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Best 10 Anime Movies for All Time

Liza Brown
Liza Brown
Originally published Jun 20, 22, updated Dec 05, 23
Best 10 Anime Movies of All Time

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Part 1 Most Popular 10 Anime Films Ever: Grab the Popcorn!

Anime movies are a trendy fascination of the modern day, tech savvy audience that caters to look for an innovative aspect in almost everything around. Talking specifically of the movie buffs, enjoying their favorite flicks over a steaming bowl of popcorn is their definition of ultimate luxury. The excitement however, crosses newer steps of leaps and bounds when it comes to anime movies.

Thanks to the latter’s exquisite and eye catching character representation, captivating and engaging story progression and of course, fantasizing and adventure centric plot buildup, anime movies are something you will never forget, lest you are not an admirer of the superficial world of fictional stories and imaginary character sketches. Diving into some more detail, let us move ahead with discussing about some of the most popular, evergreen and all-time favorite anime flicks in what follows next:


Major Attractions

The high speed, action packed sequences are an absolute favorite of adventure and action admirers

The fresh and simple storyline with stunning plot locations keeps the audience captivated till the end

The mind-blowing action sequences are aptly complemented and brought to life with state-of-the-art animation design.

Released in 1988, Akira happens to be a derivative of the inaugural parts from the epic manga series created by its director Katsuhiro Omoto. Showcasing excellence in every sphere, the film came out to be the most expensive anime production of the retro era. The class and perfection combined with a matchless creativity makes this film a cumulative of anime cinema that has sought the screens from the 90’s decade till date.

As of the storyline, the plot is centered on the events taking place in the city of Neo-Tokyo, 3 decades ahead of the breakdown of World War III, when the ancient city of Tokyo was engulfed in a massive explosion. The film progresses to depict the life events of 2 childhood friends Tetsuo Shima and Kaneda Shotaro, who are the associates of a motorbike gang. All is well, until one night when the duo lands into trouble while combating a rival gang.

Tetsuo accidently crashes into a child and is consequently thrashed to the core by a cop. The scary night happens to negatively affect Tetsuo’s mind, who starts to have frightening hallucinations. As Kaneda desperately tries to figure out a rescue, the series of events in the lives of these 2 friends move on to unfold an ominous secret called Akira, within the gloomy center of Neo-Tokyo’s disastrous past.

Hot Comments

The movie is an animation masterpiece of its time, with the most amazing and impressive visuals

Akira is the perfect blend of hyper reality and imagination, with a free and incredibly kinetic camera movement

10 Most Popular Anime Films Ever- Akira

02Spirited Away

Major Attractions

The movie portrays the traditional style of animation with an exclusive frame-by-frame drawing

The film boasts of housing the most expanded dimensions of creativity, with a host of characters and elements, each with a different form of creative expertise

The movie keeps you engaged with a captivating and nail-biting adventures of a little girl protagonist

Crafted by Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away hit the screens in 2001, and is appreciated as one among the latter’s greatest works on account of the impeccable and most definitive concepts and themes. The storyline of the film excels in the perfect and precise depiction of the most expressive and diverse range of contemporary emotions.

Be it the determination and strength of a young lady, the ecstatic splendor of flight, the psychic scuffle due to the oblivion of cultural and personal values in the ancient Japanese society, or the abiding strength of love; every element is carved out of a justified grace. The story takes you on a fantasy trip with Chihiro, who panics to find out that her parents have turned into pigs.

As the little girl runs exasperatedly down the streets of the city to look for help, the evening dawns in front of her, filling the surroundings with the breath of life. The lights begin flickering to announce and witness the rising of earthly spirits. The film was substantial in establishing Hayao Miyazaki as the legendary anime director of his time.

Hot Comments

The movie caters to keep the originality of the creation idea intact, ahead of its strange and mythical storyline

The flick is packed with stunning visuals and houses possibly the most imaginative characters ever, suiting the audience beyond age boundaries

10 Most Popular Anime Films Ever- Spirited Away

03Grave of the Fireflies

Major Attractions

The movie is a powerhouse of emotions and empathy that demands a reconsidering of animation from a more serious perspective

The effective use of ‘pillow shots’ for scenic separation facilitates a beautiful and engaging set of poetic visuals

The movie backgrounds and locations have an artistic beauty that results from the integration of landscape drawing into animation.

Brought to the world in 1988, the aforesaid anime flick was created in the direction of Isao Takahata. Depicting the unpredictability and harshness of life in its truest form, Grave of the Fireflies is miles ahead of those customary sad anime movies. Transforming sadness into horror, the fateful plot of the flick revolves around the siblings, Seita and Setsuko, who are forced to lead a dreadful and agonized life, post a disastrous attack that turns their hometown into ruins.

