There are a lot of TV shows out there, and in this golden age of TV streaming, the choices have never been more significant. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? We’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, most fabulous, and unforgettable shows through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, this time we’re focusing on the best films of all time. From heartbreaking romances to mind-numbing thrillers, there’s an excellent choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below, and we’ll add them when we can!
A Silent Voice
A Silent Voice is an exquisite film that touches upon bullying, friendship, and redemption. It’s full of scenes that will make you cry and others that will have you reflecting on real life. It contains many characters with relatable issues and colorful personalities.
This film follows Shouya, an elementary school bully who picks on his classmate Shouko for being deaf. His hurtful shenanigans lead to Shouko transferring out of their school. Afterward, everyone blames Shouya for this matter in his high school years.
Despite his old age, Shouya’s plagued with many horrid memories of his past. He gets a chance to redeem himself when he spots Shouko wandering nearby. Shouya vows to make things right with Shouko to eradicate any guilt, grief, or sorrow that continues haunting him.
This film provides viewers with excellent life lessons through its well-rounded cast. Shouya puts his money where his mouth and tries his hardest to make Shouko’s life better. His actions will leave a long-lasting impression on folks for the better. Check out A Silent Voice if you’re searching for a heartwarming and tear-jerking film.
Have you ever stumbled upon a film that lacks depth but makes up for it with beautiful animation and intense rivalries? Redline is one of those films. This work features highly stylized racing segments that will stimulate your heart as characters reach extreme speeds on the race track.
This anime highlights a universal racing event that lacks rules. Deemed Redline, this race pushes its competitors to their limits. Our protagonist, JP, is one of its latest competitors who can’t wait to show the world what he can do. Unfortunately, this race will reside on a planet infested with trigger-happy individuals.
They vow to use their knowledge and experiences to manipulate the race in their favor. This doesn’t instill fear in JP and other racers; it lights a fire in their souls. This film’s cheesy dialogue and tone may make some turn a blind eye. However, the action segments involving our characters making sharp turns and colliding with nearby racers make for incredible entertainment.
Jinrou: The Wolf Brigade
Jinrou: The Wolf Brigade is a remarkable sci-fi film with a gritty atmosphere. Its story and characters are well-written. This anime offers a great mix of action and drama and delves into the human psyche following the aftermath of World War II.
This narrative follows Kazuki, a soldier who fails to exterminate a young terrorist. The girl causes a drastic explosion that results in many people getting hurt. Kazuki’s scolded for his failures and is forced to return to a military academy for re-evaluation. At the academy, Kazuki gets roped into a governmental conspiracy that will determine Japan’s future.
Kazuki treads the line between man and beast in Jinrou as fans await to see where his journey will take him. This emotional roller coaster examines the darkness that lay dormant in humanity’s hearts. This anime provides some great symbolism with its fascinating storytelling. If you’re a fan of films with deep messages and gritty tones, check this one out.
Ninja Scroll offers an excellent depiction of ninjas in anime. While its premise is simple, it evokes similar feelings you’d get after watching a stellar B-movie. This anime receives praise for its epic fights and exciting protagonist, Jubei.
Jubei is a splendid ronin with a tragic past. He wants to avoid grit in any political affairs and only seeks to tackle new quests to make some profit. One day, he rescues a female ninja named Kagero from a husky individual. Kagero informs Jubei that she’s investigating a strange disease that wiped out an entire village. An old fellow poisons and blackmails Jubei into participating in Kagero’s affairs.
As he helps the older man and Kagero with their plans, Jubei learns that this mission involves taking down a formidable foe from his past. This anime’s action feels somewhat realistic and gorier than most ninja anime. Everyone displays a significant level of martial arts, swordsmanship, and other forms of combat. Fans of action films will get a kick out of the intense and insane martial arts performed by Ninja Scrolls’ cast.
Angel’s Egg was an anime made for critical thinkers. This anime offers a unique form of storytelling that’s not present in most modern works. This is an anime that viewers won’t appreciate unless they’ve rewatched it several times. It leaves the door open on its plot, allowing everyone to ponder different explanations of what’s being presented.
On that note, Angel’s Egg offers languid pacing and few words. There are only a few scenes where our characters converse with each other or yelp out in pain, stress, or surprise. The anime wants its viewers to gaze at the events being portrayed on screen for entertainment and thought-provoking purposes. Even if you find the scenes bland or peculiar, you’ll walk away remembering them.
Angel’s Egg isn’t a film for everyone. There will be many people who don’t adore its pacing or lack of explanation for its plot. However, those with patience will walk away intrigued and impressed by its content. With its gothic art style, interesting characters, and somber atmosphere, Angel’s Egg is one of the most mind-numbingly meaningful films.
Ghost In The Shell (1995)
To say anime hasn’t influenced the direction of masterful films would be a disservice to both parties. Not only did Ghost In The Shell (1995) make a huge mark in many anime fans’ lives but it went on to influence filmmakers like Lana and Lily Wachowski and James Cameron.
The subject matter of Ghost In The Shell is more thought-provoking than action-centric. This anime delivers many mind-numbing ideas about human ideology and existence. It shares these concepts at a wonderful pace and this helps keep audience members engaged. This film respects the viewer’s time and drip-feeds its intellectual concepts at perfect intervals.
Concepts aside, this anime’s visuals are beautifully drawn. Viewers will find it difficult to look away from this anime’s cyberpunk aesthetic. The film’s protagonist Major Kusanagi is well-rounded and performs some jaw-dropping stunts ever. This anime evokes a great sense of mystery and will please any anime fan who enjoys stories with depth and creativity.
