In the age of streaming platforms as the main access point to media, moviegoers are less likely than ever to buy individual movie titles. Even animated films, which represent far less mainstream media than live-action films produced in the United States, have found themselves a home on one streaming service or another.
Notably, HBO Max has amassed nearly every Studio Ghibli movieof international renown Taken away as if by magic hidden gems like Only yesterday. Yet despite major acquisitions by HBO Max and other streaming platforms, there are still quite a few amazing and even highly acclaimed animated films which viewers will not be able to enjoy with a subscription. Here are some of the amazing animated movies that are not currently available on North American streaming services.
10/10 Tomb of the Fireflies (1988)
This notorious teardrop is the only one Studio Ghibli film missing from HBO Max’s lineup, due to its distribution rights belonging to Shinchosha Publishing Co. Whether viewers prefer to rent, buy, or wait for the film to find its way onto a streaming platform, The Grave of the Fireflies is a must-have for anyone who considers themselves a cinema connoisseur.
Adapted from a short story based on Japanese author Akiyuki Nosaka’s own experiences during World War I, the film has been hailed by critics as both one of the best war films ever made and an iconic piece. Japanese animation.
9/10 Your Name (2016)
Despite being one of the highest-grossing anime films of all time, both globally and in Japan, this critically acclaimed fantasy romance is nowhere to be found in the realm of streaming. A mesmerizing mix of gorgeous animation, melodious songsa captivating narrative and a myriad of hidden details that require some editing to understand, your name well worth a place in any entertainment collection.
A live remake is currently in the works, with JJ Abrams as co-producer. Hopefully, the reimagined film will, unlike its predecessor, be available for streaming.
8/10 My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (2019)
Rising Heroes is the second film in the popular manga series. The plot takes place after the events of the Meta Liberation Army manga arc. My hero academia’s creator and supervisor of his films, Kōhei Horikoshi, confirmed that all MHA’s movies are canon for manga. Therefore, fans and non-fans of the manga will want to make sure they’re up to date on the plot to avoid potential spoilers and have the story context needed to fully enjoy the film.
MHA’s third film, Global Heroes Mission, will begin streaming on Crunchyroll in August 2020 so subscribers can quickly rent or buy Rising Heroes in order to watch its sequel as soon as it is released.
7/10 Code Geass: Resurrection Lelouch (2019)
Lelouch of the re;surrection serves as a sequel to the three parts Code Geass compilation film, which set up an alternate universe of the critically acclaimed film Code Geass mecha anime series. Although the films have already established themselves as having their own canon storyline, Resurrection is particularly controversial among fans of the original series for drastically altering the show’s iconic ending.
However, with the announcement of an animated sequel in Resurrection’In the alternate universe, viewers should consider putting aside the canon divergence pet peeves to see where this new story goes.
6/10 Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva (2009)
Rather than being adapted from an anime or manga series, this film is based on the Professor Layton puzzle video game franchise. The film features an original plot that is loosely tied to the games and retains its trademark puzzles. Although viewers will have to either click pause or think quickly in order to solve the puzzles before the characters do.
The art style, like the games, is simple but charming and the usual enjoyable soundtrack, which includes a real orchestra, has some particularly enchanting tracks given its operatic setting.
5/10 Paprika (2006)
The perfect blue Director, Satoshi Kon, once again weaves a narrative that ponders the fine line between reality and fantasy in this surreal psychological thriller. Based on the eponymous novel, the film revolves around Doctor Atsuko Chiba as she attempts to use the device her research team has created, a device that allows users to enter people’s dreams in a form of psychotherapy.
Paprika is the alter ego that Chiba adopts into the dream world, which she uses to help psychiatric patients heal themselves through their dreams. When one of the dream devices is stolen, Chiba/Paprika frantically searches for the thief as dreams, nightmares, and the waking world begin to bleed together.
4/10 Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005)
One of the less common examples of a computer-animated animated film, this cinematic sequel in the historical game Final Fantasy VII is a must-have watch for avid gamers. That said, it’s a difficult film to truly appreciate without knowledge of Final Fantasy VIIthe plot.
Advent children begins two years after the events of the game, following Cloud Strife as he struggles with the guilt of being unable to save people he cared about, especially Aerith Gainsborough. Along with dealing with his emotions, Cloud also has to deal with a mysterious illness that he and many others have been infected with.
3/10 Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)
Fans of the groundbreaking anime who were left disappointed by its live-action adaptation, or anyone still emotional from the anime’s final moments, unfortunately won’t be able to turn to Cowboy Bebop: The Movie for comfort unless they are willing to shell out money to rent or buy a copy.
Also known in Japan as Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heaven’s Doorthe film takes place between the twenty-second and twenty-third episodes of the anime and shows the gang of bounty hunters searching for a bioterrorist who plans to eradicate human life on Mars.
2/10 The Anthem of the Heart (2015)
From the Super Peace Busters, the title of the creative team that created Anohana: the flower we saw that daycomes this slightly fantastical but painfully real film about the rediscovery of her voice. The anthem of the heart tells the story of Jun, an imaginative girl who is rendered mute by a fairy’s curse after accidentally revealing her father’s affair.
Jun enters high school still unable to speak but after learning that she still has the ability to sing, begins to turn to music as a way to express what’s in her heart. It’s a moving film and well worth a watch for fans of the genre.
1/10 Pokemon: The First Movie (1998)
This movie may not sound too impressive to many movie critics or those who aren’t already fans of the movie. Pokemon games or animated series but for those who are, and especially those who grew up with them, Pokemon: The First Movie is an incredibly fun and memorable entry in the franchise.
The film received a remake in the form of Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back — Evolution but the reincarnation doesn’t quite capture the charm of the original. If viewers want to rent or buy the original, they should make sure to select the Japanese version. The English dub unfortunately neutralizes much of the original dialogue, especially when it comes to the topic of ethics and morality.
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