The storyline progresses to showcase the heart-wrenching struggle of Setsuko and Seita to find a hideout of security and peace amidst the spread-out cruelty and indifference of a hard-hearted and brutal world. While the brother-sister duo tries to comprehend their merciless fate, the story unfolds a surety of the latter’s perishing down at the end in front of the viewers.

As the children keep alive their hopes escaping the doom, the horrifying events in every scene make the audience pray for a miraculous change of fate for the kids. One of the best animated movies produced by Studio Ghibli, the film portrays the nerve-freezing delicateness of human existence in a ravish and uncaring environment, with an extra-ordinary excellence and perfection.

Hot Comments

Grave of the Fireflies is an emotionally moving film that showcases the most realistic consequences of war

The movie is a beautiful masterpiece of animation that puts forward the truth and practicality of life

10 Most Popular Anime Films Ever- Grave of the Fireflies

04Ghost in the Shell

Major Attractions

The movie is a wholesome blend of an interesting storyline, in depth messages, punchy dialogue, power packed action, neat technology and elusive animation

The plot keeps the audience glued with a decent play of special effects and a plunge into unbelievable fantasy

The story takes the viewers on an exploration of the existent humanity through a dive into visually upbeat action sequences

Crafted with the experience and artistry of Mamoru Oshii, Ghost in the Shell is better recognized as a trend breaking revolution in Japanese animation in the light of culture and aesthetic sense. The film is additionally credited with reshaping the craft and reception of science-fiction movies amid the 21st century. The film’s plot claims its roots to a manga series directed by Masamune Shirow in 1989 and the storyline unfolds in Niihama, the fictitious city of Japan, dwelled in by cyborgs with non-natural prosthetic bodies.

The movie depicts the twists and turns in the life of Major Motoko Kusanagi, chief of the Public Security Section 9 domestic special ops task-force. As the latter starts questioning her humane existence amidst the artificial surroundings, her team is tasked with a special mission. The force is asked to detain Puppet Master, a mysterious hacker who takes the credit of being the most treacherous criminal of the contemporary world.

As the team begins its search by following the succession of criminal activities by the Puppet Master’s wicked allies, a series of unrelated events merge into a pattern which gets linked back to Motoko herself. The film went to hit the screens in 1995 and had the most welcoming response from the critics as well as the audience.

Crafted with depth and sophistication, every element of the movie from the visual depiction to the background score, has the best catch ever. All in all, this one is an intoxicating science fiction with the perfect and cohesive play of machine intelligence. In the light of these facts, it would not be wrong to admit that Ghost in the Shell bears the same significance till date, as it enjoyed over 2 decades ago.

Hot Comments

The movie is a complex masterpiece of cyberpunk fiction with a perfect integration of philosophical ideas

The background score and top rated animation design put the flick in the list of the best anime masterpieces crafted ever

10 Most Popular Anime Films Ever- Ghost in the Shell


Major Attractions

The integration of the real and the dream worlds make Paprika a magically thrilling movie

Over the top animation and exquisite characterization make this film an anime buzz of all times

The storyline is complex, yet interesting to keep you caught up for the next event taking place in the plot

Released in 2006, Paprika happens to be the best work of the renowned anime director Satoshi Kon, who is known for his matchless animation craft. The plot of the film has its origins from a famous 1993 novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, which proved to be the best inspiration Satoshi could ever get in line with his thematic creation ideology. The storyline progresses to unfold the journey of psychiatrist Atsuko Chiba, who aims to revolutionize psychiatric treatment through her experiment.

Atsuko attempts to help her psychic patients by using a DC Mini device for recording and navigating through their dreams via a shared simulation setup. While the latter puts up a constantly cold attitude during the day, she takes on as the plot’s main lead to consult patients on her own constraints during the night. All seems well until a couple of DC Mini devices go missing and let lose on the outside world.

Panic strikes in the city when the entire population collectively falls unconscious and Paprika, with her team undertakes the responsibility of setting things straight. Putting in all his direction experience in one film, Kon attempts to create the perfect play of classic animation in line with mind-blowing and complementary shades.

The film boasts of excellent and overwhelming transition cuts, while the director takes the credit of having the most exquisite taste of cinematic references. The immense appreciation received by Paprika is largely associated to Kon’s in depth and emotional vision of the assortment of human perception.

