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Ultimate Anime Movie Recommendations For You To Watch This Weekend!

Do you love anime movies? Are you just searching for some quality movie to watch this weekend? Or maybe you’re just getting into anime films and want to know where to get started? Whatever the case, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a list of some of the best ever anime movies to watch that are worth your time.

I’ve categorized this anime movies list into four sections depending on the year of release. Within each section, the movie titles are ranked based on their rating on My Anime List.

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Also I’ve avoided the movies from titles that have an anime series. This way you don’t have to worry about watching something else in order to understand the movie settings.

So without any further ado, let’s jump into the list of best anime movies that you must absolutely watch!


Best 80’s Anime Movies To Watch

7. Vampire Hunter D

Vampire Hunter D - old anime film

Release: 1985
Genre: Action, Supernatural, Vampire
Director: Ashida, Toyoo

In the distant future, the world has completely changed. Monsters live freely, while humans live a more restrained life even though they have advanced technology.

In such a world, a small hamlet ruled by a Vampire lord was frequently raided by Monsters. A young girl from this hamlet was bitten by the Vampire Lord and was chosen as his new plaything.

In order to escape her ordeal, she asks a wandering stranger known as D for help. Turns out, D was one of the best Vampire Hunters to ever exist.

He took responsibility to free the girl and end the evil Vampire Lord’s rule.

6. Akira

Akira

Release: 1988
Genre:  Action, Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Seinen
Director: Otomo, Katsuhiro

Akira had the highest budget among all the other 80’s anime movies. It was so popular that a remastered version of the movie was declared to be released in April 2020.

An explosion created by a boy with psychic powers leads the world into world war 3. In order to prevent further destruction, the boy is taken into custody.

31 years later, in Neo-Tokyo, Shoutarou Kaneda leads “the Capsules,” a group of misfits known for riding large, custom motorcycles. They are always in a gang war with their rivals “the Clowns.”

When Kaneda comes into contact with an esper who had escaped the government facility, he starts developing supernatural abilities.

Now, he is pursued by the government to quarantine him in order to prevent the history from repeating itself.

5. Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki's Delivery Serivce

Release: 1989
Genre:  Comedy, Drama, Magic, Romance, Fantasy
Director: Miyazaki, Hayao

In order to become a full-fledged witch ,Kiki, a witch-in-training had to spend an entire year in a distant town on her own. Parting with her friends and family Kiki takes off to the destined town along with her cat Jiji.

However after she reaches the coastal town of Koriko she ends up wandering in the streets with no place to stay.

Then she meets Osono, a woman who offered Kiki a stay in return for making deliveries for her small bakery.

Soon after, Kiki starts her own courier service and adventures around the town on her broomstick in order to make deliveries.

4. Castle in the Sky

Castle in the Sky

Release: 1986
Genre:  Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi
Director: Miyazaki, Hayao

Sheeta is the owner of a mysterious crystal amulet which is coveted by the government. In order to obtain the amulet, the government agents had kidnapped her and put her confined in an airship.

Luckily for her, that airship was raided by the pirates. She used the confusion to her advantage and escaped from them.

During her escape, she meets a boy named Pazu who’s dream is to reach the fabled flying castle, Laputa.

They then decide to discover the flying castle together, all the while escaping from the hands of the government agents.

3. My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro

Release: 1988
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Supernatural
Director: Miyazaki, Hayao

Other than Akira, the other most popular film among all the other anime movies of the 80’s is My Neighbor Totoro.

Tatsuo Kusakabe along with his daughters, Satsuki and Mei moved into the countryside in order to be close to their mother who has been bedridden with an illness.

One day, Mei sees a bunny-like creature in the yard and chases after it all the way into the forest.

There she met a giant, magical forest spirit, Totoro who soon became her friend.

Eventually Satsuki also finds Totoro, and the two sisters go on magical adventures with their new found friend, Totoro.

2. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 

Best 80's anime movies

Release: 1984
Genre:  Adventure, Fantasy
Director: Miyazaki, Hayao

“Seven Days of Fire” is the term used to represent the devastating nuclear war that took place a millennia ago. Now the remnants of the human race have to survive in a world where the creatures of the jungle have evolved into monsters due to nuclear reaction.

