8 anime movies everyone should watch at least once

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A good animated film can entertain its viewers for a while, but the best ones are remembered for many years after their release. Some of them are historically significant, while others are highly regarded by the general public. Everyone’s tastes will be different, so this list will try to consider different genres and different themes for the convenience of the reader.

This list will mainly focus on anime movies that are not from popular TV shows. Some manga may be the origin of their creation, but this does not apply to all the movies mentioned below. Chances are we’ve seen at least one of these movies, but it would be amazing if someone saw them all.


8 Best Anime Movies You’re Doing Yourself A Favor By Not Watching

1) Akira

Akira's iconic slide (Image via Tokyo Movie Shinsha)
Akira’s iconic slide (Image via Tokyo Movie Shinsha)

The first animated film worth seeing is Akira. It’s an old cyberpunk film from 1988, but its legacy is nearly unmatched more than three decades later. Akira has everything from great action to phenomenal music to excellent animation for its time. It may be old, but it’s by no means outdated. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many other anime have been inspired by this film, which can be seen most blatantly with the many tributes paid to it via Akira Slide.

Anyone who cares about the historical precedence set by this historical film should check it out ASAP.


2) A silent voice

The two main characters in this anime film (Image via Kyoto Animation)
The two main characters in this anime film (Image via Kyoto Animation)

Now let’s move on to something more recent. A silent voice is a 2016 animated film that focuses on a coming-of-age story about a boy who bullied a deaf girl and seeks to become a better person. It sounds too simple, but the whole movie is interesting from start to finish and does a good job of making its viewers wonder what happens next.

It also touches on some important topics such as suicide, bullying, and forgiveness without being rude or insensitive.


3) Taken away as if by magic

No-Face is one of the most memorable characters in this film (Image via Studio Ghibli)
No-Face is one of the most memorable characters in this film (Image via Studio Ghibli)

Any Hayao Miyazaki film could make it onto a list like this. But Taken away as if by magic is one of his best and most famous works. The film won numerous awards and is widely considered one of the best animated films of all time. It was also the second highest-grossing film in Japan of all time, beaten only by Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train.

The main location being a Japanese bath may seem random to some viewers, but the film’s supernatural kami makes it an ideal setting. Spirited Away is another coming-of-age story, but its general subject matter makes it much better for a wider audience than the previous two films, which may be too violent or have dark themes ill-suited to a child.


4) the Grave of the Fireflies

It may not be for the faint of heart (Image via Studio Ghibli)
It may not be for the faint of heart (Image via Studio Ghibli)

Studio Ghibli is responsible for making some of the greatest animated films of all time. the Grave of the Fireflies is critically acclaimed, having a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s not by Miyazaki – a common point of confusion among those who watch it). Isao Takahata actually directed it, and it’s basically two siblings trying to survive the final months of World War II.

It’s a dark story considering its status as a war movie, but it’s a story everyone should seriously consider watching at least once. The value of life can sometimes be taken for granted, and this film reminds its viewers just how important it is.


5) Paprika

The promotional images are already interesting to watch (Image via Madhouse)
The promotional images are already interesting to watch (Image via Madhouse)

Anyone who loves psychological thrillers should enjoy Paprika. This 2006 animated film is bizarre and will probably confuse some people watching it due to the absurdity of some of the scenes. However, this weirdness is also what makes the movie so appealing. It’s a wild journey coupled with fun animation that vividly explores both what’s real and what’s not.

Paprika is also a beloved sci-fi movie that focuses more on psychology than giant mechs or alien beings, so it might feel fresh in that sense.


6) perfect blue

Its psychological elements can also be quite a trip to watch (Image via Madhouse)
Its psychological elements can also be quite a trip to watch (Image via Madhouse)

Speaking of psychological films, perfect blue is another food for thought that readers should check out. It dates from 1997, and it is also directed by Satoshi Kon, the director of Paprika. perfect blue is about a Japanese idol who gets harassed as brutal murders start happening around her. A little like Paprikathere’s a good mix of fantasy and reality here, although it’s more identity and less technology.


seven) your name

Some people might know him as Kimi No Na Wa (Image via CoMix Wave Films)
Some people might know him as Kimi No Na Wa (Image via CoMix Wave Films)

Romantic animated films appeal to a wide variety of people. More often than not, they can be a bit generic or uninteresting to the masses, but your name subverts these common problems. It has a whopping 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and its 94% Audience Score isn’t much lower.

As for why the film is so beloved, many critics tend to praise its artwork and the raw emotion it contains. How a boy and a girl can relate to each other after swapping bodies is an interesting concept that doesn’t flatter audiences as much as one might think. It’s not the most compelling story around, but viewers who value visuals highly will probably like it.


8) Panda and the magic snake

Fans of old movies might like this one (Image via Toei Animation)
Fans of old movies might like this one (Image via Toei Animation)

On the opinion side, Panda and the magic snake is not among the best compared to previous films. However, it’s an underrated and hugely important animated movie in the grand scheme of things. Additionally, it was the first color animated feature film of all time, released in 1958.

Second, it inspired great animators like the aforementioned Miyazaki. This movie is also known as The Enchantress of the White Serpent and Hakujaden, and it’s basically based on a Chinese folktale known as Legend of the White Snake. Anyone who loves animated movies should check it out to see how much everything has changed between then and now.

Note: This article reflects the personal views of the author.

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Edited by Soumyadyuti Ghosh

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