Top 15 Anime Movies for Beginners

New to the anime world? Congrats, you clicked the right place! I promise you’ll find the best anime movies for beginners here! First of all, It’s not new that now we are living in a world where we can find an anime fan (aka otaku) every 10 meters.

Finally, let’s run into the list of the top 15 anime movies for beginners you MUST watch. Trust me, if you ever talk to an otaku, they will FOR SURE recommend you these!

So stay with me until the end and thank me later.

Best Anime Movies for Beginners That Will Make You Fall in Love With The Otaku Culture


  • All of the movies are on Netflix or on Crunchyroll. Some are on both (I’ll tell you when)
  • Also, everything here is family-friendly and spoiler-friendly, too.
  • You will find anime movies from many genres.

15. Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi)

Anime Movies For Beginners: Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi)

 For the adventure and deep feelings lovers, this one’s for you!

“Spirited Away” is a 2001 movie, but don’t you dare judge it by its release date! The film was also key in highlighting Hayao Miyazaki as a legendary director. He made one of the best anime movies of his time. 

In addition This popular anime movie is famous for portraying perfection and priceless scenes. Because It shows the full range of modern emotions. 

You will find real-life powers (even though it’s a fantasy movie) like the determination of a young girl (Chihiro). Also the constant spiritual battle due to the forgetting of cultural values in old Japanese culture. But, the film’s most striking aspect is how it portrays the unbreakable power of love.

Available to watch: Netflix and Crunchyroll.

14. My Neighbor Totoro (Torani no Totoro)

Anime Movies For Beginners: My Neighbor Totoro (Torani no Totoro)

This is another adventurous kind of story; it feels like childhood and innocence. Studio Ghibli animated this film, so you can expect a lot from it!

The plot shows the life of Professor Tatsuo Kusakabe, together with his daughters Mei and Satsuki. They decide to move to a rustic country house to look after their sick mother. The movie takes place from the point of view of the two sisters, who face life’s tragedies with courage.

They experience the most mystical part of the world and of life! The sisters jump across fields and fall into tree holes. And they land in the soft, chubby belly of a fantastic creature (Totoro).

“My Neighbor Totoro” is about facing difficulties, childhood. And the sweet flavor of life if you turn on the lights from your heart.

This is certainly one of the best anime movies for beginners on Netflix!

You can watch it on: Netflix.

13. Princess Mononoke (Mononoke hime)

Anime Movies for Beginners: Princess Mononoke (Mononoke hime)

 Oh, so you’re into fantasy? I see you…

“Princess Mononoke”, by Hayao Miyazaki, is a fantasy movie. The plot unfolds in a world of conflict between forest gods and humans. Prince Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a battle between Princess Mononoke. Lady Eboshi led humans who were all vying for control of nature, while wolves raised the princess.

The film brings up themes. They include the clash between progress and preservation. And the most important point: the endless search for life’s harmony.

Finally, you can watch the movie on Netflix!

12. Bubble (Baburu)

Anime Movies for Beginners: Bubble (Baburu)

Certainly, the technology lovers will like this one.

Satoshi Kon directs “Bubble.” The story happens in an alternative future where most of humanity lives in a virtual reality known as “The World”. Further, the plot follows three young people: a waitress (Minako), a hacker (Densuke), and a detective (Mino). 

The trio investigates a series of mysterious murders in both realities. They try to find out what happens beyond the bubbles. They also look for a way to talk without the holographic screens. 

The movie addresses themes such as the importance of human connection, technology and its negative impact on society. But it focuses on the search for the true meaning of communication

You can find it on: Netflix.

11. Ponyo

Anime Movies for Beginners: Ponyo

What about light-mood movies that are fun and cute? YESS, I have that, too!!

Studio Ghibli directed this film too and Hayao Miyazaki directed it. “Ponyo” is the story of a little fish girl (I know she doesn’t look like one, though). She runs away from her home and meets a human boy named Sosuke.

After spending some time with this boy, Ponyo goes home and decides she wants to be human. Her escape could result in an imbalance in the world.

“Ponyo” is for children, but the movie definitely can be interesting for all ages!

The good part is that you will find it on Netflix! Additionally, this movie is one of the best anime movies for beginners too.

