Watching and discovering new animated films is an amazing way to immerse yourself in the world without committing to a multi-season / episode show. There are a large number of choices, some of which are unique stories while others serve as extensions to an already existing series. One of the most important companies for animated films is Studio Ghibli, who is best known for Abducted as if by magic, Howl’s moving castle, and My neighbor Totoro.
Popular animated shows usually also have animated films that take place between the arcs of the story, such as My Hero Academia: Heroes: Rising. But many animated films go unnoticed due to the lack of a big name. These films are also more difficult to find outside of Japan. Here is a list of animated films that you absolutely must see, even if you have never heard of them before.
Memories is a 1995 film and is divided into three shorts, each short featuring a different director and elements of science fiction. The three films all have very different tones between horror, comedy and political commentary.
The first film is called “Magnetic Rose”, a space horror. A space crew sends a distress call, only to find that a ghost is on the other side of the call. The second short is titled “Stink Bomb” and is about a man who works for a science lab who accidentally takes a pill that makes him smell so bad that it kills anyone he approaches. The final film is called “Cannon Fodder” and is the shortest of the three. This story is a commentary on war and its point of view between adults and young people.
9 Red line
This animated film is a gritty action film. The Redline is the hottest race in the galaxy with a wide range of characters competing, including human runners and all manner of aliens. Yes Initial D had a child in love with Space dandy, the result would be Red line.
Red line has a totally groovy soundtrack to accompany the run. JP, the protagonist of the film, drives a Trans Am 20000 WR, with some slight spatial modifications. With his leather jacket and greased hair, he’s supposed to look like a 50s greaser. The art style is filled with thick black lines that make the colors stand out boldly.
8 Tokyo Sponsors
Imagine this, it’s New Years Eve in Tokyo, Japan. Three homeless people are digging through a trash heap to discover their latest finds when they stumble upon a crying baby. There are no more insightful parents, and it’s all on its own.
Tokyo Sponsors is the heartwarming story of three people who together forbid reuniting the baby with his mother. They travel to Tokyo to find her while uncovering truths about their own lives and why they became homeless. The three follow clue after clue as they search, often getting into messy situations.
7 The girl who jumped in time
The girl who jumped in time is a sci-fi love story about a high school girl, Makoto, who learns the ability to jump through time. Makoto begins to return to the past for his own benefit, but quickly realizes that it is affecting the lives of those around him as well as his own.
As with anything to do with time travel, things quickly get confusing. The movie does a great job of explaining Makoto’s new ability as she learns she has a limited number of time jumps before they run out. The film is beautiful and sweet and will leave viewers begging for more in the most satisfying way.
6 In the forest of firefly lights
Based on a one-shot shoujo manga, In the forest of fireflies is a love story. This film is short and pleasant, only lasts 45 minutes. As a young girl, Hotaru wanders through a forest filled with strange spirits, the most notable being the Spirit of the Mountain. In the forest, she meets Gin, a strange boy who wears a mask. Gin tells him that he is also a spirit and that if a human touched him he would disappear.
After helping her down the mountain, Hotaru promises to come back every summer when she’s not in school. Over the years, Hotaru approaches the age when Gin appears and a budding romance begins. The only thing is they still can’t touch. This film is short and tragic, but worth every second.
5 Summer wars
From the same director as The girl who jumped in time, Summer wars is sure to be a hit with most anime fans. Math genius Tenji was hired by his crush, Natsuki, to serve as his fiancé at a family reunion. however, after a breach in the virtual world known as OZ, virtual reality threatens to collide with Earth.
Virtual Reality, also known as the Love Machine, begins to threaten everyday life by corrupting traffic and ultimately laying a trail for an asteroid probe to collide with a nuclear power plant. This movie has a little something for everyone, be it romance, action, and sci-fi.
This animated film is based on the hit manga Junji Ito, Gyo. Junji Ito is known to be one of the best horror manga artists and owns a number of gruesome works that have been turned into an animated series, several live action films, and an animated film.
Gyo is a crazy story about the parasites that invade the bodies of sea creatures, giving them legs to walk on the shore. Along with the parasite comes a horrible smell that permeates the area and the characters in the film. The parasite only evolves from there, eventually moving from sharks and fish to humans.
3 Heart murmur
It may be a bit surprising that a Studio Ghibli movie is on this list, however, Heart murmur often goes unnoticed.
Heart murmur is one of Ghibli’s most realistic stories. This is a high school student who does not know which direction to take in life. She meets a boy passionate about the violin, with the aim of going to school in Italy. After meeting him, she becomes really inspired to find her own vocation and takes a liking to the idea of becoming a writer. While at school, she swears to write and finish her first novel, so that when they reunite, they both would have made a dream come true.
2 The beast and the boy
The young orphan Ren (later to be called Kyuta) lived on his own on the busy streets of Shibuya until he was taken to a world of fantastic beasts by the gruff giant Kumatetsu, a beast.
Kumatetsu takes Ren as an apprentice but ends up raising the boy in the process. After returning to the human world, Ren meets a new friend and his father who was looking for him. Ren struggles to live a double life, one in the human world and one in the beast world.
1 Alien Sword
The Sword of the Stranger is a must-see animated film. Not only is the animation superb, but the story is also gripping. Located in Sengoku-Japan, a mysterious ronin called “Nanashi” saves a boy and his fleeing dog.
For some reason, the boy is chased by a group of Ming swordsmen led by a fearsome foreigner from the West. Nanashi and the boy make a deal, and the ronin agrees to escort the boy to the Buddhist temple where he ventures. This story is full of twists and turns and is utterly captivating.
NEXT: The 10 Best Animated Movies On Amazon Prime, According To IMDb
10 anime that turned into a different show halfway
About the Author