Hot Comments

The top-notch animation and background music of the movie are simply fascinating to say the least

The movie is a strangely beautiful and entertaining medium to explore the most unrealistic dreams

10 Most Popular Anime Films Ever- Paprika

06The Wind Rises

Major Attractions

The film takes the audience to the superficial era of the primitive years of aeronautical engineering

The lead character of the film entertains the viewers with his vast dimensions of talents as an engineer and a poet, who is eventually a dreamer by heart

The stunning animation of the film is simply breathtaking and a treat to watch for everyone, ahead of age restrictions

Directed by Miyazaki, The Wind Rises was released in 2013 as a depiction of the life and works of Jiro Horikoshi, an aviation engineer. Out of the different styles and genres that Miyazaki has worked in, the cream of the curd lies with the aeronautical theme. Most of Miyazaki’s work aims to present the comforting side of the contemporary Japanese culture in a personal relevance to himself through a complex follow up of events.

The plot of the film tries to normalize the fact that a creator cannot always control the form that his work assumes on a final reception. He just has the liberty to put in the maximum dedication and finesse into his craft. The director attempts to prove the irony in human perception with regard to the liberalization in crafting something, while determining the boundaries of its reception and acceptance in line with self-annihilation.

Known as Miyazaki’s final work of anime art, the film was successful enough to give him the recognition of the globally acknowledged headman of contemporary Japanese animation. The film still shies as the most vibrant feather in the latter’s career cap as a venerated anime director.

Hot Comments

The movie is the perfect portrayal of the militaristic past of Japan with a captivating play of top class animation

The film effectively depicts the director’s perception of war, war equipment, life, love and peace

10 Most Popular Anime Films Ever- The Wind Rises

07Perfect Blue

Major Attractions

The film houses commendable animation graphics with life-like character movements and scenic portrayals

The protagonist’s struggle to distinguish between illusion and reality creates a sense of empathy for the identity centered theme of the film

The cinematic puzzles in the mind-bending plot of the film are a treat to watch for mystery lovers

Hitting the screens in 1997, Perfect Blue is a flawless play of treachery, danger and hatred in a psychology centered horror thriller that boasts of cinematic superiority. Braking the stereotypes of genre saturation in the anime world, the flick has its origins in a 1991 novel by Yoshikazu Takeuchi. Marking the directorial debut of Satoshi Kon as an anime movie creator, the film revolves around Mima Kirigoe, a pop-idol singer who quits her profession to pursue an acting career.

As Mima tries to put through the pressures of her new profession, the set of her first major assignment is invaded by a group of villainous followers of a mysterious attacker. While the latter addresses himself as a representative of the actual Mima, the chaos causes the margins of Mima’s personal and professional spaces to fade away. How much she struggles to cling on the reality, the uncomprehensive events tend to drown her into a cavernous sea of madness and depression.

The film claims of a spiritual inspiration from Psycho and The Silence of the Lambs, directed respectively by Alfred Hitchcock and Jonathan Demme. Satoshi Kon presented his direction skills in style with an innovative editing, a captivating storyline and a vibrant color direction in his debut. The flick majorly attempts to depict the toxicity in the contemporary pop culture that creates idols to eventually destroy them.

Hot Comments

Depicting thrill in an enigmatic style, the movie is a fresh attempt to recreate the old school horror stories

The film is a conducive roller coaster of reality, dreams, delusion and fiction, all in a single package

10 Most Popular Anime Films Ever- Perfect Blue

08Patlabor 2

Major Attractions

The movie breaks the stereotype of Japanese animation films not being suitable for children

The efforts of a great teamwork reflect in the smart screenplay showcases a seamless blend of political and terrorist backgrounds

The film conveniently excels as a great science fiction flick, much in the Hollywood style perfection

Patlabor 2 is an influential work in the realm of anime motion pictures, crafted by Mamoru Oshii to showcase an impressive political thriller. Released in 1993, the film worked to define Oshii’s style of direction in his future anime conceptions. The plot of the second installment in the Patlabor series revolves again around the 2nd Special Vehicles Unit within the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

The force is tasked with the responsibility to backfire the attempts of a reprobate military leader, who plans to create a controlled situation of panic and fear to oust the running government. Ahead of Oshii’s earlier works that surfaced a political annotation, the aforesaid film is a total dogmatic thriller that’s high on emotions, atmosphere and cautious movements.

Patlabor 2 is a craft of excellent technical accomplishment, metaphysical poignance and content maturity. This is evident from the fact that the film has the same cinematic significance in modern times, as it had during its release around 2 decades back. Brimming with class and elegance in every aspect, the film dedicates its success to a doting creator, who put in his entire potential to craft a political masterpiece on a spiritual foreword.

