Kindly register! Earn points by liking videos and wallpapers. Get top position in leaderboard. ❤



Attack on Titan:

This dark fantasy series is set in a world where humanity is forced to live in a city surrounded by walls to protect themselves from Titans, giant humanoid creatures who eat people. The story follows Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert as they join the Survey Corps, a military division that fights Titans.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood:

This epic fantasy series follows the journey of two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who use alchemy to try and bring their deceased mother back to life. In the process, they suffer a terrible loss and set out on a quest to find the Philosopher's Stone, a legendary artifact with the power to restore what they have lost.


This action-packed series is set in a world of ninjas and follows the adventures of a young orphan named Naruto Uzumaki, who dreams of becoming Hokage, the leader of his village. Along the way, he makes friends and battles foes as he strives to become the strongest ninja in the land.

Death Note:

This psychological thriller follows a high school student named Light Yagami, who finds a mysterious notebook that allows him to kill anyone whose name he writes in it. As Light sets out to create a utopian world by eliminating all criminals, a game of cat and mouse ensues between him and a mysterious detective known only as L.

Cowboy Bebop: This sci-fi series follows the adventures of a group of bounty hunters traveling through space aboard the spaceship Bebop. Led by Spike Spiegel, the team takes on dangerous assignments and faces personal demons as they try to make a living in a futuristic world.

Your Lie in April: This romantic drama tells the story of Kosei Arima, a young pianist who loses the ability to hear the sound of his own playing after the death of his abusive mother. When he meets a talented violinist named Kaori Miyazono, his life is transformed as he learns to love music again and confront his past.

One Piece:

This long-running series follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his crew of pirates as they sail the Grand Line in search of the legendary treasure known as One Piece. Along the way, they battle other pirates, government forces, and supernatural creatures as they strive to become the greatest pirates in the world.

Sword Art Online: This science fiction series is set in a virtual reality game world where players wear headsets to fully immerse themselves in the game. When the game's creator traps the players inside the world and threatens to kill them if they die in the game, Kirito, a skilled player, sets out to beat the game and free himself and his fellow players.

My Hero Academia: This superhero series is set in a world where most people have superpowers, known as "Quirks." The story follows Izuku Midoriya, a young boy without a Quirk who dreams of becoming a hero like his idol, All Might. When he is given the chance to attend a prestigious hero academy, he must work hard to prove himself and master his abilities.

Hunter x Hunter: This action-adventure series follows a young boy named Gon Freecss as he sets out to become a Hunter, a skilled and licensed professional who specializes in finding rare treasures, capturing criminals, and exploring uncharted territories. Along the way, he makes friends and battles powerful foes as he faces challenges and learns more about his true potential.


Netflix might not have HBO Max’s stranglehold on Studio Ghibli, but the streaming service’s anime movie offerings are still worth digging into if you haven’t yet pulled the trigger on a Crunchyroll subscription. There are still plenty of mechas, transformations and even Miyazaki (thanks, Lupin III!) to enjoy—and it’s even more exciting that some are Netflix Originals. Seeing the company invest into its own movies has been, politely, hit-and-miss, but its foray into anime has been largely positive.

While Netflix shines best with its extensive amount of anime series, there are still plenty of anime films to enjoy after binging JoJo’s or Demon Slayer. We’ve ranked the best 10 anime movies on Netflix, which includes familiar franchises, anthologies, Originals and hard-to-find favorites alike. The streamer’s library shifts all the time, with anime films suffering plenty of turnover, but this list is updated for July 2021.

Here are the 10 best anime movies on Netflix right now:

10. A Whisker Away

a-whisker-away-poster.jpgYear: 2020
Director: Junichi Sato, Tomotaka Shibayama
Stars: Mirai Shida, Natsuki Hanae, Hiroaki Ogi, Koichi Yamadera,Minako Kotobuki
Rating: TV-PG
Runtime: 104 minutes



There have been creepier things done in movies than magically turning into a cat in order to get closer to your crush, but those are few and far between. It’s not exactly standing outside a window with a boombox. But in directors Junichi Sato and Tomotaka Shibayama’s A Whisker Away, even this bonkers premise yields beauty and touching romance. Mari Okada’s script deftly leaps the anime through some emotional loops, running it through crinkly toy tunnels, ultimately landing its silly premise—replete with a troupe of angsty, depressed middle schoolers—in emotional honesty. A dash of otherworldly magic from the canon of Miyazaki (a corpulent face-dealing cat and an entire invisible cat-world) mixes well with some honest dives into the mental health issues of its characters (not quite as deeply and darkly as Neon Genesis Evangelion, but with a similarly stylish flair). While the characters are a little annoying when you meet them—they’re middle schoolers, after all—the truth behind the writing manages to shine through, all the while impressing us with its realistic animal animation and stunning depictions of smaller-town Tokoname life.—Jacob Oller

9. Modest Heroes

modest-heroes-poster.jpgYear: 2019
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Yoshiyuki Momose, Akihiko Yamashita, Takuya Okada
Stars: Fumino Kimura, Rio Suzuki, Masaki Terasoma, Machiko Ono
Rating: PG
Runtime: 53 minutes



Short film anthologies are some of the most impressive showcases of boundary-pushing visual storytelling in animation, let alone Japanese animation. A cursory glance of anime anthologies produced within just the last 30 years is enough: From Masao Maruyama and Rintaro’s 1987 film Labyrinth Tales (known in the West as Neo Tokyo), to Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1995 film Memories, to even the 2003 American-Japanese co-production Animatrix, anthologies stand the test of time not only as landmarks of anime history, but as a vital venue through which to facilitate the introduction of new and exciting talent into the animation industry. With this mind, director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, along with former Ghibli animators Yoshiyuki Momose (The Tale of The Princess Kaguya) and Akihiko Yamashita (Howl’s Moving Castle), have pooled their significant creativity to create a new installment in the storied lineage of prestige anime anthologies: Modest Heroes, the first volume in Studio Ponoc’s series of animated short films. “Kanini & Kanino,” directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, is the first and most explicitly “Ghibli-esque” of the anthology’s three shorts. Following the story of a pair of anthropomorphic crab children living at the bottom of a riverbed, the short could be interpreted as something of a reprise of Yonebayashi’s directorial debut, the 2010 film The Secret World of Arrietty, although this time conceived and written entirely by himself. The anthology’s second short, directed by Yoshiyuki Momose, is the volume’s most poignant installment and, arguably, the true namesake of Modest Heroes. “Life Ain’t Gonna Lose” tells of a young mother and her son Shun, a happy and otherwise unassuming little boy born with a debilitating food allergy to eggs. “Life Ain’t Gonna Lose” sets a high bar for the film going forward, but the anthology’s final short, “Invisible,” manages to meet and yet even surpass those expectations. Directed by Akihiko Yamashita, known not only for his prior work on Howl’s Moving Castle, but also as a character designer on Yasuhiro Imagawa’s Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still, “Invisible” follows the story of a man who struggles with a condition that seemingly renders him completely unnoticeable to every person he comes across. Modest Heroes is a satisfying sophomore effort from Studio Ponoc, a collection of shorts that, together, resonate with the sentiment of that most joyous and courageous of adages made famous by the likes of Rod Serling: “...there’s nothing mightier than the meek.”—Toussaint Egan

8. The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf

witcher-nightmare.jpgYear: 2021
Director: Kwang II Han
Stars: Theo James, Lara Pulver, Graham McTavish, Mary McDonnell
Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 83 minutes



Netflix series The Witcher was a rather massive hit for the streaming platform in 2019, introducing mainstream audiences everywhere to the dangerous world of Geralt of Rivia, a magically enhanced professional monster hunter known as a Witcher. Like a lot of prequels, the animated film Nightmare of the Wolf can often feel more interested in table setting for the next season of the live-action series than in telling a standalone story of its own. Your mileage will likely vary on whether you think that’s a good idea or not—hardcore fans will be delighted by the frequent namedropping and amped-up violence in the lead-up to the series’ return, while casual viewers may wonder what the big deal about any of this is. But Nightmare of the Wolf works because it unabashedly doubles down on much of what makes the original series so appealing, namely the rich lore that surrounds the existence of Witchers in general. And in doing so, it makes the original series feel like something much larger than one man’s story, expanding its world in a way that makes almost every aspect of it seem more complex and interesting than it did before. The film is technically a Vesemir origin story, but it’s also a crash course in how Witchers came to be, from the harsh conditions in which they are created to the uncomfortable position they occupy in the politics and cultural consciousness of the Continent. But most of all, Nightmare of the Wolf continues to muddy the moral waters of the Witcher universe, crafting complex characters in every shade of grey imaginable. Nightmare of the Wolf’s broader message about how we often create the monsters we fear the most certainly isn’t new. But those familiar beats ultimately help us see the world of the live-action series—and Geralt’s place in it—in a different way than we did before, one which both justifies the Continent’s distrust of Witchers and deepens our understanding of why these remaining men have chosen to keep on fighting anyway. —Lacy Baugher Milas.

7. Lu Over the Wall

lu-over-wall-movie-poster.jpgYear: 2018
Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Stars: Kanon Tani, Shota Shimoda, Christine Marie Cabanos, Michael Sinterniklaas, Stephanie Sheh
Rating: PG
Runtime: 107 minutes



Distributor GKids sells Lu Over the Wall as “family friendly,” which it is, an innocuous, offbeat alternative to the conventional computer animated joints typically found in modern multiplexes. But there’s “whimsical” and there’s “weird,” and Lu Over the Wall ventures well past the former and into the latter before director Masaaki Yuasa gets through the opening credits. Barely a moment goes by where we come close to touching base with reality: Even its most human beats, those precious hints of relatable qualities that encourage our empathy, are elongated, distorted, rendered nigh unrecognizable by exaggeration. Lu Over the Wall isn’t a movie that takes itself seriously, and for the average moviegoer, that’s very much a trait worth embracing. The plot is both simple and not: Teenager Kai (voiced by Michael Sinterniklaas in the English dub), recently relocated from Tokyo to the quiet fishing village of Hinashi, spends his days doing what most teenage boys do, sullenly hunkering down in his room and shutting out the world. As Kai struggles with his self-imposed isolation, he befriends Lu (Christine Marie Cabanos), a manic pixie dream mermaid wrought in miniature. What’s a solitary emo boy to do in a literal and figurative fish-out-of-water plot that’s buttressed by xenophobic overtones? Lu Over the Wall blends joy with political allegory with vibrant color palettes with storytelling magic, plus some actual magic, plus too many upbeat musical interludes to count. Describing the film merely as “creative” feels like an insult to its inspired madness.—Andy Crump

6. Blame!

blame.jpgYear: 2017
Director: Hiroyuki Seshita
Stars: Sora Amamiya, Kana Hanazawa, Takahiro Sakurai
Rating: TV-14
Runtime: 105 minutes



When it comes to dark industrial sci-fi, Tsutomu Nihei is a visionary. Trained as an architect before pursuing a career as a manga author, Nihei’s art is simultaneously sparse and labyrinthine, his body of work defined by a unifying obsession with invented spaces. Byzantine factories with gothic accents spanning across impossible chasms, populated by bow-legged synthoids and ghoulish predators touting serrated bone-swords and pulsating gristle-guns. His first and most famous series, Blame!, is considered the key text in Nihei’s aesthetic legacy, going so far as to inspire everything from videogames, to music, and even art and fashion. Past attempts have been made to adapt the series into an anime, though none have been able to materialize successfully. That is, until now. With the support of Netflix, Hiroyuki Seshita of Polygon Pictures has delivered that long-awaited Blame! film. Set on a far-future Earth consumed by a massive, self-replicating superstructure known as The City, Blame! follows Killy, a taciturn loner, wandering the layers of the planet in search of a human possessing the “net terminal gene,” an elusive trait thought to be the only means of halting the city’s perpetual hostile expansion. Boasting a screenplay penned by Sadayuki Murai, famed for his writing on such series as Cowboy Bebop and Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue, and supervised by Nihei himself, Seshita’s film abbreviates much of the manga’s early chapters and streamlines the story into an altogether more narrative and action-driven affair. Art director Hiroshi Takiguchi deftly replicates Nihei’s distinctive aesthetic, achieving in color what was before only monochromatic, while Yuki Moriyama capably improves on the uniform character designs of the original, imparting its casts with distinct, easily identifiable traits and silhouettes that greatly improve the story’s parsability. Blame! is as faithful an adaptation as is possible and as fitting an introduction to the series as the manga itself. Blame! builds a strong case for being not only one of the most conceptually entertaining anime films of late, but also for being one of, if not the best original anime film to grace Netflix in a long time.—Toussaint Egan

5. The End of Evangelion

the-end-of-evangelion-poster.jpgYear: 1997
Director: Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki
Stars: Megumi Ogata, Megumi Hayashibara, Yuko Miyamura, Kotono Mitsuishi, Fumihiko Tachiki, Yuriko Yamaguchi
Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 87 minutes



The final two episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion are notorious among fans of the series. Titled “Do you love me?” and “Take care of yourself,” the two-part finale infamously sidelined the climactic finale to the series’ central conflict, instead opting to take place entirely away from the action within the subconscious of the show’s protagonist, Shinji Ikari, as he wrestled to resolve the self-loathing and hatred which plagued him throughout the story’s duration. The unconventionality and unsatisfying nature of this conclusion prompted disgruntled fans to issue death threats on Anno’s life and Gainax’s building to be defaced with graffiti. In response, Anno set to work on an alternative ending to the series to be produced in two parts and aired in theaters. If you were looking for a light, campy and celebratory conclusion, End of Evangelion is not that movie. Instead, what fans were treated to was perhaps one of the most fatalistic, avant garde and, oddly enough, life-affirming endings to an anime series ever produced. In short, it is the best and worst of everything that is Evangelion combined to create a film that is unlike anything that had come before it. Despite its unrelenting darkness, End of Evangelion remains true to the ethos of its subtitle, that the joy of death is in the act of rebirth.—Toussaint Egan

4. A Silent Voice

a-silent-voice-poster.jpgYear: 2016
Director: Naoko Yamada
Stars: Miyu Irino, Saori Hayami, Aoi Yuki, Kensho Ono, Yuki Kaneko, Yui Ishikawa, Megumi Han, Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Mayu Matsuoka
Rating: TV-14
Runtime: 129 minutes



In a medium that too often feels at times constricted by the primacy of masculine aesthetic sensibilities and saturated with hyper-sexualized portrayals of women colloquially coded as “fan service,” Naoko Yamada’s presence is a welcome breath of fresh air, to say nothing of the inimitable quality of her films themselves. Inspired by the likes of Yasujiro Ozu, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Sergei Parajanov, Sofia Coppola, and Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Yamada is a director par excellence, capable of arresting attention and evoking melancholy and bittersweet catharsis through delicate compositions of deft sound, swift editing, ephemeral color palettes and characters with rich inner lives rife with knotty, relatable struggles. A Silent Voice, adapted from Yoshitoki Oima’s manga of the same name, is a prime example of all these sensibilities at play. When Shoya Ishida meets Shoko Nishimiya, a deaf transfer student, in elementary school, he bullies her relentlessly to the amusement of his classmates. One day when Shoya goes too far, forcing Shoko to transfer again for fear of her own safety, he is branded a pariah by his peers and retreats into a state of self-imposed isolation and self-hatred. Years later, Shoya meets Shoko once again, now as teenagers, and attempts to make amends for the harm he inflicted on her, all while wrestling to understand his own motivations for doing so. A Silent Voice is a film of tremendous emotional depth, an affecting portrait of adolescent abuse, reconciliation, and forgiveness for the harm perpetrated by others and ourselves.—Toussaint Egan

3. The Summit of the Gods

the-summit-of-the-gods-poster.jpgRelease Date: November 24, 2021
Director: Patrick Imbert
Stars: Lazare Herson-Macarel, Eric Herson-Macarel, Damien Boisseau, Elisabeth Ventura, Kylian Rehlinger, François Dunoyer
Rating: PG
Runtime: 95 minutes


Based on Jiro Taniguchi’s early ‘00s manga, which added breathtaking environmental illustrations and sharp, shadow-intensive character designs to Baku Yumemakura’s 1998 novel, The Summit of the Gods is a testament to self-motivation through the intertwined stories of two men: Mountain climber Joji Habu (Eric Herson-Macarel) and journalist Makoto Fukamachi (Damien Boisseau). Director Patrick Imbert’s French anime sees the two cross paths thanks to a legendary Vestpocket Kodak camera belonging to George Mallory, the English mountaineer who may or may not have reached the top of Everest in the ‘20s. Fukamachi sees Habu with the camera, then loses him. Fukamachi wants a scoop; Habu wants to be left alone as he prepares for his own climb. In his search for the recluse, Fukamachi compiles Habu’s life, constructing his obsessive arc event by event through unearthed news clippings. With this intercut structure, The Summit of the Gods is both a great journalism movie and great mountaineering movie—each with a series of technical steps that contain emotional weight impossible to fully explain to an outsider. Why does one seek the peak? Why does one devote themselves to finding all the details of a story? These lonely goals are personal as much as professional. The end result is clear, but the reasoning behind it all quickly becomes murky and existential under scrutiny. The clarity of the animation backs up these large questions with simple answers. The majestic, hazy colors of nature—bright blues and purples—contrast against day-to-day living in condos, barrooms and city streets that’ve lost all romance. The latter are utilitarian in their detail, so richly filled with realistic stuff as to dull you with familiarity. Then the movie takes you out on the expeditions, through the eyes of the people who live for it. The climbing sequences feature shots so stark and layered with slurries and sunbeams that their painterly abstraction will leave your jaw hanging in the snow. And yet, on a moment-to-moment level, it’s a detailed crunch of piton into stone—of clever rope knots and the muscular friction of hands and feet—undertaken by characters that move with a deliberate intent, their animations weighty enough to leave footprints and mini avalanches of pebbles. The Summit of the Gods is a subtle movie, told in shades of white and degrees of silence, but its passion burns hot beneath the icy rime. Its complex storytelling and convincingly lovely vistas make its philosophical case well: Whether you’re risking it all to get to a peak, to get to the bottom of a mystery, or to create a painstaking piece of animation, you’re lucky enough to have something you love.—Jacob Oller

2. Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack

mobile-suit-gundam-chars-counterattack-poster.jpgYear: 1988
Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino
Stars: Toru Furuya, Shuichi Ikeda, Hirotaka Suzuoki, Maria Kawamura, Nozomu Sasaki, Koichi Yamadera
Rating: TV-14
Runtime: 119 minutes



The first Gundam theatrical film and final chapter in the original saga begun in 1979 with the “Universal Century Timeline” of the Mobile Suit Gundam TV series, Char’s Counterattack has the weight of three seasons of TV behind it. Yoshiyuki Tomino, creator of the Gundam series, directed and wrote the film, adapting it faithfully from his novel, Hi-Streamer. Widely considered the best film in the Gundam franchise, Char’s Counterattack is most successful at wrapping up the 14-year rivalry between the “hero” of the Earth Federation, Amuro Ray, and the leader of Neo-Zeon, Char Aznable. The story involves a classic Gundam dilemma: Char’s Neo-Zeon force attempts to drop an asteroid filled with nuclear weapons onto Earth, which would free the colonies from the yoke of oppression by their rivals, the Earth Federation, and kill everyone on Earth in the process. As with all of the best Gundam tales, Tomino approaches the story from a hard sci-fi point of view, clearly laying out the science behind things like giant mobile suits and “newtypes” (humans that have evolved to acquire psychic abilities). Tomino carefully lays out the reasoning behind Char and Amuro’s passions and hatreds, not allowing the viewer to choose a clear side. Gundam series have always been willing to take on discussions about the horrors of war and how mankind, for all its advancements, never seems to be able to free itself from humanity’s baser instincts. Char’s Counterattack attempts this as well, yet it’s mostly concerned with wrapping up the rivalry between Amuro and Char—and on that note, it succeeds wildly. Featuring gorgeous, tense fight sequences set in space, an excellent soundtrack by Shigeaki Saegusa, and some of the most lauded Gundam designs in the history of the franchise, the film is inarguably one of the high points of the Gundam Universe. One downside: If you don’t have the investment of spending hundreds of episodes of television with these characters, the plot can be confusing, and Char/Amuro’s ending will likely not resonate as strongly. Regardless, Char’s Counterattack remains a key moment in the Gundam universe, one still worth checking out almost 30 years later. Hail Zeon!—J.D.

