The Netflix library grows bigger and bigger every month, and its catalog of anime titles is definitely no exception. With so many animated movies available for your viewing pleasure, exploring a massive medium like anime — which encompasses every possible theme and genre, from giant robot adventures to magical girl fantasies and tender slice-of-life comedies — can be super fun but also incredibly daunting. Whether you’re a dedicated, diehard otaku or a curious new fan who’s eager to dive in, you need a place to start. And luckily, we’ve got you covered. Here are the 25 best anime movies you can go watch on Netflix right now.
In a post-apocalyptic future, the remnants of humanity live inside a labyrinthine technological city-state and are hunted by spiderlike robots known as the Safeguard. The 2017 anime action film “Blame!” offers humanity salvation in the form of Killy, a black-clad warrior from “below” who rescues a young girl, Zuru, from the Safeguard. In search of a human being who possesses the Net Terminal Gene that can control the robots, Killy teams up with Zuru and Cibo, a cyborg who predates the techno-apocalypse, to save Zuru’s village. Conceptually dense and packed with skull-crushing action, “Blame!” earns the exclamation point in its title.
“Shōnen Jump” meets Dante’s “Inferno” in “Bleach the Movie: Hell Verse.” Part of the mega-hit fantasy action franchise “Bleach,” “Hell Verse” takes hero Ichigo Kurosaki — a hot-tempered teenager with the supernatural powers of a “Soul Reaper” –- into the depths of the underworld. At school, Ichigo is attacked by strange masked spirits, with one of them abducting his sister and dragging her to Hell. A stranger named Kokutō guides Ichigo and his Soul Reaper friends into the underworld, where our hero must save his sister and close the gates of Hell before more lost souls can escape. For Ichigo, the stakes have never been higher –- or hotter.
“Attack on Titan” director Tetsuro Araki envisions a transformed Tokyo in this post-apocalyptic remix of “The Little Mermaid.” Five years ago, mysterious bubbles began falling from the sky, triggering strange gravitational abnormalities. Now, with the entire city of Tokyo encased in an enormous bubble, surviving teenagers battle for supplies via dangerous parkour games. When one game knocks young Blue Blazes team member Hibiki into the sea, a strange girl called Uta manifests out of bubbles to rescue him. Who is Uta? Where did she come from? And what forgotten secret binds her and Hibiki together? “Bubble” explores these questions with skillful writing and eye-popping animation.
Athletic sixth-grader Kanna has lost her passion for running after the traumatic death of her mother. But on the day of the school marathon, Kanna wears her mother’s bracelet and discovers its mystical ability to slow time to a crawl. As it turns out, Kanna’s running ability is part of a magical birthright. Now, accompanied by a talking rabbit and a fleet-footed demon boy, she must hurry across Japan and gather offerings for a special feast for deities before time runs out. Populated by likable characters and visually appealing gods, “Child of Kamiari Month” is a clever and absorbing fantasy travelogue.
Man’s relationship to the environment has been a powerful theme in anime ranging from “Princess Mononoke” to “Miyoshi’s Forest.” In “Children of the Sea,” a young girl discovers her profound connection to the ocean when she meets Umi and Sora, brothers raised underwater with supernatural aquatic abilities. As the girl, Ruka, tries to understand this connection, she is pulled –- or submerged –- into a mystery about disappearing sea life. “Children of the Sea” engulfs its audience with psychedelic visuals and profound questions about man’s place in the natural world.
Sixth-graders Kosuke and Natsume were drifting apart, but now they are “Drifting Home.” When the old, abandoned apartment building they grew up in faces demolition, the former best friends reconnect on top of the roof. This all-ages adventure takes on a survivalist spin when a flash flood suddenly sends the apartment building adrift in a mysterious, seemingly endless sea, separating Kosuke, Natsume, and their friends from the rest of the world. The children will have to rely on their wits if they’re going to make it home — luckily, they have help in the form of Noppo, the ghost haunting the apartment building. “Drifting Home” is a smart, satisfying, and occasionally surreal coming-of-age story.