Hot Comments

The beautiful characterization and stunning animation effects keep the audience glued to the end

The spell bounding story and matchless direction render this film as the best of the Patlabor trilogy

10 Most Popular Anime Films Ever- Patlabor 2

09My Neighbor Totoro

Major Attractions

The simple storyline and subtle characterization are enough to hold back the audience’s attention throughout the film

The film boasts of an ethereal and ravishing animation with the most enchanting background score

The film is a power packed family entertainer with the most vibrant elements, all under one frame

This 1988 family entertainer anime flick is credited with being the most epic creation of director Miyazaki, that attempts to portray the childhood quirkiness in its truest form. The film carries on to break the cynical and suspicious stereotypes of all age groups through its timeless essence. Aiding to the cause are the film’s attractive plot settings, empathetic characterization and a captivating band march theme.

The storyline depicts the journey of Professor Tatsuo Kusakabe, along with his daughters Mei and Satsuki, who decide of moving to an old dwelling by the countryside to tend and be close to their ill mother. The film is a portrayal of the world from the perspective of the 2 sisters who welcome the unfair events of life with open arms. Enjoying each and every moment, they sometimes leap through the house fields, chase dust mites, tumble down tree holes and land on the bulgy stomach of a spirited creature.

The film brought about a revolution in the anime world with its focus on the quiet and reflective moments of everyday life, ahead of chasing between shots. As of popular critics, the movie was appreciated for being centered on situation, exploration and experience, instead of threat and conflict. The magical appeal of the film lies in the essence that motivates you to keep alive the child within yourself.

Hot Comments

The best appeal of the film is the absence of villainous characters, which is further complemented with a seamless and binding plot without any moral lessons

Having the essence of poetry, charm and cuteness, all at the same time, this film is perfect pastime for kids on a Sunday afternoon, much like the Disney animated movies


10 Most Popular Anime Films Ever- My Neighbor Totoro


Major Attractions

Compiling 3 short stories into a single movie, this one is an experiment of brilliance in the anime world

The engaging storylines of each of the 3 shorts will never let you have enough of the movie with a desire to stream one more time

The directors aim to tell the stories in an animated poetic style that suits the theme of the plot.

Introduced to the anime cinema in 1987, Neo-Tokyo was initially addressed as Manie Manie: Labyrinth Tales. The movie is a split-up craft of the biggest names in the anime world and features shots directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Katsuhiro Otomo and Rintaro. The film got its existing name during its re-release in 1989 by Streamline Pictures to avoid a title clash with Otomo’s allied production Akira, that had hit the screens in the same year.

Viewing through the specific shorts in particular, the ‘Labyrinth Labyrinthos’ directed by Rintaro is inspired by German Expressionism in cohesion with the craft of Salvador Dali. The plot follows Sachi, a notorious young girl who, via the dresser’s looking glass, gets drawn into the gloomy space of a hallucinating quirkiness, along with Cicerone, her pet kitten.

As of ‘The Running Man’ directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, the latter is an ugly science fiction noir short that draws its inspiration from Blade Runner. The storyteller here is a sports correspondent who gets the privilege to see Jack Hugh’s last race. This legendary sports star of a dangerous running tournament was then reported to have imbibed fatal psionic tendencies.

Reserving the best for the last, here enters ‘Construction Cancellation Order’, the last short directed by Katsuhiro Omoto. The story progresses with the journey of Tsutomu Sugioka, who is sent to a fictitious and remote area in Aloana Republic, a city in South America by his seniors. His job is to shut down Facility 444, a remote construction project of his Japanese company.

Put collectively, Neo-Tokyo is a masterpiece of technical excellence that showcases the bright future of amine movies, provided that they are crafted by the most unique film creators of the anime world.

Hot Comments

The movie is a fantastic and cohesive alignment of 3 non-connected stories in one frame to represent an integration that is nothing short of magic

The movie is a gorgeous play of twisted blocks and designs that conveniently takes the shape of a really great anthology flick

10 Most Popular Anime Films Ever- Neo-Tokyo

Part 2 Upcoming New Anime Movies: 2022 Release Date Calendar

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The craze of anime movies has witnessed a considerable increment in the recent years and there are estimates that the follow through is bound show a much more positive expansion in the coming times. While there are a host of retro, evergreen and timeless movies in the anime genre that promise you of a never ending session of fun, fantasy and entertainment, what’s cooking up next is something that the audience is much more interested to know about.

