Summer Anime Preview: All Anime Movies Coming to Theaters


American viewers have access to more anime than they’ve ever had before, with a record number of new shows available to stream. There really is an embarrassment of animated riches. Not to be outdone, the big screen is also getting its fair share of animated movies to keep us busy this summer.

If you need a break from the latest Marvel movie, you don’t think Tom Cruise is as exciting as a Ghibli classic, or you just want a lively, rockin’ alternative to Elvis, there’s an animated film for you at the local multiplex this year. Here’s our list of the biggest anime releases of the summer, including some limited-release titles you don’t want to miss.

Fortune favors Lady Nikuko

Image: GKIDS

children of the sea director Ayumu Watanabe returns with a very different small-scale story. Rather than attacking the entire universe, Fortune favors Lady Nikuko is about 38-year-old Nikuko and her 11-year-old daughter, Kikuko, who live together on a houseboat in a fishing village. The film centers on Kikuko as she navigates life with a larger-than-life mother who falls for the wrong men, turns every place she goes into a party, and overall has too much personality for Kikuko’s liking. The film offers exquisite art direction and a coming-of-age story about growing up and learning that your parents are human too.

In theaters June 3.

Starlight Review: The Movie

A character from Revue Starlight: The Movie, fully lit in red

Image: Project Sentai

Starlight Review is back. Four years after the end of the television series, the students of Seisho Music Academy are back in pursuit of stage stardom. The story follows Karen and Hikari, two college students who come across a strange scene where the girls settle their disputes through underground battles in the form of revues or stage performances. The anime looked like any other idol show at first, but it quickly turned out to be something special, with a lot in common with the hit series. Revolutionary girl Utena. The film offers unique breathtaking action as well as a sense of theatricality and musicality that make it a gift for fans of the franchise and an exciting entry point for newcomers.

In theaters June 5 and 6.

Macross Frontier: The Fake Singer

Two giant Macross mecha suits hovering in front of a ship's billowing sail in Macross Frontier: The False Songstress

Image: Fathom Events

One of anime’s landmark franchises is coming to the big screen. Macross is one of the biggest mecha franchises about intergalactic wars where humanity fights aliens using ships that transform into giant robots. The false singer is a retelling of the 25th anniversary series Border Macros, which centers on a fleet of space colonies in search of a new habitable planet. The series is known for focusing more on political intrigue than previous entries in the franchise, without forgetting the musical roots of the story. The false singer still features the kind of pop music hit you expect from a story where idol singers fight alongside fighter pilots.

In theaters June 16.

Basket of Fruits: Prelude

Two of the characters from Fruits Basket: Prelude holding hands, silhouetted against the sea

Image: Crunchyroll

Fruit basket is one of the most famous remakes of recent years and one of the best-received modern shoujo anime. The story follows an orphan girl who moves in with two of her classmates and discovers that their family has a curse that makes them possessed by Chinese zodiac spirits. The story is a slice-of-life romance full of heartwarming moments, but also dark subject matter like domestic violence and mental illness. With two well-received anime adaptations, including a successful remake in 2019, Basket of Fruits: Prelude will expand on the recent manga adaptation and expand on the story told in the anime. Most of the time, the movie will include the anticipated story from the prequel which tells the story of the protagonist’s parents before their untimely death. It will also include original scenes from the movie that take place after the anime ended, a treat for shoujo fans.

In theaters June 25-29.

The cat returns

A girl with a small top hat cat on one shoulder stands amidst a flock of birds and a larger cat standing on her hind legs in an image from Studio Ghibli's The Cat Returns

Image: GKIDS

Even a less favorite Ghibli movie is better than most other movies. The cat returns is a rare spin-off/sequel to the Quite Excellent Whisper of the heart, focusing on the magical cat Baron in a single-player adventure with a girl who can talk to cats. The animation style is simpler than in most Ghibli movies, but it’s still a whimsical and magical adventure for the feline, heartfelt Ghibli fan. Add a timeless theme about accepting what makes us who we are, and you have a family adventure for the whole family.

In theaters June 26 and 27.

An idol in an elaborate outfit resembling a wedding dress under the spotlight in Macross Frontier: The Wings of Farewell

Image: Fathom Events

The epic conclusion of Macross Frontier: the false singer, the wings of farewell follows a stunt driver who falls in love with a galactic idol who may hold the key to ending the war. The film features some of the best animation in the Macross franchise, as well as catchy songs believed to hold the power to change the world. In the same vein as the reconstruction of Evangelion movies, this movie doesn’t adapt the ending of the original anime it’s based on as much as it builds its own original story. It’s full of twists and turns, but it’s still unmistakably Macross, an entertaining, gripping, action-packed, intrigue-packed movie featuring giant transforming robots.

