Top 19 Greatest and Best Anime Movies of All The Time

This blog post is fully dedicated to all anime movie lovers. Check out our recommendation of Top 19 Greatest and the Best Anime Movies of all the time that you must watch before you die.

Anime is the most interesting form of Japanese creativity which the entire world is getting hypnotized slowly but surely.

Modern scientists are highly recommending to watch Anime movies to increase your creativity. If you are an art lover then Anime will make you more creative.

Perhaps this is the only  reason why a school kid is spending most of the time on the internet searching for his or her favorite Anime characters.

Imagination has gone to a different world in the age of visual stimulation.

Benefit about watching Anime movies

If by chance you are one of those unlucky people who is reading this article and still wondering what is Anime then after reading this 19 Greatest and the Best Anime Movies of all the time, your world is going to change for sure.

You will become more intelligent and happier.

For sure you would start recommending Anime to your children to increase their brain power and fair well in the exams. This is a good form of cultural recreation.

So remember to watch this below listed 19 Best Anime Movies of all the time, and surely you will thank me for the changes that I have brought to your life.

The biggest satisfaction I will get is if an intelligent kid has figured out this page and reading all this, then for sure, he is going to enjoy a lot after watching all the below recommended 19 Greatest and Best Anime Movies of all time.

List of Top 19 Best Anime Movies Of All The Time

  • The Wind Rises
  • Akira
  • Whisper of the Heart
  • Grave of the Fireflies
  • My Neighbor Totoro
  • Castle in the Sky
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
  • Clannad & Clannad After Story
  • A silent voice
  • Your Lie in April
  • Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow
  • Your Name – Kimi no Na wa
  • Only Yesterday
  • From Up on Poppy Hill
  • Spirited Away – Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Gake no Ue no (Ponyo)
  • The Secret World of Arrietty
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service

Best Anime Movies Of All The Time

So fasten your seatbelt here comes the top 19 Greatest and the Best Anime Movies of all the time. Cheers!

1. The Wind Rises

The-Wind-Rises-2013.jpg

Perhaps the greatest animated film ever made.

Well this is what world renowned Film critic David Ehrlich had to say after watching this film and even rated this film  9.7/10.

The Wind Rises is a fictitious biopic which is based on the much acclaimed plane designer ‘Jiro Horikoshi’.

This critically acclaimed film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Later Disney’s adult movie brand Touchstone Pictures took the distribution rights of the film.

Plot: Jiro Horikoshi  wanted to be a pilot since childhood, but due to his myopic problem, could not become one.

Jiro later designed two fighter aircrafts that were used in World War II by Japan, which made him unhappy.

Jiro dreams of his confession to Caproni that he regrets his aircraft was used for war.

The Wind Rises is a movie of love, compassion,empathy and most beautifully crafted visual projects.

Watch it and you will love it. There never has been a movie made twice like that.

2. Akira

greatest-best-anime-movies

Akira (1988) is the movie which is credited with the opening the floodgates for Anime into the US and Europe.

This Anime blew away the western audience and the film critics while breaking all box office records.

Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira was the first potential manifestation of what potential visual graphics has for the future.

This is undoubtedly one of the best and influential psychological thriller Anime movies of all time. I know that you must be desperate to watch the Anime masterpiece now.

3. Whisper of the Heart

greatest-best-anime-movies

Whisper of the Heart is a Japanese romantic Anime directed by Yoshifumi Kondō.

Unfortunately this was the only film directed by Kondō. He died three years later.

This anime is a beautifully crafted love story about Shizuku Tsukishima and Seiji Amasawa.

Shizuku dreams of becoming a writer and checks out in her Libraries frequently.

To her astonishment she finds that her books are always been checked out by a person called Seiji Amasawa.

This is just the beginning of their love story, after many ups and downs later in the movie Seiji proposes her for marriage, which she happily accepts.

Famous movie critic Michael Toole high praised the Anime saying “beautiful and evocative; a fine tale of adolescent yearning and aspiration.”

4. Grave of the Fireflies

Grave-of-the-Fireflies-1988.jpg

Next in the list of Best Anime Movies of all the time is Grave of the Fireflies. 

This epic Anime story written by Akiyuki Nosaka and Directed by Isao Takahata, is based on the story of two siblings, Seita

and Setsuko. The story is set in the background of World War II, set in the city of Kobe Japan.

Shortly after the war Seita dies of starvation in the Kobe train station.

When a janitor throws a candy tin which belonged to Seita, his younger sister Setsuko, springs from the tin and is joined by 

Seita’s spirit, and a cloud of fireflies. It is one of the most frightful stories about the aftermath of war.

Studio Ghibli has one again produced a masterpiece. Grave of the Fireflies will bring tears in your eyes.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times rated it to be one of the best and most powerful war films ever made.

