grade tools to create spectacular videos. The intuitive interface further makes it easy to use the one-click tools for crafting cinematics videos. It has numerous editing features such as the motion-tracking tool, color match, and audio ducking. With it, you can easily record and explain an anime movie by editing it as you like.

Here are the steps to record an anime movie with Filmora.

1. Download, install and launch Wondershare Filmora. In the Media tab, open the Record drop-down menu and tap on the Record PC Screen.

record anime movie

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2. A settings dialogue box will pop open. Customize the parameters such as the custom screen or tab, quality, record time, etc. Press the red icon to start recording the anime movie.

start recording anime

3.After 3 seconds, it will start recording. To stop the recording, you can press the F9 button.

recording countdown

4.The recorded video will be saved to your device and will also be added to your preview in Filmora.

finish anime recording

5.Now, you can drag it to the timeline to make more edits to the anime movie. From the Titles tab, you can add the title for the anime movie by choosing an attractive template and customizing it.

add title to anime movie

6.You can also add exciting Elements and emoticons.

add elements to anime movie

7.Once you have finished editing the anime movie, click on Export and save the video to your device or share it directly on social media.

 export anime movie

Summing up

If you are a true anime movie fan, it is possible that you might have watched all the top movies we have mentioned above. But, if you still haven't come across these truly impressive anime movies, you are in for a treat. Even if you are not a fan of anime, you must watch anime movie listed above to be truly amazed. All these are ever-green and the best anime movie of their time.

Add these stunning anime movies and serials to your bucket list and prepare for endless entertainment provided by exciting anime characters. So, go on and watch free anime movie of your choice and enjoy.


author avatar
Shanoon Cox
Shanoon Cox is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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