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Top 10 Best Anime Movies

Updated on August 11, 2019
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Krishna is a self-proclaimed otaku. She loves reading manga and watching anime. She has been an otaku since her childhood days.

Heads up for all the anime lovers out there! Here is a list of the top 10 best anime movies that you must watch. As much as I love anime, I tried my best to pick out ten only of the best (in my opinion) anime movies out there. This list contains most of the feel-good-heartwarming anime movies. Now, if you ask me why don't I include some anime movies like Perfect Blue which is artistically made but with a dark theme - it is in my personal taste that I prefer anime movies that are inspiring or will make your heart warm at the end.

Now without further ado, here is the list of the top ten best anime movies that you shouldn't miss:

1. Kimi No Nawa (Your Name)

2. A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi)

3. Wolf Children (Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki)

4. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Toki o Kakeru Shōjo)

5. Into the Forest of Fireflies' Light (Hotarubi no Mori e)

6. Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka)

7. Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi)

8. The Garden Of Words (Kotonoha no Niwa)

9. Ponyo on the Cliff (Gake no Ue no Ponyo)

10. A Letter to Momo (Momo e no Tegami)

1. Your Name (Kimi no Nawa)

Your Name/Kimi no Nawa is an internationally acclaimed anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai. It is released in 2006. Your Name became a huge commercial success, especially in Japan, where it grossed ¥23 billion (~US$190 million). The success of the film also extended beyond Japan. It has also won many awards along with its director Shinkai, from different award-giving bodies.

Plot: a young boy and girl embark on a quest to meet each other for the first time after they magically swap bodies.

Your Name is a gem. This anime film easily grabs the number one spot for me. The amount of effort put into the visual and music of this film is simply breathtaking. You will find yourself rooting for the two characters with their lovable personalities. To understand this film, you will need to swim in it, feel it for yourself, and simply drown in the magic of its story.

This film is not just an ordinary gender-swap story, it has something memorable that will tug at your heart and leave you in awe as the real story kicks in. If you're a fan of romance, deep characters, and breathtaking visuals, this film is surely for you.

There is a reason why Your Name is loved by many and why I chose it as the number one spot. Without spoiling much on the plot of its story, I highly recommend this movie.

2. A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi)

A Silent Voice is an animated teen drama film directed by Naoko Yamada released in 2016. It won Best Animation of the Year in the 26th Japan Movie Critics Awards, where director Naoko Yamada also received praise for her work on the film.

Plot: When a grade school student with impaired hearing is bullied mercilessly, she transfers to another school. Years later, one of her former tormentors sets out to make amends.

It is one of the anime films with a very deep storyline. One can relate to this film on a personal level. It deals with one of the biggest problems in today's society: bullying. It shows many issues that are needed to be addressed: how a deaf try to fit in with other people, how to make amends, and how to forgive oneself and move on from the problems of the past.

I tell you, this film is a roller coaster ride of emotions. Everyone can relate to this masterpiece - on how hard it is to let go of their own past failures and mistakes in life. This film teaches valuable lessons that you cannot find in other anime movies. Lessons about self-esteem, forgiveness, and acceptance are tackled in here. It is one of the few films that I will never get tired of watching all over again.

3. Wolf Children (Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki)

Wolf Children is a 2012 Japanese anime film directed and co-written by Mamoru Hosoda. Wolf Children won the 2013 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, the 2012 Mainichi Film Award for Best Animation Film, and the 2013 Animation of the Year award at TAF. It won two awards at the Oslo Films from the South festival in Norway: the main award, the Silver Mirror, and the audience award. It also won an Audience Award at 2013 New York International Children's Film Festival and the 2014 Best Anime Disc award from HomeMedia Magazine.

Plot: Hana marries a wolfman and raises their two children alone after he dies. They move to the countryside and the children have adventures in the woods and at school.

This movie is a perfect mix of fantasy and reality. It is a heartwarming movie about family love, acceptance, and the sacrifices of a brave woman for her family. It may feel depressing at first watching this movie, but watch until the end and you will feel good that you have watched this movie.

Not to spoil much, this movie is a must-watch! One word could describe this film: beautiful. It is a soothing anime, thanks to Hosoda's perfection.

4. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Toki o Kakeru Shōjo)

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a 2006 Japanese-animated science fiction romance film directed by Mamoru Hosoda. The film won numerous awards, including the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year.

Plot: a teenage girl uses her newfound ability of time travelling to her advantage.

This is an interesting anime. What makes this film better? Answer: plot twist and the never-ending possibilities that could happen. This will make your heart ache and your mind think. Also, the moral of this lesson is great. It emphasizes the importance of the golden treasure that we tend to overlook: time.

This is one of the legendary animes that an anime lover should watch. Overall, this movie is good and beautiful.

5. Into the Forest of Fireflies' Light (Hotarubi no Mori e)

Hotarubi no Mori e was produced in 2011 and directed by Takahiro Omori. The European premiere of Hotarubi no Mori e won the Jury Prize at Scotland Loves Animation festival. It was screened at the Leeds International Film Festival, Anime Contents Expo and Anime Expo convention, and also won the Animation Film Award at the 66th Annual Mainichi Film Awards.

