In the last few decades, anime has burst onto the international scene and rightfully earned its spot as a significant form of entertainment. Now we are seeing more and more anime films getting theatrical releases outside Japan - much to the delight of otaku across the globe! This is becoming increasingly common, and there is no doubt that these incredible stories will continue to captivate audiences worldwide for many years to come.
Over the years, anime has captivated audiences worldwide and continues to reign supreme at the box office. Anime films of all calibres have become esteemed classics and fan-favorite hits beloved by their most passionate fans. From Studio Ghibli's enchanting tales to modern shonen smash hits, there is something for everyone in this diverse world of animated stories.
Princess Mononoke delivers a captivating portrayal of Japan's Muromachi period as we follow Emishi prince Ashitaka on his journey between the raging forces of nature and humankind. Even amongst its peers, this 1997 movie is praised for its incredible attention to detail and seamless blend of live-action scenes with flawless animation: no wonder it received an 8.4 rating on IMDb! With each viewing, you cannot help but be mesmerized by Princess Mononoke's exquisite film subtleties that only animation could bring to life. Princess Mononoke is an unforgettable masterpiece that is a must-watch for any anime enthusiast or newcomer. With inspiring and thought-provoking quotes accompanied by the magical soundtrack of the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, this timeless classic will indelibly leave its mark on your heart.
- Pokemon: The First Movie
Pokemon: The First Movie captured the hearts of veteran anime fans and made a huge splash when it premiered in 1998. It was not unique for garnering attention away from other movies playing at the time but also as one of the first Japanese animated films to be widely seen in western countries - despite its controversies. Despite its poor pacing and a noncanonical plot that earned the disapproval of Pokemon's most loyal fans, Pokemon: The First Movie will always be remembered as one of the earliest anime films to reach mainstream popularity in the west. Its legacy may not have lived up to expectations, but there is no denying its impact on popular culture today.
- Stand By Me, Doraemon
A recent poll from Goo Rankings established Doraemon as one of Japan's most beloved characters. Among the 40+ movies in the franchise, Stand By Me, Doraemon is a fan-favourite. In this time travelling tale set in 2014, we follow Nobita - our unlucky protagonist and his robotic cat companion with no ears – on their adventures through an anthology of stories throughout the series. The film paints a poignant yet lighthearted picture that will delight all fans of this iconic character!
- Weathering With You
Makoto Shinkai's Weathering With You is a 2019 romance film that has since become iconic for its director. It captures everything that makes his work unique; from the stunning art design, sublime settings, and beautiful dream-like soundtrack, this movie will take you on an unforgettable journey from start to finish! Hodaka, a high school freshman who has left home for Tokyo, is the protagonist of Weathering With You. His days are filled with labour as he strives to make ends meet, yet his life takes an unexpected turn when he meets Hina - a girl capable of making even the darkest clouds part and rain cease.
- Jujutsu Kaisen 0
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is the cinematic rendition of its prequel manga with a comparable title. The tale plays out one year before the events depicted in Jujutsu Kaisen. It features Tokyo Jujutsu High's second-year students as protagonists, although Yuji, Nobara, and Megumi are absent from this adaptation. Yuta Okkotsu finds himself haunted by a supernatural entity known as Rika - an extraordinary, vengeful, cursed spirit. Yuta, suffering guilt from the death of his former friend Rika in a catastrophic car crash, enrols at Tokyo Jujutsu High to confront and redeem his sins. MAPPA animates this fantastic journey as Yuta attempts to unravel the mystery behind Rika's curse. From beginning to end, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is an endless entertainment!
Under the direction of Hayao Miyazaki, Ponyo is an enchanting tale about a young boy and his goldfish companion. As with all Ghibli films, it is suitable for families to watch together; however, this particular movie focuses more on innocent fun than the complex themes found in Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle. In other words: when you are looking for lighthearted magic perfect for kids (or adults!), Ponyo should be your go-to pick! However, Ponyo is a timeless classic brimming with all the iconic features of Ghibli studio's identity. Through his distinct art style and coming-of-age story, Miyazaki can conjure feelings of childlike fascination each time viewers rewatch this beloved film.
- Howl's Moving Castle
In 2004, Hayao Miyazaki's stunning masterpiece Howl's Moving Castle was released. This enchanting movie follows Sophie as she is unexpectedly cursed by a witch and transformed into an older woman. It is not until she meets Howl, the powerful wizard with the capability to free her from this dark spell, that hope for a better life begins to spark once more. Although Howl's Moving Castle may initially appear to be a simple romantic comedy, acclaimed filmmaker Miyazaki masterfully infused anti-war messages into the movie as an allusion to present times. Moreover, it conveys themes of self-acceptance and challenges the notion that being young is always ideal. Instead, it motivates viewers to embrace growing older and relish adulthood.
- Your Name
Unveiling a captivating story of two high schoolers, Taki and Mitsuha, who find themselves switching bodies in bizarre circumstances, Makoto Shinkai's Your Name is an extraordinary blend of romance and fantasy. Filled with profound plot twists at every corner that will leave you hooked to its narrative thread until the end, this character-driven movie has been praised for its engaging dialogue and mesmerizing visuals - all brought together by the legendary director himself. With such thoughtfully crafted elements integrated into it and a poetic soundtrack playing during pivotal scenes, Your Name became a cult classic anime film months after hitting theatres in the summer of 2016!
- Spirited Away
Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece, Spirited Away, is universally praised as the best Studio Ghibli film of all time. Not only did it win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, but No-Face has also become a beloved mascot among fans and viewers alike! Released in 2001, this movie follows Chihiro on her journey to discover the world of spirits she can now see. As frightening as these spirits may be at first glance, their childish innocence that Hayao Miyazaki captures so perfectly will bring out your inner child while watching them - reminding you of how wonderful childhood can be!
- Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train
Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train is a spectacular, adrenaline-filled movie. Ufotable has skillfully brought Koyoharu Gotouge's creation to life with an incredible soundtrack and remarkable CGI. Additionally, the immense popularity of Mugen Train and Jujutsu Kaisen 0 shows audiences' preference for canon story arcs being adapted into films over noncanonical fillers. This film will surely leave its mark as one of the most memorable animated feature screenings ever!
Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train did more than blow away the box office records when it was released in movie theatres across the United States this past year - it also revolutionized what we think of when we consider anime. Its thrilling fight scenes and darker tone have smashed stereotypes, proving that anime is suitable for children and can serve as gripping entertainment for people of any age.