The anime community has vastly grown over the years. From being extremely popular in Japan, anime and manga have made their way over to the west now as well. Prior to its immense popularity, people would get the impression that anime content only appeals to children. However, for exposing themselves to the beauty and depth that anime offers, Japanese animators had to take part in creating impeccable cinematic experiences for the viewers.
Anime movies are known to comprise of sophisticated plotlines, complex characters, while touching on societal issues that have plagued our world. Unlike the standard movie experience, anime movies simply do not hold back on tackling certain realities of life that remain untouched by all other visual media. Bearing that in mind, a variety of anime movies have been produced over the years that stand out from the rest and are definitely worth watching.
Therefore, here is a list of the best 10 anime moves of all time, specifically based on IMDb scores.
Akira – 8/10
Released back in 1988, Katsuhiro Otomo and his unrivalled storytelling skills are portrayed in Akira. The whole experience transcends a majority of sci-fi films, if not all. Ranging from the extremely complex yet relatable characters, to its fictional portrayal of the future, Akira has got it all.
Moreover, the plot is set in 2019’s Tokyo, following the post-apocalyptic era caused by WWIII.
Perfect Blue – 8/10
It isn’t every day you come across a debut film that somehow reaches stardom, becoming a masterpiece. Perfect Blue is one such anime film by Satoshi Kon, based mainly on Yoshikazu Takeuchi’s novel.
The narrative is known for touching on taboo topics such as harassment, fanaticism, terror, and Satoshi Kon’s amazing ability for integrating them together. In fact, the Perfect Blue clearly depicts how deep and dynamic the anime cinema can truly be.
Throughout the movie, the protagonist is faced with countless problems, allowing the viewers to live through the same ruthless story.
All in all, Perfect Blue is an absolute masterpiece.
Ghost in the Shell – 8/10
The Ghost in the Shell series has been quite prominent ever since its debut. The series has an insane fan following, almost to the point of having an entire cult dedicated to the franchise, and for good reason. It was undoubtedly way ahead of its time and one of the best anime movies of all time. While countless crime sci-fi anime have been released in recent years, none come close to what the Ghost in the Shell offers in terms of its story and visuals.
The premise revolves around a futuristic world and a cyborg female individual serving in the Police. The protagonist is thereby tasked with finding and locating a certain hacker.
My Neighbor Totoro – 8.2/10
Possibly one of the most beautifully animated Japanese films, My Neighbor Totoro is another great title worth watching.
The tempered plot paired up with the elegant visuals allows for the audience to become part of the movie. From the most minor of details to tackling daunting societal problems, Totoro’s immense success was not a surprise for most.
Studio Ghibli also made Totoro the mascot of the team, becoming one of the most popular characters throughout Japan, representing the themes of friendship, family, and love.
Magnetic Rose – 8.2/10
Another masterpiece by Satoshi Kon and directed by Koji Morimoto, Magnetic Rose is a movie that highlights anime from a poetic perspective.
The story is based on a space expedition of three astronauts, journeying through a vastness of galactic junk. Moving on, the team comes across an artificial satellite that resembles the shape of a rose — hence the title.
Howl’s Moving Castle – 8.2/10
If it isn’t clear by now, Studio Ghibli movies are in a league of their own. The striking and beautiful animation, especially in Howl’s Moving Castle, made it one of the best movies put out by the studio. But setting aside the visuals, the movie also does not hold back on its plot, achieving a perfect balance of both aspects.
The story for Howl’s Moving Castle is about a young woman and a certain curse she bears. This leads our protagonist to seek help from the most reputable magician in the world.
The powerful narrative, backed by an unbelievable soundtrack, makes Howl’s Moving Castle one of the most popular and influential Japanese movies of all time.
Your Name – 8.4/10
Your Name currently holds the title for being the world’s highest-grossing anime film of all time. After its release in 2016, the anime movie displaced Spirited Away after roughly 15 years of being the former most grossing movie.
The story for Your Name mainly touches on Japanese traditions, gender identity, drama, and of course, love and romance followed by some humorous and comedic instances.
The film serves as a wonderful medium for communicating the beauty of love in a fantastical yet somewhat realistic perspective.
The movie was aired across the globe, having audiences of different cultures and races experience joy and sorrow simultaneously — just like how relationships and life are.
Princess Mononoke – 8.4/10
There are always those movies that are deemed perfect by critics and audiences alike. And for a movie to portray a well-written story with superior visuals is not as easy as it may seem. Needless to say, Princess Mononoke is one such movie that every single person must watch, regardless of their interest in anime.
The title was directed by Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli.
Princess Mononoke primarily sets out to achieve a balance of past traditions and modernity, while also depicting the differences and a confrontation between us humans and nature. However, the beauty of the movie truly lies in the significance of each character and the profundity shown by each individual.
Grave of the Fireflies – 8.5/10
Another captivating movie by Studio Ghibli, Grave of the Fireflies is just something else.
The plot surrounds the brutal truth about war and how action-packed flicks do not portray its heartbreaking nature. The movie features the second World War and two brothers trying to survive the chaos and destruction caused by and inflicted on us humans.
Director Isao Takahata achieved perfection in the movie, presenting the viewers with the cruelty that war brings.
Spirited Away – 8.6/10
In fact, Spirited Away is possibly the only anime film to be awarded with an Oscar for Best Animated Film. Hayao Miyazaki did a splendid job at bringing the movie to life, allowing the audience to experience Chihiro’s adventures at her new place of residence.