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The Best Anime Movies You MUST See

Updated on October 15, 2017


This is THEE classic Anime film. Based on the Manga by Katsuhiro Otomo. This film is set in the post-apocalyptic city known as Neo-Tokyo. The main character is Tetsuo, a member of a motorcycle gang. After discovering that he has telekinetic powers, Tetsuo begins to be chased by the authorities, the menacing mechanical police and even his old gang. This movie is very bloody and very violent. I would definitely watch this without the children. Akira has become a cult classic and helped set the tone for high quality Anime movies to follow it. This movie should be on EVERY Anime movie list.

IMDb: 8.0

Tomatometer: 87%

Akira Trailer

Ninja Scroll

Unlike the futuristic setting of Akira, Ninja Scroll takes place in feudal Japan. Jubei Kipagami is a mercenary ninja who wanders the country looking for work. Jubei Kipagami comes across a woman whom he rescues from a rock monster trying to kill her. Jubei discovers the woman is also a ninja named Kagero whose poisoned blood causes anyone who touches her to die. Soon they embark on a journey to kill the Eight Devils of Kimon who are planning to overthrow the Shogun. This Anime has some really strong adult content and shouldn't be watched by children. But, adult Anime fans will love the awesome sword-fighting and action scenes.

IMDb: 7.8

Tomatometer: 100%

Ninja Scroll Trailer

Howl's Moving Castle

Sophie is an 18 year old girl who works at the hat shop opened by her late father. One day Sophie meets Howl, a flamboyant wizard who's giant home has legs and can travel around on it's own. The jealous Witch of the Waste dislikes Sophie and Howl's friend so, she puts a curse on Sophie. Turning her into an old, wrinkly woman. Horrified by her new form Sophie makes her way to Howl's castle. Befriending a hopping scarecrow along the way and also making friends with Howl's apprentice, Markl and Howl's powerful but subdued fire demon, Calcifer. This is one of my favorite Anime movies. The animation is fantastic and the story is superb. It's one you can watch with the family. It was even released by Disney in the United States. If you get a chance, watch this one for sure.

IMDb: 8.1

Tomatometer: 86%


Brought to you by the director of Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo. Set in the re-imagined industrial age of England Steamboy is a steam punk style film. A British child name Ray receives a mysterious package from his grandfather, a great inventor. The package contains a tiny steel ball that turns out to be and engine with great power. Soon Ray discover that the O'Hara Pavilion is powered by these balls and his father his become mesmerized by the company, doing anything they wish. But, Ray's grandfather, Lloyd Steam believes Ohara wants to use the balls for evil purposes and sets out to stop the company. Meanwhile Ray begins to like a girl named Scarlet O'hara, the young owner of the O'Hara company. I thought this was a really imaginative film and had a great twisting, turning plot.

IMDb: 6.9

Tomatometer: 59%

Steamboy Trailer

Spirited Away

A tale about a litlle girl lost in a very strange place. While driving during a family outing Chihiro and her parents come upon a tunnel. They pass through the tunnel and discover an abandoned amusement park. While exploring the amusement park Chihiro's parents smell fresh food. Following there noises they discover the source of the smell and begin to stuff their faces. Soon, both parents are turned into pigs and Chihiro discovers she is in a very strange place, indeed. A place filled with Gods, Witches and a bath house where humans are turned into animals in order to serve the Gods. This is a really great Anime and one that most people have seen. It's family friendly and if you haven't watched this one I suggest you rent or buy it, heat a bag of popcorn and plop down in front of the TV to enjoy this masterpiece.

IMDb: 8.6

Tomatometer: 97%

Spirited Away Trailer

My Neighbor Totoro

This awesomely animated children's Anime is directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The story follows Mei and Satsuke, two girls who discover their new home is located in a mystical forest filled with mythical creatures known as Totoros. Soon they befriend O Totoro, the largest and oldest Totoro who happens to also be the King of the forest.. O Totoro takes the girls on many adventures while their mother lies ill in bed. O Totoro teaches the girls many lessons about life. Like the majority of Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli fims , My Neighbor Totoro has a strong ecological theme. Even though this Anime movie was made for children, I actually enjoyed it and have watched it many times, especially if I have nieces or nephews over or friend's children. I might as well watch something we all can enjoy, right?

IMDb: 8.2

Tomatometer: 92%

My Neighbor Totoro Trailer

Grave Of The Fireflies

This film iopens after the Japanese have surrendered after World War II. In the beginning of the film something tragic happens. This rest of the film explains how this tragedy happened by using flashbacks. Seita and Setsuko are two young Japanese children who grew up during the ending days of World War II. The children's father is a member of the Japanese Navy and Seita and Setsuko live a hard but acceptable life with their mother. After their mom dies due to an American fire bombing raid on their village the two young children move in with a distant aunt. Soon conflict forces the children to have to survive on their own. At first they enjoy their new lifestyle but soon Seita realizes life is a lot harder then he previously believed.

IMDb: 8.4

Tomatometer: 97%

Grave Of The Fireflies Trailer

Princess Mononoke

Set in the 14th century and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Like most of his films Princess Mononoke has a heavy ecological theme. Princess Mononoke depicts the war between animal Gods and the humans of Japan during the Muromachi Period. A young man, Ashitaka receives a fatal infection after he is bitten by a gigantic wild demon boar who was attacking his village. Ashitaka seeks out Shishigami a god who he believes can cure him. On his way he sees the destruction of the Earth by a mining village. Their disturbing over plundering of the Earth has brought down the wraith of the wolf god ,Moro, who attacks the village with her human companion, San, who was raised by the wolf god. Seeing these terrible destructive forces Ashitaka tries to get the humans and the gods to work together but he soon sees it will be harder than he thought.

IMDb: 8.4

Tomatometer: 94%

Princess Mononoke Trailer

Well, that concludes my list of (what I believe to be) the 8 MUST see Anime films. Sure, there are a lot of other great Anime films out there but these ones are extra special and deserve a definite view by anyone, even people who aren't yet fans of Anime. Thank you for reading and please check out the poll below to select your favorite from the list.

Which of these Anime films was your favorite?

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© 2013 Zachariah Kaer


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    • ZachKaer profile image

      Zachariah Kaer 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for the comment, I appreciate the insight. As far as the TV anime go, this is just for movies but I will definitely add some more details on why I think they're the best. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, even if it is a negative one.

    • Bryan Mangan profile image

      Bryan Mangan 4 years ago

      Grave of the Fireflies is manipulative, Akira is completely and totally nonsensical, and Ninja Scroll is just schlock. Aside from the Miyazaki films and Steam Boy (which I can't speak for), none of these are substantial. It would help if you gave waaay more reasoning as to why anyone HAS to see these movies. Awesome action scenes in Ninja Scroll? What makes them that way? I've seen dozens other TV anime that has better action scenes than Ninja Scroll. What makes it stand out? Detail. You need detail.