Critically acclaimed (and free) animated films are now on Tubi


Many critically acclaimed and award-winning animated films are now available for free on Tubi. Here are five must-have watches for any fan.

Tubi TV has recently acquired several notable animated series and films for its expanding lineup. Now home to a number of traditional and forgotten gems, Tubi is quickly becoming the go-to place for free and legal anime viewing.

Tubi’s lineup includes many award-winning animated films from the past two decades, which will be available from this month through Shout! Factory. From historical looks at Japanese cinema and Hiroshima to a penguin-ridden city, here’s a look at five must-see animated films that find a new home on Tubi TV.

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Millennial actress

Millennial actress is a film released in 2001 by the illustrious studio Madhouse. Although this is a work of fiction, it is loosely based on the lives of early Japanese actresses Setsuko Hara and Hideko Takamine. It tells the story of Chiyoko Fujiwara, a retired actress who previously had a long career with Ginei Studios. As she recalls her work with a pair of documentary filmmakers, the different parts of her life and the films she had starred in begin to fade away.

The film gives a unique look at the history of Japan, especially the country’s legendary film industry. Real-life classics such as the original Godzilla are mentioned, making Millennial actress as much on early Japanese cinema as on Chiyoko’s past.

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Liz and the blue bird

Liz and the blue bird

Liz and the blue bird is a sequel from 2018 to Ring! Euphonium animated series. The premise involves a high school wind instrument group, namely best friends Mizore and Nozomi. Their story is told alongside each fairytale legend their musical pieces are based on. The two friends become more and more distant, insecurities and jealousies of one suffocating the other.

Music is obviously an important part of Liz and the blue bird, as meant by its two composers. Kensuke Ushio handled the high school stages, with perfectly minimalist and subdued music. Akito Matsuda marked the sections of fairy tales where the soundtrack becomes more explosive and dramatic. The well-received image received an Ofuji Noburo award for animated films and was nominated for two other prestigious awards.

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Maquia: when the promised flower blooms


Maquia: when the promised flower blooms is a 2018 tragic and fantasy adventure film directed by Mari Okada. The protagonist is the eponymous Maquia, a member of a special race called Iorph. These humanoids are driven to tension with humanity due to their longevity, allowing them to age much slower than humans.

After discovering a human baby who has survived a terrible attack, Maquia takes him in, names him Ariel, and raises him as her own son. Their lives are entangled in the continual conflict between the Iorphs and humans. Meanwhile, the ravages of life and time age Ariel but not Maquia herself. Hailed by critics and other filmmakers, maquia won the award for best animation at the Shanghai Film Festival.

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Penguin Highway

Penguin Highway Header

2018 Penguin Highway was the second adaptation of the popular 2010 sci-fi novel, which had also been made into a manga series. The story stars the awesome boy Aoyama, who is determined to find out why his Japanese town is suddenly inundated with penguins. Helper in his quest is a mysterious woman who appears to be related to the penguins in some way.

Full of wide-eyed optimism and adventure, Penguin Highway has received wide acclaim in both East and West, earning him a Satoshi Kon Award for Excellence in Animation at the Fantasia International Film Festival.

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In this corner of the world

Based on the manga series by Fumiyo Kono, In this corner of the world deals with the preparations and fallout from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The protagonist is a woman named Suzu, whose life and marriage become increasingly strained as the gripping horrors of WWII slowly become a fact of everyday life. These events involving loss, death, and tragedy are all based on real-life accounts from Hiroshima in the 1940s, adding an extra layer of depth to the poignant film.

Currently enjoying a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, In this corner of the world is widely hailed for its beautiful animation juxtaposed with a grounded, unstyled version of one of Japan’s most gruesome historical events. This quality has earned the film more than 70 awards. It’s also notable for its extended 168-minute cut, making it the longest-running animated film of all time. Sadly, viewers will have to wait until 2022 to watch this one on Tubi.

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