20 Anime Movies Everyone Should Watch

20 Anime Movies Everyone should watch

There are countless options available for everyone when it comes to picking the best anime movies of all time. All popular anime movies are great in their own way, but some of them excel in every aspect. In today’s list, we will be enumerating some of the best anime movies everyone should watch and can’t afford to miss at any cost. We’ve included the popular anime movies from every major genre that most of us like to explore. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s dive straight into this ultimate list of best anime movies of all time and pick your favorites. 

20 Anime Movies of All Time That You Can’t Afford to Miss 

20. The Secret World of Arrietty

the secret of arrietty
Source: the secret of arrietty movie

“The Secret World of Arrietty” is a visual treat for all anime fans from Studio Ghibli because of its amazing animation and art style. The anime film is all about a tiny family called “borrowers” and their interaction with the human world. To survive, the borrowers need to borrow items from humans without revealing their existence.

However, Arrietty, one of the borrowers, unintentionally revealed her existence to Sho, from whose room they borrowed items. It’s very interesting to see how Sho will react and what challenges the tiny family will face. So what are you waiting for? Grab your popcorn and watch this one of the anime movies everyone should watch.

19. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

the girl who leapt through time
Source: the girl who lept through time movie

Makoto Konno is a high school girl who struggles with academics and often finds herself in embarrassing situations. However, she mysteriously acquires the special power to travel back in time and correct all her mistakes. Since then, she keeps using time travel to get good marks, avoid embarrassing situations, and relive good moments.

But it’s not as easy as she thinks. With her time travel, she unintentionally alters the lives of others as well. The movie had a complex story and excellently covered everyday melodrama with a theme of time travel. So, it’s one of the best time travel anime movies everyone should watch, enjoy, and relate to, directed by Mamoru Hosoda

18. Summer Wars

summer wars
Source: summer wars movie

“Summer Wars” is one of the top anime movies everyone should watch in theatres where you can experience both the beautiful countryside and a vibrant virtual world at the same time. The movie is set in the countryside, where Natsuki brings her genius friend Kenji to celebrate her grandmother’s 90th birthday.

Before they enjoy the birthday party, Kenji is falsely accused of hacking the virtual world and creating Love Machine, a sadistic A.I. Now, he must repair the AI program before it brings more chaos to the world. So, what are you waiting for? Go and watch Kenji’s persistent efforts to save everyone using his unmatched I.Q

17. The Tale of Princess Kaguya

the tale of princess kaguya
Source: the tale of princess kaguya movie

“The Tale of Princess Kaguya” proves its worthiness as one of the most popular anime movies everyone should watch by being nominated for an Academy Award. It featured a complex story based on an old Japanese folk tale and mainly focused on a young girl, Kaguya. After being found inside a glowing bamboo, she is raised by a bamboo cutter family as a noble princess.

They then move from the countryside to the capital, which makes Kaguya feel sad to leave her friend behind. This feature film excellently showcases Kaguya’s inner conflict, in which she wants to be free but feels tied to her family and tradition

16. The Wind Rises

the wind rises
Source: the wind rises movie

When it comes to the best anime movies everyone should watch, how can we forget to add Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece, “The Wind Rises”? It has an engaging storyline, inspiring main characters, and Japanese historical references. The movie follows the inspiring journey of Jiro Horikoshi, who wants to be a pilot.

Unfortunately, it’s nearly an impossible goal for him, as he has very poor eyesight. However, he does not give up and begins designing airplanes by becoming an engineer. This feature film beautifully teaches us to keep following our dream, no matter how hard it seems; it is still achievable. 

15. My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro
Source: My Neighbor Totoro movie

“My Neighbor Totoro” is one of the must-watch anime movies that everyone, especially kids, should watch. It follows the heartwarming story of two young sisters who have just moved to the countryside with their father. As they explore their nearby forest, they find mysterious spirits there, including Totoro.

At first, the sisters are afraid of them, but they realize these mysterious creatures are not scary; instead, they are friendlier. They then embark on an adventure with them, which eventually helps cure their mother’s illness. This Studio Ghibli’s movie is definitely worth watching for everyone. 