“Neon Genesis Evangelion” is a genre-smashing classic and one of the defining shows of the 1990s, not just for mecha anime but for the medium itself. The story of Shinji Ikari — a 14-year-old boy who reluctantly pilots the giant robot Evangelion Unit-01 against invading interdimensional beings called Angels – “Evangelion” was revolutionary in its combination of thrilling action, striking visuals, and a story that turned its young heroes’ psyches into battlefields.
“The End of Evangelion” is, as the title promises, the conclusion to the original “Evangelion” TV series (also available on Netflix). The last Angel has been destroyed, leaving the Eva pilots –- despondent Shinji, hotheaded Asuka, and enigmatic Rei –- to face one final enemy: humanity. Visceral, shocking, and brilliant, the end of “The End of Evangelion” is still discussed today, cementing its place as a modern anime classic.
“Fireworks” puts an imaginative spin on a story about a young boy’s first love. Norimichi secretly loves his classmate Nazuna, a beautiful but troubled girl planning to run away from home. On the day of their town’s fireworks festival, Norimichi is helpless to stop Nazuna’s mother from forcibly taking her back home. Upset and heartbroken, Norimichi throws a glass marble belonging to Nazuna and wishes that he could turn back time. To his surprise, the marble creates an alternate timeline where Nazuna and Norimichi run away together, but how many wishes (and alternate worlds) will it take for the star-crossed couple to finally escape their pursuers? Tender and thoughtful, “Fireworks” is highly invested in the dreams and fears of its young protagonists, leading to an emotionally explosive finale.
Ordinary people try to reconnect with their past so that they can face their future in the Japanese-Chinese anthology film “Flavors of Youth.” In “The Rice Noodles,” a young man associates the taste of his favorite noodles with memories of his grandmother. In “A Little Fashion Show,” two sisters are pulled together by their love for the fashion industry. Finally, in “Love in Shanghai,” a man’s feelings for his childhood sweetheart are rekindled when he listens to the cassettes he made for her as a boy. These fully realized stories are brought to life via beautiful animation that includes gorgeous vistas of Shanghai and Beijing.
High school student Masaru Kato is on his way home for his little brother’s birthday when a random attacker stabs him in the subway. Kato should be dead, but instead of the afterlife, he wakes up in an austere white room containing several strangers and a mysterious black sphere called Gantz. After outfitting Kato with a special suit and futuristic weapons, Gantz orders this team to hunt down monsters invading the city. If they win, they can regain their freedom, but if they fail, the entire team will die. Bursting with unconventional heroes and hideous monsters, “Gantz: O” is a relentlessly paced action-thriller that gives viewers a taste of the ultra-violent “Gantz” franchise.
In the near future, giant monsters overrun the Earth, and humanity’s only chance for survival is to flee the planet with help from alien technology. 20,000 years later, humans return to find the Earth’s environment transformed. The world now belongs to … Godzilla. Kaiju fans who can’t get enough of the King of the Monsters should seek out “Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters,” the first computer-animated film in the franchise’s history. The far-flung future setting puts a unique spin on a classic formula, and Godzilla has never been a more colossal (or more terrifying) force of nature.
Kagome Higurashi was an ordinary teenage girl until she fell into the well at her family’s shrine, which transported her into a distant past where magic and demons are real. Teaming up with the wily half dog-demon, half-human boy Inuyasha, Kagome searches for the shards of the Shikon Jewel, a mystical artifact of immense power. “Inuyasha,” Rumiko Takahashi’s fantasy adventure manga, was the inspiration for an anime television series, a sequel show, and multiple films, including the engaging and emotional “Affections Touching Across Time.” A demon with a grudge against Inuyasha’s family obtains a Shikon Jewel shard, granting him power over space and time. His curse sends Kagome back to her family’s home in the present, separating her from Inuyasha. Is their bond strong enough to transcend time?
