Just like steaming hot chai & Maggi, Anime films have been a source of comfort for me. As I’ve grown up, understanding the different layers of these films has made me appreciate them even more, sealing them in my mind as timeless classics. Picking just five movies for this list was a painful task. There’s a lot of depth to anime, and there’s a lot hidden behind the first level of dialogue and cutesy visuals.
Here’s a list of the top 5 anime movies of all time.
MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO
Repeatedly making an appearance on most “all-time greatest films” lists, My Neighbor Totoro is a fantasy film, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It follows the lives of sisters Mei and Satsuki and their adventures with friendly forest spirits in rural Japan.
Since its release in 1988, the movie has gained a cult following. Totoro became the Studio Ghibli mascot and one of the most popular characters in Japanese animation.
Whimsical and heartwarming, My Neighbor Totoro takes you back to your childhood days and is an absolute must-watch for the whole family.
You are sure to spot this movie in every list like this, usually at the very top. With exceptional visuals and an immersive plot, Spirited Away is sure to be an absolutely unforgettable experience. The soundtrack, composed and conducted by Joe Hisaishi, will transport you straight into the film with Chihiro. The stunning hand-drawn scenes will make you feel like you are experiencing her adventures in the Japanese bathhouse alongside her.
Full of mystical beings from Japanese folklore and a highly entertaining plot, every area of the bathhouse showcases various adventures involving a number of quirky characters.
Spirited away is a truly memorable movie and deserves its place on every “Best Anime Movies” list.
A SILENT VOICE
Based in a school in a small town in Japan, A Silent Voice tells an emotional story of how a young girl is bullied for being hearing impaired, to the extent that she needs to move away. Later, she reconnects with her former bully, now a social outcast. Showing tremendous character development, the power of forgiving and redemption, A Silent Voice addresses the sensitive social themes of teen bullying, suicide, and disabilities from a different perspective and is powerfully written and masterfully animated.
KIMI NO NA WA (YOUR NAME)
Makoto Shinkai brought us this iconic movie that shows love, destiny and how the two are intertwined.
Set in Itomori and Tokyo, two very starkly contrasting places, Kimi No Na Wa tells the story of a boy and a girl bound together by the red thread of fate. Depicting real-life places in his movies is a Shinkai trademark, and perhaps the most famous example is the Suga Shrine Steps in Kimi No Na Wa. To this date, the Steps attract tourists and anime fans from all over the world. With how beautifully Kimi is animated, it is rightly said that Shinkai makes the places look better in his movies than they do in real life!
If you believe in kismet, and enjoy captivating, profound stories, Kimi No Na Wa is perfect for you!
TENKI NO KO (WEATHERING WITH YOU)
Another Shinkai masterpiece, Tenko No Ko focuses heavily on Shinto mysticism and the supernatural. The movie follows the story of a high school dropout Hodaka and his adventures with an orphan Hina.
Hodaka discovers that Hina can control the weather and bring out the sun by praying. With both facing financial difficulties, they decide to turn Hina’s abilities into a business.
But with great power, comes many dangers…
Through the rainy streets of Tokyo, Tenki No Ko explores love, loss, friendship, and solidarity. The movie also has a brilliant soundtrack by the RADWIMPS, my favourite song being We’ll Be Alright. You won’t regret watching this movie on a quiet, rainy night in, with your loved ones.