Top 25 Best Anime Movies of All Time

The anime industry is filled with various TV shows to watch. But the cream of the crop in Japanese animated media is easily the films. This is where the best animation, storytelling, and characters are shown off.

The top 25 best anime movies of all time include some of the finest work you'll ever watch. When it comes to animation, characters, and writing, these films dominate the most. And don't worry; this isn't all going to be Studio Ghibli movies, either.

1. A Silent Voice

A Silent Voice Robbie Daymond, Lexi Marmen Crowden
Image Credit: Kyoto Animation.

Easily the best anime movie of all time, A Silent Voice excels in every way. The tale of two people, a bully and his deaf victim, is unlike anything else before it. It thoroughly explores every aspect of its characters and story to heartbreaking finality, with the best writing across the board in the industry and unforgettable scene after scene across its two-hour runtime.

2. In This Corner of the World

In This Corner of the World Laura Post
Image Credit: MAPPA.

In This Corner of the World is a magnificent piece of animated work, telling the story of a young woman living amid World War II. The story is impeccable, goofy, and tender, constantly maneuvering across a spectrum of emotions in an unparalleled manner. A must-watch for any anime fan.

3. Spirited Away

Spirited Away Daveigh Chase
Image Credit: Studio Ghibli.

Studio Ghibli's best work and one of the best overall anime films ever has to be Spirited Away. This is the movie that studios across the industry are still trying to chase its success. Following Chihiro as she navigates a mysterious world she appears in, Spirited Away is the pinnacle of the cinematic magic from watching a feature film.

4. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Emily Hirst
Image Credit: Madhouse.

Mamoru Hosoda and Madhouse's best work is The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Though this story has been told in many formats, this original feature film from 2006 is the best version. About a girl who suddenly discovers she can turn back time; antics, romance, and heartbreaking twists abound in a wonderful adventure.

5. Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies Emily Neves
Image Credit: Studio Ghibli.

Studio Ghibli comes close to topping its best-animated film of all time with Grave of the Fireflies. Grab your tissues and favorite snack to get you through one of the grimmest tales ever created. The story of two young siblings surviving in the aftermath of World War II is heartbreaking and unforgettable in every way.

6. Tokyo Godfathers

Tokyo Godfathers Shakina Nayfack, Jon Avner, Victoria Grace
Image Credit: Madhouse.

Satoshi Kon and Madhouse broke new ground with Tokyo Godfathers. By far the most underrated film from the award-winning animation studio, it follows three homeless people as they attempt to find the parent of a lost baby. It explores the forgotten side of society poignantly and memorably.

7. Perfect Blue

Perfect Blue Bridget Hoffman
Image Credit: Madhouse.

There is nothing quite like Satoshi Kon's hauntingly beautiful Perfect Blue. The premise follows an idol stalked and chased by a series of murders around her. Be prepared for a trippy look at the psychological state of a girl warped by the entertainment industry.

8. Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl

Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl Asami Seto
Image Credit: CloverWorks.

Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl does what an anime film sequel should do. It takes the established story and characters and flips everything on its head. The performances from the cast are outstanding, and the events have long-standing implications for the overall plot.

9. Violet Evergarden: The Movie

Violet Evergarden The Movie Erika Harlacher
Image Credit: Kyoto Animation.

The conclusion to the Violet Evergarden story is an unforgettable one. It takes everything that happened in the main series, amps it up a notch, and has numerous tear-jerking scenes. This is all wrapped up in some of the brightest, most colorful, and sharply detailed animation ever created.

10. Princess Mononoke

Princess Monoke Claire Dan
Image Credit: Studio Ghibli.

There is nothing quite like Princess Mononoke. The Star Wars of the anime universe is on a scale that animated films have yet to come close to touching. Everything from the action to the cinematography to the characters is on a sky-high level of quality.

11. Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul

Made In Abyss Dawn of the Deep Soul
Image Credit: Kinema Citrus.

Despite being one of the most shockingly gory anime ever, Made in Abyss nailed its first non-compilation film in Dawn of the Deep Soul. The follow-up of Riko, Reg, and Nanachi encountering Prushka and her villainous father is at times hard to watch, but only because of how masterfully well the storytellers are at capturing the viewer's heart.

12. Wolf Children

Wolf Children Colleen Clinkenbeard
Image Credit: Studio Chizu.

Wolf Children is yet another Mamoru Hosoda masterpiece. The story of a single mom caring for her half-wolf, half-human children after her husband's passing is magical and powerful. The writing is some of Hosoda's best, while the characters carry the complex journey from start to finish.

13. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Final Fantasy VII Advent Children
Image Credit: Square Enix.

Anime films don't generally turn out too well in 3D, but Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is one of the few exceptions. This film sequel to the original video game follows Cloud Strife many years after the game's events. The fight scenes are incredible, while the storyline is tear-jerking as it deals with overcoming trauma.

14. Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train

Demon Slayer The Movie Mugen Train Mark Whitten
Image Credit: ufotable.

When it comes to the best animation ever made, Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train wins hands down. No other film or TV series has touched on what Ufotable was able to accomplish here. Better yet, the story is quite good as it pushes the main character, Tanjiro, to his limits in some emotional ways.

15. Kiki's Delivery Service

Kiki's Delivery Service Kirsten Dunst
Image Credit: Studio Ghibli.

Studio Ghibli nailed the idea of a witch flying on a broomstick long before other media would popularize it. Following Kiki, a young witch who delivers goods, this is the quintessential coming-of-age anime film with its magnificent set pieces and fun storyline.

16. One Piece Film: Red

One Piece Film Red Amanda Lee
Image Credit: Toei Animation.

Uta is the best thing to ever happen to the One Piece franchise. Luffy's childhood friend steals the show in this musical feature film adaptation of the long-running anime series. There is a reason that its music went viral worldwide.

17. Weathering With You

Weathering With You Ashley Boettcher
Image Credit: CoMix Wave Films.

While Makoto Shinkai's other films primarily get the bulk of the attention, Weathering With You is his best work. Whimsical and magical, this tale of two high school love interests is engrossing in its characters and story of manipulating weather and its effects from start to finish.

18. Anthem of the Heart

The Anthem of the Heart
Image Credit: A-1 Pictures.

Anthem of the Heart takes a different approach to its romantic comedy storyline. Following a girl who loses her voice, this musical adventure to get it back is heartfelt and filled with a stunning soundtrack. All the while, it surprises with some of the better twists in the genre.

19. Akira

Akira Johnny Yong Bosch
Image Credit: TMS Entertainment.

Akira is among the most popular anime films of all time. The 1988 film is to thank for much of pop culture today. The futuristic Neo-Tokyo setting is riveting, the story is simple but surprising, and the animation was well ahead of its time, standing out many decades later.

20. Pokémon 3: The Movie

Pokemon 3 The Movie
Image Credit: OLM.

The best of the Pokémon anime films, Pokémon 3: The Movie, is the best example of a movie that anyone can watch, even if they aren't too familiar with creatures like Entei and Unown. The story is the most mature and well-written in the franchise, captivated by haunting imagery and emotional moments throughout the movie.

21. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

Cowboy Bebop The Movie Steve Blum
Image Credit: Sunrise.

This pseudo-sequel film to the anime original TV series, Cowboy Bebop, is set just before the end of the events in the show. It takes the idea of standalone stories from the series and balloons it into a feature film experience about the Bebop crew taking down a terrorist with some of the best action and fight scenes that hold up well many years later.

22. Your Name

Your Name Michael Sinterniklaas, Stephanie Sheh
Image Credits: CoMix Wave Films.

Makoto Shinkai's magnum opus, Your Name, is one of the most beloved romantic anime films of all time, and for a good reason. The animation, with its sweeping views and bright sunsets, is gorgeous. And the romance between the body-jumping leads is gripping in a way few anime movies can.

23. Summer Wars

Summer Wars
Image Credits: Madhouse.

Summer Wars is what happens when you let Digimon into the hands of the unbelievably talented Mamoru Hosoda. The tale of a video game-like virtual reality world and one family's engagement with it is filled with over-the-top action, humor, and drama.

24. Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell Mimi Woods, Richard Epcar
Image Credit: Production I.G.

Ghost in the Shell is an imaginative and picturesque look at anime in the 1990s with a dark, broody tale of a futuristic police cyborg hunting down a target. The animation still holds up well, the storytelling is excellent, and this movie kickstarted an ongoing franchise.

25. Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz

Gundam Wing The Movie - Endless Waltz
Image Credit: Sunrise.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing showed that the Universal Century timeline from the original movies and TV series didn't have to be the end all, be all.

Endless Waltz was released as the conclusion of this alternate storyline, seeing the end of the core Gundam pilots and their fight against Zechs and the other villains in an extraordinary way, with some of the best fights and story beats from the series.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.