Watch out, Ariel, there’s a new animated little mermaid on the beach. In “Lu Over the Wall,” moody teenager Kai spends his time on Merfolk Island with his grandfather and his rock band SEIRÈN. His music attracts the aqua-haired mer-girl Lu, whose fin splits into human legs so that she can dance. Once revealed to the townspeople, the exuberant Lu becomes a viral sensation, but she has one deadly weakness: sunlight. Visionary director Masaaki Yuasa turns the premise into a quirky, high-energy romp, making “Lu Over the Wall” as bouncy as a beachball.
A young boy takes a fantastical climb up his family tree in “Mirai,” a sweet and profound film by acclaimed “Belle” director Mamoru Hosoda. 4-year-old Kun is upset by the sudden presence of his new baby sister Mirai and throws tantrums around his parents. A teenage girl then appears, telling Kun she is Mirai from the future. Kun goes on a magical journey through his family’s past, gaining a better understanding of his parents, sister, and himself. In 2019, “Mirai” was nominated for best animated feature at the Academy Awards, the first non-Studio Ghibli anime film with that distinction.
Anime fans can explore the legendary giant robot franchise from the very beginning with “Mobile Suit Gundam I.” The first of three compilation films retelling the events of the original 1979 anime television series, “Mobile Suit Gundam” introduces Amuro Ray, a young, burgeoning psychic (aka “Newtype”) and pilot for the experimental mobile suit weapon known as the Gundam. Engaged in an intergalactic war, Amuro fights to defend his friends and allies and forms a lifelong rivalry with the enigmatic, masked pilot Char Aznable. “Mobile Suit Gundam I” and its two companion films (also available on Netflix) are essential viewing for any mecha anime fan. To see them is to understand why the “Gundam” franchise has captivated audiences for over 40 years.
Energetic young ninja Naruto Uzumaki trains so that he can one day become leader of his village, but his trust in his teacher is tested in “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire.” A celebratory film for the “Naruto” series’ tenth anniversary, “The Will of Fire” follows Naruto’s pursuit of their teacher Kakashi after he deserts their village. In actuality, an evil ninja has cursed Kakashi so that he may absorb his power, and Naruto is determined to save his mentor before he can sacrifice himself. “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire” combines the fluid, fast-paced action the series is known for with an encouraging story about overcoming seemingly impossible odds.
“NiNoKuni” gives a classic fantasy story a modern spin in this film about two friends magically transported to the kingdom of Evermore. Stunned by their new surroundings, Yū and Haru find Evermore’s Princess Astrid and free her from a deadly curse. But Astrid is the exact double of their friend Kotona on Earth, who happens to be dying from a malignant tumor. Does Astrid’s freedom condemn Kotona? And will this urgent question turn Yū and Haru against each other? Based on a popular Bandai role-playing video game and sporting Studio Ghibli-influenced character designs, “NiNoKuni” was made for fantasy fans.
Recently orphaned in a car accident, young Okko moves into the inn operated by her grandmother and prepares to become its new caretaker. The inn “rejects no one” according to her grandmother, which is lucky for Okko because she can see and communicate with the ghosts haunting it. “Okko’s Inn” is a cheeky collection of spirited vignettes; it touches on death openly and gently, with the spirits helping Okko come to terms with her grief as they all prepare to move on to the next stage of their (after)lives.
“One Piece” is an international pop culture phenomenon. The original manga series has over 490 million copies in print, shattering world records, and the official anime adaptation has aired over 1,000 episodes since 1999. The sheer immensity of “One Piece” may seem intimidating for viewers eager to dive into the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, a boy pirate whose body gained the elasticity of rubber after eating a devil fruit. One place to start? “One Piece: Strong World,” a feature-length film with an original story developed by “One Piece” creator Eiichiro Oda.