In theaters June 30.

The deer king

A growling man crackling with charges of golden energy towards the camera in The Deer King

Image: GKIDS

What happens when you take a former Ghibli animator, a former Ghibli director, and a former Ghibli writer, and bring them together to work on a fantasy film about the struggles between humans and the environment, and nature against progress? Well you get Princess Mononoke The deer king, sure! As expected from its impressive talent pool, this film manages to deliver a lived-in fantasy world, great action, and a harrowing political story of rebellion and prejudice. The film follows a once-proud warrior tasked with protecting an orphan girl as a conflict involving a supernatural curse brews across the land. The film also has a poignant layer on the importance of medical science in the face of superstition that is hitting like a pile of bricks in 2022. While waiting for Ghibli’s next big hit, fans of the studio better check it out. The deer king.

Exclusive preview screenings for fans on July 13 and 14, in a wide theatrical release on July 15.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

The witch Kiki will charge through an astonished city on her flying broomstick in Kiki's Delivery Service

Image: GKIDS

One of Hayao Miyazaki’s best films, Kiki’s Delivery Service is a charming and whimsical film about a girl witch who seeks to find her way in the world and prove her worth. She makes friends along the way but struggles to become independent while having to depend on other people, leading to an identity crisis that is oddly relatable for children and adults alike. It’s one of the simplest yet most emotionally complex movies Ghibli has ever made, and it also features one of his best supporting characters – Kiki’s familiar, Jiji the cat (voiced in the perfection by Phil Hartman in the Disney dub). It’s a movie about the pains of growing up, about not trying to speed up life, about burnout, and losing the spark that made the thing you loved to do worthwhile. be made.

In theaters from July 31 to August 3.


Inu-Oh thrills an adoring audience in Inu-Oh

Image: GKIDS

The director of psychological game, Don’t Touch Eizouken!Devilman Crybaby, and more experimental, strange, excellent anime, Masaaki Yuasa is about to take a break from the movies. But he says goodbye with his rockiest film to date: an electrifying, electrifying rock opera. Inu-Oh takes on historical fiction to tell the secret story behind a Noh performer, Biwa musician and playwright named Inu-Oh, one of the most famous performers of 14th century Japan, whose life remained almost undocumented in the years that followed – to the point where he became a legendary figure, almost more myth than fact. Yuasa reimagines Inu-Oh as a modern-day rockstar, while keeping the story in the 14th century. That means extravagant musical numbers with backup dancers, pyrotechnics and elaborate stages, but with 14th-century costumes and instruments, an anachronistic but totally rocking experience well worth tapping into.

In theaters August 12.

Only yesterday

A stylized girl surrounded by a festive light in Only Yesterday

Image: GKIDS

The real ones know that the real misunderstood genius of Studio Ghibli was Isao Takahata, the man behind the Grave of the Fireflies and Pompoko. Between these two very different (but equally great) films is Only yesterday, a more slice-of-life drama compared to 90s Ghibli fantasy, but an equally magical and touching story. It follows a woman in Tokyo who visits the countryside and remembers all the decisions and regrets growing up. It’s like Everything everywhere all at once without the multiverse stuff, but just as deep, life-affirming and heartwarming. It’s one of the most mature Ghibli films, a poignant exploration of the role women play in Japanese society, and also a film about the pains of aging. It doesn’t feature giant tanuki testicles like pompokobut it’s still one of Ghibli’s best.

In theaters August 28 and 29.

Dragon Ball Super: Super heroes

Goku, mad and snarling in the rain and wearing big thick glasses for some reason?  in Dragon Ball Super: Super Heroes

Image: Crunchyroll

Is there still something to say about Dragon Ball? Not only is it one of the most iconic and enduring anime franchises of all time, it helped popularize the medium for a whole new generation of kids in the West. One of the pinnacle of what shonen combat can be, Dragon Ball has a unique blend of action, friendship, world-building and an engrossing hero’s journey, all of which have thrilled audiences for more than three decades. After the great success of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Super hero will see the return of the Red Ribbon Army, an evil organization that has plagued protagonist Goku since the original manga and anime. But rather than focusing on the iconic hero, the film stars his eldest son, Gohan, and his former antagonist Piccolo. Probably not the best place to start for those who don’t consider these names instantly iconic, but for fans who have followed the story or want to feel some nostalgia, Dragon Ball Super: Super heroes is ready to Kamehameha its way into theaters.

In theaters this August.

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