1. Mirai

mirai.jpgYear: 2018
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Stars: Moka Kamishiraishi, Haru Kuroki, Gen Hoshino, Kumiko Aso, Mitsuo Yoshihara, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Koji Yakusho, Masaharu Fukuyama
Rating: PG
Runtime: 98 minutes



Most if not all of Mamoru Hosoda’s original films produced in the past decade function, to some degree or another, as exercises in autobiography. Summer War, apart from a premise more or less recycled from Hosoda’s 2000 directorial debut Digimon Adventure: Our War Game!, was the many times removed story of Hosoda meeting his wife’s family for the first time. 2012’s Wolf Children was inspired by the passing of Hosoda’s mother, animated in part by the anxieties and aspirations at the prospect of his own impending parenthood. 2015’s The Boy and the Beast was completed just after the birth of Hosoda’s first child, the product of his own questions as to what role a father should play in the life of his son. Mirai, the director’s seventh film, is not inspired from Hosoda’s own experience, but through the experiences of his first-born son meeting his baby sibling for the first time. Told through the perspective of Kun, a toddler who feels displaced and insecure in the wake of his sister Mirai’s birth, Mirai is a beautiful adventure fantasy drama that whisks the viewer through a dazzling odyssey across Kun’s entire family tree, culminating in a poignant conclusion that emphasizes the beauty of what it means to love and be loved. Mirai is Hosoda’s most accomplished film, the recipient of the first Academy Award nomination for an anime film not produced by Studio Ghibli, and an experience as edifying as it is a joy to behold.—Toussaint Egan

The 100 Best Anime Movies is a list of the top anime movies that Japanese animation has produced. It offers a thorough aesthetic, technical and historical breakdown of why these films are the best. to put on the list. With the rise of anime in recent years, it can be hard to know where to start. This list of the top 100 anime movies offers a thorough aesthetic, technical and historical breakdown of why these films are so influential and essential

The 100 Best Anime Movies is a list of the best anime movies of all time. It's a great resource for anime fans who want to know what the best anime movies are.

The list is as follows:

100. The Boy and the Beast (2015)

Director: Mamoru Hosoda


Mamoru Hosoda is championed as one of the greatest anime directors working today. That reputation is owed in no small part to him being touted as the heir apparent to the cinematic legacy of Hayao Miyazaki, who formally retired from directing following the release of his then-final film The Wind Rises in 2013. Despite this glowing association, few of Hosoda’s handful of films have managed to graze the same strata of cinematic accomplishment and canonical enshrinement that typifies the storied career of the Studio Ghibli luminary.

Such is the case with The Boy and the Beast. The story follows that of Ren, an orphaned boy who, after stumbling through an Alice in Wonderland-style passageway into a world of mythical creatures, is adopted as a pupil by the brash and indolent swordmaster Kumatetsu, who vies to become the lord of all beasts. All of the surface components of a great film are there, with stunningly crisp animation, charged fight scenes, and a tasteful use of computer graphic imagery to accentuate these sequences. However, The Boy and the Beast is hamstrung by an over reliance on supporting characters narrating the emotional arcs of the protagonists instead of letting them speak for themselves, and a weak grasp of story structure and character motivations exemplified by a ponderously sporadic middle-half. In spite of these shortcomings, The Boy and the Beast remains a visually impressive and entertaining film to watch that puts all of Hosoda’s abilities and indulgences as a director on display, for better or worse.

99. Mobile Suit Gundam F-91 (1991)

Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino


Set 30 years after the events of Char’s CounterattackMobile Suit Gundam F-91 is a strange anomaly in the Gundam universe, yet not an unwelcome one. The story happened because Yoshiyuki Tomino had decided to begin a new Gundam story set a full generation after the hard-won peace achieved at the end of Char and Amaro’s final battle. Originally set up as a series, Tomino recruited a “greatest hits” of his former collaborators for the project, including Yoshikazu Yasuhiko and Kunio Ookawara. It’s unclear exactly why, but somewhere in the early stages of the production, internal conflicts resulted in the series being shelved. Not wanting to abandon the project (approximately 13 episode scripts had been written), Tomino decided to condense the story he had been developing into a movie. The result, Mobile Suit Gundam F-91, is a messy but very worthy entry in the Gundam canon. The story revolves around an attack by a separatist group, the Crossbone Vanguard, against the unsuspecting earth colonies after years of peace. Amaro analogue Seabrook Arno and his Gundam, F-91, are the heroes around which the plot revolves. Of particular note here are the sleek Gundam designs—Tomino wanted much smaller Gundams for this entry that felt more like “Mobile suits” and less like giant robots—and some of the most brutal fight sequences in any Gundam project. Starting off like most Gundam tales, with clean divisions between factions and a clear focus on key characters on either side of the conflict, things get messy by the third act, coming to a somewhat clumsy and unearned happy ending. Yet like most of Tomino’s other work, the action sequences are thrilling, the characters are vibrant, and the Mobile Suits are … well … mobile. Mobile Suit Gundam is a somewhat underappreciated stab at a reboot, but one that’s worth checking out and one that doesn’t require any foreknowledge of the Universal Century timeline to enjoy. Suit up. —Jason DeMarco

98. On-Gaku: Our Sound (2021)

Director: Kenji Iwaisawa


Being a teenager in a suburban town can be excruciatingly boring. With no variety in routine, everything feels useless. But then, sometimes, something appears that banishes that monotony and breathes excitement into an otherwise dull existence. That discovery can be revelatory; life can suddenly have purpose. In the case of the trio of delinquents in Kenji Iwaisawa’s incredible debut feature, On-Gaku: Our Sound, they discover the catharsis and power of music. On-Gaku: Our Sound is writer/director Iwaisawa’s love letter both to the power of music and to the manga of the same name by Hiroyuki Ohashi. As the DIY-feeling film progresses through its musical numbers, Iwaisawa experiments with form (like expressive rotoscoping) as certain songs evoke different emotions from his characters, whether it is a kindly folk song or a primitive-feeling rocker that reverberates in a listener’s chest. In contrast to the visual style, the phenomenal deadpan comedic delivery is reminiscent of American animated comedies of the ‘90s like Beavis and Butthead or King of the Hill. Kenji in particular embodies that tone, through both line delivery by Japanese rock legend Shintarô Sakamoto and a design that includes an unrelenting stare, thin mustache that zigzags across his upper lip and shiny, bald head. Despite being a high school student, Sakamoto’s grizzled voice gives Kenji the vibe of a tired old man who has seen everything, when really he’s just a bored teenager who smokes too many cigarettes and watches too much TV. Iwaisawa’s own passion fills the chilled-out slacker comedy with a lot of heart and a gorgeous variety of animation styles.—Mary Beth McAndrews

97. Ah! My Goddess: The Movie (2000)

Director: Hiroaki Goda


A sequel to a five-part OVA from 1993, based on a popular manga, Ah! My Goddess: The Movie is the very rare example of a film based on an existing anime/manga franchise that’s superior to the original source material. A self-contained story revolving around college student Morisato Keiichi and the Goddess Belldandy, the film finds ways to inject more drama and urgency into the typically light-hearted romance of the original story, while the longer run time allows more room for character development and deepened motivations for all of the main cast members. Putting Belldandy at the center of a plot to hack the Yggdrasil computer in the heavens (long story) and forcing Keiichi to grapple with what Belldandy has come to mean to him places the romance and sweetness that was always the heart of this series in the foreground. The animation quality is very high, with some well integrated CGI allowing Fujishima’s wilder concepts to finally reach fruition in a way the more limited OVA budget couldn’t. Ah! My Goddess: The Movie was well-received by both critics and audiences, and spawned two later TV series that were similarly well regarded. In the wake of today’s popular fantasy seinen/shonen titles, Ah! My Goddess now feels somewhat ahead of its time. Either way, this sweet, fun romance is worth checking out. —J.D.

96. Dallos (1983)

Director: Mamoru Oshii


Of the many films that Mamoru Oshii has directed, Dallos is inarguably his worst. With a subpar space opera plot that’s been described by anime historians such as Helen McCarthy and Jonathan Clements as “an unremarkable rip-off of Robert Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” and an animation style that could only be charitably described as low budget, showing little to nothing of the mark of its director who later become known for the likes of Patlabor 2 and Ghost in the Shell, there’s a reason why Dallos occupies the darkest unknown corners of Oshii’s oeuvre. So why is it on this list? Because despite its overall lackluster production, that quality is all but eclipsed by the sheer magnitude of its historical significance. Simply put, Dallos was the first anime to be marketed and sold as a multi-part home video production, introducing a new format free of the restrictions of conventional theatrical and televised animation and opening anime up to the west That might ring as somewhat faint praise now in the year 2016, but were it not for the precedent of Dallos’ release, the means through which anime would have found its international audience during the 1980s would not have existed.

95. When Marnie Was There (2014)

Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi


David Foster Wallace once said that every love story was a ghost story. He easily could have have been describing the spirit of When Marnie Was There, the second film directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and the last Ghibli production before the studio’s hiatus following Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata’s retirement in 2013. Twelve-year-old Anna Sasaki is a melancholic introvert with a deep distrust of both other and herself. After collapsing at school from a fit of asthma, Anna’s foster parents send her to stay with her adoptive aunt and uncle at their idyllic rural seaside home adjourning Kushiro to help her condition. There she meets Marnie, a mysterious young girl whose friendship helps Anna to grow and open up and whose troubled story may in fact be inextricably linked with Anna’s own. Although its revelatory conclusion is overpacked with details that could have been better paced along the film’s prevailing mystery, When Marnie Was There is an emotionally affecting depiction of female friendship that cruises along patiently like a quiet boat trip across a moonlit lake.

94. A Dog of Flanders (1997)

Director: Yoshio Kuroda


Yoshio Kuroda’s finest work is perhaps second only to Grave of the Fireflies as one of the saddest anime ever made. Based on the 1872 Flemish novel of the same name, A Dog of Flanders is the tale of a young boy, Nello, and his dog, Pastrache. The story is set in Belgium, and is episodic in nature—mostly concerning Nello’s struggles to rise above the poverty into which he was born, and his persecution by an upper-class member of his village, who wrongly accuses Nello of a terrible crime. The film is ultimately a simple class tragedy, but remains a compelling story that has stood the test of time. In adapting the feature from his TV series of the same name, Kuroda mostly restrains himself from going too “big” with animation flourishes, working carefully to recreate the feel of Industrial Age Antwerp, and servicing the story with quiet, beautiful artwork and scenes that take their time to unfold. The American release, from Pioneer, has an excellent dub for the time, but removed 10 minutes of story with some very choppy edits, so the subtitled version is preferable. Don’t expect a happy ending—this is a three-hanky classic. —J.D.

93. Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: The Conqueror of Shamballa (2005)

Director: Seiji Mizushima


Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the most critically successful manga and anime series of the early 2000s. Premiering in 2001 and spawning two long-running television adaptations, Fullmetal Alchemist follows the adventures of Edward and Alphonse Elric, two prodigiously talented young men whose respective limbs and bodies are taken from them in a grisly alchemic accident. Becoming state-appointed alchemists, they search for the mythical philosopher’s stone as a means of restoring their bodies to their original state. Conqueror of Shamballa picks up from the conclusion of the 2003 anime series, with Alphonse’s body fully restored though his memory erased and Edward stranded on the other side of a portal leading to a strange yet familiar world teetering on the cusp of a world war. With an intriguing alternative history story that intermingles key figures such as Karl Haushofer and Fritz Lang and events such as the infamous Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, as well as an impressive series of destructive final fight scenes storyboarded by Yutaka Nakamura, Conqueror of Shamballa is a satisfying if irresolute capstone to the original anime and far and away the best Fullmetal Alchemist film to date.

92. The Restaurant of Many Orders (1991)

Director: Tadanari Okamoto


The Restaurant of Many Orders is remarkably unique compared to nearly every other film of its era that has gone on to shape the aesthetic template of Japanese animation. Created in 1990 by Tadanari Okamoto, who in the ’70s and ’80s established himself as one of Japan’s preeminent animators, the film was originally conceived as a warm up in preparation for his planned feature debut Hotarumomi. Unfortunately, Okamoto would pass away that year from liver cancer and the film was later finished by his close friend and fellow animator Kihachiro Kawamoto. Based on the short story of the same name by the much-adapted poet and children’s author Kenji Miyazawa, The Restaurant of Many Orders is story of two hunters who happen upon a mysterious inn deep in a secluded forest while stalking wild game. The two enter thinking that they’ll be treated to a decent meal and warm place to rest, only to later discover that this restaurant is anything but what it appears to be. Okamoto’s charcoal copper-plate aesthetic is the film’s most distinctive trait, emulating the artistry of veteran animator Reiko Okuyama and achieved through the use of acrylic gouache paint to render the foreground and background of each cell inseparable from one another. Winner of the prestigious Noburo Ofuji Award for Excellence and Innovation, The Restaurant of Many Orders is a beautiful parting gift from one of the most undersung innovators of Japanese animation.

91. Golgo 13 The Professional (1983)

Director: Osamu Dezaki


Directed by Osamu Dezaki, known as the innovator who created the now common “Postcard Memories” technique, Golgo 13: The Professional is both a remarkable time capsule of ’80s grimy crime fiction, and true to the manga from which it is drawn. Golgo, the titular assassin, is basically an evil character who exemplifies alpha male toughness to a ridiculous degree. He is, above all, a Professional. Think Lee Marvin in Point Blank, or Charles Bronson in The Mechanic, or Steve McQueen in … well, anything. Where Golgo charms is in the glorious, fluid animation, the sophisticated cinematic techniques used by Dezaki (including very early usage of CGI), and the tense and incredibly violent action sequences. Filled with gratuitous nudity, violence and rape, this unrated film is not for the faint of heart. Yet Golgo 13: The Professional presents a quintessential example of the Japanese alpha male character, and somehow we root for him, even as we know he’s nothing more than a killer. —J.D.

90. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)

Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri


The follow-up to Toyoo Ashida’s 1985 classic, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is lauded for its comparatively higher production values and exquisitely rendered set pieces courtesy of Yuji Ikehata and Madhouse’s host of talented in-house background artists. A loose adaptation of Demon Deathchase, the third installment in Hideyuki Kikuchi’s long-running Vampire Hunter D visual novel series, Bloodlust follows the titular half-human vampire hunter as he is hired to rescue the daughter of a wealthy benefactor after she’s abducted by Baron Meier Link, a powerful vampiric nobleman with shadowy intentions. The film comes across as a retread of sorts for Kawajiri, doing little to differentiate itself from the journeyman premise of his work on Ninja Scroll or to build on the mythology of Ashida’s original aside from emphasizing the series’ gothic western sci-fi aesthetic. Still, with character designs by series illustrator Yoshitaka Amano of Final Fantasy fame and a number of visually memorable and impressive settings and showdowns, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is a visually exhilarating action film that seldom fails to satisfy on a moment-to-moment level.

89. Short Peace (2013)

Director: Various


A multimedia project consisting of four animated shorts plus one videogame, each representing a different period in Japan’s history, Short Peace is a delightful grab bag. With Otomo at the helm guiding the project, and providing one of the shorts, this project pulled together a ton of talent, all in the service of some gorgeous animated short films. The unifying concept barely hangs together, but each of the tales are so singular and stunningly rendered, this is a minor concern. The most singular of the bunch is “Possessions,” was nominated for an Oscar, and it’s easy to see why. The visual technique and seamless rendering of CG/2D animation is absolutely captivating. Otomo’s own contribution, “A Farewell to Weapons,” based on his manga, is the other centerpiece and closes out the collection. It remains true to many of Otomo’s extant themes—mainly, the effects of technology on humanity, and the inability of man to escape his patterns of tribal violence and conquest. The designs are incredibly detailed and well-thought out, like all of Otomo’s work, and the animation is of course hyper realistic. Overall, Short Peace is an excellent modern entry in the hallowed tradition of great collections of anime short films, even if the feast it provides is a bit more for the eyes than the brain. —J.D.

88. Momotaro: Umi No Shinpei (1945)

Director: Mitsuyo Seo


Long before Tezuka Osamu laid the foundation for the signature aesthetic behind anime and the medium’s stylistic maturation in the mid-’80s opposite its ascendancy as a global cultural export, the roots of modern japanese animation were born from format in which most if not all animation originated in the early 20th century: as propaganda films created in order to win hearts and minds and spur their respective nation’s youth to take up arms and fight for, what was at the time thought to be, “the good fight.” Momotaro: Umi No Shinpei, known to western audiences as Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors, holds the distinction of being the first feature-length animated film produced in Japan. Believed lost for decades before being rediscovered in 1984, Momotaro is invaluable touchstone in the history of Japanese animation, transporting viewers back to a time of startlingly different attitudes and sensibilities.

87. Venus Wars (1989)

Director: Yoshikazu Yasuhiko


Adapted from Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s own original manga series in 1989, Venus Wars is a spectacular sci-fi action war film filled with terrific animation, surprising depth, and a delightfully hammy soundtrack courtesy of Joe Hisaishi. Taking place on, you guessed, the second planet in the solar system nearly seventy following a terraforming event, Venus Wars follows a group of teenage monobike racers-turned-freedom fighters after their home of Aphrodia is occupied by the forces of Ishtar, their neighboring rival to the North. With mechanical designs courtesy of Makoto Kobayashi, a notable experimental use of live-action footage to simulate Venus’ barren terrain, and a creative staff that consists of a veritable “who’s who” of 1980s anime icons, including character designer Toshihiro Kawamoto of Cowboy Bebop fame, Venus Wars is a memorable film that delivers as a pulp sci-fi adventure on a visual level but manages to be a thoughtful exploration of what it means to watch one’s home transformed into a police state during a time of war.

86. The Cat Returns (2002)

Director: Hiroyuki Morita


A spiritual successor-of-sorts to Yoshifumi Kondo’s Whisper of the HeartThe Cat Returns is a playful romp that combines Studio Ghibli’s signature brand of magical realism imbued with a fresh perspective courtesy of director Hiroyuki Morita. When Haru Yoshioka, a shy and absent-minded schoolgirl, rescues a mysterious cat while on her way home from school, she realizes she possesses the latent ability to talk to cats. Her life is then turned upside down as the cat’s father, the king of cats, showers her in bizarre tokens of gratitude and orders her betrothal to his son as “reward” for her kindness. It’s then up to her seek out the fabled Bureau of Cats to find the one person who might be able to save her: the dashing gentleman-noble Baron Humbert von Gikkingen. Naoya Tanaka’s art direction and Satoko Morikawa’s character designs are the real draw that distinguish the film’s look and feel, and with a simple yet whimsical story built around likable personalities and beautiful settings, The Cat Returns easily warrants mention alongside Studio Ghibli’s very best.

85. Giovanni’s Island (2014)

Director: Mizuho Nishikubo


One of the most appreciable qualities of Japanese animation is the readiness in which they are willing to relate and contextualize their history as a country and as a people through a medium which is too often looked down upon as inherently trite and childish. Case in point: Giovanni’s Island. Set in the aftermath of World War II, the film follows the stories of Junpei and Kanta, two young boys whose home island of Shikotan is quickly occupied by Soviet allied forces in the wake of Japan’s surrender. As their world is irrevocably by the intrusive hardships and indignities of the real world, the boy grasp to a solitary thread of hope through their imaginative love of Kenji Miyazawa’s novella Night on the Galactic Railroad, a book from which their names are inspired. Directed by Mizuho Nishikubo, who served as the esteemed animation director of Oshii’s Patlabor 2, the film touts simplistic though beautifully expressive character designs and dynamic settings featuring distinctive jagged outlines and shadows. The film’s fantasy sections are wonderful as a well, rendering the allusions to Miyazawa’s novella with such modern imaginative fidelity that it easily sits beside that of Gisaburo Sugii’s masterful 1985 adaptation. Akin to Takahata’s Grave of the FirefliesGiovanni’s Island is an affirming if tragic story of the resilience of a family living through the end of a World War, but it’s also something all its own. It’s a story of the intrinsic human persistence to forge connections and friendships in the face of seemingly unassailable differences. An excellent film about history, family, language, and hope.

