Unlike an anime series, anime movies can paint a unique plot and can tell a heartwarming story in less than three hours.
While dozens of anime series go on to become household names every year, stand-alone anime movies tend to go under the radar. Several anime franchises have a movie to go along with the series, and those often go on to become box office hits.
Anime movies can paint a unique plot and can tell a heartwarming story in less than three hours. It's easier for new anime fans to dive into movies than to begin with a series. After all, unlike a series, movies can easily be viewed in one sitting.
Weathering With You is a 2019 anime film directed and written by Makoto Shinkai. The story follows a high school boy who runs away from his rural life to Tokyo. There, he befriends an orphan girl with the power to control the weather.
Following its release, Weathering With You received overwhelmingly positive reviews. The film was lauded for its beautiful animation and engaging storytelling. The film was able to bring Tokyo to life for those who have never visited the city, making it a must-watch for anime fans.
Spirited Away is one of the most popular films released by Studio Ghibli. Released in 2001, the film follows ten-year-old Chirihi Ogino who entered the world of Kami. After her parents are transformed into pigs, Chihiro starts working at a bathhouse to free herself and her parents from this new world.
Spirited Away is often regarded as one of the best animated films ever made. The movie received universal acclaim due to its enchanting story that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults. It even won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards.
For those who prefer movies that require some thinking to understand, Perfect Blue is the perfect film to watch. Perfect Blue follows the story of Mima Kirigoe, a former Japanese idol who retired from music to become an actress. She then becomes a victim of stalking. As brutal murders occur around her, she begins to question her sense of reality.
Perfect Blue is a film that talks about the blurring line between fantasy and reality. It is a thriller film with psychological themes that explores pop culture. Directed by the legendary Satoshi Kon, its profound story has left a mark on the anime industry for years.
The Boy And The Beast was released in 2015. The movie follows nine-year-old Ren, who recently lost his mother. The newly orphaned boy, who lives on the streets of Shibuya, suddenly slips into a universe with fantastic beasts. He is then raised by the bear-man Kumatetsu, who takes him on as an apprentice.
The Boy And The Beast is perfect for those who love Harry Potter and Studio Ghibli works, as it makes use of fantasy elements with light-hearted animations. It is a thrilling coming-of-age tale that makes use of anime's favorite elements: supernatural creatures, intense combat scenes, and misunderstood characters.
The Tale Of Princess Kaguya was released in 2013. The film follows Princess Kaguya, a tiny nymph found in a bamboo stalk that grows to be a beautiful young lady, attracting suitors left and right. In response to this, Kaguya sends her suitors to do near-impossible tasks to prove their love.
Though the film's watercolor art may make it appear lighthearted, The Tale Of Princess Kaguya actually deals with themes of feminism and the restriction of women. It also talks about how absurd beauty standards can be. The film boasts a deep narrative that anime viewers will surely love.
The Anthem Of The Heart was released in 2015. The film centers on Jun Naruse, who blames herself for breaking up her family after revealing her father's infidelity when she was a child. She is then cursed by an unknown Egg Fairy to lose her voice so that she is unable to hurt others with her words again.
Fans of the Anohanaand Toradora!series will be pleased to know that the creative team who worked on them also worked on The Anthem Of The Heart. The film features well-written characters and a fleshed-out story that anime viewers will likely enjoy.
A Silent Voice was released in 2016. In the film, deaf student Shoko Nishimiya is bullied mercilessly by her peers, leading to her moving to a new school. Years later, one of her bullies, Shoya Ishida, is desperate to make amends with her.
Along with its heartwarming storytelling, A Silent Voice covers deep topics such as bullying, mental health, disability, and forgiveness. The film is a tear-jerker, as it deals with topics that are relatively uncommon in animated films. It is a fantastic anime movie that every anime fan needs to watch at least once.
NiNoKuni was released in 2019. The film follows high school friends Yuu and Haru, who travel from the real world to a fantasy universe. There, they embark on an adventure to save their friend Kotona, whose life is in peril.
NiNoKuni is one of the few Studio Ghibli films that were not written by Hayao Miyazaki. The film stands out for its racially diverse cast, game-like graphics, and deep storytelling. The title may be familiar to some, as NiNoKuni is also a popular video game franchise.
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop is a slice-of-life anime film released in 2021. The story follows a love story between two people who have a hard time communicating after they meet in a mall. Yui, who goes by Cherry, can only speak by writing Haikus, Yuki, who goes by Smile, wears a mask to cover her braces.
New anime fans who want a heart-warming romance film should give Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop a watch. As Cherry and Smile overcome their insecurities, they open themselves to the possibility of love. It is an innocent film for those looking for something easy to digest in one sitting.
Ocean Waves was released in 1993 by Studio Ghibli. The film follows a love triangle between good friends Taku Morisaki and Yutaka Matsuno after a new female student, Rikako Muto, transfers to their school in Kochi from Tokyo.
The main theme in Ocean Waves is nostalgia. The film was produced and animated by Studio Ghibli's junior team. As a group of young animators, it is evident that Ocean Waves used Taku Morisaki and how he comes to terms with his feelings and past as a way to say goodbye to their own childhoods.
NEXT: 10 Anime Movies That Lived Up To The Hype
Alexandria “Alexa” Lopez is a writer based in Manila, Philippines. She is a huge shoujo anime lover. Besides that, Alexa is an avid K-pop fan. She has been writing since 2017.