Top 20 Anime movies you need to watch

The name “anime” is merely a phrase used in the West to describe animated films created in Japan, and this country’s anime industry has created some of the greatest motion pictures ever made. We’ve taken the effort to prepare our list of the greatest anime movies ever made in case you’re new to the genre and don’t trust what we’re saying. The films on this list are all great examples of their respective genres. Since they are all very excellent in their own right, we didn’t believe it was fair to rank them. Instead, we’ve arranged the list alphabetically.

Weathering with You

Weathering with You (2019) - IMDb

This one surrounds controlling the weather. A teenage couple, Hodaka and Hina come together to save people’s big days from getting ruined because of the weather. Hina owns the powers. Making the weather suitable for weddings and big events. A super chic fantasy for those who enjoy unrealistic stories. It is one of the Top Anime movies.

Perfect Blue

Perfect Blue (1997) - IMDb

This anime is based on a real-life issue of the current generation. When fans go beyond limits and start developing stalkerish habits toward their idols. Mima Kirigoe, the antagonist in the anime belonging to a girl group switches to acting and is met with backlash from her fanbase for her change of personality. It is one of the Top Anime movies.

Castle in the Sky

Castle in the Sky (1986) - IMDb

Sheeta, a young orphan, and her captor, Col. Muska, are on their way to a military jail when their jet is assaulted by an air pirate gang led by the matronly Dola. Sheeta meets fellow orphan Pazu after escaping a mid-air crash via a magical crystal around her neck, and the two join forces to find the mythical floating city of Laputa while being hunted by both Muska and pirates who yearn for the city’s numerous treasures. It is one of the Top Anime movies.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) - IMDb

After an apocalyptic conflict has ruined much of the world’s ecosystem, the few remaining humans live in isolated semi-hospitable environments within what has become a “toxic jungle” far in the future. Young Nausicaä dwells in the parched Valley of the Wind and can converse with the giant insects that populate the deadly jungle. Nausicaä attempts to restore peace to the shattered planet with the help of the pensive veteran warrior Lord Yupa. It is one of the Top Anime movies.

Neo Tokyo

Neo Tokyo (film) - Wikipedia

The short follows Sachi, a girl who is playing hide-and-seek with her cat Cicerone. Her investigation leads her to an old longcase clock that also serves as a portal to a labyrinth world. The world is full of supernatural oddities and characters, including cardboard working-class citizens, an invisible dog, a skeleton-led train, and a strange circus. Sachi and Cicerone eventually arrive at a circus tent with a viewing screen, which leads to the following segments. It is one of the Top Anime movies.


Steamboy (2004) - IMDb

In this animated adventure, 1860s England gets a technological remake. Ray is a brilliant young inventor who is inspired by his father, Eddie, and grandfather, Lloyd Steam. Ray’s world is turned upside down after his grandfather sends him a mysterious mechanical ball with revolutionary power. It appears that many people desire that power, and not all of them have good intentions. It is one of the Top Anime movies.

Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell (1995) | MUBI

An anime that takes place in the future, to be precise in 2030. Motoko Kusanagi who’s busy locating a ghost hacker happens to be taking over the valuable tech-infused minds aka Puppet Master. The movie is beyond amazing cinematography which appeals to the viewers and it extends to a sequel. It is one of the Top Anime movies.

Millennium Actress

Millennium Actress - Wikipedia

Chiyoko misplaces the key one day while filming and decides to marry Junichi Taki, a studio director. Years later, Chiyoko discovers the key and confronts her husband; former lead actress Eiko Shimao reveals that she stole it out of jealousy and gave it to Junichi. One day, the former military police officer who had been pursuing the artist comes to Chiyoko to atone for his crimes during the war, and she receives a letter from the artist. He informs Tachibana, who was working as a studio assistant at the time, that the artist was tortured and murdered following his arrest. Though she does not accept the fact that she is no longer the girl the artist once knew. It is one of the Top Anime movies.

The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises (2013) - IMDb

Jiro approaches Naoko’s father for permission to marry her, and the two are engaged. Naoko, on the other hand, has tuberculosis and wishes to postpone marriage until she recovers. Castorp helps with the romance before fleeing from the Japanese secret police. Jiro hides at his supervisor’s house while working on a new navy project because he is wanted in connection with Castorp. Naoko recovers in a mountain sanatorium after suffering a lung hemorrhage, but she cannot bear being apart from Jiro and returns to marry him. Jiro’s doctor sister Kayo warns him that his marriage to Naoko will end tragically because tuberculosis is incurable. Despite Naoko’s declining health, she and Jiro enjoy their time together. It is one of the Top Anime movies.