They have to deal with enormous insects and poison spores which keep spreading rapidly across the Earth. In such a world, there existed a peaceful farming kingdom called “Valley of the Wind.” Nausicaä was the princess of this beautiful, tranquil kingdom which was safe from the poison from the Jungle because of its geographical position.

However, the peaceful days come to an end when an air ship from a nearby kingdom crashes into the valley.

They are soon invaded by the Tolmekian military who intend to recreate a weapon which was used during the “Seven days of fire.”

Nausicaä has to stop the revival of the catastrophic weapon in order to stop the history from repeating itself.

1. Grave of the Fireflies 
Best 80's anime movies list - Grave of the Fireflies

Release: 1988
Genre:  Drama, Historical
Director: Urakami, Yasuo

Number one on the list of 80’s anime movies to watch is “Grave of the fireflies.” Seita and Setsuko are siblings who have lost their father, mother and their home during the devastating second World War. Orphaned and homeless they have to wander around in search of food and shelter in order to survive.

They soon understand the true nature of the world and come to witness how even the kindest person could become a heartless one as the situation changes.

However, the young siblings fight to live on and escape their inevitable end.

Grave of the fireflies is an anime movie that describes the nature of war and the effect it has on the population.


Best 90’s Anime Movies To Watch

5. Ninja Scroll 

Ninja Scroll

Release: 1993
Genre: Adventure, Historical, Supernatural, Romance, Shounen
Director: Kawajiri, Yoshiaki

Jubei Kibagami is a nomad mercenary who wanders feudal Japan. After being betrayed in the past, he is now left master-less and he has no more tolerance for warring political groups and their plans.

Sadly, both his past and political interest collides when he meets and rescues a female ninja named Kagero from a man with the capacity to make his body as hard as rock.

Kagero, as the only survivor of her ninja tribe, has to finish their final mission: investigate a baffling infection that cleared out a whole town.

Jubei doesn’t want to get involved in this, but the rock-like man’s partners known as the ‘Devils of kinmon’ force him to fight them.

To make the situation worse, a government spy poisons Jubei with a slow poison and promises to give him the antidote if he can find the true intentions of the Devils of Kinmon and their involvement in the plague.

4. Whisper of the Heart 

Whisper of the Heart

Release: 1995
Genre: Drama, Romance, Shoujo, Slice of Life
Director: Kondou, Yoshifumi

This anime movie revolves around Shizuku Tsukishima, an energetic 14 year old who loves reading and writing poems. One day, she noticed that her library books were often being checked out by a boy named  Seiji Amasawa.

Wanting to find this boy who shares her same love for literature, she decides to search for him.

Miraculously, she finds the boy in an antique shop and befriends him. She finds out that the boy is working on a dream of his own, while she had no idea about her future.

As her relationship with the boy grows, she works hard to find her own dreams and realize them.

3. Ghost In The Shell

Ghost In The Shell

Release: 1995
Genre: Action, Mecha, Police, Psychological, Sci-Fi, Seinen
Director: Oshii, Mamoru

This is a super popular anime movie that even has a live adaptation. In 2029, humanity has achieved advanced cybernetics which allowed people to replace their limbs with robotic parts.  However, with power comes corruption.

In order to deal with that the Public Security Section 9 was formed. They fought the dangerous threats following this shift towards globalization.

Motoko Kusanagi, the Major of Section 9, is in pursuit of a criminal called “The Puppet Master” who manipulates his victims and strips them of their memories.

Ghost in a shell follows the adventures of Mokoto in search of this mysterious criminal.

2. Perfect Blue

Perfect Blue

Release: 1998
Genre: Drama, Horror, Psychological
Director: Kon, Satoshi

This is an anime movie for the adults. Mima Kirigoe, a member of the J-pop idol group decided to quit being an idol in order to pursue her dreams of becoming her actor.

Hoping to shed her personality as an idol and set her foot into the acting industry, she accepts a role in a crime drama series.

However, her work becomes more and more taxing for her and her manager. To make matters worse, her fan who couldn’t accept that she quit being an idol starts stalking her. Her personal life details were being written with extreme details on an anonymous blog.

The idol group she once belonged to were also doing better without her.

Each of these incidents drive Mima crazy to the point she couldn’t tell reality from fantasy.