10. Kiki’s Delivery Service (Majo no Takkyubin)

Kiki’s Delivery Service (Majo no Takkyubin)

Oh, this one is a classic! So keep up:

Hayao Miyazaki is once again the director of this movie, but he also produced and scripted it. “Kiki’s Delivery Service” is an animation that shows the story of a witch and her cat. Together they venture into the big city after creating a delivery service!

As a witch, Kiki uses her flying skills on her broom to start the delivery service. The young witch girl faces personal and work challenges. But, she manages to make new friends and learn about herself and the world. Consequently I’d say that Kiki is such an iconic character, if you ask me!

Kiki’s Delivery Service brings up interesting topics. They include independence, insecurity, and female freedom. Like I said, this is a classic anime movie.

In addition, Netflix will be your best friend here too!

9. When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Mani)

When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Mani)

Hiromasa Yonebayashi directed “When Marnie Was There”. It showed his power to make a touching movie.

The story follows a young girl named Anna, who feels lonely until she meets another girl named Marnie. Marnie was a mysterious girl who lived in a mansion by the sea. As Anna gets closer and closer to her new friend, she discovers secrets about her.

The film touches on deep themes. Such as friendship, acceptance, and identity. It also dives into the complex feelings of youth and self-discovery.

Again, you’ll find it on Netflix

8. Suzume


Watch this one with a friend and play “if you cry, you lose” (but if you win, you’re made out of stone).

Makoto Shinkai directed this anime. It will impress you with its beautiful paintings of rural and urban Japan. You will follow Suzume Iwato, a girl who suddenly finds a stranger searching for a door.

“Suzume” is an emotional movie. The Great Earthquake in Eastern Japan inspired it. The quake occurred on March 11, 2011, and resulted in countless deaths. 

The book portrays the atmosphere and feeling left by this disaster with delicacy. A community tries to rebuild and shelter itself in the rubble. Even in the beautiful cinematography, it shows fragments of reality. They also show empathy for the population hit by the catastrophe. That’s why this movie carries a heavy emotional weight.

Since this movie won the Best Film Anime Award, it’s available on Netflix and Crunchyroll. So, of course I couldn’t make this list of “the best anime movies for beginners”, without this film!

7. Tales From Earthsea (Gedo Senki)

Tales From Earthsea (Gedo Senki)

Goro Miyazaki directed the anime movie “Tales from Earthsea” and Studio Ghibli gave it life. And, also, Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Earthsea” books inspired the movie.

The animated film is about Prince Arren. He flees his kingdom after committing a mysterious crime. He meets a wizard called Ged. Together, they face dark forces. The forces threaten to unbalance Earthsea.

The anime delves deep into topics. Some of them are balance, redemption, and facing one’s own inner darkness. It is an epic adventure. It will definitely captivate you with its depth and imagination. So if you’re a creative person, I hardly recommend this film!

Want to watch it? Netflix will help you with that! When it comes to Japanese anime movies for beginners, this one is a powerful option.

6. The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu)

The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu)

Like many other animes from this list, Hayao Miyasaki wrote and directed “The Wind Rises”. And Studio Ghibli was responsible for the animation. The film is an exciting journey. It covers the life of Jiro Horikoshi, a talented plane designer. The film shows Jiro’s childhood and makes you follow him closely until his adult career.

It emphasizes his love of aviation and his ethical dilemmas when creating warplanes. At the same time, “The Wind Rises” points out his romance with Naoko, as they face personal challenges. 

The anime movie reminds us of the beauty of chasing our dreams. But, it also makes us think about the results of our choices. It teaches us about the value of pursuing our passions. And, the duty we have as humans. So if you want to know a little about Japanese culture too, this movie is an amazing choice.

Where to watch: Netflix.

5. From Up on Poppy Hill (Kokuriko-zaka Kara)

From Up on Poppy Hill (Kokuriko-zaka Kara)

A useful tip: watch this with your best friend!

Goro Miyazaki, Hayao Miyazaki’s son, directed the animated film”From Up on Poppy Hill.” The movie is an exciting, because it’s a coming-of-age story set in 1960s Japan.

The plot follows Umi, a young woman determined to preserve her father’s memory while administering a family pension. Once she meets Shun, a student in love with journalism, they embark on a journey. They aim to preserve the school’s former club, which faces the threat of demolition.

