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10 Must Watch Anime Movies

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

When it comes to anime movies there a few classic movies that many people recommend especially from Studio Ghibli. Although, Studio Ghibli movies are brilliantly crafted. There are many other movies that are easily overshadowed by other favored movies or studios. However, there are movies that have captivating stories and fantastic animation. Some movies have been buried by the time but are still beautiful. These are some of my favorite movies and I hope you can enjoy them as much as I do.

10. The Empire of Corpses (2015)

  • Genres: Sci-Fi, Historical, Psychological

  • Rating: R

By the 19th century, humanity has cultivated technology enabling the reanimation of corpses. Unable to experience individual thoughts or emotions, the corpses are programmed by humans to act as laborers in various occupations. This newfound technology, however, comes with a catch. Science may be able to restore the corpses' ability to move, yet it cannot return what every corpse loses at death: the soul.

“There is something at work in my soul, which I do not understand.” ― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

This movie raises the question who are we to play God? This is a very interesting twist on the story Frankenstein. The movie can be confusing since the plot heavily focuses on reanimating corpses infusing with souls. This movies questions the contents of soul and humanity. If you have read the book Frankenstein, then you will have a better understanding of the concepts of the movies. Although, this movie is well-crafted, it is hit or miss within the anime community. However, I enjoy this movie with its philosophical ideals and strong ties to the gothic novel Frankenstein.

9. Paprika (2006)

  • Genres: Dementia, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Psychological, Sci-Fi, Thriller

  • Rating: R

The world of dreams can be an incredible window into the psyche, showing one's deepest desires, aspirations, and repressed memories. One hopeful tech lab has been developing the "DC Mini," a device with the power to delve into the dreams of others. Atsuko Chiba and Kosaku Tokita have been tirelessly working to develop this technology with the hopes of using it to deeply explore patients' minds and help cure them of their psychological disorders. However, having access to the deepest corners of a person's mind comes with a tremendous responsibility.

If you like the movie Inception, then you will like this movie. Since Inception was inspired by Paprika. This movie does fantastic job of combining reality with fantasy. The flow is seamless, as of you are being taken into the world of Paprika itself. The vibrant colors and smooth animation are on the top makes the journey an out of body experience. However, this movie is not for everyone. The best way I can describe this movie is entering someone’s dream who has taken acid (drugs) and is experience a bad trip.

8. Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (2018)

  • Genres: Drama, Fantasy

  • Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older

Maquia is a member of a special race called the Iorph—mystical beings who can live for hundreds of years and remain separate from the lives and daily troubles of mankind. However, the power-hungry kingdom of Mezarte invades her homeland. Attacked and left deserted in a forest far from home, Maquia finds the baby in a destroyed village. Both lost and abandoned, how will Maquia live?

This is breathtaking movie. It is gorgeously animated, and the story is heartfelt. This movie tugs at the heartstrings from the very beginning. We follow Maquia who has lost her people and decides to raise a human child. We watch her grow and mature into a beautiful young lady doing the best she can in a cruel world. The story, the world, and the character development, leave impression on you as you watch the movie. You will not be disappointed in starting this movie.

7. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

  • Rating: G

Makoto Konno is in her last year of high school but is having a hard time deciding what to do with her future. In between enduring the pressure of her teachers and killing time with her best friends, Makoto's life suddenly changes when she accidentally discovers that she is capable of literally leaping through time.

I really love this movie. I have watched it few times. This isn’t a complex movie like Paprika nor is it breathtaking like Maquia but it fantastic in its own way. At its core, this movie is a romantic drama for teens. This movie is the embodiment of young and dumb with your biggest problem being test you forgot to study for. The simplicity but solid story and well-developed characters is what makes this movie enjoyable. It is just a fun movie to watch with your friends and family.

6. Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

  • Genres: Comedy, Drama

  • Rated: PG-13

An unlikely trio Gin, a middle-aged alcoholic, Miyuki a runaway teenager, and Hana, a former drag queen form a family on the streets of Tokyo. As this trio rummage through the garbage bins on Christmas Eve they stumble upon an abandoned newborn baby. Unsure what to do, the trio sets off to return the baby. Will this dysfunctional trio be able to save this baby?

This is a beautifully crafted movie that captures the ugly and beauty of humanity. The ugly of society: homelessness, abandonment, addiction, expectations, and many darker subjects. The beauty of humanity: togetherness, hope, and compassion. This movie is a great combination of suspense, comedy and heartfelt. This is a great family movie that delivers a great message at the end. this is a remarkable movie. I recommend it to everyone.

