Crunchyroll is best known for anime series, but the streaming service also has plenty of great anime films.
As one of the most popular and highly regarded anime streaming services, Crunchyroll has been providing anime fans with their favorite series for years now. Many fans can likely point to the service as a reason they got into anime in the first place. It has long held recognition in the community as a jumping-off point due to its accessibility and ease of use.
Though it's perhaps not as widely known for its films, Crunchyroll offers a varied selection of feature-length anime movies as well. From stone-cold classics to under-the-radar flicks, there is a lot to explore on the streaming service. What are the best anime films on Crunchyroll?
Updated October 19, 2022 by Mark Sammut: Crunchyroll is primarily known for its shows, but the service has been steadily amassing a respectable selection of features. This article has been updated to include a few more of Crunchyroll's best anime movies.
Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train is the highest-grossing anime film of all time, and fans of the shonen series can watch the feature on Crunchyroll. An action extravaganza that moves at a frantic pace while still giving important moments time to breathe, Mugen Train takes everything that worked about the show's first season and amplifies it; the animation ranks among Ufotable's best, Enmu is a fun villain, and Kyojuro Rengoku is comfortably among the franchise's most beloved characters.
Crunchyroll also has the TV version of the Mugen Train arc, and while that is a perfectly fine way to experience this storyline, there is no reason to watch that iteration instead of the movie.
Alongside Ninja Scroll, Sword of the Stranger is arguably the definitive samurai anime movie. Set during the Sengoku era, the story follows a child named Kotaro who is trying to avoid a sacrificial end at the hands of the Ming Dynasty. The boy's journey leads him directly into the path of Nanashi, a swordsman aimlessly drifting through the country. Eventually, Kotaro convinces Nanashi to serve as his bodyguard as they journey toward a temple.
Sword of the Stranger's fights are works of art, delivering smooth animation and visceral action. They are worth the figurative price of admission on their own, but they are merely one component of a great package that includes an immersive setting and lovable main characters.
Sword Art Online needs no introduction, and most people familiar with anime like already have an opinion about the isekai franchise. Ordinal Scale is not going to alter that perspective; the movie will impress fans but will have little impact on those who are not on board with Kirito's high jinks. That said, the feature has one of the more fascinating storylines in the series.
Set after season 2, the world has become enamored by Augmented Reality, specifically a piece of hardware called Augma. Ordinal Scale is a game that uses this technology, and Asuna happens to be great at it. Meanwhile, Kirito has largely remained focused on VR. The film ties its story to the original SAO VR game through the introduction of Eiji, the film's main antagonist, and it is quite interesting.
A celebration of '80s anime and its future, Robot Carnival is an anthology movie consisting of nine shorts, each directed by an up-and-coming voice. The segments are connected through the common theme of "robot," but similarities start and end there as each story sets out to do its own thing. This goes beyond just the narratives since Robot Carnival also highlights different animation styles, most of which still look impressive all these decades later.
More importantly, pretty much all the shorts are memorable in their own ways, be it Deprive's thrilling action or Chicken Man and Red Neck's nightmare fuel. A technical showcase, Robot Carnival is a gem and one of the best anime movies on Crunchyroll.
Written by Mamoru Oshii and directed by Hiroyuki Okiura, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is visually stunning, and it nowadays serves as a demonstration of cel-shaded animation's timelessness. Narratively, the film takes place during the 1950s and envisions an alternate reality where Germany won World War 2 and is now occupying Japan. To keep the public in line, the regime utilizes a terrifying Panzer corps that largely follow instructions without question, regardless of how vile they are. However, one day, a soldier (Kazuki Fuse) defies a kill order.
Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade moves at a measured pace, prioritizing atmosphere and character moments over intense action. Consequently, the film can feel like a long sit at times, particularly during its second act. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to love and appreciate here.
Released at the height of Street Fighter 2's popularity, this 1994 adaptation avoids the curse that often befalls movies based on video games. Although not a masterpiece, Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie is an entertaining action romp that does justice by Capcom's license.
Unsurprisingly considering the wider franchise, the plot is not the point here, as it has all the debt of a Saturday morning cartoon. Basically, M. Bison is brainwashing fighters and wants to get Ken to his side. In order to stop him, Chun-Li and Guile set out to find Ryu. The story does not matter, as this movie's value is entirely dependent on its fight scenes. Thankfully, they are fantastic. Not only are these sequences animated well, but they are also fast-paced and explosive.
