Anime is a brilliant medium of cinema that continues to evolve and become increasingly popular around the world with the arrival of streaming services like Crunchyroll and Funimation and Netflix’s ever-expanding anime library. Anime in general spans countless titles, genres, and rich art styles. As many of us know, many 90s anime inspired many iconic movies all over the world. Here are our picks for nine iconic anime movies that we think every anime fan or movie buff should watch right now.
Taken away as if by magic
Taken away as if by magic is an indisputable iconic success, which continues to captivate and charm audiences across generations. This film introduced global audiences to the many incredible works of Studio Ghibli.
“Ten-year-old Chihiro Ogino and her parents are on their way to their new home when her father decides to take a shortcut. The family’s car pulls up in front of a tunnel leading to what appears to be an abandoned amusement park, which Chihiro’s father insists on exploring, despite his daughter’s protests. They find a seemingly empty restaurant still filled with food, which Chihiro’s parents immediately start eating. While exploring further, Chihiro reaches a huge bathhouse and encounters a boy named Haku, who warns her to return across the riverbed before sunset. However, Chihiro discovers that her parents have been turned into pigs and she is unable to cross the now flooded river.
This absolutely surreal magical tale has thematic depth, creativity, and fills audiences with nostalgia even when watching for the first time.
This one is hailed as a masterpiece for its epic storytelling, creativity, incredible art style, stunning visuals, and heavy atmospheric soundtrack.
“Akira follows Shōtarō Kaneda and Tetsuo Shima, two members of a teenage biker gang who have no interest in the nuclear post-apocalypse society of Neo-Tokyo. Their Clockwork Orange-the contempt for life is turned upside down when Tetsuo attains immense telekinetic abilities, attracting the attention of Colonel Shikishima and his government-backed secret organization. ”
Akira is a worldwide phenomenon and is recognized as a very inspirational piece in the sci-fi genre.
ghost in the shell
ghost in the shell is so monolithic not just in the anime, but in sci-fi as a whole with a philosophy-laden storyline and iconic visuals. This film is one of many animated films that have inspired so many modern Hollywood film themes.
“Set in New Port City, 2029, it follows augmented police officer Major Motoko Kusanagi as she tracks down the Puppet Master, a ghost terrorist who has taken control of people’s tech-infused minds. powerful and precious”
Satoshi Kon’s psychological thriller perfect blue is a consummate and disturbing exploration of obsession, fame and reality.
“A pop singer quits her career to become an actress, but slowly goes crazy when she begins to be stalked by an obsessed fan and what appears to be a ghost from her past.”
This movie is really moving. The line between what is real and what is not slowly begins to blur as the plot progresses. This film is truly one of the greatest psychological thrillers ever made in any language.
The Grave of the Fireflies
It’s one of the movies that everyone should watch once, but it’s too hard to watch again. The Grave of the Fireflies is set during World War II and follows two orphaned siblings as they struggle to survive after the death of their mother. It’s one of the darkest animated films ever made and it just tumbles with the emotions. But it’s very well made and it’s a must-have watch for everyone.
Tokyo Godfathers is a warm and bittersweet holiday anime movie that will bring laughs as fast as a tear. In a sentimental turn by perfect blueby Satoshi Kon, the film follows three homeless people (a drunk, a drag queen and a runaway) who find an abandoned newborn baby on Christmas Eve. The trio decide to reunite with the child with his mother and roam the streets of Tokyo on Christmas Day, encountering various individuals who slowly reveal the sad, dark truth behind the child’s lineage.
Another Miyazaki masterpiece, Princess Mononoke is decidedly darker than usual Studio Ghibli fare. This fantastic historical tells the story of Ashitaka, a prince corrupted by a deadly curse. Leaving his home in search of a cure, he soon finds himself caught in the middle of a war between the gods of the forest and an industrious human mining colony. The film is clear in its overarching themes of environmentalism and mortality, more nuanced than the typical good-bad binary. An imaginative and beautiful work of epic fantasy fiction.
grow old with you
This is the director’s last film of another very iconic animated film, YOUR NAME. Hodaka, a sixteen-year-old runaway, tries to make a living on the streets of Tokyo during a rainy summer. A wonderfully realized fantasy about people who can control the weather, it tackles both social and personal issues while still being a fun story.
A silent voice
“A young man is ostracized by his classmates after bullying a deaf girl into walking away. Years later, he embarks on the path of redemption.
Now, that might sound a little cliché to some, but here it is, the most real and devastating high school movie of all time and yet it still manages to hold a lot of promise. It tackles issues like suicide, bullying, and social anxiety in such a perfect way. It’s just one of those movies that everyone has to watch. It’s truly heartbreaking and will likely show you some important new insights.
So that’s all for now. Anime has a bit of a bad rap because of the fanbase, but anime is a great medium for art and creativity that never fails to impress. Yes, a lot of anime aren’t for everyone, but some of these movies are so important that everyone should watch them.