I will sign it off and highly recommend you to watch this movie with one quote from Isao Takahata where he says “ This 

earth is a good place, not because there is eternity. All must come to an end in death. But in a cycle, repeated over and 

over, there will always be those who come after us.”

5. My Neighbor Totoro

My-Neighbor-Totoro-1988.jpg

My Neighbor Totoro (1988) is a Anime Film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

This is a story of a bed ridden mother who is admitted to the hospital.

Her two daughter had to shift their house nearer to the hospital because of this.

When they arrived at their new place they suddenly discovered that there is a giant-bunny like spirited creature named Totoro.

Time out published a list of the greatest animated films and Totoro ranked 1.

Empire’s 50 Best Animated Film Characters list Totoro was ranked 18th. The visual graphics of this film is mesmerizing and is just a treat to your eyes.

This is a must watch the movie from Studio Ghibli and ranked 5th in our Greatest and Best Anime Movies of all the time.

6. Castle in the Sky

greatest-best-anime-movies

Castle in the Sky produced by Studio Ghibli is an Anime adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

The story features a young boy and a girl who are being chased upon by the pirates and the foreign agents. Sheeta has a magic crystal pendant which she must protect.

This  Anime is infact one of the first Japanese masterpiece that can actually compete with the best of the best cinematographic movies.

I bet that you will be in a different world altogether when you have watched the entire movie.

This beautifully crafted Anime comes 6th in my list.

These Anime movie has been credited for introducing Anime to the western world.

Studio Ghibli launched themselves in the world arena after this Anime.

7. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

Code-Geass-Lelouch-of-the-Rebellion.jpg

Another Best Anime Movies of all the time is Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. 

If you like playing mind games then undoubtedly this Anime is for you.

The plot of the Anime is surely going to keep you on the edge of your seat.

To get yourself engrossed  with the plot you have to watch both R1 & R2.

The master craftsman Gorō Taniguchi had directed the Anime.

Leouch Vi Britannia will turn out to be your hero for the rest of your life after watching this film.

The story revolves around  Lelouch vi Britannia the exiled prince, who gets the “power of absolute obedience” from a bewildering woman named C.C.

Lelouch is empowered by the supernatural power, known as Geass. He rebels against the Holy Britannian Empire.

A series of enthralling mecha battles captures all your imagination, and you are left with no option but only your sheer admiration for the Anime.

8. Clannad & Clannad After Story

Clannad-Clannad-After-Story.jpg

Clannad starts with a  depressing tone from the main cast Tomoya Okazaki that ‘I hate this town’.

But later his mind would be filled up with too many memories that the main protagonist will rather forget.

But he meets a girl called Tomoya Okazaki and the meeting changes his entire life.

The relationship between them, and clannad and its sequel reveals the true eternal meaning of life.

It just leaves you so engrossed with virtual emptiness that you will want to watch it again and again.

9. A silent voice

A-silent-voice

Next in the list of Best Anime Movies of all the time is A silent voice.

This breathtaking story revolves around the lead Shoya Ishida. During his school days, Shoko Nishimiya used to bully his deaf classmate named Shoko Nishimiya.

But later when they are grown up, Shoya Ishida realizes that he was wrong and he tries to help Shoko Nishimiya.

This is a movie about finding the courage to make changes and amendments in one’s life by seeking redemption.

If you like to see powerful anti bullying message then “A silent voice” is the must watch movie for you.

This Anime is internationally acclaimed and “A Silent Voice” was nominated for the Best U.S. Edition of International Material-Asia award in the 2016.

It is one of the best Anime made so far which will make you cry.

So make sure to have tissue papers and handkerchiefs handy with you, before you had made up your mind to watch it.

10. Your Lie in April

Your-Lie-in-April.jpeg

Your Lie in April written by Naoshi Arakawa, is a beautifully Anime love story based around a piano playing prodigy named Kōsei Arima.

He wants to make sure that no one ever falls in love with him.

When he was in school the light in his eyes has been taken away because of his mother’s death.

His mothers dream was to raise him into a world class pianist.

But Kōsei is having hard time in fulfilling her dreams. He finally meets a beautiful girl named Kaori who finally changes his outlook towards life.

Kaori challenges Kōsei to cope with the past and play music again.

The situation portrayed in this Anime are emotional roller coasters.

Which motivates you to achieve anything in life, if you set and dedicate your mind to it.

This one is listed in the 10th position of our Top 19 Greatest and the Best Anime Movies of all the time that you must watch before you die.

11. Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow

greatest-best-anime-movies

Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow is an Anime where the story revolves around Koyuki Kazahana, a princess from the island called the Land of Snow.

Doto Kazahana the villain wickedly plans to get the treasure hidden by his brother Sosetsu (whom he had murdered) from Koyuki.