1. Princess Mononoke 

Princess Mononoke

Release: 1997
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Director: Miyazaki, Hayao

Number one on the list of 90’s anime movies to watch is “Princess Mononoke.” Princess Mononoke is a wonderful anime movie about how harmony can be created between technology and nature.

Ashitaka, the young prince of an  Emishi village risked his life to save his tribe from a demon boar that attacked them.

In its last breath, the boar cursed the prince which turned his arm into a powerful demonic arm which sucks away his life.

He goes on an adventure to find a cure for his curse and ends up at Tatara, the Iron town.

There he finds Lady Eboshi of Tatara, who promotes deforestation and the Princess San and the sacred spirits of the forest who are angered by the destruction of nature fighting each other.

Ashitaka struggles to find peace between these two opposing factions all the while battling the demon within his arms.


Best 2000’s Anime Movies To Watch

7. 5 Centimeters per Second

5 Centimeters per Second

Release: 2007
Genre: Drama, Romance, Slice of Life
Director: Andou, Masahiro

5 centimeters per second is an elegant anime movie that shows how difficult long distance relationships could be.

Takaki Toono and Akari Shinohara have always been together as children, but due to certain circumstances they are now separated and have to live far away from each other.

They had promised to keep in touch, however, the progression of time only widens the gap between them.

Unable to leave their past behind and unable to live fully in the present, they both live on hurting themselves and those around them, hoping only to see each other again.

6. Paprika

Must watch anime movies - Paprika

Release: 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Psychological, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Director: Kon, Satoshi

The “DC mini” is a device that can delve into other people’s dreams. Atsuko Chiba and Kosaku Tokita have been working on this machine hoping to help cure patients with psychological disorder with it.

However, in the wrong hands, this machine could become a lethal weapon that forces mental breakdown on others.

Their worst nightmare comes to life when the DC mini is stolen and the people around the two researchers start acting strange.

Now with the help of Officer Konakawa who has been receiving the experimental therapy, they have to find the culprit and stop him.

5. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time - Time travel anime movie

Release: 2006
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
Director: Hosoda, Mamoru

The girl who leapt through time is one of the very few anime movies that is based on Time travel.

Makoto Konno is a final year high school student who is worried about not having a dream or a goal for her ideal future.

Her daily routine of dealing with the pressure from her teachers and playing around with her friends ended when she accidentally found out that she had the ability to leap through time.

She played around with her new found time leaping ability, but however she ended up finding the hard way, that her actions had consequences and messing around with time always comes with deep trouble and responsibility.

4. Tokyo Godfathers

Tokyo Godfathers - Best anime movies

Release: 2003
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Kon, Satoshi

This anime movie is about the homeless trio– a kind transwoman Hana, runaway teenager Miyuki, and belligerent Gin who found a new born baby, while scavenging the dump for a Christmas present.

Despite being poor and homeless, they took the baby in and named her Kiyoko which means ‘Pure one.’

The trio then decides to look for the Kiyoko’s mother with the baby’s belongings as the only lead. In pursuit of the mother they somehow get entangled in a series of events including kidnap and  murder.

3. Sword of the Stranger

Sword of the Stranger

Release: 2007
Genre: Action, Adventure, Historical, Samurai
Director: Andou, Masahiro

During the Sengoku period, a young orphan  Kotarou and his dog Tobimaru made a living stealing from the villagers.

However, the duo is forced to be on the run from China’s Ming Dynasty’s henchmen who’s searching for Kotarou in order to fulfill a prophecy.

When Kotarou is attacked and Tobimaru is poisoned, a ronin who was living in the temple came to their rescue.

Although the ronin was reluctant to help them any further, he later joined their party as a bodyguard in return for a valuable gem.

The three set out on a dangerous journey and have to deal with a terrifying swordsman sent after them.

2. Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle - Must watch anime films

Release: 2004
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Director: Miyazaki, Hayao

A magnificent flying castle is the home of an excellent wizard named Howl, who was infamous not only for his magical powers, but also for being a womanizer.

Sophie, a young hat-maker was saved by this wizard from a disturbing situation. However, this incident enraged the Witch of the Waste who had a past discord with Howl.

The Witch turned young Sophie into an old woman. Now Sophie has to travel along with Howl and his eccentric companions in order to get her young self back.