Plot: it tells the story of a six-year-old girl, who gets lost in a forest inhabited by a yamagami, or mountain spirit, as well as yōkai (strange apparitions from Japanese folklore). She became friends with a specific spirit and their story continues.

If you're going to watch this movie: prepare a napkin/tissue beside you. This one is surely a tear-jerker. This left a pang in my chest after I watched it. I can't forget about it for days. It is bittersweet beautiful. This is the anime with one of the most natural developments in the characters' chemistry. The whole storyline is not rushed and everything seems perfectly put into place.

You will surely fall in love with the characters. It is a calm story of love and the passing of time. It is a short film but is surely worth watching.

6. Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka)

Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 Japanese animated war film based on the 1967 semi-autobiographical short story of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka. It was written and directed by Isao Takahata, and animated by the popular Studio Ghibli. The film received universal critical acclaim and received many awards.

Plot: This animated tale follows Seita , a teenager charged with the care of his younger sister, Setsuko, after an American firebombing during World War II separates the two children from their parents. The siblings rely completely on each other and struggle against all odds to stay together and stay alive.

Beautiful. Their tale of survival is as heartbreaking as it is true to life. The movie remains one of the devastating and moving animated films ever. It is beautifully constructed, wonderfully narrated, you will feel the ache brought by the war through this movie. A ray of hope seen through the boy and her sister relationship keeps this movie going.

Bring a tissue if you're gonna watch this movie. Despite being tragic, I still highly recommend this movie for it is one of the most beautifully made animated films of all time.

7. Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi)

Spirited Away is a 2001 Japanese animated coming-of-age fantasy film. It was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and animated by Studio Ghibli. In 2016, it was voted the fourth best film of the 21st century as picked by 177 film critics from around the world, making it the highest ranking animated film on the list. It was also named the second "Best Film of the 21st Century So Far" in 2017 by the New York Times.

Plot: 10-year-old Chihiro and her parents stumble upon a seemingly abandoned amusement park. After her mother and father are turned into giant pigs, Chihiro meets the mysterious Haku, who explains that the park is a resort for supernatural beings who need a break from their time spent in the earthly realm, and that she must work there to free herself and her parents.

Most anime lists would easily put this movie on a higher rank. For my personal taste, I think it is a bit overrated compared to the beauty of Grave of the Fireflies which has a great storyline and a specific message. Overall, this movie is still good and there is a reason why most people prefer this as their all-time favorite anime movie.

What makes this movie succeed is that you will also fall in love with the other characters. If you really love fantasy, then this movie is for you. This is a thrilling and spectacular movie. There are many theories online on the message that this movie wanted to express. I can say that it is up to the viewers to give their own understanding and unravel the hidden messages from the film. So give it a try and enjoy this movie.

8. The Garden of Words (Kotonoha no Niwa)

The Garden of Words is a 2013 Japanese anime drama film written, directed and edited by Makoto Shinkai. It ranked highly on iTunes Store during 2013 and was selected as the Year's Best Animation in iTunes' Best of 2013. It won the 2013 Kobe Theatrical Film Award and awards at the Fantasia International Film Festival and the Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film.

Plot: A lonely teenager skips his morning lessons to sit in a lovely garden. He then meets a mysterious older woman who shares his feelings of alienation.

Great visuals. This movie talks about the deep concept of life. It shows the sad part of reality and shows how sometimes you couldn't get what you wanted. It shows how beautiful love is no matter how unexpected it is. Thumbs up for the poetic part of this movie. This is truly the garden of words.

A surreal feeling of loneliness and longingness will be felt throughout the movie. Overall, aside from the feel-good animes out there, this film is also a must-watch. This film revolves around the feelings, emotion, and desires of the human heart.

9. Ponyo on the Cliff (Gake no Ue no Ponyo)

Ponyo, initially titled in English and released in Asia as Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, is a 2008 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, animated by Studio Ghibli. It earned over US$201 million worldwide and won several awards, including the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year.

Plot: it centers on a goldfish named Ponyo who befriends a five-year-old human boy, Sōsuke, and wants to become a human girl.

This movie has cool animations, bright colors, good music. It is a feel-good anime. Its innocence will give you a soothing experience. If you want to watch something that will give you a break from the stress of life, then this movie is for you. You will have a calming experience with this film.

10. A Letter to Momo (Momo e no Tegami)

A Letter to Momo is a 2011 Japanese anime drama film written and directed by Hiroyuki Okiura. The film grossed $4,969,070 in Japan, $1,700,694 in South Korea, $6,409 in Hong Kong, $1,003 in Belgium, and $71,712 in the United States, for a total of $6,748,712 worldwide.

Plot: 11-year-old Momo Miyaura moves with her mother to a small island town after her father dies. When she arrives, she encounters three goblins that others cannot see who help her to cope with the loss of her father and the changes in her life.

A Letter to Momo is a lovely film. The moral of this movie is great too. It is heartwarming and another feel-good anime.

© 2019 Krishna

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