If you are new to the world of Japanese manga, anime movie and anime series you have come to the right place. Here we have curated a list of movies and TV series that any die hard anime fan would want to watch over and over again. Read on to add them to your Watch list now:
Tenkū no Shiro Rapyuta- Castle in the sky (1986)
Genre- Animation, Fantasy
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Duration: 2h 6m
IMDb- 8/10, Rotten Tomatoes- 96%
If you are looking for adventure with Hayao Miyazaki’s patented iconic style of animation, this is all you need. The first anime movie production from Ghibli Studio, it’s a story of a young boy and girl, namely Sheeta and Pazu. The movie follows the adventure of these two young kids in their attempt to keep a magic crystal from a group of military agents. They embark on an epic search of a legendary floating island called Laputa. The story isn’t yet complete without some unique hardships that the duo face. In conclusion, if you wish to explore more about the Japanese culture, you need to watch this influential classic in the steampunk and dieselpunk genres.
Tengoku no tobira- Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)
Genre- Animation, Action, Sci-fi, Drama, Thriller
Director: Shinichirō Watanabe, Tensai Okamura
Duration- 115 minutes
IMDb- 7.9/10, Rotten Tomatoes- 54%
This wildly popular neo-noir sci-fi series is set on Mars and goes feature-length. A terrorist explosion releases a deadly virus on the planet. The government has announced the largest bounty in history to catch the misbehavers. The legalized bounty hunters, Spike, Faye Valentine, Jet Black, Edward, and of course Ein set out on a quest to catch them on their spaceship called Bebop. As it is, only the Bebop crew has what it takes to put a stop to the impending doom. One of the best anime movies which retain the signature style from anime T.V. and is extremely entertaining with its videography and musical tones that all in all makes it a beautiful piece of art.
Mimi o Sumaseba- Whisper of the hearts (1995)
Genre- Drama, Family, Music, Romance
Director: Yoshifumi Kondō
Duration- 111 minutes
IMDb- 7.9/10, Rotten Tomatoes- 94%
It is a romantic coming-of-age drama, about a girl called Shizuku who loves to read. She falls in love with a guy named Seiji who previously checked out all of the library books that she borrows. She meets another friend, an infuriating fellow who owns a violin shop. Could it be her ‘friend’ from the library? The anime movie is based on a manga by the same name which is written by Aoi Hiiragi. After watching the movie only one can truly understand, the true meaning of ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’.
Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama (1992)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Musical, Romance
Director: Yugo Sako, Ram Mohan, Koichi Saski
Duration: 135 minutes
IMDb: 9/10, Rotten Tomatoes- 67%
This anime as you have already guessed is based on a mythological epic written by Valmiki called ‘The Ramayana’. This Indo-Japanese anime movie should be on your must watch list as it contains everything from fighting off evil demons to living a life of a prince. In addition, this film was made as a part of the 40th anniversary of India-Japan diplomatic relations. Arun Govil, who originally played the role of Rama in Ramayan (1987 TV series) voiced Prince Rama in the Hindi version of this movie.
Tonari no totoro- My New Neighbour (1988)
Genre- Family, Fantasy
Director- Hayao Miyazaki
Duration- 86 minutes
IMDb- 8.2/10, Rotten Tomatoes- 86%
Also by the well-known director, Hayao Miyazaki, this anime movie gives you a taste of both fantasy and reality. The movie begins with two sisters moving out to the countryside to assist their ailing mother. Upon discovering that the forest is full of magical creatures they decide to befriend them including a bunny-shaped spirit. This is where their adventures the described spirit named ‘Totoro’ begins. The movie has amassed a worldwide ‘cult following, soon after its release. You can even say that Totoro is as famous in the anime world as Winnie The Pooh.
Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni- In this corner of the world (2016)
Genre- Drama, Family, History, War
Director- Mamoru Hosoda
Duration- 129 minutes (original version); 168 minutes (extended version)
IMDb- 7.8/10, Rotten Tomatoes- 96%
Set in the Second World War, the movie portrays the life of an 18-year-old girl, who is struggling to meet with her everyday needs. The story deals with the chaos and uncertainty that war lives behind. Each day is a challenge for Suzu, and her will to live. The film is based on the manga of the same name written by Fumiyo Kōno. A lot of scenes in the movie are said to be inspired by true events. Hence you also get a glimpse of the traditional culture of Japan. Another touching and easily one of the best anime movies you must not miss.
- Related: Must Watch Animes
Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi- Spirited Away (2001)
Genre- Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Mystery
Director- Hayao Miyazaki
Duration- 125 minutes[
IMDb- 8.6/10, Rotten Tomatoes- 97%
Spirited Away is the highest-grossing anime in Japanese history, overtaking Titanic even though it was released back in 2001. It tells the story of Chihiro Ogino (Hiiragi), a 10-year-old girl, and her journey to the spirit world of Kami (from Japanese folklore). Her parents are turned into pigs by a witch called Yubaba (Natsuki). She takes up the job of working in the bathhouse of this witch in order to find a way to rescue her parents and herself from this evil place. Even after 19 years of its release, the film is still one of the most recommended and best anime movies.