84. Sweat Punch (2007)

Director: Mizuho Nishikubo


Sweat Punch is a curious beast that’s a bit hard to track down, but worth the effort. Comprising five animated shorts originally released as a part of Grasshoppa! DVD magazine issues, they were then collected into one release titled Deep Imagination. Deep, indeed, would be one way to describe these shorts, which range across the map both in style and subject matter. The first, “Professor Dan Petory’s Blues,” doesn’t really try to make sense, and is content to simply throw all kinds of wild animation techniques in a blender with some songs and jokes, to kaleidoscopic effect. It only gets weirder from there. “The End of The World” is another standout, concerning the life of a young alien girl named Yuko, who meets a friend at a rock concert, then proceed to go back to her home planet and battle with S&M monsters (no, really). A third, confusingly entitled “Comedy” by Studio 4C, is a dark, gothic tale verging on horror that concerns a young girl, a master swordsman, and the Irish War of Independence. Most of these shorts break not only from traditional narrative, but also from traditional anime art style and animation techniques. These are animation in its purest form, the directors and animators involved clearly just enjoying the riot of color and movement they present to the viewer. It’s pointless to try to explain more, really. Sweat Punch must be seen to be believed, and “understanding” it might be beside the point. —J.D.

83. Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (2001)

Director: Shinichiro Watanabe


When Cowboy Bebop first premiered in North America on Adult Swim in September of 2001, it was one of the great defining moments of anime securing its cultural foothold in the West. Set in the year 2071, Cowboy Bebop was many things: a sci-fi western noir character drama built around the themes of existentialism, identity and loneliness. But above all else it was a master course in cinematic evocation, channeling the ineffable cool of turn-of-the-century jazz, rock ’n’ roll, and film noir and transforming it into something that was unlike anything that had come before or since. With a script penned by Keiko Nobumoto, a score by the inimitable Yoko Kanno, action scenes framed and choreographed by Yutaka Nakamura, and series’ director Shinichiro Watanabe returning at the helm, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door is the anime equivalent of a seminal band getting back together for one last farewell tour after ending off on a high-note and a bang.

82. Genius Party (2007)

Director: Various


If you’re looking for a collection of some of the most eccentric, colorful, and unique animated shorts from some of the most preeminent anime directors working today, you can’t go wrong with Genius Party. Released in 2007, the film serves the purpose of what any good anthology should—putting supremely talented animators on a project and allowing them to throw whatever they want at the wall. And that’s what it succeeds as a whole in doing—to varying degrees of individual success, of course. Shoji Kawamori’s “Shanghai Dragon” is a wild free-wheeling take on Super Sentai hero antics, Yoji Fukuyama’s “Doorbell” is a unsettling and confounding psychological thriller, and Shinji Kimura’s “Deathtic 4” is a bizarre 3D-animated short that’s sure to play well for Tim Burton fans on an aesthetic level. The only dud in this collection is Hideki Futamura’s “Limit Cycle,” which, although having one of the most unique art styles of the bunch, meanders in pop-scientific pontification and pretentious navel-gazing. The crowning jewels of the collection however are Masaaki Yuasa’s “Happy Machine” and Shinichiro Watanabe’s “Baby Blue,” which each exemplify the best defining talents of their respective creators. All in all, Genius Party is a stunning collection of shorts produced by one of the most eclectic production studios operating today and should not be missed.

81. Summer Wars (2009)

Director: Mamoru Hosoda


Summer Wars is pretty much a beat-for-beat remake of Hosoda’s previous work on the second Digimon film, Our War Game, released in 2000. However, when a film is this well-animated and put together, the accusation of unoriginality can be forgiven. Summer Wars is the story of Kenji Koiso, a shy and unassuming math prodigy who works as an admin assistant for OZ, a massive digital network that’s supplanted the internet as the major connective system across the world. When Kenji’s OZ avatar is hijacked by Love Machine, a sentient computer virus hell bent on throwing the entire planet into chaos, it’s up to him and the extended family of his fake girlfriend Natsuki (long story) to band together and go to war. OZ resembles a psychedelic “superflat” dreamscape à la Takashi Murakami thanks to Anri Jojo’s art design, and with impeccable character art by the likes of Gainax veteran Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Masaru Hamada, and Takashi and Mina Okazaki, Summer Wars is an engrossing big family drama with heart couched inside a candy-coated “Internet of Things” scenario of catastrophic proportions.

80. A Wind Named Amnesia (1990)

Director: Kazuo Yamazaki


On the eve of the 21st century, the collective memory of every living being on Earth was wiped by an inexplicable mass phenomenon, decimating civilization and reducing the human race to roving tribes of scavengers devoid of language, reason or technology. Wataru, a survivor of this worldwide amnesia meets Sophia, a mysterious young woman seemingly unaffected by this worldwide epidemic. The two embark on a journey across the heartland of America in search of answers not only to the question of what caused humanity’s downfall, but what it means to be a human being at all. The film’s animation definitely shows its age in some respects, and when it comes to the thematic ambitions of its subject matter versus its narrative execution its reach more often than not exceeds its grasp, but A Wind Named Amnesia remains a thought-provoking movie and an understated gem in rough of early ’80s animation. Word to the wise: steer clear of the English dub, as it dispels most of the film’s nuance and subtext in lieu of playing it up as a comparatively hollow action adventure.

79. Ponyo (2008)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki


Of Hayao Miyazaki’s eclectic and universally renowned body of work, Ponyo is arguably his strangest. A modern reinterpretation of Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 The Little MermaidPonyo couldn’t be further from an attempt to compete, let alone eclipse Disney’s award-winning 1989 adaptation. Instead, Miyazaki eschews anthropomorphic crabs and garish musical numbers in favor of honing in on the love story between a young boy and a girl-fish who yearns to be human. The film’s aesthetic is straight of out of child’s picture books, with thick solid shapes framed by beautiful bright primary colors. It’s a trippy, kid-friendly film that manages to pack in a surprising amount of thematically heady material with regards to environmentalism and the delicate balancing act between humanity and nature. Ponyo certainly is not anywhere near Miyazaki’s best, but it unquestionably stands among the medium’s best.

78. Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (2007)

Director: Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Masayuki


If you’re an anime fan and have never watched the original Neon Genesis Evangelion, you are likely no more than three degrees separated from someone who has a passionate opinion about it, effusive or otherwise. What began as a 26-episode television series produced by Gainax and directed by Hideaki Anno quickly morphed into nothing short of a cultural phenomenon within the sphere of anime, thanks in huge part to the show’s unmistakable mecha designs, inspired animation, iconic character designs, and a plot that was equal parts harrowing, esoteric, and uncompromisingly meta. Released as the first installment in Anno’s Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy, Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone is essentially a shot-for-shot high-definition remake of the first six episodes of the original series, albeit condensed to the length of a standard feature and filled with new designs and animation. Whether you’ve watch the series when it first aired or are curious to see just what all the hubbub is about, Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone is a fantastic introduction to one of the most celebrated and divisive animes of the late 20th century.

77. Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light (2011)

Director: Takahiro Omori


Based on Yuki Midorikawa’s 2002 manga of the same name, Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light tells the story of Hotaru, a six-year-old girl who befriends a forest spirit named Gin while vacationing at her grandfather’s home in the mountains. As the years proceed and their friendship deepens, Hotaru and Gin begin to develop feelings for one another. However, their relationship is burdened by the fact that Gin’s body will disappear the moment it comes in contact with the touch of a human being. Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light is a poignant and wistful story of star-crossed love that cuts to the core of its main characters and relishes its vein of rich emotional depth. A short and impactful film whose beauty and tenderness merits the best of comparisons to the likes of Miyazaki and Shinkai while remaining something wholly its own.

76. Sword of the Stranger (2007)

Director: Masahiro Ando


The feature debut of Masahiro Ando, whose career was distinguished solely by being a episode director and key animator for such series as Wolf’s Rain and Witch Hunter RobinSword of the Stranger possesses all the key pieces and players that make up a prototypical, though otherwise satisfying chanbara action film—a nameless ronin who abstains from bloodshed in a quiet bid for atonement, a youth cast at the heart of a fanatical plot, and a ruthless foreign adversary who yearns solely for a worthy opponent to face in battle. What really distinguishes the film apart from its ilk are the sparse yet impressive action sequences choreographed by legendary key animator Yutaka Nakamura, culminating in what is arguably one of the most stunningly animated sword fight showdowns between “No Name” and the European Ming commander Luo-Lang. If you’re looking for a solid samurai action film with sword fights that are a cut above the rest, Sword of the Stranger is that film.

75. Fist of the North Star (1986)

Director: Toyoo Ashida


You’ll be hard pressed to find an anime with more eye-popping violence than Fist of the North Star. The film and preceding television series, both directed by anime luminary Toyoo Ashida, follow the exploits of Kenshiro, a superpowered martial artist who wanders the wastes of a post-apocalyptic future brought on by a nuclear apocalypse as he aids the helpless by vanquishing the wicked on a personal quest for revenge and retribution. Think David Carradine’s martial arts western drama Kung Fu, only on steroids. To call the film “ultra-violent” is an understatement. Produced in 1986, Fist of The North Star earns the dubious honor of being so extreme that the original Japanese release had to be heavily censored with strategic cuts and psychedelic distortion effects. Its age most definitely shows through the somewhat dated crudeness of its animation and its paper-thin plot, but what one can confidently praise Fist of the North Star the most for is its comically unrelenting self-awareness and sincerity in knowing exactly what it is and sticking to it. An unabashedly fun action movie that touts the over-the-top machismo of Schwarzenegger and Van Damme in their prime.

74. Wicked City (1987)

Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri


Set in a contemporary world where humanity shares a secret treaty with a hidden realm filled with demons, Wicked City follows the story of Renzaburo Taki, an agent of the clandestine “Black Guard” organization devoted to enforcing peace and balance between the two worlds. On the eve of the treaty’s renewal, Taki and his newly assigned partner from the demon world are assigned to protect Giuseppi Mayart, a lecherous VIP whose presence is vital to brokering peace from a militant sect of demon renegades who want to plunge the world into darkness. The first collaboration between Yoshiaki Kawajiri and Hideyuki Kikuchi, the so-called “Stephen King of Japan” more famously known for the Vampire Hunter D novel series, Wicked City is quintessential ’80s anime material: dark, violent, hyper-sexualized, and absolutely not for children. Kawajiri’s signature flair for Lovecraftian horror and stylized action is on full display here, elements that would be further explored in Demon City Shinjuku and later refined through his career-defining work on such films as Ninja Scroll and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.

73. Colorful (2010)

Director: Keiichi Hara


Keiichi Hara’s 2010 film Colorful is a stark and beautiful about-face when compared to the director’s previous work as a storyboard animator for such shows as Doraemon and Crayon Shin-Chan. Adapted from Eto Mori’s 2007 novel of the same name, the film tells the story of a wayward soul who, after arriving at the waystation of the afterlife, is gifted with the opportunity to regain its life by reincarnating in the body of a suicide victim. Placed in the body of middle-schooler Makoto Kobayashi, the soul is granted six months to solve the mystery of its own death and in doing so rediscover the intrinsic value of life itself. Colorful, in spite of its name, is a movie that tackles weighty topics such as the societal pressure to succeed and conform, adultery, depression and suicide, albeit with an ultimately a life-affirming tone. Taut with emotional tension and existential nuance, Colorful is a film that rewards on a visual and emotional level.

72. Angel’s Egg (1985)

Director: Mamoru Oshii


Angel’s Egg is not only unlike anything Mamoru Oshii has ever done as a director, it’s arguably unlike anything else in the medium of anime, period. Created during the period of Oshii’s career following his departure from Studio Pierrot, Angel’s Egg is not so much a narrative as it is a bizarre tableau of gothic imagery and thematic sobriety that seeps across the screen like a living painting throughout its 70-minute duration. Rather than offering a concrete premise that’s paced out through story beats and revelations, the film itself explores the question of why we search for meaning in anything in the first place, a visual meditation on how reality and our idea of reality is shaped through what we choose to believe in. The film ponders the question of whether anything exists at all, on whether ideas of the past that haunt the collective consciousness of humanity can reify themselves in the present tense, of whether belief in the perception of anything is worthwhile or reliable. These are themes that Oshii would go on to further explore, particularly through his work on Ghost in the Shell, but nowhere near on this level of abstraction. Angel’s Egg offers so much room for interpretation and nuance, but what’s unmistakable is this: it’s a must-see anime that no two viewers will watch or interpret quite the same way.

71. A Letter to Momo (2011)

Director: Hiroyuki Okiura


Hiroyuki Okiura’s sophomore effort is quite the departure from the paramilitary fatalism of his 1999 debut Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. After the tragic passing of her father, 11-year-old Momo Miyaura and her mother Ikuko move from Tokyo to the family home on Seto Island to start over. While adjusting to her new life, Momo discovers an unfinished letter addressed to her by her late father, along with a mischievous trio of Yokai spirits who follow her around constantly. Impeccably animated with character designs by Masashi Ando brought to life through Okiura’s signature talent for realism, A Letter to Momo is a profoundly touching all-ages film that manages to fit in a couple of choice yet memorable moments of hilarity opposite its core dramatic story. Special credit should be paid to Dana Snyder’s comedic performance as Kawa, as well as Kazuhiro Wakabayashi’s masterful sound direction. Over seven years in the making, A Letter to Momo is testament to not only Okiura’s dogged creative persistence, but also his considerable talents as an animator and director.

70. Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack (2012)

Director: Takayuki Hirao


Junji Ito is one of the most celebrated names in contemporary Japanese horror fiction, easily warranting mention along the likes of Shintaro Kago and Kazuo Umezu. With award-winning manga shorts such as “The Enigma of Amigara Fault” and “Uzumaki,” Ito broke through as an unmistakable luminary of Japanese horror and established himself as a recognizable name both at home and in the West. Gyo, arguably his most famous work, revolves around a young couple who are assaulted by a horde of homicidal fish monsters with mechanical spider legs. Takayuki Hirao’s film is a serviceable adaptation of Ito’s original, albeit with a few controversial directorial decisions such as switching the manga’s protagonists which establish the movie as a work on its own. Ultimately Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack is an effective horror film if questionable adaptation, with interesting characters, bizarre twists, and choice sequences that pay direct homage to Ito’s inimitable art style.

69. Patlabor: The Movie (1989)

Director: Mamoru Oshii


Mamoru Oshii’s work on the anime series Patlabor and its subsequent feature film are considered by many, including the director himself, as the turning point in his career. After leaving Studio Pierott and striking out on his own as a freelancer on a few projects, Oshii would join the independent creative collective Headgear and become a major influence in shaping the aesthetic of their first project, Mobile Police Patlabor. Although Patlabor: The Movie can be described as a pure pop entertainment film, it still manages to incorporate the elements of history, politics and religion that define Oshii’s signature as a director. With a solid mix of action, mystery, and not-so-subtle post-WII era commentary, the first Patlabor film is not only an essential installment in Oshii’s filmography but in the canon of anime history.

68. The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)

Director: Isao Takahata


Isao Takahata’s final film, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, also happens to be his first in over 14 years. When Takahata’s previous film, My Neighbors the Yamadas, was released in 1998, it was unofficially known by those who worked on it as “the film that broke Studio Ghibli.” Such an ignominious title was owed to Takahata’s choice to eschew traditional cel animation, the process by which all previous Ghibli films had been produced, and opt to animate the film entirely through computer, with each frame meticulously painted and animated through digital process. For Princess Kaguya, Takahata would again return to reiterate and arguably refine this technique, imbuing every frame and scene with the sort of scrupulous attention one would expect from a master calligrapher or Ukiyo-e artist. The film recounts the story of Japan’s oldest folklore story, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, wherein a young celestial maiden born from the root of a bamboo plant is adopted and later championed as a princess as she struggles to understand her identity as both a mortal and a child of the heavens. The movie’s grueling seven-year development and Takahata’s uncompromising commitment to perfection ultimately paid off, delivering a film of uncontested visual and thematic beauty.

67. Spriggan (1998)

Director: Hirotsugu Kawasaki


During the tail end of the Cold War, a scientific expedition unearths a massive structure that turns out to be the mythical Noah’s Ark, which turns out to be less a biblical vessel of salvation and more a preternatural warship of mass destruction. As clandestine paramilitaries and a rogue U.S agency converge on the Ark’s location to harness its power in a bid for global supremacy, special ops “Spriggan” agent named Yu Ominae is dispatched to accompany the team sent to excavate the Ark site and prevent its apocalyptic reawakening at all costs. Despite being “supervised” and partially written by Katsuhiro Otomo and shamelessly trumpeted as the so-called “next Akira,” Spriggan had little hope of rising to the meteoric heights of expectation heaped by such a comparison. Instead, what it turns out to be is a super-powered Indiana Jones meets Armageddon spy flick packed with thrilling chase scenes, psychic martial art showdowns, and breathtakingly beautiful montages of the sparse picturesque plains and mountains of Nepal. For anyone who adheres to the “they don’t make ’em like this anymore” mentality in regard to late ’90s action anime, Spriggan is required viewing.

66. Macross Plus (1995)

Director: Shoji Kawamori, Shinichiro Watanabe


Originally created as a four episode OVA, then re-released as a cut-down, theatrical version with 20 minutes of new footage, Macross Plus is the first Macross sequel that takes place in the original timeline of the TV series. Creator Shoji Kawamori ret-conned Macross II and Do You Remember Love? as parallel world stories, setting the stage for Macross Plus as the first “true” sequel to the popular original. Macross Plus take place 30 years after the war between the humans and the alien Zentradis, detailed in the original show, and instead focuses on two rival test pilots (and former childhood friends) and their struggle to be the first to secure funding for a new, experimental fighter that would replace the current model. As with all things Macross, the two pilots are a part of a love triangle with a woman from their childhood, who is now the producer of Sharon Apple, the most famous singer in the galaxy (actually an Artificial Intelligence). Things start to go wrong when Sharon Apple achieves sentience and goes rogue, taking over the SDF-1 Macross ship and threatening thousands of lives. Macross II is an unconventional “sequel” in that it’s structured similarly to the original show—an overall threat, a love triangle, a famous pop idol—yet it remixes these elements in a strange but satisfying way. Macross II is perhaps best known for its heavy usage of CGI, a novelty at the time, and its fluid, realistic dog-fighting sequences, something Kawamori was obsessed with getting right. As an OVA converted into a theatrical, it’s not as beautiful as Do You Remember Love?, but the battle scenes in particular are incredibly detailed, and the mecha designs are (as always with the Macross series) top-notch. Macross Plus, like all things Macross, has a complex history in the United States. The theatrical version was never made available as a dub, and is now very hard to find—but the OVA is readily available, and almost as good. Buyers beware—like much ’80s/’90s anime, there is a pointless “almost rape” scene that serves no essential purpose, and story-wise, Macross Plus lacks the narrative push of the original’s “alien invasion” plotline. Still, for anyone looking to delve deeper into the Macross universe, Macross Plus still gives you exactly what Macross does so well—and this time, it’s official canon. —J.D.