Pom Poko

Shoukichi, who also joined the human world, was walking home from work one day when he noticed a non-transformed tanuki leaping into a gap in a wall. Shoukichi crawls through the gap and follows the path to a grassy clearing where some of his former companions are congregating. To join them, he joyfully transforms back into a tanuki. Ponkichi, Shoukichi’s friend, addresses the viewer, pleading with humans to be more considerate of tanuki and other animals lacking transformation abilities, and to refrain from destroying their living space; as the view pulls out and away, their surroundings are revealed to be a golf course within a suburban sprawl. It is one of the Top Anime movies.

Only Yesterday

Only Yesterday (1991) - IMDb

Taeko is surprised to learn that her brother-in-law’s second cousin Toshio, whom she barely knows, has come to pick her up at the train station. During her time in Yamagata, she grows increasingly nostalgic and wistful for her childhood self, while grappling with adult issues of career and love. The journey brings back long-forgotten memories, such as the first stirrings of childish romance, puberty and growing up, and the frustrations of math and boys. Taeko wonders if she has lived up to her childhood dreams in lyrical switches between the present and the past. As she does so, she begins to realize how much Toshio has helped her along the way. Taeko finally confronts her true self.

Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke - Wikipedia

Where the battle becomes the God of forests versus humans. Prince Ashiktaka finds himself the peacemaker between the two amidst his quest to lift the deadly curse set upon him. He meets San, a woman raised in the wild.  


Akira (1988) - IMDb

Leader of a biker gang, Shotaro Kaneda, and his childhood friend Tetsuo Shima are the leads of the anime. The setting of anime takes place after WWIII broke out and Tokyo is destroyed due to it. Tetsuo gains powers after a tragic motorbike accident, the anime ascends with his telekinetic powers.  

Tokyo Godfathers

Tokyo Godfathers (2003) - IMDb

A drunk, runaway, and drag queen find an infant on the streets of Tokyo. It’s Christmas eve and the group comes together to find the baby’s parents. The day arrives and they are still searching and unraveling the dark history of the child.  


Paprika (2006) - IMDb

Dr. Atsuko Chiba is a scientist by day and a dream detective by night, going by the alias “Paprika.” Atsuko and her colleagues are developing the DC Mini, a device intended to aid psychiatric patients, but in the wrong hands, it has the potential to destroy people’s minds. When a prototype is stolen, Atsuko/Paprika rushes to recover it before it is damaged.

Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies (1988) - IMDb

An extremely tragic and sentimental tale of two siblings; Seita and Satsuko. They lost their mother due to the bombing of their house, the anime takes place in WWII. Both of them try to survive in the ruthless world in terrible times. This anime is not for weak hearts.  

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) - IMDb

In this anime film, 13-year-old Kiki moves to a coastal town with her talking cat, Jiji, to spend a year alone, as is customary for witches in training in her community. Kiki establishes a flying delivery service after learning to manage her broomstick and quickly becomes a fixture in the town. However, as the insecure young witch begins to doubt herself and loses her magical skills, she must overcome her self-doubt to regain her powers.

Porco Rosso

Porco Rosso (1992) - IMDb

The film begins with the titular character Porco Rosso, a veteran World War I fighter ace and freelance bounty hunter, responding to an alert about an attack on a ferry liner by airborne pirates in the Adriatic Sea during the interwar period. After defeating the pirates, known as Mamma Aiuto, Porco retires to the Hotel Adriano, which is run by his long-time friend Madame Gina. Two reporters approach Porco and attempt to interview him on the spot, but their loud questions irritate Mr. Curtis, who physically removes the reporters so he can concentrate on Gina without distraction. Gina’s music has the power to calm even the most ferocious pirates.

My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro (1988) - IMDb

A family-friendly movie filled with pure innocent bliss. A family moves to the rural areas to be closer and more connected with their ill mother. Satsuki and Mei here discover a big fluffy forest creature; Totoro. 

Spirited Away

Spirited Away (2001) - IMDb

The must-watch anime movie list can’t begin without this absolute banger film. Studio Ghibli has created the top award-winning animated film and that too for over two decades now! Chihiro takes over working under mythical creatures in a bathhouse to let her parents escape the curse.  

That’s all folks! These were the Top 20 Anime movies you need to watch. If you know any more awesome anime movies do mention them in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you!

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