Perfect Blue is by every accounts a wondrous experience. This anime knows how to build tension and presents viewers with a mind-numbing take on popularity and lust. Viewers will find it shocking how relatable its protagonist’s situation is to today’s youth. That said, we follow an idol-turned-actress named Mima.
She abandons her group to pursue a career that’ll make her more recognizable to the public. Little does she know, the horrors that await those who tread down a path of fame and fortune. Perfect Blue’s director Satoshi Kon knows how to provoke his viewers.
There are many moments sprinkled throughout this work that will make you feel uncomfortable and interested. Mima endures many psychological situations that’ll make her snap. Her voice actresses excellently portray her downward spiral wonderfully. Despite being an older work, this film offers exquisite commentary on pop culture and its damaging effects on humanity.
If you’re looking for an anime that’ll get the gears in your head turning, check out Perfect Blue.
Grave of the Fireflies
Grave of the Fireflies is an emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. It offers some heartbreaking depictions of war and how it affects everyone involved. With its gritty atmosphere, chilling imagery, and likable protagonists, many fans may want to have a box of tissues on standby.
This anime takes place near the climax of World War II. Japan’s population and city structures fall at the sight of American bombings. Seita and his sister Setsuko are at the center of this bloody aftermath. Their lives have been heavily impacted by the war as they’ve lost their parents, home, and hope.
Now orphaned and homeless, Seita and Setsuko must travel across the countryside and search for people who can lend them a hand. Although they’ll encounter cruel-hearted Japanese residents, Seita and Setsuko have a spark of hope that they can turn their lives around.
This is a dark Studio Ghibli film compared to other titles like Spirited Away and Ponyo. There are a few instances where Seita and Setsuko smile and dine on wonderful meals. However, the whole anime feels drenched in despair and sadness. You’ll grow infuriated by the people’s reactions toward these two. Seita and Setsuko evoke a childlike innocence that’s difficult to ignore. It’s a satisfying but cruel film.
This anime carries a strong message about parenthood. It follows a human girl falling in love with a boy named Oookami. Despite learning about Oookami’s werewolf powers one night, Hana remains infatuated with the being. Eventually, Hana gives birth to two wolf children named Ame and Yuki.
While all is well, Hana runs into a dilemma. Oookami dies after being involved in a tragic accident, leaving her to care for their children alone. Hana makes the brave decision to move her family to the countryside in hopes of protecting her kids.
Therefore, the anime focuses on Hana’s struggles with being a single parent of two wolf children. This is an anime that’ll hit people who’ve experienced single-parent households the most. Hana’s struggles to bond with her kids and watch over them will resonate with like-minded individuals.
Each character receives enough screen time and depth. You’ll get to see Ame and Yuki mature throughout the film and take different paths. If you’re searching for a family-themed anime to watch that’ll get your tears flowing, check out Wolf Children.
Akira made a huge splash in the entertainment industry like Ghost in the Shell (1995). It set a high bar for many animation studios to follow with its mesmerizing visuals, action scenes, and mature themes. This film follows a gang leader named Kaneda, who lives in a futuristic city called Neo-Tokyo.
His gang has quarreled with an opposing group called the Clowns. During one of their skirmishes, Kaneda’s friend Tetsuo encounters an esper-like humanoid who is running from the government. The espers’ powers rub off on Tetsuo, granting him similar abilities. The government swaps gears and heads to stop Tetsuo before he can unleash his full power.
Therefore the anime focuses on Kaneda’s attempts to find and protect Tetsuo from harming the world and himself. Despite its brilliant visuals, the anime’s story may not scratch everyone’s itch. Apparently, the anime doesn’t include some crucial bits that bring more life to Kaneda and Tetsuo’s characters. While this may be true, the anime features enough content to warrant fans’ viewing of this work.
If you can ignore its shortcomings and appreciate it for its grand efforts, you’ll walk away from Akira satisfied.
A Whisker Away
When it comes to anime featuring cats as the central protagonist, you’d be hard-pressed to find one as heart-warming as A Whisker Away.
The main plot revolves around an eager girl called Miyo who, in order to win the attention and affection of her classmate Kento, transforms into a cat and begins spending more and more time with her love interest.
As the line between human and cat begins to blur, the second half of this movie really comes into its own and shows some fantastical Ghibli magic (although this is not a Ghibli title, of course.) With some nice themes at its core and a cute cat fronting the title, A Whisker Away is definitely a decent movie worth checking out.
Spirited Away is one of the more popular Studio Ghibli films because of its colorful world and mystical characters. While our protagonist is anything but magical, she’s fun to follow and serves as the viewer’s eyes throughout the film.
With its captivating visuals, beautiful universe, and cartoon-like character designs, Spirited Away is one of those anime you’d recommend to folks who are unfamiliar with the medium. This story follows Chihiro, who is traveling with her family to their new home.
During their car ride, they stumble upon an abandoned amusement park and get whisked away to the Spirit World. Inside Chihiro’s parents become pigs after eating some food, leading Chihiro to explore this universe alone. That is until she meets Haku, a boy who resides in this domain. Aiming to find her way home, Chihiro must complete numerous tasks if she hopes to escape with her family.
This is an incredible anime full of exploration and unfamiliarity. Everything about Spirited Away feels fantastical, compelling, and imaginative. While Chihiro encounters many adorable-looking critters during her expedition, she’ll meet fierce beasts and cruel individuals wishing to torment her. If you haven’t watched this film, do yourself a favor and watch it.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime films of all time!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!