65. Phoenix: 2772 (1980)

Director: Taku Sugiyama


Osamu Tezuka, creator of such seminal manga/anime as Astro BoyKimba the White Lion, and Black Jack, is often referred to as “the Walt Disney of Japan,” and for good reason. The impact of his work is almost incalculable, and unlike Walt Disney, Tezuka was an equally adept hand at both simplistic children’s fables and complex, philosophical works that dealt with the questions that lie at the very heart of humanity. Phoenix is a 12-volume manga series that falls into that latter category, and one Tezuka considered his life’s work. Phoenix: 2772, then, written and produced by Tezuka, loosely adapts characters and concepts from several volumes of the manga. The story is set in a distant future in which the earth is ruined and humanity is dying, its only hope a young man’s quest to find the Phoenix—a mythical creature whose blood is said to heal all, and grant immortality. The young man, Godo, sets off with his crew to capture and kill the Phoenix, but as with any quest for immortality, they are doomed before they even begin. A vision of mankind’s future as bleak as any seen in film history, Phoenix nevertheless ends on a psychedelic, cosmic note of beauty and hopefulness, making the two-hour journey of the film an ultimately worthwhile one. The character designs are firmly Tezuka-esque—one character is pretty much an exact clone of Tezuka’s Black Jack (no complaints here!), and the animation is shockingly fluid for the time. The background work is simple but clean. This is clearly feature film level animation with some musical sequences (particularly the dialogue-free first 12 minutes) and action scenes that rival anything in the Disney canon. This is a hard one to track down, as it’s mostly out of print in the United States, but if you can clap eyes on a copy, you won’t be disappointed. As an animated entrée into Tezuka’s greatest work, Phoenix: 2272,/i> is a perfect example of why his oeuvre was so much more than just Astro Boy—J.D.

64. Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)

Director: Hiroyuki Kitakubo


The date is October 31, 1966. The military personnel stationed at the Yokota Air Base are scrambling for deployment on the eve of the Vietnam War while students at the base’s adjourning high school excitedly ready themselves for the campus’ annual halloween celebration. In the midst of this bottleneck of international tension and unsuspecting revelry, a mysterious transfer student named Saya has come to the school on a mission: to hunt down and kill a trio of terrifying creatures who prey on the blood and bodies of their human prey. Blood: The Last Vampire is significant for many reasons. The movie is not only the first anime film to be foremost produced entirely in English with Japanese subtitles, but also the first to eschew traditional cel drawn animation and be drawn and produced entirely through digital imaging software. Although already long ago pioneered by Disney on such works as Pocahontas and Mulan, this fact about the film’s production signifies a subtle yet seismic paradigm shift in the history of anime production and subsequently the culture of the medium at large. Blood was a proving ground of sorts for many of those involved, among them Kenji Kamiyama, a young screenwriter and background artist who would eventually go on to direct the television series adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell. Top that off with Katsuya Terada’s richly detailed character designs and beautifully photorealistic backgrounds, and you have an anime film packed with a surprising amount of aesthetic and historical significance considering its lean 48-minute running time.

63. Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan (1993)

Director: Shigeyasu Yamauchi


As the eighth and best theatrical release in possibly the best known anime franchise on the planet, Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan has probably been seen by more people than most of the other films on this list. Luckily, it’s well worth your time, whether you’re a fan of the ongoing series from which it sprung or not. The story, which, as with most other DBZ movies, is simply an excuse to gather the Z fighters together to combat a new threat to the universe. This time it concerns a super saiyan—a warrior from an alien race—who wants to enslave humanity, and whose quest begins with an orchestrated revenge against the heroes of DBZ. In other words, a typical shounen plot for perhaps the ultimate shounen show. What then separates Broly from the many other DBZ movies and specials? Two things: Broly himself is a silly but fun, over-the-top villain—a Super Saiyan version of The Hulk who only gets more powerful the angrier he gets—and the battle scene (comprising half of the film), which is endless fun for fans of kinetic action. Like any good theatrical film based upon an ongoing series, Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan contains everything that makes the series a hit, while offering the more fluid, cleaner animation that comes with a theatrical budget, and highlighting the best thing about the show itself—the pure, addictive thrill of great beings doing battle. As with all DBZ-derived material, Akira Toriyama’s simple story and pleasingly drawn characters remain a joy to watch for both kids and adults. If you are wondering about the massive appeal of the Dragon Ball franchise, Broly is as good a place as any to dip your toes into Toriyama’s best known work. —J.D.

62. Whisper of the Heart (1995)

Director: Yoshifumi Kondo


One of Studio Ghibli’s undersung treasures, Whisper of the Heart is a heartwarming coming-of-age story infused with fantastical imagery and endearing adolescent romance. Whisper of the Heart is the story of Shizuku, a stubborn and precocious bookworm who, after meeting Seiji Amasawa, an ambitious young violin-maker who shares her affinity for literature, is inspired to pursue her own passion for writing as an alternate means of accepting and professing her nascent affections for him. With spectacular aforementioned fantasy backdrops commissioned by artist Naohisa Inoue and the memorable inclusion of Olivia Newton-John’s rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” Whisper of the Heart is a beautiful movie and a bittersweet farewell effort from Yoshifumi Kondo who, at age forty-seven, passed away from heart complications.

61. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (2010)

Director: Tatsuya Ishihara, Yasuhiro Takemoto


Attempting to describe the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise to a newcomer, let alone an outright anime neophyte, is anything but simple. A twenty-eight episode anime adapted from a series of light novels by Nagaru Tanigawa, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is ostensibly a science fantasy slice-of-life comedy centered on the supernatural misadventures of a group of Japanese high schoolers lead by the series’ pugnacious, foul-mouthed namesake. The series is a prime example of postmodernism, with self-referentiality, existential crises, and a non-linear continuity that has captivated and infuriated fans since it first aired. Running at two hours and forty-two minutes, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is the second longest anime film ever produced, and the series’ capstone. The film follows Kyon, the series’ true protagonist/audience surrogate, who awakes one day to a world in which nobody remembers either him or Haruhi Suzumiya, the latter whom, as you might have gleaned from the film’s title, has inexplicably disappeared. A darker, more introspective human drama that wrestles with the “many worlds theory” as readily as it subverts expectations, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is a remarkable film and an impressive finale for one of the most conceptually ambitious, genre-defying, and critically divisive anime series of the last decade. That being said, you’ll save yourself of whole lot of confusion by approaching this film only after you’ve watched the entire series. Trust me on this.

60. Night on The Galactic Railroad (1985)

Director: Gisaburo Sugii


Anime owes a great debt to the legacy of Kenji Miyazawa. One of the most prolific Japanese children’s fiction authors of the 20th century, Miyazawa’s work is transcendent, and Night on the Galactic Railroad is without a doubt his opus. The story follows Giovanni and Campanella, two young boys from a hillside town who are swept up on a mysterious dreamlike voyage across the boundless reaches of time and space aboard the titular railroad. A deft fusion of Christian symbolism and Buddhism, the novella is akin to that of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince or Edward A. Abbott’s Flatland in how it’s able to elicit spiritual and emotional profundities from a deceptively simplistic premise. Gisaburo Sugii’s adaptation is a treasure of Japanese animation, a film that can aesthetically captivate a child while provoking philosophical and religious contemplation on the part of an adult. With the exception of portraying the main characters as anthropomorphic cats instead of human children, Sugii’s film is a exhaustive tribute to Miyazawa’s legacy, going so far as to incorporate the auxiliary language Esperanto (one of the author’s many passions) throughout the film’s signage and intertitles. If you’re looking for a children’s film with a more cerebral take on faith and religion, go check out Night on the Galactic Railroad.

59. Battle Angel (1993)

Director: Hiroshi Fukutomi


Based off of the first two volumes of Yukito Kishiro’s long-running sci-fi manga series, Battle Angel (or Gunnm, as it’s known in Japan) is the story of Gally, an amnesiac cyborg who wakes up to a dystopian future after being rescued by a kindly prosthetic scientist and later embarks on a personal journey of self-discovery and adventure. Despite the series’ popularity and the manga having run for a cumulative nineteen years, Battle Angel adapts only the first two volumes of the series. The film is premium cyberpunk material, with sprawling cityscapes, homicidal cyborg junkies, brooding bounty-hunters, and an enormous megacity hanging above the mainland separating the haves from the have-nots. Battle Angel does a wonderful job of fleshing out Gally’s initial arc from an unassuming youth to a formidable bounty hunter and martial artist. The film’s impressive quality only makes absence of any subsequent adaptation all that more peculiar. Battle Angel just barely scratches the surface of its source material, but if you’re looking for vintage cyberpunk story and a concise introduction to Kishiro’s opus, you’d be remiss not to give this one a shot.

58. Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki


The nature of Miyazaki’s oeuvre is such that it brims with an embarrassment of riches, each film in its own part situated indelibly into the continuum that is the anime canon. His films garner so much acclaim for their visual storytelling and emotional virtuosity that even those few that could be considered his “worst” movies still rank leagues above those animators who only aspire to his status. Case in point: Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. Miyazaki’s take on Kazuhiko Kato’s notorious master criminal is at once a rip-roaring heist film with heart and what might arguably be Miyazaki’s lesser films. Chalk it up to Miyazaki’s nascent efforts as a director, Castle of Cagliostro suffers from a plodding middle-half and a disappointingly simplistic antagonist while still somehow managing to sparkle with his signature charm peeking through the baggage of a preexisting work. Fans of the series passionately criticized the film for relieving Lupin of his anarchic predilections and instead casting him in the mold of a true gentleman thief, stealing only when his nebulous sense of honor permits it. In any case, The Castle of Cagliostro remains an important and essential artifact of Miyazaki’s proto-Ghibli work. A flawed Miyazaki film is a triumph all the same.

57. A Thousand and One Nights (1969)

Director: Eiichi Yamamoto


Created by Mushi Productions, the studio behind such classics such AstroboyKimba the White Lion and Dororo, and produced by none other than anime patriarch Osamu Tezuka, One Thousand and One Nights was the first installment in what would later come to be known as the Animerama series, a trilogy of thematically linked experimental erotic films created for adult audiences. Directed by Eiichi Yamamoto and written by Tezuka with the assistance of Kazuo Fukasaka and Hiroyuki Kumai, the film’s initial release in Japan was championed for its abstract animation, experimental live-action footage, adult storyline, and psychedelic rock music score. One Thousand and One Night would later be dubbed and receive an American release, predating the adult animated film phenomenon sparked by Ralph Bakshi’s 1972 Fritz the Cat, only to flop and receive a limited release. The English dub of One Thousand and One Nights is thought to be lost to the annals of history, with only the film’s original subtitled version to stand as a testament to one of the most bizarre and intriguing experiments in Japanese animation.

56. The Animatrix (2003)

Director: Various


The Animatrix is, without a doubt, the best thing to come out of the Matrix franchise since the original movie. At the height of the series’ popularity between production of the Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions, the Wachowskis recruited the talents of seven of the most preeminent directors working in the field of anime to co-create an anthology of nine short films set within and around the continuity of the Matrix universe. All the familiar tropes are present: the mirrorshades, the kung fu acrobatics, the pulsing rain of digital kanji. But the greatest quality of the Animatrix anthology was in refracting the singular vision of the Wachowskis to a kaleidoscope of yet-unexplored visual and conceptual possibilities within the series’ core concept. Whether it be Mahiro Maeda’s chilling prequel in “The Second Renaissance,” Shinichiro Watanabe’s low-tech noir mystery in “A Detective Story,” or Peter Chung’s bizarre and psychedelic journey into the mind of a human-designed matrix with “Matriculated,” the Animatrix dove directly into heart of films’ collective mythology and reimagined it with every last drop of untapped creativity the series had then yet to muster.

55. Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz (2000)

Director: Yasunao Aoki


Endless Waltz was originally produced as a three-part OVA wrapping up the story of the Gundam Wing TV series, which takes place outside the normal continuity of the Gundam “Universal Century” timeline. The movie cut is the superior viewing experience, however. Endless Waltz takes place one year after the events that wrapped up Gundam Wing, and involves the Gundam pilots, and their enemy Zechs Merquise, coming out of retirement to battle one last threat—and in some cases, each other. Where the Gundam Wing TV series had a plot that tended to meander, and sometimes used cheap animation or repeated cels, Endless Waltz is a feast for the eyes—filled with gorgeous, fluid battle scenes that any fan of giant robots will appreciate. Add to that the very smart decision to have the great Katoki Hajime (Short PeaceGundam 0083) redesign the Gundams into their “evolved” forms, and this becomes much more than a simple end of series cash-in. For this film version, several shots from the OVA were retouched, and there are some mild adjustments to the original animation. As a payoff to the TV series, it’s a great way to visit with the Gundam pilots one last time, and as a stand alone, it works well enough that even if one is not familiar with the source material, it’s a fun ride. The usual questions about the cost of war, the price of peace, and human determinism that run through virtually all Gundam series are on full display here. If you want a concise example of what Gundam does so well relative to other types of giant robot anime, this is a dance worth taking. —J.D.

54. 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)

Director: Makoto Shinkai


Makoto Shinkai’s fourth and arguably most well-known film, 5 Centimeters Per Second, focuses on the seemingly intractable distance, both physically and emotionally, between two childhood friends who pine for one another all the while the mounting circumstances of their lives intervene to pull them apart. Told across three short stories, the film follows Takaki Tono through childhood, adolescence, and eventually adulthood, documenting how his unrealized romance with his former best friend, Akari Shinohara, both spurs him forward and tragically leaves him incapable of pursuing human connection elsewhere. Set between the early ’90s and late aughts, 5 Centimeters Per Second ingenuously uses the absence and later ubiquity of modern communication technology to tell a story of mixed connections and emotional resonance. Filled with Shinkai’s requisite emotional motifs of loneliness, existential melancholy and romantic ennui, 5 Centimeters Per Second is perhaps the definitive introduction to Shinkai’s oeuvre for aficionados and newcomers alike.

53. My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)

Director: Isao Takahata


Isao Takahata, for all his legendary status as a director and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, is sometimes a hard director to pin down, stylistically. Case in point: the delightful, virtually plot-free, humane comedy My Neighbors the Yamadas, which looks and feels like nothing else in his oeuvre. Despite this, it somehow also feels like quintessential Takahata. Based on the comic strip manga, Nono-Chan, the film is a series of vignettes centered around the Yamadas, an average family living in metropolitan Japan. These vignettes cover everything from how Takashi and Matsuko (the parents at the center of many of the tales) met, to family arguments over who has control of the TV remote, to grandmother Shige’s advice and proverbs told to the family. Despite not having an overarching story, by the end of the film, each character and their interconnecting relationships are finely and realistically drawn, and it’s easy to find oneself in love with this family, and their silly, crabby humanity. Complex truths about aging, marriage, family, and childhood are expressed through these simple tales about particular family members and their trials, tribulations and daily foibles. Also of note is the striking visual style of the film, designed to look like a watercolor comic strip. Takahata was so firm in his desire to achieve this look that My Neighbors the Yamadas ended up becoming the first fully digital film from Studio Ghibli. Whether you find it slow-moving or delightfully sedate, the visuals will captivate. My Neighbors the Yamadas is a film only Ghibli would make, and only Takahata could shape into such a poignant ode to the humanity of everyday families. Essential Takahata, indeed. —J.D.

52. Cat Soup (2001)

Director: Tatsuo Sato


There’s a lot of ways to go about describing Cat Soup to someone who’s never seen it before. Hallucinatory. Macabre. Avant-garde. Adorable. The only thing you can’t call it is boring. Directed in 2001 by Tatsuo Sato and co-conceived by Sato and Masaaki Yuasa, Cat Soup is an award-winning dark comedy short film inspired by the work of cult manga artist Nekojiru. The film is a brilliant example of stream-of-consciousness animation, following the exploits of a young kitten named Nyatta who embarks on a bizarre journey to recover the soul of his sister Nyaako. Describing what happens in the film is insufficient in attempting to understand it as compared to simply watching it. Cat Soup is a disquieting head-trip, a pastel-colored fever dream, and above all else a supremely creative short film that’s as visually entertaining as it is conceptually unnerving.

51. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki


Howl’s Moving Castle was the Miyazaki film that almost didn’t happen. Conceived in 2001 amidst the height of Spirited Away’s success, Mamoru Hosoda was originally slated to direct the adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’ 1986 novel before he and Ghibli had a falling out due to a conflict of creative visions. Miyazaki seized the reins and made the film his own, crafting the source material into a creative vessel through which he could forge his impassioned contempt for the then-ongoing U.S. invasion of Iraq into a parable about a fruitless magical proxy war between two nations in a steampunk fantasy setting. Howl’s is a whimsical if occasionally tepid adventure of a timid young woman who, after being cursed with the body of an old crone by a jealous witch, is rescued by a charismatic wizard who lives in a gigantic walking house. The film’s titular castle is one of Miyazaki’s finest creations, resembling a bow-legged fish armed with stumpy wings and turrets hobbling across the countryside and shuffling debris to and fro. To be sure, though its finale is a bit muted and the abrupt resolution of a love story in the movie’s denouement is a bit too neat and tidy, the film is a quintessential Miyazaki effort nonetheless that’s sure to please both newcomers and enthusiasts who might have somehow not seen it yet.

50. Dead Leaves (2004)

Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi


You may not recognize Hiroyuki Imaishi’s name from a first glance, but in his career as an animator and director over the past two decades, he has amassed a body of work that’s iconic among post-millennial animation. Most recognized for his work as an animator on shows like FLCL and Neon Genesis Evangelion before going on to direct such cult classic series as Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Kill La Kill, his directorial feature debut, Dead Leaves, is a pure encapsulation of all of Imaishi’s idiosyncrasies and quirks as a director. The film follows the hyper-violent misadventures of two amnesiac criminals sentenced to life imprisonment aboard a space penitentiary embedded in the remnants of the moon. The film’s art style resembles what one would picture from an hyper-stylized underground cult comic from the ’90s, albeit injected with an industrial-sized adrenaline shot of anarchism, profanity and phallic imagery. The sum total of Imaishi’s aesthetic legacy can be traced back to Dead Leaves, whether it be his affinity for drill imagery that would later take center stage in Gurren Lagann or the frenzied hyperactive gunfights that would pop up in his work on FLCLDead Leaves is unapologetically low on story and crammed wall to wall with style, but when this combination plays so well to the director’s strengths, excess is absolutely what you want out of a film like this.

49. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004)

Director: Mamoru Oshii


Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is a sharp detour, both visually and conceptually, from the tone and tenor of Oshii’s 1995 classic. Set three years after the events of Ghost in the Shell and the disappearance of Major Motoko Kusanagi, Innocence follows Batou, the Major’s former partner and acting field commander of Public Security Section 9. While investigating a wave of murders perpetrated by an experimental line of sex gynoids, Batou and Section 9 uncover a deadly conspiracy linked to a rash of mysterious disappearances that extends to the highest echelons of the Japanese government. As Batou plunges into the depths of the criminal underground in his search for answers, he begins to question the extent of his own humanity as a prosthetic cyborg. Can someone ever truly recreate themselves? What does it mean to be happy? And will the Major ever truly return? Innocence is a noticeably different film than the original in regard to its tone and subject matter. Approaching it less as a sequel and more of epistemological investigation through the medium of anime, Oshii doubles down on the Christian esotericism and philosophical koan-esque questions that define the greater part of his work to create a film that, although visually impressive and conceptually complex, feels bogged down in its latter half by the weight of too much ambition. If you’re a Ghost in the Shell devotee, Innocence is definitely recommended: a dense excavation into a wellspring of ideas and questions that don’t often come to the forefront of contemporary cyberpunk stories. If you’re more of a casual viewer, stick with the somewhat more palatable (but no less profound) 1995 original.

48. Voices of a Distant Star (2002)

Director: Makoto Shinkai


Makoto Shinkai’s debut is a testament to his skill as a director, and a primer for every broad emotional and aesthetic through line that would go on to define his work. When middle-schooler Mikako Nagamine is recruited by the UN Space Army to serve as a mecha pilot to fight off an alien threat striking at human civilization from the fringes of the solar system, she leaves behind her friend Noboru Terao on Earth. Initially committed to being pen pals, the gulf of time between their responses grows longer and longer given the relative distance of Mikako’s ship traveling from Earth. Produced almost entirely by Shinkai himself with music composed and performed by long-time friend and collaborator Tenmo, Voices of a Distant Star hones in on the themes of time, space and distance, and how they impact the fragility of human relationships in a way that few other works can, securing Shinkai’s status as one of anime’s premier auteur directors.

47. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1999)

Director: Hiroyuki Okiura


Written and storyboarded by Mamoru Oshii, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is Hiroyuki Okiura’s feature film debut and the third and final installment in Oshii’s Kerberos trilogy. Jin-Roh follows a member of an elite anti-terrorist police unit who, after failing to subdue a mysterious suicide bomber in the midst of a heated riot, is plagued by disquieting visions and doubt regarding the virtue of his service. The film is as thematically complicated as it is aesthetically breathtaking, with superbly realistic animation, deafening firefights and oppressive melancholic ambiance owed in part to Hajime Mizoguchi’s score. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is an audacious reimagining of Charles Perrault’s “Little Red Riding Hood” set in an authoritarian alternate history Japan where the lines between the wolf and the girl, the hero and the villain, become blurred to the point where the two are rendered tragically indistinguishable by their fallibility.

46. The End of Evangelion (1997)

Director: Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki


The final two episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion are notorious among fans of the series.Titled “Do you love me?” and “Take Care of Yourself,” the two-part finale infamously sidelined the climactic finale to the series’ central conflict, instead opting to take place entirely away from the action within the subconscious of the show’s protagonist, Shinji Ikari, as he wrestled to resolve the self-loathing and hatred which plagued him throughout the story’s duration. The unconventionality and unsatisfying nature of this conclusion prompted disgruntled fans to issue death threats on Anno’s life and Gainax’s building to be defaced with graffiti. In response, Anno set to work on an alternative ending to the series to be produced in two parts and aired in theaters. If you were looking for a light, campy and celebratory conclusion, End of Evangelion is not that movie. Instead, what fans were treated to was perhaps one of the most fatalistic, avant garde, and oddly enough, life-affirming endings to an anime series ever produced. In short, it is the best and worst of everything that is Evangelion combined to create a film that is unlike anything that had come before it. Despite its unrelenting darkness, End of Evangelion remains true to the ethos of its subtitle, that the joy of death is in the act of rebirth.

45. Galaxy Express 999 (1979)

Director: Rintaro


Leiji Matsumoto was, along with Go Nagai, one of the preeminent creators of manga and anime in Japan in the 1970s. He is best known for his Yamato series, but his ultimate artistic achievement is perhaps the shared universe represented by the Galaxy Express 999Captain Harlock and Queen Emeraldas manga and anime series. Galaxy Express 999 started as a manga, then became a 113-episode anime, and culminated in a series of films, of which the self-titled is the first. Directed by the great Rintaro (MetropolisXNeo-Tokyo), and written by and adapted from Leiji Matsumoto’s manga, Galaxy Express 999 is quintessential Leiji. The story (inspired by the classic novel A Night on the Galactic Railroad) concerns a distant future where humans have developed the ability to download their consciousness into robot bodies, essentially achieving immortality—but also losing some measure of humanity. Only the richest humans can afford this procedure, and the poor are forced to live in squalor and die in backwater areas. Tetsuo Hoshino is a young boy whose mother was determined for them both to become immortal. Hearing of the legend of the galactic train, the Galaxy Express 999, whose passengers are guaranteed immortality, he meets Maetel, a mysterious woman who controls the train and offers to grant his wish if he keeps her company along the way. Exploring concepts like class struggle, immortality and what it really means to be human, Galaxy Express 999 is a heady piece of work. Leiji’s designs remain very idiosyncratic, his style being highly defined by this point, and though this film was made for a relatively small amount of money, the backgrounds and designs are uniformly beautiful. The animation itself is not really above the quality of the TV series upon which it was based, but that doesn’t really hurt the proceedings. As a way of summing up over a hundred episodes of story into one film, it’s a surprisingly lucid, affective piece of melancholy science fiction—Leiji’s specialty. It was a smash at the Japanese box office, leading to a somewhat confusing sequel, Adieu Galaxy Express 999, three years later. It was adapted for the U.S. market in 1980 by Roger Corman’s production company, and as was typical for the time, highly edited and changed for American consumption. Stick to the original with this one. A good place to start with Leiji Matsumoto, when you are ready to go beyond Yamato. —J.D.

44. Steamboy (2004)

Director: Katsuhiro Otomo


Steamboy, Katsuhiro Otomo’s long awaited follow-up to his defining 1988 film Akira, is remarkable for many reasons. Set in 1866 amid the landmark Great Exhibition in London, Steamboy is a high-flying steampunk adventure centered on a young inventor named Ray and a powerful object engineered by his genius scientist father and grandfather. The film is replete with the intricate details and expressive character animations that are synonymous with Otomo’s reputation as a master of the craft. The set-pieces are sweeping, and the action is entertaining, but there’s something missing. The plot plods and grinds to an excruciatingly slow pace during the film’s third act with just an hour left of the movie. The supporting characters are slight and ultimately insignificant to the arcs of either the protagonist or antagonist. And the film’s central theme, the question of what do the pursuit of science and industry owe to the whole of humanity, comes across as at best muddled and at worst disappointingly simplistic. Inspired initially by Otomo’s short “Cannon Fodder” for his 1995 anthology Memories and the pulp fantasy adventure novels of Edward Ellis and Harry Enton, Steamboy’s production lasted just shy of a decade, consisted of over 180,000 drawings and 440 computer-animated cuts, and cost an estimated $20 million. With that being said, despite its shortcomings, Steamboy remains a visually impressive technical achievement in modern animation. It’s a low mark in a filmography of outstanding work that still manages to crest higher than the majority of works it was released alongside of.

43. Porco Rosso (1992)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki


Sometimes cited as “lesser Miyazaki,” Porco Rosso is actually one of his most complex and melancholy films. Set in Croatia in the years immediately following World War I, the film revolves around the the titular character, an ex-WWI flying ace who has been turned into a human-sized pig through a mysterious curse (which is never really explained, only alluded to). Most of the film covers the story of Porco’s rivalry with a brash American pilot, Curtis, and their competition to win the hand of Gina, Porco’s longtime friend and the love of his life. Originally commissioned as a short in-flight film for Japan Airlines based on Miyazaki’s short manga, it slowly expanded into a feature film—and was of course a huge hit in Japan, despite being a bit of a departure for Miyazaki. Up until his most recent film, The Wind RisesPorco Rosso was the Studio Ghibli film that perhaps had the most “Miyazaki” in it. His obsessions with European towns, the forward march of technology, the disruptive effect of war, plucky young heroines, and of course, planes and flight, are more than just foregrounded here—they are the film. The entire enterprise has a mournful, melancholy feel, and thus a possibly ridiculous situation (a pig living his life as a man) is given a surprising amount of pathos. Porco pretends not to care that he isn’t human any more, and we learn that he feels he was cursed due to an act of cowardice in battle—although it’s never really clear if there’s anything he could have done differently. Porco’s mournfulness and survivor’s guilt permeate everything he does, and his resignation at his transformed state stunts his growth in other areas, making him a particularly sad protagonist. Paced more deliberately than other Miyazaki films, Porco Rosso comes together for a rousing climax, a beautifully realized dogfight that lives up to the insanely high bar set by Miyazaki’s other flying sequences. Along with The Wind RisesPorco Rosso is one of Miyazaki’s least fanciful films, using real planes, a real location, and set during real events. More grounded than a fantasy about a pig man would suggest, Porco Rosso nevertheless reaches heights that will leave any anime fan breathless—and does it in style. —J.D.

42. The Girl Who Leapt through Time (2006)

Director: Mamoru Hosoda


Though The Girl Who Leapt through Time may not technically be Mamoru Hosoda’s first turn as a director, it’s nonetheless the film that first introduced his name to the world stage and affixed the albatross title of “the next Miyazaki” around his neck. Based on Yasutaka Tsutsui’s 1967 novel, Hosoda’s film is a spiritual successor of sorts to the original. Makoto Konno is by all appearances an average high school girl with a habit of clumsiness and oversleeping. But after discovering a mysterious artifact while hanging around after class, she soon discovers that she has the ability to “leap” backward through time. What then begins as frivolous dalliances of youthful indiscretion soon enough cascades into an unforeseen series of chain reactions that threaten to shake her life to the core and force her to commit to the consequences of her actions. It’s a beautiful film for sure, with terrific animation confidently bringing Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s signature character designs to life. Like all great science-fiction, The Girl Who Leapt through Time offers the satisfaction of speculative wish fulfillment combined with an earthly lesson that touches home: time waits for no one, and no matter our fears or regrets, an inescapable part of growing up means taking a leap of faith into the unknown and learning how to fly on our way down.

41. The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004)

Director: Makoto Shinkai


Trying to nail down Makoto Shinkai’s “best” film is a difficult task, to say the least. While none of his films are “bad” per se, his work has the tendency to retread a common arrangement of visual and thematic motifs that, although entertaining, leave something to be desired in the way of range. To put it simply: If you’ve seen one of his films, you can reliably guess what his others will be like. That’s what makes The Place Promised in Our Early Days so exemplary. It touches on all of Shinkai’s major themes and emotional beats (“lonely sadness,” ennui, romantic melancholy) and wrapping his aesthetic sentimentality in a strong sci-fi fantasy drama that gives those beats heft and a satisfying course of resolution. Shinkai’s first feature-length production, The Place Promised in Our Early Days is set in an alternate universe where Japan has been stratified into two opposing territories occupied by the Soviet Union and United States. The film follows the stories of Hiroki, Takuyi and Sayuri, three childhood friends who in 1996 form a pact to one day fly to the mysterious spindling tower built on the Union’s territory and discover its secrets. This adolescent quest soon escalates into a dramatic international conflict involving parallel dimensions, false realities and experimental technology. Flushed with the grandiose settings of sepia-coated cloudscape that Shinkai is best known for, The Place Promised in Our Early Days hones the director’s talents to a fine point, delivering an exhilarating emotional high in its final climactic moments.

40. A Silent Voice (2016)

Director: Naoko Yamada

A Silent Voice.jpg

In a medium that too often feels at times constricted by the primacy of masculine aesthetic sensibilities and saturated with hyper-sexualized portrayals of women colloquially coded as “fan service,” Naoko Yamada’s presence is a welcome breath of fresh air, to say nothing of the inimitable quality of her films themselves. Inspired by the likes of Yasujiro Ozu, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Sergei Parajanov, Sofia Coppola, and Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Yamada is a director par excellence, capable of arresting attention and evoking melancholy and bittersweet catharsis through delicate compositions of deft sound, swift editing, ephemeral color palettes, and characters with rich inner lives rife with knotty, relatable struggles. A Silent Voice, adapted from Yoshitoki Oima’s manga of the same name, is a prime example of all these sensibilities at play. When Shoya Ishida meets Shoko Nishimiya, a deaf transfer student, in elementary school, he bullies her relentlessly to the amusement of his classmates. One day when Shoya goes too far, forcing Shoko to transfer again for fear of her own safety, he is branded a pariah by his peers and retreats into a state of self-imposed isolation and self-hatred. Years later, Shoya meets Shoko once again, now as teenagers, and attempts to make amends for the harm he inflicted on her, all while wrestling to understand his own motivations for doing so. A Silent Voice is a film of tremendous emotional depth, an affecting portrait of adolescent abuse, reconciliation, and forgiveness for the harm perpetrated by others and ourselves.

39. Interstella 5555 (2003)

Director: Kazuhisa Takenouchi


Back in 2003, Daft Punk were on top of the world. Coming off the release of their breakout sophomore album Discovery with chart-topping singles like “Aerodynamic” and “One More Time,” the duo has confidently secured their place at the apex of the EDM zeitgeist. However, the pair had yet still more surprise up their sleeves. During the early recording sessions of Discovery, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo co-wrote a screenplay based on the album with the intent of pitching it to their childhood hero, Leiji Matsumoto. One year before the album’s release, the pair travelled to Tokyo to present their idea to Matsumoto, which he accepted. The rest, they say, was history. Reportedly costing $4 million to produce, Interstella 5555 transformed an album that many thought to be absent of any hint of story and transformed into a grandiose EDM space opera rock odyssey centered on the perilous kidnapping and subsequent rescue of a blue-skinned alien rock band from the nefarious clutches of a label executive bent on galactic domination. More than just a serendipitous alignment of two immensely creative forces, Interstella 5555 surpasses the limitations of having no spoken dialogue to become a fascinating allegory for the appropriation of talent and the predatory machinations of the entertainment industry. It’s a one-of-a-kind collaboration that feels like a film pulled from some impossible, alternate dimension that should be seen by dance music fans and anime aficionados alike.

38. Vampire Hunter D (1985)

Director: Toyoo Ashida


Being an anime fan in the late ’80s/early ’90s was more difficult than it is today, with the wealth of streaming options available to younger fans. In the pre-internet, VHS era, U.S. anime fans were forced to choose from what was available at their local video store- or black market illegal fansubs. To otaku of a certain age, Vampire Hunter D is a classic of this bygone era. One of the first “adult-themed” anime to come across the pond and end up at places like Blockbuster—for you younger readers, that was Netflix before Netflix—it was pretty much required viewing by any budding anime fan. In fact it’s fair to say that for a time, Vampire Hunter D had higher awareness among U.S. fans than any anime with the exception of Akira, or one or two other major titles. The story, adapted from Hideyuki Kikuchi’s 1983 novel, is a relatively simplistic gothic western set against a post-apocalyptic backdrop and following the adventures of the dhampir (half-vampire) “Vampire Hunter D.” D himself is properly mysterious and taciturn in the classic mode of Japanese male protagonists, speaking rarely and generally being more of a “man of action.” This is good, as the script adaptation and dub are pretty rough (there has since been a Blu-Ray release of the film with the original Japanese dialogue). Where Vampire Hunter D excels is in its design, by the legendary Yoshitaka Amano, and direction, by Toyoo Ashida (Fist of the North Star). As an OVA, the animation quality is better than the average TV series of the era, but not up to the level of a theatrical release. A superior follow-up film, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, was released 15 years later, and the series of light novels upon which the films are based still continues today. From today’s perspective, Vampire Hunter D is a dated, almost charming, example of a time when this sort of semi-adult cartoon content was considered “dangerous” to budding young anime fans in the United States. Along with a few other key titles like Wicked City and Ninja ScrollVampire Hunter D lit the flame for many older anime fans, and for that reason alone it deserves to be appreciated. —J.D.

37. Castle in the Sky (1986)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki


Coming off the critical and commercial success of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Hayao Miyazaki would go on to found Studio Ghibli alongside his mentor and collaborator Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki before immediately setting to work on the studio’s first major production. Castle in the Sky, alternatively titled as Laputa: Castle in the Sky, opens with a young girl named Sheeta who, after narrowly escaping the clutches of a band of air pirates who seek to exploit her for unknown ends, is miraculously saved as she falls from a flying airship by a mysterious amulet that levitates her safely to the ground. She lands in the careful arms of Pazu, a young boy from a local mining village who dreams of one day discovering the fabled floating city of Laputa and vindicating his father’s memory. What follows is a two-hour high-action adventure between the pair being doggedly chased by pirates, the military and an unscrupulous government agent—all on a quest to find the legendary castle and manipulate its untold treasures and secrets to their own nefarious ends. Castle in the Sky is a tremendous film powered by pure propulsive momentum, each setting filled with back-to-back hilarious and harrowing moments that would give Indiana Jones a run for its money in terms of action and spectacle. Inspired by the likes of Gulliver’s Travels and Judeo-Christian folklore, the floating city of Laputa is just one of the countless iconic locations that Miyazaki has conjured into the collective imagination throughout his near-fifty-year-long career. Though perhaps not as well-known as Princess Mononoke or Spirited AwayCastle in the Sky is nonetheless an essential entry in Studio Ghibli’s filmography of classics.

36. Appleseed (2004)

Director: Shinji Aramaki


Based on Masamune Shirow’s 1985 award-winning sci-fi action manga series, Appleseed tells the story of ESWAT soldier Deunan Knute and her cyborg lover Briareos, who are charged with defending the utopian city of Olympus amid the turmoil of a post-apocalyptic world. Already well-respected for his mecha designs for such series as Megazone 23 and Bubblegum CrisisAppleseed was Shinji Aramaki’s feature-length debut and noteworthy for its extensive use of CGI and cel-shading technology. Though far from the first anime to be exclusively produced in this format and released just three years after the critical and commercial windfall of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy: The Spirits WithinAppleseed was quintessential in proving the vitality and convenience of using CGI in anime production when put in the right hands. With great visuals, solid action, an infectious techno soundtrack courtesy of Japanese electronic duo Boom Boom Satellites, and a serviceable if clichéd plot, Appleseed remains a significant touchstone in the history of early-aught animation and, on top of that, a pretty entertaining watch to boot.

35. Panda! Go, Panda! (1972)

Director: Isao Takahata


If you’re looking for the direct spiritual predecessor to the likes of My Neighbor Totoro or Ponyo, you’ll have to turn your focus all the way back to 1972, a full thirteen years before Studio Ghibli was founded. Initially released that year as a 33-minute theatrical short film before being expanded a year later with a second installment titled The Rainy-Day CircusPanda! Go, Panda! introduced the trope of a lovable and mischievous sidekick character that would later become a constant throughout some of the studio’s best known works. Conceived, scripted and storyboarded by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by his mentor Takahata, Panda is the story of a little girl named Mimiko who, after being left home alone while her grandmother is away, becomes the adoptive daughter and surrogate mother to a giant talking panda and his son Panny. It only gets weirder from there. Mimiko is a Pippi Longstockings-like character who is unfazed by the sheer insanity that surrounds her, while her lovable panda father has a low-key psychotic vibe about him when it comes to his obsession with the bamboo grove outside Mimiko’s house. Still, Panda! Go, Panda! isn’t meant to be taken seriously. It’s a fun, cutesy children’s film with an infectious theme song that satisfies in its simplicity while also being a fascinating precursor to what Studio Ghibli would go on to perfect in their later work.

34. Robot Carnival (1987)

Director: Various


Silent animated shorts set to dramatic orchestral music, commonly known as Silly Symphonies, were all the rage in America throughout the 1920s and ’30s. Perhaps the most famous example from this era of animation was Fantasia, produced by Walt Disney and released to critical acclaim in 1940. Robot Carnival is anime’s answer to that film, a collection of nine short films produced by nine of the most esteemed anime directors and character designers of their time. For sure, not every short shines as a pillar of canonical greatness, e.g., Hiroyuki Kitazume’s “Starlight Angel” or Hidetoshi Omori’s “Deprive.” But when a short does shine, it’s a sight to behold. Koji Morimoto’s “Franken’s Gear” is a brilliant choice for an opener, while Manabu Ohashi’s “Cloud” is a melancholic gem that memorably experiments through the use of scratchboard animation. Hiroyuki Kitakubo’s “Strange Tales of Meiji Machine Culture: Westerner’s Invasion” is a imaginative take on the Giant Robot subgenre that’s as ridiculous as its name, and Takashi Nakamura’s “Chicken Man and Red Neck” is the true anime analog to Fantasia’s iconic “Night on Bald Mountain.” Even if Robot Carnival was not an awesome collection—and it is—it would still be a remarkable timestamp of when a constellation of talented young director align to create a project born completely out of a love for the medium.

33. Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack (1988)

Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino


The first Gundam theatrical and final chapter in the original saga begun in 1979 with the “Universal Century Timeline” of the Mobile Suit Gundam TV series, Char’s Counterattack has the weight of three seasons of TV behind it. Yoshiyuki Tomino, creator of the Gundam series, directed and wrote the film, adapting it faithfully from his novel, Hi-Streamer. Widely considered the best film in the Gundam franchise, Char’s Counterattack is most successful at wrapping up the 14-year rivalry between the “hero” of the Earth Federation, Amuro Ray, and the leader of Neo-Zeon, Char Aznable. The story involves a classic Gundam dilemma: Char’s Neo-Zeon force attempts to drop an asteroid filled with nuclear weapons onto Earth, which would free the colonies from the yoke of oppression by their rivals, the Earth Federation, and kill everyone on Earth in the process. As with all of the best Gundam tales, Tomino approaches the story from a hard sci-fi point of view, clearly laying out the science behind things like giant mobile suits and “newtypes” (humans that have evolved to acquire psychic abilities). Tomino carefully lays out the reasoning behind Char and Amuro’s passions and hatreds, not allowing the viewer to choose a clear side. Gundam series have always been willing to take on discussions about the horrors of war and how mankind, for all its advancements, never seems to be able to free itself from humanity’s baser instincts. Char’s Counterattack attempts this as well, yet it’s mostly concerned with wrapping up the rivalry between Amuro and Char—and on that note, it succeeds wildly. Featuring gorgeous, tense fight sequences set in space, an excellent soundtrack by Shigeaki Saegusa, and some of the most lauded Gundam designs in the history of the franchise, the film is inarguably one of the high points of the Gundam Universe. One down side: if you don’t have the investment of spending hundreds of episodes of television with these characters, the plot can be confusing, and Char/Amuro’s ending will likely not resonate as strongly. Regardless, Char’s Counterattack remains a key moment in the Gundam universe, one still worth checking out almost 30 years later. Hail Zeon! —J.D.

32. Mirai (2018)

Director: Mamoru Hosoda


Most if not all of Mamoru Hosoda’s original films produced in the past decade function, to some degree or another, as exercises in autobiography. Summer War, apart from a premise more or less recycled from Hosoda’s 2000 directorial debut Digimon Adventure: Our War Game!, was the many times removed story of Hosoda meeting his wife’s family for the first time. 2012’s Wolf Children was inspired by the passing of Hosoda’s mother, animated in part by the anxieties and aspirations at the prospect of his own impending parenthood. 2015’s The Boy and the Beast was completed just after the birth of Hosoda’s first child, the product of his own questions as to what role a father should play in the life of his son. Mirai, the director’s seventh film, is not inspired from Hosoda’s own experience, but through the experiences of his first-born son meeting his baby sibling for the first time. Told through the perspective of Kun, a toddler who feels displaced and insecure in the wake of his sister Mirai’s birth, Mirai is a beautiful adventure fantasy drama that whisks the viewer through a dazzling odyssey across Kun’s entire family tree, culminating in a poignant conclusion that emphasizes the beauty of what it means to love and be loved. Mirai is Hosoda’s most accomplished film, the recipient of the first Academy Award nomination for an anime film not produced by Studio Ghibli, and an experience as edifying as it is a joy to behold.

31. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki


Based on Eiko Kadono’s popular 1985 young adult novel, Kiki’s Delivery Service is a cheerful and charming story of adolescent independence and growing up. Miyazaki’s fourth film under Studio Ghibli follows the titular Kiki, a 13-year-old witch who ventures out into the world from the comfort of her hometown for a year to begin her training as an adult. Noticeably lacking in any sort of antagonist or grand adventure, Kiki’s Delivery Service focuses instead on the everyday struggles of a young adult coming into her own, albeit with a magical twist. Finding a place to stay, securing a job, learning how to make new friends and taking on more responsibilities: these are the sort of stakes that define Kiki’s journey and make her story an endearing one. Miyazaki’s affinity for depicting flight shines through every scene of Kiki wrestling against the air current to steady her broom mid-flight, her dress billowing in the wind as she jets off in the film’s spectacular finale. Though all of Studio Ghibli’s previous films were modest critical if not financial successes up to this point, Kiki’s Delivery Service was a true watershed moment for the studio, becoming the highest-grossing film in Japan in 1989 and securing critical acclaim both at home and overseas. The film is a story of independence, positivity and the font of inner strength that compels every young person to go out into the world and build a life for his or herself.

30. Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

Director: Satoshi Kon


Tokyo Godfathers is something of an outlier, not only among Satoshi Kon’s films, but across the medium of anime as a whole. After all, anime features that depict Christmas as something more than a backdrop are few and far between, especially one that offers such an inspired modern take on the Three Wise Men and the birth of the Christ. Tokyo Godfathers is the story of Gin, Hana and Miyuki, three homeless friends who discover an abandoned baby while rifling through the trash in search of a Christmas present. They resolve to find the child’s parents and bring her safely home, embarking on a journey that takes them to every far corner of the city and inevitably face-to-face with lives they had each abandoned. Named after Robert Ford’s 1948 western take on the christian nativity story, Tokyo Godfathers is Christmas story in the purest sense—a redemptive fable about fallible people and the extraordinary extent through which they go to set one piece of the world, however small, right. Compassionate and hopeful without once cheapening itself with saccharine sentimentality, Tokyo Godfathers resonates with a raw and honest appeal to emotion that merits comparison to the likes of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. If you’re a bit burnt out over Christmas cheer, do yourself a favor and put this one on around the holidays. You won’t regret it.

29. Your Name (2016)

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Your Name.jpg

Much like his contemporary Mamoru Hosoda, Makoto Shinkai is a director who is frequently championed as the “new” Hayao Miyazaki in the conversation surrounding who will succeed him as his heir apparent. This comparison however, much like in the case of Hosoda, ends up being frustratingly reductionist in its appraisal of both directors. Shinkai’s films are not light-hearted family adventures or archetypal pillars of anime canonicity, but tense, melancholic odes to contemporary Japanese society that highlight the ways in which physical, emotional and temporal distance inform the shape and course of human relationships. His fifth feature film, Your Name, exercises Shinkai’s predilection for “star-crossed love” to its narrative and thematic endpoint, situating the budding romance of the film’s protagonists at the epicenter of an astrological event of nothing shy of life-or-death consequence. The recipient of over a dozen awards, in addition to becoming the highest-grossing anime film of its time, Your Name is Shinkai’s most critically and commercially successful production to date, a masterful film that ranks among the very best the medium has to offer.

28. Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer (1984)

Director: Mamoru Oshii


Before his name became synonymous with such titles as Patlabor and Ghost in the Shell, Mamoru Oshii first cut his teeth as an animator directing the television series adaptation of Rumiko Takahashi’s Urusei Yatsura manga and its first two theatrical installments. While the series’ first film, Only You, is a fairly typical fantasy romance-romp that plays close to the formulaic familiarity of the series, Beautiful Dreamer was a far more experimental and ultimately divisive film among the series’ fanbase and set Oshii on the path to become the director we know him as today. Beautiful Dreamer follows Ataru Moroboshi, a lecherous if well-meaning high schooler and his extraterrestrial fiancée Lum as he and his friends scramble to finish preparing for their high school’s annual school festival. It’s not long before they discover something strange is going on, with each day seemingly repeating itself ad infinitum. It’s up to Ataru, Lum and the other to discover what’s causing this bizarre temporal loop, and whether such a state of existence is either a blessing or a curse. With Beautiful Dreamer, Oshii stopped playing to the gratifications of his audience and instead made a film that was, for better or for worse depending on who you ask, entirely his own. In many ways, Beautiful Dreamer can be viewed as the forebear to The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, at least in terms of its ambition to upend and experiment with the status quo of an established series. If you’re looking for an engaging romance drama that doubles as an important touchstone in the history of one of anime’s most influential directors, Beautiful Dreamer is wholeheartedly recommended.

27. Roujin-Z (1991)

Director: Hiroyuki Kitakubo


Katsuhiro Otomo is a legend in the field of anime and manga for good reason. Beyond his crowning achievement, Akira, he is responsible for a score of interesting and thought-provoking anime films that continue to push the boundaries of what animation can do. One such case is Roujin-Z, a pitch-black satire of the Japanese health care industry and military industrial complex. Otomo didn’t direct the film—Hiroyuki Kitakubo (Blood the Last VampireGolden Boy) did, with Otomo producing, writing and providing mecha designs. This was also the great Satoshi Kon’s first production. All the talent arrayed in the creation of Roujin-Z help make it one of the most singular animated comedies ever made. The story concerns a not-so-distant future where the government has developed a robot that can care for the elderly in every way—cleaning them, entertaining them, allowing them to use the bathroom, all while they remain safely ensconced in the unit. The first person to test the unit is a dying widower named Kiyuro Takazawa. He is deeply unhappy at being placed in the machine, and his unhappiness manifests itself in unexpected ways as his psyche infects the unit, and it begins to use ingrained abilities the government thought no one would discover. Soon enough, the Z-001 is careening across Tokyo, destroying buildings and battling government military hardware, all while Kiyuro wails about going to the beach, where he and his dead wife made some important memories. On paper, this all seems fairly dire, but all of these events are underplayed and lightened by several adorable side characters, from a rogues gallery of mischievous septuagenarian hackers, to Kiyuro’s devoted human nurse, Nobuko. Only Otomo would decide to house a trenchant social commentary about Japan’s discarding of its elderly inside a robot-gone-amok satire of government bureaucracy and greed. Somehow, it all hangs together and makes for a dark but often hilarious satire with some delightful scenes of robotic destruction. The film overall looks more like an OVA than a high-budget feature, but the designs are memorable and based in hard science (again, this is Otomo), and the characters are vibrant and goofy enough to soften the proceedings. Roujin-Z was dubbed in English by Manga Entertainment and released in the United States in 1994, and is still fairly easy to grab subbed or dubbed on DVD. Those looking for more Otomo after Akira would do well to give this unusual gem a look. —J.D.

26. Tekkonkinkreet (2006)

Director: Michael Arias


Based on Taiyo Matsumoto’s cult-classic manga, Tekkonkinkreet is a landmark in Japanese animation not only for its extensive hybrid 3D-meets-2D animation but also for being the first major anime feature to be helmed by a non-Japanese director. Tekkonkinkreet follows the stories of Black and White, two orphaned thieves and street fighters who “rule” over the metropolitan sprawl known as Treasure Town. When a small army of extraterrestrial land developers move into town to destroy the low-income housing in and around the city, the brothers attempt to defend their turf and fight back. But lightning-fast punches and death-defying leaps can only delay the inevitable for so long, and Black and White must both eventually come to grips with the consequences of trying to live in the past. Inspired by his time exploring the cityscapes of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Colombo, Treasure Town is almost a character itself—a love letter to the unique chaoticism of pan-Asian industrialism. Tekkonkinkreet is a complicated and compelling story of love and friendship amid a constantly crumbling and reshaping world that feels intimately tied to the communities through which it was inspired. It’s a story about the uneasy turmoil of emotional growth, of holding close to the core of what makes you who you are while learning to let go of everything else that holds you back.

25. Only Yesterday (1991)

Director: Isao Takahata


Re-released in American theaters for the first time since its 1991 Japanese debut, Only Yesterday is a simple slice-of-life story of one woman’s childhood and her time spent in the countryside as an adult. Whereas Miyazaki’s films more often skew towards the fantastical, Takahata has a penchant for directing more human dramas that are distinguished with wildly varying and experimental art styles. Only Yesterday follows Taeko Okajima, a 27-year-old unmarried office worker who takes a holiday to visit her extended family in the rural farmlands of Yamagata where she helps to harvest safflowers. While there, she reflects back on her time as a young girl growing up with her parents in Tokyo and how her experiences back then have come to shape her life in the present. Only Yesterday was a rarity when it was first released in 1991: an animated drama tailored for adult audiences near-entirely absent of the gloss of magical realism that defined the majority of Studio Ghibli’s (and most of the anime industry’s) work up to that point. An endearing story of the power of nostalgia and how it shapes perception of the world and of ourselves well into adulthood, Only Yesterday defied expectations and went on to become the highest grossing Japanese film of that year, inspiring a wave of similar “slice-of-life” features and earning Takahata immense critical acclaim. Only Yesterday remains something special nearly twenty-five years later: an earnest and affecting story of a woman continuing to grow and learn well past becoming an adult.

24. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki


Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is, quite simply, the film responsible for the creation of Studio Ghibli. The film not only signaled Miyazaki’s nascent status as one of anime’s preeminent creators, but also sparked the creation of an animation studio whose creative output would dominate the medium for decades to come. Following the release of The Castle of Cagliostro, Miyazaki was commissioned by his producer and future long-time collaborator Toshio Suzuki to create a manga in order to better pitch a potential film to his employers at Animage. What resulted was Nausicaä, a fantasy epic, inspired by the works of Ursula K. Le Guin and Jean “Moebius” Giraud, starring a courageous warrior princess trying to mend a rift between humans and the forces of nature while soaring across a post-apocalyptic world. The success of Nausicaä as a serialized manga would culminate in a film adaptation that would then go on to be heralded as one of the greatest animated films of all-time. Nausicaä was the film that introduced the world to motifs and themes by which Miyazaki would become universally known for: a courageous female protagonist unconscious of and undeterred by gender norms, the surmounting power of compassion, environmental advocacy, and an unwavering love and fascination with the phenomenon of flight. The essentialness of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’s placement within the greater canon of animated film, Japanese or otherwise, cannot be overstated. It spawned an entire generation of animators, among them Hideaki Anno, whose lauded work on the film’s climactic finale would later inspire him to go on to create Neon Genesis Evangelion. If you haven’t seen this film yet, do so immediately. And if you have already, it only gets better with age.

23. Memories (1995)

Director: Various


After wrapping production on Akira in 1988, Katsuhiro Otomo returned in 1995 to helm his third anthology collection of short films, titled Memories. Initially scripted around the theme of the collection’s namesake, the anthology eventually yielded a series of three shorts, each directed by one of three of the most acclaimed directors working at the time, Otomo included. The collection’s first segment, “Magnetic Rose,” is unanimously praised as the anthology’s best and for good reason. Directed by Koji Morimoto and scripted by Satoshi Kon, “Magnetic Rose” is emblematic of the themes of perception, identity and uncertainty, which exemplify Kon’s work at its best, depicting the terrifying story of a deep space salvage cruise’s ensnarement in the siren wiles of an aristocratic opera singer. The anthology’s other two installments, Tensai Okamura’s “Stink Bomb” and Otomo’s “Cannon Fodder,” are worth the price of admission as well, the former a crassly comedic take on an extinction-level crisis and the latter a wartime parable animated with a intriguing Terry Gilliam-esque art style in one long take. Whatever your palate as anime film-goer, Memories is not to be missed.

22. Ninja Scroll (1993)

Director: Yoshiaki Kawajira


Set during the Tokugawa era of Japan, Ninja Scroll follows the story of Jubei Kibagami, an itinerant samurai warrior (partly inspired by the real-life folk hero, Jubei Yagyu) who is recruited by a government agent to defeat the Eight Devils of Kimon, a cabal of demonic ninja who conspire to overthrow the Tokugawa regime and plunge Japan into destruction. Along the way he meets Kagero, a beautiful and mysterious poison eater, and is forced to confront the demons of his past as he fights to preserve the present. Produced during the boom of anime’s foreign markets, Ninja Scroll was one of the first titles released by Manga Entertainment in the West. Its well-defined animation, unflinching hyper-violence, and impressively creative fight sequences made it a requisite gateway title for early anime fans and is rightfully looked upon as a cult classic to this day. The film qualifies as a time capsule for one of anime’s heyday periods, with exquisite production values married to impeccably crafted set pieces. Ninja Scroll pushed the boundaries of excess, with unflinching depictions of sensuality and sexual violence shown alongside showers of gore and decapitation. The film was front-and-center for the argument that anime “wasn’t just for kids” in the mid-’90s, and qualifies today as a must-see title for a serious anime fan. Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s Ninja Scroll is the quintessential anime chanbara action film, no question.

21. Panda and the Magic Serpent (1958)

Director: Taiji Yabushita, Kazuhiko Okabe


Based on the Chinese folktale The Legend of the White Snake, Panda and the Magic Serpent is noteworthy for being not only being the first full color anime film, but for being the first licensed anime film to be shown in America. In 1952, shortly after the post-war animosities between Japan and the West began to dissipate, Toei studio acquired the rights to the story and five years later set out to adapt it into a feature-length film. Hiroshi Okawa, president of Toei films at the time, had hoped to emulate the personality-driven marketing of Walt Disney with the film, aiming to transform the studio into the so-called “Disney of the East.” Despite receiving honors at the Venice Children’s Film Festival in 1959, the film performed poorly in the states and received a very small theater run. The film’s significance doesn’t stop there though, as Panda and the Magic Serpent is credited by Hayao Miyazaki as one of the films that first inspired him to become an animator and Rintaro, who would later become an influential director in his own right for such films as Galaxy Express 999 and Metropolis, got his first animation job as an in-betweener working on this very film.

20. Mind Game (2004)

Director: Masaaki Yuasa


Trying to pin down Masaaki Yuasa’s 2004 breakout debut with a summary is no easy task, as the now-storied director behind such modern anime classics as Kick-HeartPing Pong and The Tatami Galaxy revels in defying expectations with his maximalist anything-goes approach to animation. When 20-year-old aspiring comic artist Nishi dies in a yakuza hold-up while attempting to protect his childhood crush Myon, his soul meets God before escaping Limbo and reassuming his body moments before his tragic death. The couple lead a high-speed getaway in one of the Yakuza member’s cars before diving into the ocean and being swallowed into the belly of a … see what I mean? Mind Game is like witnessing a seven-hour Ayahuasca trip encapsulated into a feature-length film. Impressionistic, avant garde, and above all unique, Mind Game is a confusing and exhilarating shock to the senses that’s just shy of impossible to forget.

19. Redline (2009)

Director: Takeshi Koike


Without question, Takeshi Koike is one of the greatest animators alive and working today. Problem is, you’ve probably never heard of him. Not surprising, considering his most critically recognized work was not produced until well into his late thirties. Recruited by studio Madhouse straight out of high school in 1986, Koike became something of a protégé to veteran director Yoshiaki Kawajiri and cut his teeth as an inbetween animator for such films as Cyber City Oedo 808 and Ninja Scroll before striking out on his own projects during the 2000s. After directing projects such as Trava: Fist PlanetThe Animatrix short “World Record,” and the pilot for Afro Samurai, Koike poured the sum total of his talents into creating what is now popularly considered his opus: Redline, a stylistically bold high-octane racing adventure nearly seven years in the making. Koike’s style is unmistakable, with exaggerated silhouettes framed by jagged shadows, extreme focal points, and unrelenting action that recalls the works of Mike Mignola, Frank Miller and Peter Chung. Redline is a feast for the senses, a no-holds-barred visual spectacle with every framed packed with innocuous intricacies rendered in meticulous loving detail. The story is threadbare, no doubt, but as a film that triumphantly pays off its protracted gestation period with a product that’s this unabashedly impressive and downright cool, Redline squarely fits into the select number of anime films that one just has to see before they die.

