10 Anime Movies That Lived Up To The Hype – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Hype can easily ruin movies by driving up audience expectations to unrealistic heights. Thankfully, these movies were able to deliver and then some.
Throughout the years, anime movies have gotten more and more popular. From movies based on an existing anime series to original feature films such as the works of Studio Ghibli, Studio TRIGGER, or Satoshi Kon, fans everywhere are always excited to see a new anime movie debut in cinemas.
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The success of these films varies, with some seeing amazing buzz from the start and others falling under the radar. Sometimes, fans are completely disappointed when a new highly anticipated movie releases. But other times, especially in recent years, films prove to be worth the wait and even surprise viewers with how great they are.
Released in 2019, the romantic fantasy Weathering with You found immediate success upon release. Directed by Makoto Shinkai, the film was praised for its emotional storyline and beautiful visuals, and its popularity accelerated quickly. Despite some saying it was too similar to his earlier film Your Name, the consensus all around was positive. The movie saw such success in theaters that it became the highest-grossing Japanese film of 2019. To this day, it currently sits as the 6th highest-grossing anime film of all time.
Wolf Children was a bittersweet tale released in 2012 that still finds praise today. Anticipated for its unique story and amazing animation, the film did not disappoint. Few knew what to expect when it came out, but audiences were met with a beautiful depiction of a mother’s love that left them in tears. It became the 35th highest-grossing anime film of all time, seeing global success. Though this success wasn’t record-breaking, it became a memorable film loved by all that will likely be hailed as a classic.
Based on the one-shot shojo manga by Yuki Midorikawa, Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light was renowned for its beautiful yet heartbreaking story of love and loss. Though not as known outside of Japan until the movie’s release, the film saw great success for months after its initial debut.
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It was critically acclaimed and quickly became a favorite, earning a spot among fans as a well-loved film. Its simple yet beautiful story was praised by all and compared to the works of Studio Ghibli and Makoto Shinkai.
The films of Satoshi Kon are beloved by many anime fans, and Paprika was no exception, being highly anticipated by lovers of the director’s twisted yet gorgeous work. Upon release, the film was a mind trip for viewers but held a tight grip on fans who couldn’t help but be fascinated by the world depicted in front of them. It won the Best Feature Length Theatrical Anime Award in 2007 and was also listed as one of the top 25 animated films of all time in TIME magazine. Some even argue that the film was an inspiration for the 2010 film Inception.
The 2016 film A Silent Voice was predicted to be a big hit among anime fans. However, no one could have predicted just how big of a hit it would become. Produced by Kyoto Animation, its combination of breathtaking visuals and heartwrenching story left fans in awe. It was the 19th highest-grossing film of 2016 in Japan and received endless praise for its beauty and complexity. Big names in the industry, such as Makoto Shinkai, also praised it as a masterpiece.
Fans of Studio TRIGGER were more than excited for the 2019 release of Promare in theaters. Fans expected the film to be amazing, especially coming from such an excellent studio. To no surprise, the film saw great success, ranking at number 8 in its first weekend in Japanese theaters. It thrived just as well once released outside of Japan, becoming a favorite among anime fans. It did so well in the US that it returned for new showings along with an additional special.
Fans have been waiting a long time for the two-part film Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal: The Movie and were ecstatic to finally see these arcs come to life as originally portrayed in the manga.
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The movies did well upon release, the first part ranking 9th in its first weekend. While there has been some criticism, Sailor Moon fans tend to agree that it is a much-welcome addition to the franchise.
Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time was the final film of the Rebuild of Evangelion series. Fans have been eagerly awaiting its release, and now that it is finally out, it seems that the wait was worth it. It ranked as the 9th highest-grossing anime film, beating out Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire in the process. It is also the most successful of the Evangelion movies. It has received raving positivity since its release with fans lauding its vast improvements compared to previous installments.
Your Name was released in 2016 and was an automatic hit. As one of the many amazing works by Makoto Shinkai, it was destined for greatness from the start. However, no one knew just how great it would be. Its success was so enormous that it overtook the number 3 spot for highest-grossing anime film worldwide and in Japan. It even found itself surpassing Disney’s Frozen on Japanese airwaves. It saw amazing positive reception from anime lovers worldwide and earned a spot for itself as a modern classic.
The popular series Demon Slayer gained fans worldwide and has become a phenomenon. That said, the 2020 release of Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train was highly anticipated. It sky-rocketed its way to the very top and became the top highest-grossing anime film worldwide, shocking even veteran fans. Since then, it has been critically acclaimed and praised by both fans and professionals alike. Its striking animation and powerful action scenes, not to mention its ever-growing fanbase, make the film an instant favorite that can stand up to other big-name films.
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Chelsea is a List Writer for CBR with years of writing experience and a love for all things anime. She specializes in literature and creative writing, with a focus on fiction. In her spare time, she writes middle-grade and YA fiction, does traditional art, and keeps abreast of the latest anime series to hit the scene. She’s always eager to try new creative endeavors and uses them as inspiration in her writing.
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