1. Spirited Away

Best anime movies - Spirited away

Release: 2001
Genre: Adventure, Supernatural, Drama
Director: Miyazaki, Hayao

Number one on the list of 20’s anime movies to watch is “Spirited away.” Spirited away is one of the best anime movies of all time that received several prestigious awards.

On their way home,  Chihiro Ogino, a stubborn young girl and her parents found an abandoned amusement park.

Strange events started to occur one after the other once dusk fell. Her parents were turned into pigs by eating certain food and she saw ghostly apparitions roaming around.

These events were caused because she had unknowingly crossed the spirit world.

Now she has to live and work among the spirits in order to save her parents and return home.


Best Anime Movies to watch from 2010-present (early 2020)

9. A Letter to Momo

A Letter to Momo

Release: 2012
Genre: Supernatural, Drama
Director: Okiura, Hiroyuki

After the sudden death of her father, Momo Miyaura, an eleven year old moves to a remote island along with her mother.

However there was one thing that made her uneasy.

An unfinished letter from her father which had only two words written in it: “Dear Momo.”

This anime movie is all about Momo trying to adapt to her new neighborhood, trying to solve the mystery of the letter left by her father and dealing with Youkai.

Yup, you heard it right. Youkai.

They are troublesome spirits that started hanging around Momo when she read an ancient book about them in her attic.

8. From Up on Poppy Hill

From Up on Poppy Hill

Release: 2011
Genre:  Historical, Romance, School, Shoujo
Director: Miyazaki, Gorou

Umi Matsuzaki’s family runs a boarding house that is located at the top of a hill overlooking a seaside port.

Umi as a part of the family does various chores like, cooking and cleaning the house in order to manage their small establishment.

Asides that, she is a regular high school student who’s attending a school that is dealing with a small crisis.

In order to build a modern building, the school has decided to demolish an old clubhouse. However the students who hold dear memories in that clubhouse  started protesting against the demolition.

While working on this affair, Umi meets Shun Kazama, an orphaned boy and later falls in love with him.

This anime movie is about the duo trying to figure out Shun’s origin and find clues from his past.

7. The Secret World of Arrietty

The secret world of arrie film

Release: 2010
Genre: Fantasy, Drama
Director: Yonebayashi, Hiromasa

“Borrowers” are tiny beings that take items from the human world and live in the shadows.

Arrietty is one such Borrower with a hunger for adventure.

The Borrowers were living undetected until one day a young boy named Shou arrived.

He noticed things going missing and found out the existence of Borrowers when he met Arrietty.

They soon become friends, but they have to keep their relationship secret as it would only bring harm to Arrietty and her family if a word goes out about their existence.

This anime movie explains the hardships in having a relationship between two different species having several differences between them.

6. The Anthem Of The Heart

Best anime films - The anthem of the heart

Release: 2015
Genre:  Drama, Romance, School
Director: Nagai, Tatsuyuki

Jun Naruse is a young girl who believes in Fairy tales and happy endings. Because of being too trusting and naive, she unintentionally exposes her father’s affair.

Because of this her family is shattered and her parents divorce.

Scarred by this incident Naruse regrets ever talking about that matter. Her regrets took the form of a fairy egg and sealed her mouth, making her unable to talk in order to protect everyone’s happy ending.

Years later in high school, Naruse is still unable to talk because of the fairy egg.

Unexpectedly, she was chosen to perform in a musical along with three others: Takumi Sakagami, Natsuki Nitou, and Daiki Tasaki.

Naruse goes to the club in order to turn down the job, but decides to accept it when she hears Sakagami’s beautiful singing.

Maybe the Fairy egg’s curse does not apply to singing. Maybe she’ll be able to express her heart through music.

5. When Marnie Was There

Best anime film - When Marnie was there

Release: 2014
Genre: Mystery, Psychological, Drama
Director: Yonebayashi, Hiromasa

This anime movie has this 80’s anime look which makes it kinda nostalgic for fans who’ve been watching anime for decades now.

Anna Sasaki was a young girl who suffered from frequent asthma attacks. 

Because of that she became anti-social and was always alone avoiding other people.

In order to let Anna relax and in hopes that the rural air might ease her breathing troubles, her foster parents sent her to the countryside.

While roaming around in the countryside, she discovered an abandoned mansion called Marsh House.

For her surprise, the mansion was not abandoned. It was being used by another young girl named Marne.

Soon, they both became friends, and Anna frequented the old mansion.