In “Strong World,” Luffy and the Straw Hat pirates are scattered after the evil Shiki (who also has a devil fruit power) abducts their navigator Nami. Showcasing Oda’s eye-catching character designs and spry storytelling, “One Piece: Strong World” is a buoyant and exciting adventure.
The ultimate magical girl, the sailor-suited hero who fights for love and justice, shines on the screen in “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal the Movie.” Split into two films on Netflix, this faithful adaptation of Naoko Takeuchi’s beloved manga series chronicles Sailor Moon’s battles against the Dead Moon Circus. Released during a solar eclipse, these colorful minions of the wicked Queen Nehelenia threaten everything Sailor Moon and the Sailor Guardians hold dear. But a mysterious Pegasus named Helios, who appears in Sailor Chibi Moon’s dreams, may hold the key to their salvation. “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal the Movie” has it all — friendship, adventure, talking cats, evil queens, circus girls from space, flying dream horses, and, yes, love and justice.
Bullying, disability, and despair are the serious themes addressed in the powerful and ultimately redemptive “A Silent Voice.” High school outcast Shoya contemplates suicide but instead resolves to right the wrongs he committed in his past. Years earlier, Shoya tormented his deaf classmate Shoko, leading to her transferring to a different school and him gaining a reputation as a bully. Meeting Shoko again, Shoya asks if he can be her friend, and she accepts. Shoya sets out on the long road toward forgiveness and redemption, but what of Shoko’s own troubled feelings? “A Silent Voice” is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, stirring and gracefully told.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
What would you do if you could go back in time to meet your great-great-grandparents? Would you tell them about the future? Ask them about their past? Or give them a robotic cat from the 22nd century to help them straighten out their disastrous lives? The touching and imaginative family film “Stand by Me Doraemon” chooses the third option. Fifth-grader Nobi is bullied at school and in danger of failing his classes when he’s visited by his future descendant and gifted with the talking robot cat Doraemon. With the help of Doraemon and his endless array of gadgets, Nobi has the power to give himself a better future. But if he succeeds, does that mean his new best friend will leave him forever?
Animal-themed superheroes may be a dime a dozen, but you’ve never met heroes like Tiger and Bunny. In the futuristic Stern Build City, superpowered beings known as NEXTs have corporate sponsors and broadcast their adventures on live television. Wild Tiger, a low-ranking, middle-aged superhero, is partnered with the haughty rookie Barnaby Brooks Jr. (nicknamed “Bunny” by Wild Tiger due to the antenna on his armored costume), and sparks fly. “Tiger and Bunny: The Beginning” is a retelling of the first few episodes of the 2011 “Tiger and Bunny” television show, with new story elements added. A colorful and comedic reimagining of the superhero mythos, “Tiger and Bunny: The Beginning” is a perfect introduction to the franchise.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever done for love? Whatever your answer, middle-schooler Miyo Sasaki has it beat. Miyo’s outgoing personality hides a broken heart. Her father has recently remarried, and her crush, Hinode, is totally unresponsive to her feelings. Thanks to a mysterious mask seller, Miyo acquires a mask that turns her into a cat whenever she wears it. As the stray cat “Taro,” Miyo can forget her troubles and even win Hinode’s affections. But every gift has a price, and Miyo risks being trapped in her cat form forever. Under its magical trappings, “A Whisker Away” is a sweet and genuine love story that takes the complex emotions of its young heroine seriously — even when she’s an adorable white kitten.
“Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop” is a movie as bubbly and effervescent as its title. Cherry is an introverted teenager who works with senior citizens and prefers to express himself via handwritten haikus. Smile is a popular streamer and online influencer who self-consciously hides her braces behind a facemask. After a mix-up at a local mall, their fates are intertwined for a glorious, shining summer. Every frame of Kyohei Ishiguro’s sweet romcom pops with vibrancy and color, resulting in a viewing experience so joyful the screen practically glows.