14. When Marnie Was There

when marnie was there
Source: when marnie was there movie

If you are looking for some mystery and a complex story along with amazing animation, then you should watch this popular anime movie. The movie revolves around Anna, a young girl who has just moved to her relative’s house in a seaside town.

As she explores nearby areas, she finds an abandoned mansion where she meets a mysterious girl named Marnie. Furthermore, Marnie asks her to keep their meeting a secret, which creates much suspense about her existence. As the story progresses, Anna discovers more about herself and her family while keeping you guessing about who Marnie really is. 

13. Whisper of the Heart

whisper of the heart
Source: whisper of the heart movie

This is another inspiring yet popular anime movie everyone should watch that will motivate you to chase your dreams. The movie revolves around a young girl named Shizuku, who loves reading and writing. One day, she finds that all of the books she has read were previously checked out by a boy.

She is amazed by this fact and starts looking for that boy to unravel the mystery behind it. Later, they become friends and help each other pursue their dreams. The theme of chasing dreams and finding your own path makes this animated film worth watching for youngsters

12. Sword of the Stranger

sword of the stranger
Source: sword of the starnger movie

This is truly the best anime movie of all time for action lovers. In this movie, a boy and his dog are on the run to save themselves from the assassins of the Chinese dynasty. While running, they cross paths with Nanashi, a legendary samurai with a deadly history.

As he is in need of gems to pay expenses, he immediately agrees to become their bodyguard. That’s when the incredible sword fights begin between the samurai and Chinese assassins. Along with the incredible sword fights, the movie also keeps its story thrilling, which hooks you till the end. 

11. 5 Centimeters Per Second

5 centimeter per second- one of best anime movies of all time
Source: 5 centimeter per second movie

Created by Makoto Shinkai, this popular anime movie doesn’t need any reason to be included in your list of must-watch anime movies everyone should watch. With Shinkai’s signature style of animation, the movie has stunning visuals and features appealing characters.

It has a relatable storyline that most of you can relate to, especially those who once had long-distance relationships. Takaki and Akari were deeply in love with each other, and everything was going smoothly until Akari’s parents got a job in a different city. Seeing them struggle to keep their relationship alive and the pain they go through will move you to tears

10. Paprika

Source: PAPRIKA movie

If you are a fan of psychology, then you have probably heard about Satoshi Kon, the artist who has conquered this niche in the anime industry. “Paprika” is one of his masterpieces, yet one of the best anime movies everyone should watch. It has not just gained recognition among fans but also inspired Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

The movie revolves around a mysterious invention created by Dr. Atsuko Chiba, which allows people to record and watch their dreams. As she is still fixing the machine, her dream alter ego, named Paprika, begins manipulating people’s dreams. She even goes further and starts controlling people’s actions in the real world as well. 

9. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

ghost in the shell 1995
Source: ghost in the shell 1995 movie

It’s been over 29 years, but “Ghost in the Shell” is still one of the best anime movies of all time, directed by Mamoru Oshii. The movie is set in a futuristic city and revolves around the journey of a female cyborg, Motoko. She is on a mission to hunt down a puppet master who is hacking human brains and manipulating their memories.

The movie’s futuristic setting, action-packed sequences, and powerful female lead make it a must-watch for every action lover. So, what are you waiting for? Go and watch this classic sci-fi movie

8. Wolf Children

wolf children- one of the best anime movies everyone should watch
Source: wolf children movie

Coming next is “Wolf Children,” one of the best anime movies everyone should watch with their entire family, directed by Mamoru Hosoda. The movie revolves around Hana, a human mother, and her struggle to raise her two wolf children. After falling in love with a wolf, she married him and gave birth to two wolf children.

Since her husband’s sudden death, she has moved to the countryside with her children to hide their real identities from the world. However, it is not as easy as she thinks, and she will face much struggle in the future. The movies excellently deals with family drama and will bring some of the best emotional family drama

7. Howl’s Moving Castle

howls moving castle- one of the most popular anime movies
Source: howls moving castle movie

We have another Miyazaki’s masterpiece on our list of best anime movies everyone should watch, which is worth mentioning. This fantasy film is set in a world where magic and technology are very common. It follows the adventure of Sophie, a young lady who is turned into an old woman by a witch’s curse.