5. A Flavor of Youth (2018)

  • Genres: Drama, Romance, Slice of Life

  • Rating: PG-13

The movie is an anthology drama. We follow three storylines: Hidamari no Choshoku (The Rice Noodles), Chiisana Fashion Show (A Little Fashion Show), and Shanghai Koi (Love in Shanghai).

This movie has a strong sense of realism instead of fantasy. We follow three different people with three different lifestyles. We watch them struggle with themselves, and the expectations of life. This movie gorgeously captures daily life in a fun creative way. The protagonists in every story did their roles properly in every story. Their personalities made them appear more natural and realistic. From the raw emotions they showed when facing their regret, to reminisce of a better time, and the struggles that come with adulthood. Overall, the narrative is good coupled with fantastic sound and animation that sets up a relaxing atmosphere to watch. Don't watch with full of expectations so you could enjoy and appreciate it fully.

4. Mirai (2018)

  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

  • Rating: G

A young boy named Kun feels forgotten by his family when his little sister Mirai arrives. Running away from home, Kun stumbles upon a magical garden that serves as a time-travelling gateway where he encounters his mother as a little girl and has a series of adventures with his baby sister, who is all grown up, opening a new perspective on his world.

Now this movie holds a special place in my heart. I have a lot siblings and I am close to all of them, especially my sisters. This movie shows the emotional turmoil of Kun, who was the center of attention until his baby sister was born. If you have siblings, especially if you are an older sibling then you understand what it is like to see your younger sibling be treated differently from you. And if you are parent then you understand the struggle of raising two young children. At its core, this movie symbolizes the integral part of a family. The way we interact with each other and how we affect one another. This is a wholesome and heartwarming movie to watch with your family.

3. A Whisker Away (2020)

  • Genres: Comedy, Supernatural, Drama, Romance, School

  • Rating: PG-13

Miyo Sasaki is an energetic high school girl who comes from a broken family consisting of her unconfident father and an overly invested stepmother, whose attempts at connecting with Miyo come across as bothersome. Seeing Kento Hinode as a refuge from all her personal issues, she can't help herself from forcing her unorthodox demonstrations of love onto her crush.

If you like Spirited Away or The Cats Returns, then you will like this movie. This is a coming-of-age story, were our protagonist Miyo tries to escape her homelife by focusing on romance. We also see her crush Kento, struggle with his own issues and the one-sided love of Miyo. The interaction between these characters is interesting since they both rely on each other indirectly. Moreover, the overall concept of the movie can be understood within 10 minutes or less, giving you time to enjoy the whole movie instead of making you try to understand what’s going on. Go on a journey with this movie and let it take you away.

2. Wolf Children

  • Genres: Fantasy, Drama, Slice of Life

  • Rating: PG

Hana, a hard-working college student, falls in love with a mysterious man who attends one of her classes though he is not an actual student. As it turns out, he is not truly human either. On a full moon night, he transforms, revealing that he is the last werewolf alive. Despite this, Hana's love remains strong, and the two ultimately decide to start a family.

This a beautiful movie of a mother raising her children in an unforgiving world. The story is both simple and elegant, with a well-constructed plot. This movie evokes joy and humor in equal measure, and just the right amount of melancholy and distress. I very much enjoyed this anime movie. It is hard not to like a heartwarming anime film. It’s a feel good film with comedy, romance and dramatic elements to create an unforgettable movie.

1. Perfect Blue (1997)

  • Genres: Dementia, Drama, Horror, Psychological, Thriller

  • Rating: R

J-pop idol group CHAM! has spent the last two years entertaining its fans. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and CHAM! must see one of its members, Mima Kirigoe, leave the group to pursue her acting career. While Mima's choice is met with a mixed response, she hopes her fans will continue to support her. However, Mima's life begins to change drastically after her departure from the group. To add to Mima's growing unease, an obsessed fan who is incapable of accepting that Mima has quit being an innocent idol, begins stalking her.

Now this movie is not for the lighthearted, this movie talks about dark subjects and can be triggering for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised. Now this is a timeless movie in my opinion. If you liked Black Swan or the anime Another, then you will enjoy this movie. Strap in for a roller coaster ride through the human mind. The story explores a number of topics that few other works only refence, such as the loss of innocence and the perception of reality. We are slowly immersed into the chaos one’s mind when brought to the brink of sanity. Released in 1997, this movie will of course look dated when compared to today’s animation. However, when it is compared to other works of the time, it stands out with great fluidity. As much as I would love to continue praising the story, I cannot bring myself to do it. It is something that must be experienced and not spoiled.

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