Naruto and the Ninjas will fight against the all evil forces to save Koyuki Kazahana from Doto Kazahana and return her to the throne which once belongs to her father.

This film is a must watch if you want to watch good Anime movies.

12. Your name - Kimi no Na wa

Your-name-Kimi-no-Na-wa.jpg

Kimi no Na wa is a Hollywood style kind of fairytale movie.

The story is based on two school students and boy (Taki Tachibana ) from Tokyo and a girl (Mitsuha Miyamizu ) from a Japanese village, who swap their bodies.

In a mysterious events of coincidence both live each other’s lives.

This stupendous imaginary movie will hold you to the edge of your seat, thrilled with the witnessing act of the unexpected.

This Movie is surely going to blow away your imagination for sure.

Heaps of praise for director Makoto Shinkai, animation director Masashi Ando.

Both of them have produced a classic.

13. Only Yesterday

greatest-best-anime-movies

Next in the list of Best Anime Movies of all the time is Only Yesterday.

Taeko Okajima an unmarried, Tokyo resident travels to her relative’s house in the rural countryside.

She is haunted by memories of herself as a schoolgirl in 1966.

Finds herself increasingly nostalgic and attracted towards her childhood self.

At the end Taeko chooses to stay in the countryside instead of returning to Tokyo.

The thing I like most about this movie is that even if I’m not female or Japanese, I can fully relate to the memories, to the frustration, the fear and the basics emotions steadily growing in Taeko’s childhood.

Everyone around the world experiences the same thing at one time or another.

Very few films come up with such a powerful empathy. A quiet and slow masterpiece that speaks an universal language.

Director Isao Takahata is a true master in portraying those fine aspects of life.

14. From Up on Poppy Hill

greatest-best-anime-movies

Again one more masterpiece from Studio Ghibli , This anime From Up on Poppy Hill is set in 1963 Yokohama Japan after the Second World War, when Umi Matsuzaki a school girl meets Shun Kazama a member of school’s newspaper club.

Later in course of action it was revealed that they are siblings, but both wants to be compassionate against each other.

This is a coming of age story which revolves around Umi Matsuzaki and Shun Kazama, who both wants to figure out their purpose of life.

In the backdrop of the Korean war this Anime is a theatrical masterpiece by director Gorō Miyazaki, and scripted by Hayao Miyazaki.

This Anime has been highly acclaimed and praised by the movie critics and is a must watch in our list if you love Anime.

15. Spirited Away - Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi

greatest-best-anime-movies

Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi or Spirited away is a story of a girl named Chihiro Ogino who goes for a vacation with her parents.

While driving his father decides to take a short cut route through the jungle when they come in front of an abandoned amusement park.

Further Chichiro meets a boy named Haku who warns her to return across the riverbed before sunset. She finds her parents had turned into pigs.

She could not cross the river bed. The story evolves and after all the twists and tales finally Chihiro gets back to her parents again at the end with the help of Haku.

World Disney studios tied up with Studio Ghibli to feature this film worldwide in English.

Spirited Away one of the most highly acclaimed anime movies of all time even after nineteen years.

16. Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's-Moving-Castle

Next in the list of Best Anime Movies of all the time is Howl’s Moving Castle.

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Howl’s Moving Castle is a Japanese Anime (2004) from Studio Ghibli and Walt Disney Pictures later released the movie in the USA and turned out to be one of the most commercially successful Japanese films ever made.

Soon after its release, it gained commercial success in Japan, and as per the box office collection; it was just behind Titanic and Spirited Away. (Source: wiki)

The story begins with a young girl named Sophie who turns into an old witch woman by a curse. There is another wizard named Howl.

Howl started as a regular boy and began to train as a wizard. He is using the magic powers to fill in the gaps of his knowledge of an actual wizard.

Howl and Sophie; with the aid of the magical powers floats in the sky.

Amidst all this, Sophie encounters the mysterious moving castle. Howl is always against the war. This is one of Hayao Miyazaki’s favorite films and he has depicted an antiwar message through this movie.

The stunning high-quality animation and images are absolutely mind-blowing. Overall this film is a thoroughly entertaining and fun film.

This Anime movie is a spell-binding display of animated characters, and arguably Miyazaki’s one of the best films to watch out for in 2021 if you still haven’t.

17. Gake no Ue no (Ponyo)

Ponyo

Another Best Anime Movies of all the time is Gake no Ue no (Ponyo).

If you like stunning animation work, lovable cute characters, fairytale endings, and realism with fantasy; and the story that teaches us to love each other, then Ponyo is the movie to watch out for.

Ponyo has some similarities with the 1989 Walt Disney Film – The Little Mermaid.