Sorting out the query, the following section aims to pick out the cream from the curd of the latest anime releases to look forward for a wholesome and everlasting streaming experience. Regardless of the genre and theme, these upcoming flicks are a wholesome entertainment package for all age groups and promise you of the most awaited fun and enjoyment. Without further ado, let’s have a look at the list given below:

01Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

Releasing as the next edition of the famous Dragon Ball anime flick series, the aforesaid title is all set to premiere on the screens by the spring of 2022. Featuring the excellent screenplay craft of Akira Toriyama, the movie carries on the Dragon Ball legacy by retaining some of the main characters of the latter’s storyline, like that of Gohan and Goku, along with the Red Ribbon Army, the villainous association that had faced a crushing defeat from Goku in the prequel editions where the storyline begins to unfold.

Upcoming New Anime Movies- Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

02One Piece Film Red

The aforesaid title lands among the most looked forward releases of 2022, with a confirmed release date of 6th August in the year. Carrying forward the lineage of the One Piece Films franchise, the aforesaid flick happens to be the 15th edition of the series. Crated under the direction of Eiichero Oda, the Manga star in the original film sequence, the movie is his 3rd self-creation in a row.

Talking of the film’s storyline, the latter is reported to bear a close resemblance to the Red-Haired’ Shanks. The plot additionally introduces a novel feminine character in the inaugural main visual as the daughter to the Shanks.

Upcoming New Anime Movies- One Piece Film Red

03Detective Conan: The Bride of Halloween

Moving ahead with the list, the aforesaid flick is the next surprise of the Detective Canon franchise that is dedicated to continue its legacy of creating word class mystery movies. Releasing on April 15, Detective Conan: The Bride of Halloween is tasked to carry forward the yearly trend in 2022 as the 25th edition of the series.

The storyline unfolds in the Autumn spell and moves along the journey and adventures of Canon Edogawa, the hero of the plot, while retaining a few of the essential supportive characters from its parent series.

Upcoming New Anime Movies- Detective Conan: The Bride of Halloween

04That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: The Movie

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is better recognized as a well appreciated anime series. Centered on the story adaptations from a light-hearted novel penned by Fuse, the series was telecasted across 2 seasons amid 2018 and 2022. The plot is recently announced to be recreated into a movie and released somewhere around the Autumn of 2022.

Traversing along the plot adopted from the series, the movie happens to be the inaugural flick based on the latter. As of the character squad, the movie retains most of them from the series, including Rimuru, the reincarnated slime, along with his allies.

Upcoming New Anime Movies- That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: The

05Slam Dunk: Movie

Last in the list is the Slam Dunk: Movie, a sports genre anime flick that has its story adaptations from the original Slam Dunk anime series. Throwing some light on the parent story, the basketball centered manga creation was well received by the global audience. Hoping an alike response, the movie is all set to premiere the screens in the autumn of 2022.

Talking of the film crew, the story is crafted and directed by Takehiko Inoue, who had featured as the manga star of the parent series. His other notable appearances include Vagabond and Real. In the light of the positive critical acclaim and popularity gained by the original series, Slam Dunk: Movie is expected to land in as an evergreen favorite in the long list of classic anime movies of the past and the future.

Upcoming New Anime Movies- Slam Dunk: Movie

Part 3 Anime Movie Q&A

What are the main reasons behind the uniqueness of anime movies?

Anime flicks boast of having the capability to entertain the audience with an element of uniqueness, owing to a series of characteristics. Some of the prominent ones are, complex and engaging storylines, exaggeration of physical features and a light tint of animation.

What makes anime movies rank high on viewer preference?

Amine movies are a storehouse of fantasy and adventure, taking you to an imaginary world of nail-biting stories. Making a more generous use of narration and vision, in comparison to live action flicks, they tend to unfold the content plot in such a way that suits the animation genre ahead of any other style.

Which movie marked the entry of anime flicks into the entertainment world?

Namakura Gatana, also referred to as Blunt Sword, was directed in 1917. The latter was then released in Japan as the inaugural anime movie sometime later. However, the fact that which of the two titles took the actual credit, still happens to be a mystery.

What is the fundamental classification of anime movies?

As of now, the aforesaid Japanese animation style is classified into 5 major categories, each aimed at addressing a specific class of viewer preferences. The 5 types are, Kodomomuke, Josei, Seinen, Shojo and Shonen.

What is the existing count of anime movies?

According to the latest updates, the cumulative count of anime movies is ahead of 6000 at present. Additionally, around 3200 anime series have been telecasted till date. It is further, interesting to know that Japan takes the credit of making more than 60% of the total anime content being viewed across the globe.

Ending Thoughts

Anime movies 2020 are a trend of fantasy and fiction that takes you to a superficial world of fun-filled adventure and entertainment.

The never-ending list of wholesome anime movies extends every year in proportion with the increasing popularity earned by these amazing motion graphic creations.

While there are already a host of anime flicks for movie lovers to crave for, the coming year is all set to bring in new surprises with some amazing content releases.

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