18. Belladonna of Sadness (1973)

Director: Eiichi Yamamoto


Inspired by Jules Michelet’s book Satanism and Witchcraft, the third and final film in Osamu Tezuka’s “Animerama” trilogy was so expensive and avant-garde, its failure bankrupted its production company, Mushi Pro. The only film in the trilogy not directed by Tezuka (he left the project in its conceptual stages), Eiichi Yamamoto’s Belladonna of Sadness is amongst the most unusual animated films ever put to celluloid. This is not a huge surprise from a talent as legendary as Yamamoto, among whose mighty credits are titles like Kimba the White Lion and Space Battleship YamatoBelladonna of Sadness is the tale of a village woman named Jeanne who is raped by her liege lord and his men on her wedding night, then makes a literal deal with the devil to gain magical powers and lead a rebellion against her rapists. Belladonna is extreme in every sense of the word: Start with the look—the film consists almost entirely of pans across still watercolor paintings, with occasional expressive bursts of color and movement scattered throughout. The designs owe virtually nothing to traditional anime character construction, or even Tezuka’s own, more cartoonish style. Instead, the film’s great debt is to European painters like Gustav Klimt, Degas and Kandinsky, among others. Filled with haunting music, lots of disembodied voice-over and vibrantly rendered yet horrifying scenes of rape, nudity, murder and madness, it’s no surprise Belladonna of Sadness was banned in many countries for decades. The feminist subtext of the film is very much foregrounded—clearly Jeanne is an avatar for Jeanne D’Arc (Joan of Arc), and there are also direct links in one scene between Jeanne and Marianne, the female personification of the French Republic—and despite the darkness Jeanne wallows in and the horrors she is subjected to, this is a film worth experiencing, mostly because there has really been nothing like it either before or since. The tale is brutal, but the beauty in which it’s told means we can’t look away. —Jason DeMarco

17. Millennium Actress (2001)

Director: Satoshi Kon


Satoshi Kon’s second film, Millennium Actress, builds off the themes of cinema and celebrity previously explored in his debut Perfect Blue, instead casting them in the mold of a metafictional fairytale quest for love. Inspired by the lives of Setsuko Hara and Hideko Takamine, two of Japan’s premiere early-century stars, Millennium Actress follows the story of Chiyoko Fujiwara, a reclusive septuagenarian who recounts the story behind her illustrious career as a film actress when approached by a pair of interviewers eager to film a documentary. One of Kon’s signature motifs as a director is the mutability of reality and fantasy, exploring how the two constantly dovetai into one another, creating works that speak to the multiplicity of the human experience. Millennium Actress is a prime example of this, with the film’s presentation constantly assaulting the fourth wall, blending factual events and cinematic flair until the two are inseparable. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Kon was not satisfied to look only toward the insular vacuum of genre anime for inspiration, but instead looked to such works as George Roy Hill’s 1972 adaptation of Slaughterhouse-Five, a film whose use of scene cuts and transitions play a huge role in distinguishing Millennium Actress among other films of its time. Combining references to the physical comedy of Buster Keaton, Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood and Hiroshi Inagaki’s Rickshaw ManMillennium Actress is a testament to Kon’s enduring love of cinema. It deserves to be seen, examined and cherished for years to come.

16. Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? (1984)

Director: Shoji Kawamori, Noboru Ishiguro


Shoji Kawamori’s Macross, known in the United States as Robotech, has a convoluted history both in its country of origin and here in the states. The first Macross movie, 1984’s Macross: Do You Remember Love? further complicated the Macross legacy. The film is essentially a reimagining of the (at the time) popular TV series, Macross. Like the show, the film centers around the crew of a giant space fortress, Macross, as they attempt to evade an alien race, the Zentradi, and discover that the key to their victory just might be the effect that Earth-made pop music has on their enemy. Yes, you read that right. The film’s other focus is the love triangle between dashing pilot Hikaru Ichijyo, pop idol Lynn Minmay, and lieutenant Misa Hayase. Although the cast of characters and voice actors are the same as those that appear in the TV series, and the plot covers much of the same ground, within the canon of the Macross universe, Do You Remember Love? is actually a popular, fictionalized retelling of the true events that occurred in the series. Regardless, Macross: Do You Remember Love? nails everything great about the show—gorgeous mecha designs, excellent dramatic (if a little over the top) storytelling, and an alternatively infuriating and captivating love triangle—and does so in a little over two hours. If you’re looking to understand the appeal of Macross, this is the place to start. In many ways it is typical of its time, in terms of character design, themes and the plot device of a band of humans on the run from an alien menace. Yet it is an incredibly well designed, directed and animated film that retains its sense of adventure even in the context of the somber overall plot. A massive hit in Japan, it has never had an uncut, official release in the United States due to legal squabbles between Harmony Gold, the American rights holder for Macross, and various Japanese production entities. The original film was a huge hit in Japan, with lines stretching around the block on the weekend of its premiere, and is now considered a classic. It’s hard to track down for U.S. fans, but well worth the effort for anyone looking for a good space opera … and pop music good enough to defeat an alien race. —J.D.

15. Metropolis (2001)

Director: Rintaro


Not to be confused with Fritz Lang’s landmark 1927 sci-fi film of the same name, Metropolis is instead a loose adaptation inspired by Osamu Tezuka’s 1949 manga, which itself was inspired in part by Lang’s aforementioned opus. Written by Katsuhiro Otomo and directed by Rintaro, the film’s aesthetic and themes share more than a passing resemblance to Otomo’s genre-defining Akira. Set in the titular multi-layered megacity amid social upheaval between the human bourgeoisie and the robotic working class, Metropolis follows the story of private detective Shunsaku Ban and his nephew Kenichi who, while visiting Metropolis on their mission to apprehend the nefarious Dr. Laughton, happen upon a mysterious robotic girl named Tima whose existence may in fact hold the key to either the city’s salvation or destruction. Much like AkiraMetropolis is a sprawling epic of intersecting storylines, sweeping set pieces, and monolithic settings packed with a dense array of intricate details and beautiful color palettes. Decidedly darker than Tezuka’s manga, the film is neither an adaptation of either that or Lang’s film but rather an attempt to expand upon the inspiration of the two. A high-flying sci-fi adventure that doubles as social commentary for the shared struggle and seemingly inevitable antagonism between factions of the lower working class and humankind’s hubristic quest for power and control of a world that dwarfs their ambitions. Metropolis may not have struck big at the box office—only earning $4 million towards its $15 million budget—and it may not resonate with the same cult classic recognition as films like Ghost in the Shell or Ninja Scroll, but it remains an immense achievement by two of the greatest anime directors alive who sought to both honor and surpass the work of one of the most influential anime pioneers of all-time.

14. Barefoot Gen (1983)

Director: Mori Masaki


There is perhaps no more catastrophically significant event in modern Japanese history than that of the nuclear bombardment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. Keiji Nakazawa’s 1973 semi-autobiographical manga Barefoot Gen is a testament to this event, depicting one young boy’s struggle to survive in the wake of witnessing his friends and family gruesomely disintegrated by the indiscriminate force of a nuclear impact. Mori Masaki’s adaptation takes Nakazawa’s original and brings it to life on screen, delivering a harrowing snapshot of one of history’s most horrific instances of mass annihilation. The fateful scene where the Enola Gay detonates the bomb over Hiroshima is breathtaking and heart wrenching, as six-year old Gen’s home is pummeled in a shockwave of devastating power before subsiding into a plume of atomic hellfire. But to reduce Barefoot Gen’s significance to that of only being destruction porn created to induce guilt would be disingenuous. The film is, all in all, a human story of resilience and stubborn hope in the face of annihilation, and hopefully can be looked back upon as a sobering reminder of the costs of unremitting warfare and what we all still have to lose if we were to forget the lessons of the past.

13. Pom Poko (1994)

Director: Isao Takahata


Pom Poko is the type of film that feels inconvertible from its cultural origin. Forget trying to make this one more palatable for Western sensibilities, Pom Poko doubles down on the qualities that identify it as Japanese film and brandishes them proudly for all to see. Although better known for his realistic human dramas rendered through increasingly more experimental animation techniques, Pom Poko is Isao Takahata’s first foray into full-on fantasy farce, depicting the story of a clan of Japanese raccoon dogs (known as “tanuki”) whose home is ravaged by urban development. Emboldened both to defend their home and possibly learn to peacefully coexist alongside the humans, the tanuki retrain themselves in their lost ancestral ability of transformation to disguise themselves in modern society. But what distinguishes Pom Poko as such a unique cultural curiosity? The answer is simple: balls. Or, to be more descriptive, the on-screen prominence of the tanuki’s testicles as they use them in increasingly more inventive ways to disguise or defend themselves. Though surprisingly non-explicit and unquestionably coded as a children’s comedy film, this aspect might turn off potential audiences from exploring it and perhaps explains why the movie is relatively so unknown even among ardent of Studio Ghibli fans. Still, Pom Poko is a brilliant slapstick take on traditional Japanese mythology—something of a cross between Watership Down meets The Gods Must Be Crazy—that’s full of zany and inventive animation and genuine emotional depth. If you’ve always yearned in your heart of hearts for a Studio Ghibli film where a pack of anthropomorphic raccoons use their gigantic testicles as bludgeoning weapons in a last stand against police officers, rest assured because your prayers have been answered.

12. Princess Mononoke (1997)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki


One persistent theme across all of Studio Ghibli’s work, in particular Miyazaki’s, is that there rarely are any true villains. This sentiment is perhaps most apparent in Princess Mononoke, Miyazaki’s seventh film and notably one of his darkest. Set during the early 16th century, the film follows the story of Ashitaka, the last remaining prince of a small eastern village who is wounded while defending his home from a wild boar overtaken by a malicious spirit. Mortally cursed with no hope of a cure, Ashitaka takes it upon himself to journey to the West and discover and halt whatever malevolent force is causing this havoc. What he finds there is more complicated than he could have imagined: a settlement of humans mining the region to build a home while fending off the forces of the nearby forest who see their world being destroyed. Later he meets San, a young woman raised by the clan of wolves who defend the forest as he attempts to broker an uneasy peace between the two sides. Princess Mononoke is the epitome of Miyazaki’s appeal to environmentalism, melding traditional fantasy and Japanese folklore to create the director’s most serious and adult-oriented work to date. The film’s violence is a sharp divergence from Miyazaki’s relatively goreless body of work, with limbs being severed with callous abandon and wild boar gods weeping blood as they trudge on a death march through the forest. It’s an exhilarating, heartbreaking and colossal film whose message will leave audiences changed by its final scene. Quite simply, it is everything that one would come to expect from the pedigree of Hayao Miyazaki.

11. Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise (1987)

Director: Hiroyuki Yamaga


In 1987, an upstart Japanese studio called Gainax pitched Bandai Visual on the idea of a very expensive animated film about an alternate reality in which two nation states, torn by war, struggle to be first to develop manned space flight in an industrialized society. Bandai Visual, who was looking to break into the film market, liked the idea, and thus Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise was put into production, for the (at the time) massive price tag of 8M yen. The result is essentially a two-hour art film, a rumination on man’s capacity for greatness and evil that would end up as one of the most visually detailed animated films ever made … and a flop at the box office. The story concerns a young man, Shirotsugh Lhadatt, who joins the much derided “Space Force” of his nation state, Honnêamise, which is locked in perpetual war with a rival nation, The Republic. We witness Shirotsugh’s growth as a person and his journey to become an astronaut as well as his budding relationship with Riquinni Nonderaiko, a young woman whose excitement about what the space program symbolizes ignites Shirotsugh’s own passion. Perhaps one reason why The Wings of Honnêamise is rarely spoken of as a masterpiece these days is the widespread critical rejection of one particular scene, which (rightfully) has sharply divided audiences over the years. In this scene, Shirotsugh makes his way to Riquinni’s house and comes close to raping her before realizing the horrible thing he is about to do, and stopping himself. He apologizes to Riquinni, who essentially tells him it was her fault for leading him on. The reasons for, and meaning behind, the attempted rape scene and what it’s supposed to say about Shirotsugh are sound, but the reaction of Riquinni makes no sense in context of the story, and very much smacks of ’80s Japanese cultural misogyny. Obviously, watching these scenes with today’s sensitivities in place will make them seem even more pointlessly barbaric. Even so, regardless of how one feels about this particular scene, the rest of the film is well worth critical evaluation. If The Wings of Honnêamise is a “noble failure,” it’s the sort of failure many filmmakers would kill to have on their résumé. —J.D.

10. Neo-Tokyo (1987)

Director: Various


Released in 1987 under the original title of Manie-Manie: Labyrinth TalesNeo-Tokyo is anthology omnibus featuring shorts directed by three of the most prolific anime directors of the late-’80s: Rintaro, Yoshiaki Kawajiri, and of course, Katsuhiro Otomo. The collection was later renamed by Streamline Pictures upon its re-release in 1989 to suggest a non-existent tie-in to Otomo’s critically acclaimed Akira, which had seen a limited North American release that year. Rintaro’s “Labyrinth Labyrinthos” draws inspiration from German Expressionism and the works of Salvador Dali, depicting the story of a mischievous young girl named Sachi as she and her pet cat Cicerone are drawn into a dark dimension of hallucinatory oddities through the looking glass of her mother’s dresser. Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s “The Running Man” is a grim sci-fi noir short inspired by Blade Runner told from the perspective of a sports reporter who witnesses the final race of Zach Hugh, the fabled star of a deadly racing tournament who slowly develops deadly psionic abilities. The final short, “Construction Cancellation Order,” is arguably the anthology’s best and most accessible entry. Directed by Otomo, the short follows Tsutomu Sugioka, a Japanese salaryman dispatched by his superiors to the remote (and fictitious) South American country of the Aloana Republic to shut down their remote construction designated Facility 444. Labelled by both fans and critics alike as anime’s equivalent to Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, the short is indicative of Otomo’s social satire period, which would later produce Roujin-Z, taking pointed aim at the bureaucratic absurdity of Japanese working society. Though for the most part absent of any real thematic connectivity, Neo-Tokyo is a concise and powerful example of the dizzying heights of technical mastery and aesthetic ambition anime can achieve when put in the hands of the medium’s most inimitable creators.

9. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki


My Neighbor Totoro is not only Miyazaki’s most iconic film to date, it’s also an all but perfect family film that manages to distill the essence of childhood whimsy down to its purest state. The film has a sort of timeless appeal about itself, disarming audiences new and old of their cynicisms and suspicions with beautiful settings, empathetic characters, and an infectious marching band theme. Set in 1958, the film follows university professor Tatsuo Kusakabe and his daughters Satsuki and Mei as they move into an old house along the countryside in order to be closer to their mother, who is recovering from a long illness. We see the world through the girls’ eyes: leaping through the fields along the house, chasing skittering dust mites, and tumbling down holes in the base of trees to land safely on the bulbous stomach of a benevolent spirit animal. My Neighbor Totoro was revolutionary for its time for luxuriating on quiet contemplative moments in a time when most of anime was otherwise dominated by the chase from one flash to the next spectacle. The late film critic Roger Ebert described it best, “My Neighbor Totoro is based on experience, situation and exploration—not on conflict and threat.” It’s a film sprung fully formed from the imagination of a master animator, a movie about the everyday magic of being a child and the simple power of meeting the world with an open heart.

8. Patlabor 2 (1993)

Director: Mamoru Oshii


Patlabor 2 is Mamoru Oshii’s most formative work, an atmospheric political thriller that set the template for the aesthetic and mood that would later become his signature and distinguish the tone and substance of his most famous work, Ghost in the Shell. Set three years after the original, Patlabor 2 once again follows the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s 2nd Special Vehicles unit as they are drawn into the throes of another crisis, this time concerning a rogue military commander’s plot to orchestrate a controlled state of fear and panic through which to mount a coup d’etat to overthrow the government. Where in his previous films, Oshii only flirted with political commentary that was otherwise relegated to the margins of more standard pop-action plotlines, Patlabor 2 is a full-on political thriller that’s low on giant robot showdowns and heavy on ambiance, emotion and careful pacing. It’s a work of consummate technical achievement, maturity and philosophical poignance as enduring today as it was nearly twenty-three years ago. It is the culmination of a master animator coming into the fullness of his creative faculties and the spiritual preface to the film that would later go on to become his magnum opus.

7. Perfect Blue (1997)

Director: Satoshi Kon


Perfect Blue is a precious rarity in the genre-saturation of contemporary anime: an honest-to-god psychological horror thriller brimming with malice, menace and cinematic sophistication. Adapted from Yoshikazu Takeuchi’s 1991 novel, Satoshi Kon’s feature debut follows Mima Kirigoe, a singer who retires from the pop-idol trio that gained her fame to pursue a career as an actress. As the pressures of her new career begin to take their toll, a string of vicious murders perpetrated by a mysterious assailant who claims to be an agent of the “real” Mima begins to encircle the set of her first big role. As the boundaries between her private and public life begin to blur, Mima’s grip on reality begins to fray as she stumbles spirals deeper into a tailspin of depression and madness. An avowed cinephile, the most visible influences for Kon’s work on Perfect Blue are unmistakably that of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs. Dario Argento’s 1977 giallo classic Suspiria is also cited by fans and critics as a possible spiritual inspiration, though Kon himself denied having seen any of Argento’s films before hearing these comparisons. With exquisitely inventive editing, thoughtful color direction, and a gripping plot, Kon delivered a strong first outing as a director that would set the bar for his tremendous decade-spanning career. Though ostensibly a film about inherent toxicity of pop culture in manufacturing idols with same infatuation as it would destroy them, Kon was by and large unconcerned with the surface reading of his work. His interest was found beneath the folds of easy answers and trite moralizations to lay bare the truth that, as one of his characters quotes from a script, “there are no fixed truths about ourselves, only a continuous stream of memories to be ordered and rationalized.”

6. The Wind Rises (2013)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki


Of all of Miyazaki’s most persistent tropes and motifs, there are none more consistently threaded throughout the body of work than that of the depiction of flight. So it’s no surprise that The Wind Rises, his eleventh and final feature film to date, would focus squarely on depicting the life of Japanese aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi and the complicated legacy his creations relate not only to the pacifist cultural identity of contemporary Japan but also, on a personal level, to Miyazaki himself. A story of how a creator cannot control what their work becomes, only the dedication and craft to which they pour into the work itself. The Wind Rises is nothing short of Miyazaki’s final artistic testament to humanity’s paradoxical capacity for both the redemptive act of creation and dogged pursuit of self-annihilation. A film that is in no uncertain terms a conclusion, if not to Miyazaki’s venerable career as one of the undisputed patriarchs of modern Japanese animation, then a thematic coda that ties together an elegant knot at the end of his venerated and storied career as a director.

5. Paprika (2006)

Director: Satoshi Kon


In a career of impeccable films, Paprika is arguably Kon’s greatest achievement. Adapted from the 1993 novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui (whose other notable novel, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, would form the basis of Mamoru Hosoda’s 2006 film of the same name), Kon could not have asked for source material that better suited his thematic idiosyncrasies as a director. Paprika follows the story of Atsuko Chiba, a psychiatrist working on revolutionary psychotherapy treatment involving the DC Mini, a device that allows the user to record and navigate one’s dreams in a shared simulation. By day Atsuko maintains an unremittingly cold exterior, but by night she moonlights as the film’s titular protagonist: a vivacious dream detective who consults clients on her own terms. When a pair of DC Minis are stolen and loosed upon the world, causing a stream of havoc which manifests the collective unconscious into the waking world, it’s up to Paprika and her colleagues to save the day. The summation of Kon’s decade-long career as a director, Paprika is a cinematic trompe l’oeil of psychedelic colors and exquisite animation. Kon’s transition cuts are memorable and mind bending, the allusions to his immense palate of cinematic influences are savvy, and his appeal to the multiplicity of the human experience as thoughtful and poignant as ever. Unfortunately, Paprika would turn out to be Kon’s last film, as he would later tragically pass away in 2010 from pancreatic cancer. One fact remains evident when looking back on the sum total of his life’s work: Satoshi Kon was, and remains, one of the greatest anime directors of his time. He will be sorely missed.

4. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Director: Mamoru Oshii


It’s difficult to overstate how enormous of an influence Ghost in the Shell exerts over not only the cultural and aesthetic evolution of Japanese animation, but over the shape of science-fiction cinema as a whole in the 21st century. Adapted from Masamune Shirow’s original 1989 manga, the film is set in the mid-21st century, a world populated by cyborgs in artificial prosthetic bodies, in the fictional Japanese metropolis of Niihama. Ghost in the Shell follows the story of Major Motoko Kusanagi, the commander of a domestic special ops task-force known as Public Security Section 9, who begins to question the nature of her own humanity surrounded by a world of artificiality. When Motoko and her team are assigned to apprehend the mysterious Puppet Master, an elusive hacker thought to be one of the most dangerous criminals on the planet, they are set chasing after a series of crimes perpetrated by the Puppet Master’s unwitting pawns before the seemingly unrelated events coalesce into a pattern that circles back to one person: the Major herself.