This film depicts the story of Ponyo( Nara) a goldfish who escapes from the ocean and is rescued by a Sosuke( Doi ) a little boy.

Ponyo is a magical sea creature who lives in the sea with her father and sisters; until she becomes curious about the surface world. Ponyo also grows legs and lives like humans.

Ponyo resembled a goldfish with human characters. Ponyo fights to restore the balance of the nature.

But, when her mother tells her that, if she chooses to become human,  then she might have to give up her magical powers.

Ponyo agrees to this, as a result of which; her mother encases her in a bubble and gives her to Sōsuke.

She also tells Sōsuke that; if she kisses the bubble again, then Ponyo will again be transformed.

In the end of the movie, we see that Ponyo had been able to persuade her father; Fujimoto respects his daughter’s choice to become a human; at the same time he thought that he can trust Sōsuke.

When Ponyo jumps in joy and kisses Sōsuke, she completes her transformation as a human.

Thus the story ends with a happy ending and with a smile on everyone’s face. This is an absolute privilege to watch or rather a must watch the movie.

18. The Secret World of Arrietty

The-Secret-World-of-Arrietty

Another Great and Best Anime Movies of all the time is The Secret World of Arrietty.

From the production of Studio Ghibli – The Secret World of Arrietty is a beautifully portrayed masterpiece that could be watched by people of all ages.

This movie is based on a boy called Shō. Shō is one of our main characters in the movie who visits his Aunt Sadako at his mother’s childhood home. One day he accidentally discovers Arietty and her family’s hideout. He decides to help Arrietty to rescue her mother Homily, to show her strict parents that not all humans are bad.

Arrietty is the main character of the movie. She is a young, rebellious teen as she wants to explore the beautiful real world outside of her home, while her father Pod wants to keep her safe.

Arietty once a shy and reluctant girl finds it hard to trust someone, but as the story progresses, she began to trust Shō and learns to confine her feelings to him.

But they face tough challenges from the Borrowers in the house. Borrowers are extremely tiny people, just like Lilly puts, who live in the cracks and floorboards of houses and borrow stuff from humans without being spotted.

The Secret World of Arrietty teaches us that; no matter how and small we are, everybody has to go through their own struggles and hardships in life.

Shō had to undergo an operation because of his heart problem. Arrietty had to survive the bugs and animals as well as hide from humans for her whole life. If you want to give your children some moral lessons then this is the movie to watch out for.

19. Kiki's Delivery Service

Our last and final Greatest and Best Anime Movies of all the time is Kiki’s Delivery Service.

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a magical coming of age story depicting the struggle faced when a young person leaves home to live of her own dependently.

The main character in the picture Kiki is a thirteen-year-old girl. She pursued the training of becoming a witch for a year, leaving her home. Like every girl child, Kiki has a strong bonding with her father.

Although it is a film basically made for the children; Kiki’s Delivery Service is an adult teaching of hardships transmitted down to the younger generations.

Kiki lives the mundane life most adults are accustomed to live. It is actually quite beautiful to see such a young child experiencing life as an adult. The city in the film resembled European city, not Japanese cities.

When she first arrives in the city, Kiki had high expectations, but she comes to terms with the real harshness of life pretty soon. Kiki can fly with the birds with the help of special powers.

She temporarily lost her flying power when she had a confrontation with Jiji that why he is only attracted to her flying ability, not the person herself. The final lesson of Kiki’s Delivery service is that the journey is worth striving for because of the people you meet on the way.

This movie shows that in the city there are actually no friends unless you are well known for your deeds or heroics. Indeed a harsh reality.

It’s one of my favorite Ghibli films. Kiki mirror’s every striving young adult. Learning the struggle of being independent and also discovering the beauty of it by yourself. It’s a must-watch movie and the final entry in our list.

Conclusion

Top 19 Greatest and Best Anime Movies of All The Time was never going to be an easy list. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

So have I missed out on any names? Have I gone wrong? Certainly, I did! The history of Anime is very rich which dates back to the early 20th century.

The first Anime was claimed to be made in 1906. So with such a rich defining history and a plethora of acclaimed Anime directors, and thousands of movies to choose from, it is bewildering or rather minds baffling for me to select the top fifteen Anime.

I guess it is a good sign for Anime’s heritage that so many masterpiece works are still missing from my list. But nevertheless, I have made an honest attempt.

I am sure that some of you would be upset that your favorite movie is not listed on this list. Please don’t be. If so, hit the comments button below and let it all out. Any suggestions are always welcome to modify this list.

Hi, I'm Rajib from Kolkata (India). A Govt Certified Mountaineer, Freelance Content Writer, Blogger, Certified Adventure Travel Guide, Affiliate Marketer, and SEO expert. Feel free to Contact me, I will get back to you soon. Thanks

Leave a Comment