A delightfully odd South Korean anime film, this movie puts a unique spin on the dystopian sci-fi genre. In the future, after energy and resources are depleted, mankind has found that human excrement can be used as an energy source, and as such, the government has created addictive popsicles that leave humans constantly constipated.
It's an odd concept, but the animation style is unique. The story follows two hoodlums who find themselves trapped in a plot much bigger than they realize when they get involved with a strange adult film star. Wacky can’t even begin to describe this film.
Lasting an hour, Goblin Crown is really an OVA that had a theatrical run rather than a full-blown movie; however, it is worth a mention anyway. Fans of the Goblin Slayer series will find a lot to enjoy in this storyline as it is, for the most part, more of the same. Goblin Slayer, Priestess, and the rest of the group head out on a mission to rescue Noble Fencer, a warrior kidnaped by goblins.
Goblin Crown is at its best when focusing on Noble Fencer's trauma and PTSD. The series touches upon these themes as well, but not as directly as the movie. Otherwise, the action scenes are fine and most of the characters get a moment to shine.
Kazuma Kamachi's A Certain Magical Index light novels have been adapted into multiple anime seasons, to mixed results. In many ways, The Miracle of Endymion captures the strengths and weaknesses that define the series. On the one hand, the characters are lovable and the animation is good; conversely, the plot is muddled and rushed.
Despite these criticisms, The Miracle of Endymion is a solid fanservice-heavy side story that builds up nicely towards a grand final act. This movie is unlikely to convert non-Index fans, but it should hit the mark for those who are already invested in Toma's story and just want to spend more time with these characters. In the world of filler movies, this release is far from bad.
Every teenager has troubles in anime but turning into a crystal whenever anxiety flares up must be among the worst. Ayumu Tamari is a high school lad who crystallizes whenever he gets stressed out, only finding comfort in his day from one of his teachers.
Every once in a while, it feels good to slow things down with a softer, more easygoing watch. This short film isn’t action-packed, but it’s a nice quiet anime for fans of high school dramas.
If a battle shonen show is popular enough, it will spawn a couple of movies. Compared to series like One Piece and Naruto, Fairy Tail's filmography is almost quaint, but quantity has no relation to quality. Dragon Cry is a fun detour set between the manga's final two sagas, and the story expects audiences to be familiar with Natsu's backstory.
The heroes are tasked with entering Kingdom Stella to track down a minister who has stolen a powerful magical staff. Naturally, this paves the way for plenty of action, comedy, and fan service. The latter is an acquired taste, but the former two should hit the spot for long-time fans of the franchise.
Osamu Tezuka's classic Black Jack manga has been adapted into live-action films, anime series, OVAs, and a couple of animated features. Aside from the original manga, 1996's Black Jack: The Movie is probably the best starting point for newcomers to the franchise, although the 2004 series is also strong.
Relatively self-contained, the film does a good job of establishing the eponymous doctor's personality and motives, while also delivering an engaging story that mixes medical jargon with a touch of humanity. Regardless of whether someone is already familiar with Tezuka's property or is experiencing Black Jack for the first time, they are likely to have fun with this movie.
Crunchyroll has quite a few Naruto movies, ranging from 2004's forgettable Clash in the Land of Snow to 2014's excellent The Last: Naruto the Movie. The latter is a contender for the best feature in the franchise, but 2012's Road to Ninja just edges it out.
Most shonen spin-off anime movies tend to take a standard arc and squeeze it into a quick 90-minute sit, resulting in a fun but often inconsequential experience. Although not entirely an exception, Road to Ninja shakes things up by exploring a unique concept for the series: what if Naruto did not grow up as an orphan?
A clever combination of military war anime and light romance stories, The Princes and the Pilot might sound like a typical mismatched couple story, but it’s far more intricate than that. Mercenary Charles Karino is one of the best pilots in the kingdom; a flying ace who faces discrimination in the kingdom over his mixed racial heritage. Charles finds himself in an interesting predicament when he is assigned the task of protecting the kingdom’s princess after her mansion is bombed by the enemy.