Now she embarks on a thrilling adventure to get back to her normal self with the help of Howl, a mysterious wizard. Along with finding a cure, she also helps Howl fight against the king to save the kingdom. If you are looking for a thrilling adventure filled with magic and fantasy elements, you must watch this animated film. 

6. Princess Mononoke

princess mononoke
Source: princess mononoke movie

This is also Miyazaki’s work, and it is one of his top anime movies everyone should watch, in the historical genre. The movie perfectly showcases the destructive effects of war and the importance of environmentalism. The story revolves around a young prince, Ashitaka, who is on a journey to find a cure for his demon curse.

During his journey, he unfortunately gets involved in conflicts between humans and forest gods. He tries to bring peace between the two sides with the help of Princess Mononoke, the adoptive daughter of the wolf goddess. It’s very interesting to see what it takes to bring peace

5. Perfect Blue

perfect blue- one of the top anime movies
Source: perfect blue movie

“Perfect Blue” is another masterpiece, yet one of the best anime movies everyone should watch, from Satoshi Kon in the psychological genre. The story focuses on a pop singer, Mima, who left her music career to get into an acting career. She then becomes the victim of stalking and gradually loses her grip on reality.

The line between imagination and reality is quite thin, which will leave you guessing to distinguish events. However, the movie might be uncomfortable for some viewers due to its explicit violence and softcore nudity. So, if you have no problem with that, then you should watch Perfect Blue. 

4. A Silent Voice

a silent voice- one of best anime movies of all time
Source: a silent voice movie

“A Silent Voice” is something that everyone has heard about; after all, it’s one of the most popular anime movies out there. It follows the new-age story of a former bully, Ishida, who is now seeking redemption. He is filled with guilt and regret, trying to do anything to be forgiven by Shoko.

When Ishida finds Shoko again, he tries to befriend her and show her that he is not the same guy he used to be. The movie covers the themes of bullying, forgiveness, redemption, and friendship, making it one of the best anime movies everyone, especially teenagers, should watch. 

3. Spirited Away

spirited away- one of the top anime movies
Source: spirited away movie

“Spirited Away” is the only film to win an Oscar before 2023, until Hayao Miyazaki brought home a second Oscar for his new film. The movie follows the incredible journey of a young girl, Chihiro, who unfortunately enters the world of spirits with her parents.

As they enter the spirit world, her parents are turned into pigs by a witch, leaving Chihiro with no choice but to work under the witch. Along with working for the witch, she also tries her best to find a way to turn her parents back to normal and return to their human world. So, watch this masterpiece and experience her toughest journey surrounded by spirits. 

2. Your Name

Your name- one of the most popular anime movies
Source: Your name movie

If you have not yet watched “Your Name,” believe us, you are yet to explore the true beauty of Japanese animation. The movie has everything to offer, such as amazing animation, relatable characters, and a unique storyline filled with twists and turns. It mainly follows the story of two high school students who suddenly begin swapping bodies.

One of them is Taki, a boy living in Tokyo City, while the other is Mitsuha, a girl living in a rural town. However, they were not aware of the upcoming challenges in their lives or the mystery behind their swapping. So watch this one of the top anime movies everyone should watch.

1. The Grave of the Fireflies

grave of the fireflies- one of the best anime movies everyone should watch
Source: grave of the fireflies movie

If you have never cried while watching a non-romance film, then try watching “Grave of the Fireflies,” one of the best anime movies everyone should watch. The movie revolves around two siblings and their survival during the final months of World War II. At first, they lose their father, then their mother, and ultimately are forced to live alone.

However, they still have not given up and are trying their best to survive. Unlike other war movies out there, it mainly focuses on the background of war, such as the food crisis, war trauma, and the pain of losing families. So, watch it and experience how people living in war zones feel and what it takes from them. 

Final Notes:

Here we wrap up our list of the 20 best anime movies everyone should watch. We hope you found something to suit your taste. Even though all these popular anime movies come from different genres, they all have one thing in common: a worthy story. Stay tuned with us for more anime recommendations and the anime news.

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