Hidden Gems: Anime Movies

Updated: Mar 7

*Trigger Warning: Some of the following movies talk about death, depression, illness and sickness*

When it comes to anime movies there a few classic movies that many people recommend especially from Studio Ghibli. Studio Ghibli movies are brilliantly crafted with remarkably captivating storytelling. However, other movies tend to be overshadowed and underappreciate especially if they not made by a famous director or studio. Sometimes the movies are outdone by other movies that released around or at the same time. The movies I have written about are underappreciated and unrepresented in the anime community. These are some of my favorite movies and I hope you can enjoy them as much as I do. Please have the tissues ready!

10. Lu Over the Wall (2017)

Lu Over the Wall is a fun whimsical movie following a young boy Kai Ashimoto in a small dull town filled with Merfolk stories. Exploring Merfolk Island, Kai discovers a young mermaid Lu. As their friendship blossoms, they must keep it a secret of the towns people. Lu Over the Wall is a great family movie to watch with your friends and loved ones. This is fun, whimsical and theatrical movie puts an interesting twist on the classic tale of the Little Mermaid Tale with a few Studio Ghibli vibes. If you enjoy cute and quirky movies, then this is for you.

9. In this Corner of the World (2016)

Is a compelling story of a young woman named Suzu, who is married off to an unknown man. We follow Suzu as she adjusts to her daily life in amidst World War II as a newlywed. This captivating story provides some sight to how some Japanese people felt and did during the war. We can see how the Japanese people coped with the war and how it affected them. I truly enjoy and recommend this movie because it does not have the same melancholy and gore as some of the other World War II movies.

8. Modest Heroes (2019)

This movie is a bit different from the others, since its an anthology. This movie has 3 different stories in it. Each story is beautifully crafted to tell enchanting stories. Each character is faced with a challenge they must overcome. Each story is heartfelt, relatable, and has loveable characters. This is great family movie or introductory anime movie.

7. A Letter to Momo (2011)

Is a coming of age story as out protagonist has lost her father, forcing her family to move back to her mother’s hometown. As Momo comes to terms with her new life, she stubbles upon a yokai book that belonged to her father. A Letter to Momo is a fascinating tale on how a young girl comes to terms with her fathers’ passing and her new life. A Letter to Momo is a whimsical and fun narrative to enjoy with family and friends.

6. Hal (2013)

This a beautiful gripping story of Kurumi who suffers a deep and personal loss becoming isolated and depressed. With the help of her grandfather’s creation Kurumi is able to reenter the world. This story will have you spellbound from the beginning to end. This riveting tale captures the emotional turmoil many people face when losing someone and how difficult it can be to feel present. So, make sure you have the tissues ready!!

5. Summer Wars (2009)

If you like Digimon then you are going to love Summer Wars! We follow Kenji Koiso a young man who is asked by fellow classmate Natsuki Shinohara to be her fake fiancé. Kenji and Natsuki travel to Natsuki’s family home to celebrate her grandmother’s birthday. But Kenji is unintentionally becoming involved in releasing an AI to OZ. causing their economy and way of life to crash. How will Kenji and Natsuki rise to the challenge? This imaginative and playful movie is great for family and friends.

4. Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011)

Asuna Watase is a young elementary school girl who has been forced to grow up quickly ever since her father had died and a mother who works long hours as a nurse to support them. Feeling isolated and alone Asuna goes to her secret hide out were she listens to an old radio given to her by her father. On her way to her hide out she rescued by young mysterious boy named Shun. Unknowingly Asuna is dragged on a long journey to a long-lost land bound to surpass her very imagination. The craftsman alongside the amazing sound effects and animation enthrall the audience with its storytelling.

3. From Up on the Poppy Hill (2011)

This is beautiful tale of young love. In the midst of the 1964 Summer Olympics a wave of out the old and in with the new has swept across the nation. Umi Matsuzaki a young girl shouldered with the responsibilities of the household and family. Shun Kazama a young man and member of the journalism club with a strong sense of justice and pride. Umi and Shun try to preserve their culture and history of an old clubhouse. They fight to keep the history in era of change. How will the two young fates intertwine? This was a very light-hearted and heartwarming movie. Studio Ghibli has given us another fantastic anime movie with its impressive scenery, catchy music, engaging story, and personable characters.

2. Ride Your Wave (2019)

This is beautiful tale of love, loss and self-discovery. We follow Hinako Mukaimizu, young girl without any direction in life. and Minato Hinageshi, a young man with a strong sense of justice. After Minato rescues Hinako from a fire. Drawn to each other they begin to develop a strong bond until tragedy struck. As Hinako must adjust to her new life. Ride Your Wave will leave you in tears and yearning for more.

1. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas (2018)

All I can say about this movie is wow! This movie had me mesmerized and in tears throughout the whole movie. We follow Haruki Shiga an aloof bookworm with no interest in people. Sakura Yamauchi, a bubbly and popular girl in Haruki’s class. Haruki’s life is forever changed when he discovers Sakura’s secret. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is a riveting heartfelt story that puts the audience through an emotional roller-coaster.

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