It’s a real fairy tale of a story, but the aesthetic variations and intricate characters help it to stand out from the crowd. Those who appreciate either of its root genres will find something to love in this film.
Due to the existence of Brotherhood, 2003's Fullmetal Alchemist tends to be overlooked or simply ignored. While the later show is arguably the superior of the two, the original series is nevertheless a fascinating and frequently fantastic alternate take on Hiromu Arakawa's manga.
The anime's movie sequel, Conqueror of Shamballa, is also far superior to Brotherhood's The Sacred Star of Milos; if nothing else, the former completes its timeline's narrative rather than serving as a side quest than can be readily skipped. Conqueror of Shamballa retains the show's conclusive bittersweet tone, telling a story that allows the characters' new-discovered normal to be explored and challenged.
A follow-up to 2019's brilliant Given series, this one-hour movie shifts the focus away from Mafuyu Satou and Ritsuka Uenoyama toward Haruki Nakayama and Akihiko Kaji. Similar to the show, the feature's story centers around grief, loss, and the importance of moving on, this time from a failed relationship rather than a death.
Given's short length limits its potential, however, the film still makes the most out of every minute it has.
A sequel to the 2017 isekai series, Saga of Tanya the Evil: The Movie is a non-stop action-fest that successfully builds on what came before it rather than simply regurgitating the same, safe beats. The movie juggles a few ideas, but the main focus is on Mary Sioux's mission to take out Tanya.
The movie wisely presents Mary Sioux as a three-dimensional character who has understandable motives for wanting to kill Tanya, which makes their confrontation extremely intense.
Another classic '90s anime film, Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz continues the After Colony plotline and acts as a sequel to the first Mobile Suit Gundam Wing movie. Originally released as a three-part series in 1997, it was compiled into a feature-length film and released in 1998.
Set after the war between Earth and its space colonies, the film follows a new threat as the unsteady peace is threatened by new foes hungry for power. The giant robot fights are simply incredible and make this film worth the watch.
City Hunter is a manga and anime classic that was particularly popular during the late '80s and early '90s. While somewhat forgotten in this day and age, the anime holds up pretty well all things considered. Crunchyroll has the full series, including every movie; combined, City Hunter should be able to keep someone entertained for a few weeks.
Ryo Saeba is a private detective with an accurate shot and a tendency to fall for every girl he meets. The movies tell standalone stories, but they also expect the audience to be somewhat familiar with the main roster of characters.
Crunchyroll has both of Madhouse's Cardcaptor Sakura movies, each of which is a must-watch for fans of the iconic magical girl anime. As good as the first feature is, it is completely blown out of the water by its successor. The Sealed Card brings the original anime series to a satisfying and unforgettable conclusion, and it finds Sakura facing off against The Nothing, the last Clow Card.
Similar to the show, the movie blends action, humor, drama, and romance; also like the series, The Sealed Card balances all of these genres effortlessly, crafting an experience that feels complete. Obviously, this movie should only be watched after the series as it by no means attempts to tell a standalone story.
Need a good laugh? If the answer is yes, then KonoSuba is the anime to watch. After receiving a letter, Kazuma and his party make the journey to Megumin's hometown, a trip that naturally sparks a series of awkward but hilarious situations.
Legend of Crimson is a bit more action-driven than the two anime seasons, a change stemming from the film's plot having more direction compared to the gag-based scenarios usually explored by the episodes. That said, Legend of Crimson is KonoSuba through and through.
Consisting of eight movies along with a few OVAs, The Garden of Sinners adapts Kinoko Kasu's light novel series centering around Shiki Ryougi, a woman who can see someone's lines of death. Touching upon heavy themes like abuse and suicide, The Garden of Sinners is not an easy watch at the best of times, especially since the franchise's nonlinear structure means the first few movies can fall flat.
Permitting someone has the patience to sit through all of these films, The Garden of Sinners reveals itself to be a thought-provoking and unforgettable experience with few equals in anime. Paradox Spiral and A Study in Murder – Part 2 are the strongest entries.
MORE: Amazing Anime That Never Got A Second Season
Pop culture wizard
The Best Anime Movies On Crunchyroll (October 2022) – GameRant
Crunchyroll is best known for anime series, but the streaming service also has plenty of great anime films.