The movie captivates us with its explicit nostalgia. It teaches us about the importance of honoring the past as we think about the future. It reminds us of the strength of youth when we unite for a common cause.

Where you can find it: Netflix.

4. The Secret World of Arrietty (Karigurashi no Arietti)

The Secret World of Arrietty (Karigurashi no Arietti)

Hiromasa Yonebayashi is the beloved director this time! The movie “The Secret World of Arrietty” bases its story on Mary Norton’s book “The Borrowers.” It tells the story of Arrietty, a teen who belongs to a family of tiny beings called “Borrowers”. They live secretly under the floor of a human house! (trust me, this is so cute to see)

The plot unfolds when Sho discovers Arrietty. He is a human boy who moves into the house with his grandmother. Despite their different worlds, Arrietty and Sho develop a strong friendship. They overcome all the obstacles that separate them.

“The Secret World of Arrietty” is a celebration of imagination, friendship, and beauty found in the small details of life.

Certainly, this is also one of the best anime movies for beginners.

Available on: Netflix.

3. Castle In The Sky (Tenku no Shiro Rapyuta)

Castle In The Sky (Tenku no Shiro Rapyuta)

So you want more fantasy, emotional, and attention-keeping anime? I could talk about this for a million years! (Only if I could live all that).

Hayao Miyasaki was, again, the genius who directed “Castle in the Sky”, and Studio Ghibli animated it. The Japanese animation tells the story of Sheeta. She is a young woman with a mysterious necklace. It connects her to the legendary flying kingdom of Laputa.

The plot unfolds when pirates and the army chase Sheeta in search of Laputa’s secret. During her escape, she meets Pazu. He is a young boy who dreams of finding Laputa and discovering its secrets. Together, they face adventures full of dangers, discoveries, and unlikely friendships.

In fact, this movie is a masterpiece of animated cinema. It is full of imagination, action, and emotion. So If you’re into adrenaline, give this movie a try! The film takes you to a world of wonder and reminds you of the importance of fighting for your dreams. It shows you that even in the face of the most difficult and impossible challenges, you mustn’t give up.

Again, Netflix is the one to help you watch it. 

2. Ocean Waves (Umi ga Kikoeru)

Ocean Waves (Umi ga Kikoeru)

For the ones who love teenagers’ love stories (like me), I got you here!

“Ocean Waves” is an anime television film and Tomomi Mochizuki was the one to direct it. The plot follows the life of Taku and his relationship with a new transfer student, Rikako.

They form a unique friendship. But, they face personal challenges and learn the true meaning of love and friendship. The anime shows themes like coming of age, self-acceptance, and complex relationships. With an emotional narrative, “I Can Hear the Ocean” offers a reflection on the experiences of youth. Because of thta, It touches on the sensitive topic of finding your place in the world.

Search it on Netflix and you’ll find it!

1. Whisper Of The Heart (Mimi o Sumaseba)

Whisper Of The Heart (Mimi o Sumaseba)

“Whisper of the Heart” is a 1995 Japanese animated film and Yoshifumi Kondo directed it. The story is about a teenage girl, Shizuku. She’s an aspiring writer who finds herself on a journey of self-discovery. But It happens after falling in love with a mysterious boy named Seiji.

While Shizuku pursues her purpose in life and deals with the multiple faces of growth, Seiji, a violin player, inspires her. Together, they discover the importance of following their hearts. They also learn to pursue their dreams, despite the obstacles they may face.

This film is in the top of the list of Anime movies for beginners it is is all about youth, creativity, and determination. So you will see the importance of believing in yourself and your talents.

Watch it on: Netflix.

Final Notes 

If you weren’t, now I’m sure you’re a Japanese anime movies fan! So add all the movies on your must-watch list and watch them with attention. With time, you will be able to understand Japanese movies a lot better! And I know you will fall in love with all the stunning animation. 

The anime industry will make you think and reflect on some things you haven’t even thought about. As much as it will make you laugh and cry (sometimes both at the same time).

If you want a part 2 of the best anime movies for beginners, don’t hesitate to read other texts from us. We’ll love to welcome you to whatever you’re up for. From reviews to other recommendations.

Lastly, please tell me: which anime film was your favorite and why?

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