But there are secrets that revolve around Marne and Anna discovers them before her time in the countryside ends.

4. Weathering with You

Weathering with you - must watch anime film

Release: 2019
Genre: Slice of Life, Drama, Romance, Fantasy
Director: Shinkai, Makoto

This is the most recent, very hyped anime film. Due to some unknown phenomenon, rain never stops in the city of Tokyo causing trouble to the residents.

In such a place, Hodaka Morishima – a runaway high school student worked hard to earn money to make a living.

Similarly, Hina Amano, an orphaned girl, also strives to earn money for herself and her kid brother.

They cross paths with each other when Hodaka runs away with Hina in order to save her from the shady men who were bothering her.

Sooner, he discovers that Hina had a strange supernatural power to call out the sun by praying for it.

Given that they are in an eternally raining city, Hodaka recommended Hina to become the “sunshine girl” of Tokyo.

However, revealing her power comes with great consequences.

3. Wolf Children

Best anime movies - Wolf children

Release: 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Slice of Life
Director: Hosoda, Mamoru

Wolf Children is a really beautiful anime movie. Hana is a dedicated college student who falls in love with a student from another college who attends the same class as her.

Sooner, she found out that he was not truly human either. He was the last surviving werewolf.

Despite this discovery, Hana’s love for him remains unchanged and they ultimately decide to begin a family together.

Their union resulted in the birth of two beautiful wolf children: Ame, born during rainfall, and Yuki, born during snowfall.

They both possessed the ability to transform into wolves just like their father.

However, their father dies and Hana is burdened with the responsibility to raise two wild children in a crowded city. Not to mention, she had to keep their identity (that they were werewolves) a secret.

Due to all these reasons, Hana decided to move to the countryside hoping her children could have a decent childhood without being shunned by the society.

The next two in the listing are undeniably the top 2 anime movies of this decade. They both took the world by a storm when they were released.

2. A Silent Voice

Best anime movie - A silent voice

Release: 2016
Genre: Drama, School, Shounen
Director: Yamada, Naoko

Depending on who you ask, it is either Your Name or Silent Voice that is the best anime movie of all time. While Your Name takes a fantasy approach, Silent voice is a typical romance, drama anime movie.

Shouya Ishida as an elementary school student was a hyper energetic and wild child.

When Shouko Nishimiya, a deaf girl, transfers to their school, Shouya and his classmates bullied her endlessly.

They ripped her earpiece and made her bleed. They threw her notebooks in water and badmouthed her at her face thinking she can’t hear them.

When the sadness/stress in her daughter piques Nishimiya’s mother’s attention she reaches out to the teacher.

Even though everyone in the class was responsible, Shouya was singled out and everyone blamed him for torturing Nishimiya.

After that, Nishimiya transferred to a new school and the tables turned for Shouya.

He was being bullied by everyone this time around for hurting a deaf girl.

Suffering from self guilt and not being able to bear the betrayal of his classmates, Shouya becomes more and more silent and distant from others.

Now in the third year of high school, still unable to forgive himself for his wrongdoings, he starts searching for Nishimiya in order to make amends.

Silent voice is a story of how they reunite and save each other from their mental burden.

1. Your Name

Best anime movie - Kimi no nawa

Release: 2016
Genre: Romance, Supernatural, School, Drama
Director: Shinkai, Makoto

Calling Your Name the anime movie of the year, isn’t a brag. It’s that good. This is one of the best anime movies to watch that is worth your time.

Mitsuha Miyamizu is a high school girl in the countryside who fantasizes living as a Tokyo (city) boy.

Meanwhile, Taki Tachibana is a high school boy from Tokyo who’s working hard to balance his school life and his part time job.

One day, to their surprise, they swapped bodies with each other.

At first they think it must be a dream, but however, when they swapped bodies over and over again they left obvious symbols and started searching for each other.

Your name is a story about how these two have a significant impact on each other’s life by swapping their bodies due to some unknown phenomenon.

These were the top 25+ anime movies to watch whenever you get the time. These films stand atop all other movies that have been released until now. At least, in my opinion they are.

Hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful! See you in the next post<3

Silver is the admin of Anime Everything Online. He has been watching anime for over 6 years and writing about it for over 3 years. His favorite genres are isekai, comedy and sports.

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