Hauru no Ugoku Shiro- Howl’s moving castle (2004)
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Family
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Duration- 119 minutes
IMDb- 8.2/10, Rotten Tomatoes- 87%
Based on a British novel Howl’s Moving Castle written by Diana Wynne Jones, it was made into an anime movie by Studio Ghibli. The story revolves around a content milliner named, Sophie who is transformed into a ninety-year-old woman by the witch’s curse. She can only get rid of the spell with the help of a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle. With the setting of a fictional kingdom in war with another kingdom, it explores the theme of old age in a positive attitude- the one that grants freedom to the protagonist. The film also contains anti-war themes.
Stand by Me Doraemon (2014)
Genre: Science Fiction, Drama
Director: Takashi Yamazaki, Ryuichi Yagi
Duration- 95 minutes
IMDb- 7.4, Rotten Tomatoes- 69%
One of the most popular anime and cartoon characters worldwide, Doraemon can be enjoyed by both adults and children alike. The first 3D computer anime of the series was released as Stand by Me Doraemon. Although only seven episodes were chosen for the anime movie. The plot combines with the short stories “All the Way From the Country of the Future”, “Imprinting Egg”, “Goodbye, Shizuka-chan”, “Romance in Snowy Mountain”, “Nobita’s the Night Before a Wedding” and “Goodbye, Doraemon”. This is the highest-grossing film of the Doraemon franchise. The film is all about what happens when Doraemon exits from Nobita’s life?
Sewashi, Nobita’s grandson introduced Doraemon in his life as his family was still suffering from the debts that Nobita was into because of his clumsiness. His job is to keep him happy and guide him to be better.
Eiga Koe no Katachi- A Silent Voice (2016)
Genre: Drama, Family, Romance
Director: Naoko Yamada, Shin’ichirô Ushijima
Duration- 130 minutes
IMDb- 8.1/10, Rotten Tomatoes- 94%
A Silent Voice also translated The Shape of Voice: The Movie was produced by Kyoto Animation. It is based on the manga of the same name written by Yoshitoki Ōima. It is a story of a girl called Shôko Nishimiya, a grade school student who has impaired hearing. She is bullied by her classmate, Shôya Ishida to the point that she has to transfer to another school. After this incident, Shoya is bullied by others for this act. Years later, he sets out for the redemption of his deeds. The story deals with sensitive themes like teen bullying, suicide, disabilities, parental divorce, and so on. A Silent Voice is often considered one of the best anime movies and is loved by people worldwide for its excellent portrayal of human emotions.
Desu nôto- Death Note- TV Series (2006-2007)
Genre- Crime, Drama, Supernatural, Psychological Thriller
Director- Tetsurō Araki
It has been voted the number one anime series of all time by Japanese fans. It is also ranked as the number 1 most popular anime series on the Myanime List website.
Death Note has a rather dark undertone. The extremely popular anime series explores themes that other anime series haven’t dared, and this is what makes it worth watching.
Shinigami, the god of death is able to kill any person. All he has to do is be able to see the victim’s face and write their name down in the Death Note notebook. Ryuk, who is bored by living the god of death lifestyle, leaves one of these notebooks in the human realm as an experiment. Subsequently, the prodigal high school student Light Yagami finds the Death Note. He decides to test it by writing the name of a criminal in it. The criminal dies instantly. Realizing how devastating the power of the notebook in his hands really is, he uses it to make the world a place free of criminals and terrorists. However, the police realize that there is a serial killer targeting criminals and try to apprehend him with the help of an eccentric detective named L.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood TV Series (2009–2012)
Genre- Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-fi
Director- Yasuhiro Irie
This series by Hiromu Arakawa closely follows the plotline of the manga series by the same name. The anime series includes 65 engaging episodes, that are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Its English subtitled version became popular in no time.
The series portrays the story of two disfigured brothers Edward and Alphonse who lose their mother to an incurable disease. In order to resurrect their dead mother, they use the power of alchemy which fails. As a result of this, Edward loses a leg and the other loses his entire body. Alphonse is turned into body armor with the sacrifice of his brother’s other arm. Bent upon bringing their mother back and restoring their full health they go to the extent of becoming a Fullmetal Alchemist at the State Military. Here they go on to search for the Philosopher Stone, which is supposed to give him immense alchemic powers.
Naruto- TV Series (2002–2007)
Genre- Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Director- Hayato Date
Naruto is the most popular name in the world of anime series and Manga. Taken from a famous Manga series, it was made into a TV series with a total of 220 episodes. Moreover, it ranks third in the bestsellers manga list in history with over 235 million copies sold in over 35 countries. It originally aired in Japan from 2002 to 2007, and on Cartoon Network from 2005 to 2009.
Written by Masashi Kishimoto, this is a coming of age story about a young Ninja child Naruto Uzumaki. He is looking for recognition and dreams of becoming the leader (Hokage) of his village. Before he was born, a Hokage seals the body of a fox inside him in exchange for his life. Further, the fox is a great demon who used to swing one of its nine tails to cause a Tsunami. Hence, the villagers feared him.