When Ghost in the Shell first premiered in Japan, it was greeted as nothing short of a tour de force that would later go on to amass an immense cult following when it was released in the states. The film garnered the praise of directors such as James Cameron and the Wachowski siblings (whose late-century cyberpunk classic The Matrix is philosophically indebted to the trail blazed by Oshii’s precedent). Everything about Ghost in the Shell shouts polish and depth, from the ramshackle markets and claustrophobic corridors inspired by the likeness of Kowloon Walled City to the sound design, evident from Kenji Kawai’s sorrowful score to the sheer concussive punch of every bullet firing across the screen. Oshii took Shirow’s source material and arguably surpassed it, taking an already heady science-fiction action drama and transforming it into a proto-kurzweilian fable about the dawn of machine intelligence. Ghost in the Shell is more than a cornerstone of cyberpunk fiction: It’s more essential in this day and age than it was over twenty-years ago. A story about what it means to craft one’s self in the digital age, a time where the concept of truth feels as mercurial as the net is vast and infinite.

3. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Director: Isao Takahata


Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies is the harrowing story of two children whose lives are left devastated by the 1945 firebombing of Kobe. Adapted from the autobiographical story of Akiyuki Nosaka, the film follows Seita, a young Japanese boy forced to care for his younger sister Setsuko in the wake of a devastating Allied attack that leaves his hometown in ruins. To describe the sum of their tragedies as “horrifying” feels like a gross understatement. The horror of Grave of the Fireflies is not reliant on brooding over callous acts of violence or fixating on the macabre, but rather on the heart-wrenching futility of Seita and Satsuko trying desperately to cling to some shred of normalcy in a world devoid of peace and security. Whether it’s the scene of Seita setting eyes on his mother for the first time after the firebombing, or Satsuko inadvertently stumbling across a corpse while playing at the beach, the film raises these children’s hopes of escaping a living hell on earth as quickly as it dashes them. The film is extraordinary in that it shows the audience, with no uncertainty, that these children will perish and somehow through its hour-and-a-half running time compels the viewer to hope that this fate can be averted. Grave of the Fireflies is a chilling portrait of the fragility of human life when confronted by the indifferent brutality of an uncaring world, a film utterly unlike anything Studio Ghibli had produced before or since. Tragic in the truest sense of the word, Grave of the Fireflies is not only one of the greatest films the studio has ever produced, but unmistakably one of the greatest anime films of all time.

2. Spirited Away (2001)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki


What is it about Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away that makes it one of his greatest—if not the greatest—films he has ever made? Perhaps it’s because the film represents the best expression of his most defining themes and concepts to date. The strength and perseverance of a young woman, the rapturous glory of flight, the spiritual struggle of personal and cultural amnesia with Japanese society, the redeeming power of love. Or maybe it has something to do with the crux of the film’s story being so archetypically identifiable, not so much a modern reimagining as it is a spiritual evocation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, a childhood odyssey in a world that feels both familiar and foreign at the same time. Whatever the case, there is nothing quite like watching Spirited Away for the first time. The image of Chihiro, having discovered her parents transformed into pigs, running frantically through the streets as the town surrounding her comes to life as lights flicker into existence and spirits rise up from the earth is nothing short of magical. Films like Nausicaä Princess Mononoke and My Neighbor Totoro introduced the world to Hayao Miyazaki, but it was Spirited Away that secured his name among the canon of the greatest animators to have ever lived and ensured his legacy for decades to come.

1. Akira (1988)

Director: Katsuhiro Otomo


The sum total of anime cinema from the early ’90s to present day is marked by the precedent of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira. Adapted from the early chapters of Otomo’s landmark manga series, Akira was the most expensive animated film of its time and cinematic benchmark that sent shockwaves throughout the industry. Set thirty-one years after after World War III was sparked by a massive explosion that engulfed the city of Tokyo, Akira is set in the sprawling metropolis of Neo-Tokyo, built on the ruins of the former and teetering precariously on the cusp of social upheaval. The film follows the stories of Kaneda Shotaro and Tetsuo Shima, two members of a youth motorcycle gang whose lives are irrevocably changed one fateful night on the outskirts of the city. While clashing against a rival bike gang during a turf feud, Tetsuo crashes into a strange child and is the promptly whisked away by a clandestine military outfit while Kaneda and his friends look on, helplessly. From then, Tetsuo begins to develop frightening new psychic abilities as Kaneda tries desperately to mount a rescue. Eventually the journeys of these two childhood friends will meet and clash in a spectacular series of showdowns encircling an ominous secret whose very origins rest at the dark heart of the city’s catastrophic past: a power known only as “Akira.”

Like Ghost in the Shell that followed it, Akira is considered a touchstone of the cyberpunk genre, though its inspirations run much deeper than paying homage to William Gibson’s Neuromancer or Ridley Scott’s Blade RunnerAkira is a film whose origins and aesthetic are inextricably rooted in the history of post-war Japan, from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the “Anpo” student protests of that era to the country’s economic boom and the then-nascent counterculture of Bosozoku racing. Akira is a film of many messages, the least of which a coded anti-nuclear parable and a screed against wanton capitalism and the hubris of “progress.” But perhaps most poignantly, at its heart, it is the story of watching your best friend turn into a monster. Akira is almost singlehandedly responsible for the early 1990s boom in anime in the West, its aesthetic vision rippling across every major art form, inspiring an entire generation of artists, filmmakers and even musicians in its wake. For these reasons and so many more, every anime fan must grapple at some point or another with Akira’s primacy as the most important anime film ever made. Long Live Akira!

50 Motivational Anime Quotes

By   2021-11-17


#1 – Reiko Mikami from Another


“It’s just pathetic to give up on something before you even give it a shot.” – Reiko Mikami

If you give up before even giving yourself a chance, you’ll accomplish nothing.

Which means you’ve wasted your time for no good reason.

Reiko mentions this to Kouichi Sakikabara.


#2 – Miss Kobayashi


“Knowing you’re different is only the beginning. If you accept these differences you’ll be able to get past them and grow even closer.” – Miss Kobayashi

This quote is taken from 2017 Slice of Life anime – Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. 

Miss Kobayashi mentions it to Tohru and her father.


#3 – Kenshin Himura from Rurouni Kenshin


“You can die anytime, but living takes true courage.” – Kenshin Himura

You can literally die at any time. And the thought of that is uncomfortable. But it’s true.

But having the courage to live on and make something of your life takes so much more courage.

And in the end it’s more than worth it in comparison.


#4 – Milly Thompson from Trigun


“Every journey begins with a single step. We just have to have patience.” – Milly Thompson

We live for the short term and want everything to happen right now. But that’s not how it works when you want something worth striving for.


#5 – Alibaba from Magi


“If nobody cares to accept you and wants you in this world, accept yourself and you will see that you don’t need them and their selfish ideas.” – Alibaba Saluja

The world is too big for everybody to like you. Or for anyone to be perfect.

And a lot of people won’t accept you for who you are, no matter how hard you try to please them.


#6 – Vash The Stampede (Trigun)


“The ticket to the future is always open.” – Vash The Stampede

In other words – you can always change your decisions and make a different choice.

And you can always change the path you’re willing to walk down.


#7 – Sora from No Game No Life


“Life is not a game of luck. If you wanna win, work hard.” – Sora

When it all comes down to it, you have to make your own luck in life.


#8 – Sanae Furukawa (Clannad)


“If your life can change once, your life can change again.” – Sanae

All it takes is the right moment at the right time, and life can flip itself on its head.


#9 – Grimsley (Pokemon)


“It’s more important to master the cards you’re holding than to complain about the ones your opponent was dealt.” – Grimsley

Complaining about what you’ve been given doesn’t change what you’ve got.

It just makes you feel even worse than you need to feel.



#10 – Harumi Kiyama (A Certain Scientific Railgun)


“A teacher doesn’t give up on her students just because things get tough.” – Harumi Kiyama

And we shouldn’t give up on life just because things aren’t going the way we want. Instead we should commit to figuring it out.


#11 – Keiichi Maebara (Higurashi: When They Cry)


“If you just submit yourself to fate, then that’s the end of it.” – Keiichi Maebara

Once you throw in the towel then it may as well be all over.


#12 – Rider (Fate Zero)


“Whatever you do, enjoy it to the fullest. That is the secret of life.” – Rider

Being miserable is no fun. You have to find a way to enjoy life and make it worth it.



#13 – Julis Alexia Van Riessfeld (Asterisk War)


“I too will obtain everything that I desire. Not because someone asked me to do it, but because I know in my heart that I have something worth fighting for.” – Julis Alexia Van Riessfeld

Sometimes it’s all a matter of believing you can do something. And that gives you the motivation and courage to do it.


#14 – Izuku Midoriya (My Hero Academia)


“Sometimes I do feel like I’m a failure. Like there’s no hope for me. But even so, I’m not gonna give up. Ever!” – Izuku Midoriya

One of the first quotes mentioned in the Anime – My Hero Academia.

If you want it bad enough, then keep trying until you figure it out.


#15 – Hatsu Kominato (Selector Infected Wixoss)


“If you’re gonna insist on gambling and then complain when you lose, you had better work on your game.” – Hatsu Kominato

Every decisions has an element of risk. And so we should take responsibility if things don’t go as planned.


#16 – Goku (Dragon Ball Z)


“Power comes in response to a need, not a desire. You have to create that need.” – Goku

When the need is strong enough, it will push you to succeed at all costs.


#17 – Saber from Fate Stay Night


“There are no regrets. If one can be proud of one’s life, one should not wish for another chance.” – Saber

Regrets are just weights that hold you down. It’s best to live without them..


#18 – Kunio Yaobi (Tamako Market)


“You can’t always hold on to the things that are important. By letting them go we gain something else.” – Kunio Yaobi

You’ve always got to give up one thing to get another.


#19 – Naruto Uzumaki 


“If you don’t like your destiny, don’t accept it. Instead, have the courage to change it the way you want it to be.” – Naruto Uzumaki

It all starts with the courage to take action.


#20 – Junichirou Kagami (Denpa Kyoushi)


“You can’t win a game by doing nothing. And if someone else wins it for you then you haven’t accomplished anything. Life is the same way.” – Junichirou Kagami

Courtesy of Anime – Ultimate Otaku Teacher.


#21 – Maka Albarn (Soul Eater)


“I refuse to let my fear control me anymore.” – Maka Albarn

Fear is natural, but most of the time it’s imagined and exaggerated.


#22 – Archer (Fate Stay Night)


“Do not think about other things, there is only one thing you can do. So master that one thing. Do not forget. What you must imagine is always that you, yourself, are the strongest. You do not need outside enemies. For you, the one you have to fight is none other than your own image.” – Archer

The lesson here is: Focus. When you’re focused on yourself and using your strengths, progress is possible.


#23 – Akame (Akame Ga Kill)


“If you can’t find a reason to fight, then you shouldn’t be fighting.” – Akame

Once you’ve lost your reasons, life becomes a drag.

And you’ll only regret it if you do something without knowing why you’re doing it.



#24 – Canaan Quotes


“You should never give up on life, no matter how you feel. No matter how badly you want to give up.” – Canaan

This Canaan quote is mentioned a little later into the anime series. It’s a great anime moment.


#25 – Armin Arlelt (Attack on Titan)


“People who can’t throw something important away, can never hope to change anything.” – Armin Arlelt

Because you have to give up 1 THING to gain another! ILife is about making a trade.


#26 – Ichigo Kurosaki (Bleach)


“We can’t waste time worrying about the what if’s.” – Ichigo Kurosaki

That just holds you back. And lack of action will lead you down a path of regret.



#27 – Monkey D Luffy (One Piece)


“No matter how hard or impossible it is, never lose sight of your goal.” – Monkey D Luffy



#28 – Mion Sonozaki (Higurashi


“Life is like a tube of toothpaste. When you’ve used all the toothpaste down to the last squeeze, that’s when you’ve really lived. Live with all your might, and struggle as long as you have life.” – Mion Sonozaki

At the end of the day, life has to be worth it.

So squeeze as much out of it as you can. That’s the lesson here.


#29 – Nico Robin (One Piece)


“Fools who don’t respect the past are likely to repeat it.” – Nico Robin

History never lies.


#30 – Hiroshi Kido (Barakamon)


“That’s why I can’t make a change. Everything I do is so… Half-assed.” – Hiroshi Kido

Sometimes coming to a realization is enough to inspire and get you motivated!


#31 – Kanade Jinguujji (Best Student Council)


“Sometimes it’s necessary to do unnecessary things.” – Kanade Jinguuji


#32 – Nico Yazawa (Love Live)


“An excellent leader must be passionate because it’s their duty to keep everyone moving forward.” – Nico Yazawa


#33 – Princess Lenessia (Log Horizon)


“Protecting someone means giving them a place to belong. Giving them a place where they can be happy.” – Princess Lenessia


#34 – Junichirou Kagami


“Just like games, no matter how well you have things lined up in your life, there’s always something to keep you on your toes.” – Junichirou Kagami

That’s why no matter how many problems you solve, there’s always something new to replace it eventually. Big or small!


#35 – Gilgamesh (Fate Zero)


“Do exactly as you like. That is the true meaning of pleasure. Pleasure leads to joy and joy leads to happiness. ” – Gilgamesh


#36 – Shiroe (Log Horizon)


“If you can’t do something, then don’t. Focus on what you can do.” – Shiroe

So simple, yet how many of us actually do that?


#37 – Allen Walker (D.Gray Man)


“When you lose sight of your path, listen for the destination in your heart.” – Allen Walker


#38 – Natsu Dragneel (Fairy Tail)


“The moment you think of giving up, think of the reason why you held on so long.” – Natsu Dragneel


#39 – Lavi Bookman (D.Gray Man)


“The only home that a man should ever need is within his heart.” – Lavi Bookman

Lavi hit the nail on the head! The same is true if you’re a woman. Just flip the quote on its head…


#40 – Dousan Saitou (The Ambition Of Oda Nobuna)


“A dream is worth less than nothing if you don’t have someone else to share it.” – Dousan Saitou


#41 – Taichi Yaegashi (Kokoro Connect)


“What you can’t accomplish alone, becomes doable when you’re with someone else.” – Taichi Yaegashi


#42 – Riki Naoe (Little Busters)


“If you turn your eyes away from sad things, they’ll happen again one day. If you keep running away, you’ll keep repeating the same mistakes. That’s why you have to face the truth straight on.” – Riki Naoe


#43 – Uryuu Minene (Future Diary)


“Even if you’re weak, there are miracles you can seize with your hands if you fight on to the very end.” – Uryuu Minene

Even if you’re weak…


#44 – Seiya Kanie (Amagi Brilliant Park)


“If you wanna make people dream, you’ve gotta start by believing in that dream yourself!” – Seiya Kanie

Otherwise – what’s the point?


#45 – Otonashi Yuzuru (Angel Beats)


“Even if we forget the faces of our friends, We will never forget the bonds that were carved into our souls.” – Otonashi Yuzuru

I don’t like Angel Beats much, but this quote is worth sharing.


#46 – Lina Inverse (Slayers)


“Even If you’ve only got a 1% chance of winning, but you convince yourself you’re gonna lose, that 1% becomes 0%.” – Lina Inverse


#47 – Keiko Ayano (Silica from Sword Art Online)


“It’s impossible to work hard for something you don’t enjoy.” – Silica


#48 – Saitama (One Punch)


“Human beings are strong because we can change ourselves.” – Saitama


#49 – Karma Akabane (Assassination Classroom)


“People with talent often have the wrong impression that things will go as they think.” – Karma Akabane


#50 – Holo The Wise Wolf (Spice And Wolf)


“Remember the lesson, not the disappointment.” – Holo The Wise Wolf

The lesson is the only thing worth focusing on!



“Hard work is worthless for those that don’t believe in themselves.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“I want to be with you. From now on, I want to spend all and every single one of my days until I die with you, and only you.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“The pain of being alone is completely out of this world, isn’t it? I don’t know why, but I understand your feelings so much, it actually hurts.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“If you don’t like your destiny don’t accept it. Instead have the courage to change it the way you want it to be.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“It’s not the face that makes someone a monster, it’s the choices they make with their lives.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“Because they saved me from myself, they rescued me from my loneliness. They were the first to accept me for who I am. They’re my friends.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“While you’re alive, you need a reason for your existence. Being unable to find one is the same as being dead.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“The many lives lost during long years of conflict… because of those selfless sacrifices, we are able to bathe in peace and prosperity now. To ingrain this history within the new generation will be a vital cog in helping to maintain the peace.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“If you don’t like the hand that fate’s dealt you with, fight for a new one.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“I’m not gonna run away, I never go back on my word! That’s my nindo: my ninja way.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“When people are protecting something truly special to them, they truly can become as strong as they can be.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“Somebody told me I’m a failure, I’ll prove them wrong.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“Failing doesn’t give you a reason to give up, as long as you believe.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“Don’t underestimate me! I don’t quit and I don’t run.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“I couldn’t understand what a parent’s love was like because you guys were never there, so I could only guess. But now I know, I live because you and Dad gave your lives for me and filled me up with love before the Nine-Tails was inside me! So here I am, happy and healthy! I’m glad I ended up being your son!” – Naruto Uzumaki

“Love breeds sacrifice, which in turn breeds hatred. Then you can know pain.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“I care more about others than I do myself, and I won’t let anyone hurt them.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“People who continue to put their lives on the line to defend their faith become heroes and continue to exist on in legend.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“Listen to yourself whining and complaining like some sorry little victim. You can whimper all day long for all I care, you’re nothing but a coward.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“Once you question your own belief it’s over.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“When you give up, your dreams and everything else they’re gone.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“That’s why we endure. We are ninja. I will never forget.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“Before I became a ninja I was a nobody, but I never gave up.” – Naruto Uzumaki

“If he rips my arms off, I’ll kick him to death. If he rips my legs off, I’ll bite him to death! If he rips my head off, I’ll stare him to death! And if he gouges out my eyes, I’ll curse him from beyond the grave.” – Naruto Uzumaki

Itachi Uchiha Quotes From Naruto

“People’s lives don’t end when they die, it ends when they lose faith.” – Itachi Uchiha

“Growth occurs when one goes beyond one’s limits. Realizing that is also part of training.” – Itachi Uchiha

“Those who forgive themselves, and are able to accept their true nature… They are the strong ones!” – Itachi Uchiha

“Knowledge and awareness are vague, and perhaps better-called illusions. Everyone lives within their own subjective interpretation.” – Itachi Uchiha

“The ones who aren’t able to acknowledge their own selves are bound to fail.” – Itachi Uchiha

“Even the strongest of opponents always has a weakness.” – Itachi Uchiha

“Now I feel that maybe knowing who I actually am is the key to reach perfection. Because that means knowing what I can and cannot do.” – Itachi Uchiha

Nagato Uzumaki Quotes From Naruto

Nagato Uzumaki

“Because of the existence of love – sacrifice is born. As well as hate. Then one comprehends… one knows PAIN.” – Nagato Uzumaki

“If you don’t share someone’s pain, you can never understand them.” – Nagato Uzumaki

“Religion, ideology, resources, land, spite, love or just because… No matter how pathetic the reason, it’s enough to start war. War will never cease to exist… reasons can be thought up after the fact… Human nature pursues strife.” – Nagato Uzumaki

Tsunade Quotes From Naruto


“People become stronger because they have memories they can’t forget.” – Tsunade

“Grow up… Death comes with being a shinobi. There are times when death is hard to accept, but if you don’t get over it, there’s no future.” – Tsunade

“I am the Fifth Hokage… You’ve trampled on our ancestors treasure…their dream…and you will pay the price! As the Hokage, I will put a stop to you here and now!” – Tsunade

Master Jiraiya Quotes From Naruto


“A place where someone still thinks about you is a place you can call home.” – Master Jiraiya

“A person grows up when he’s able to overcome hardships. Protection is important, but there are some things that a person must learn on his own.” – Master Jiraiya

“Rejection is a part of any man’s life. If you can’t accept and move past rejection, or at least use it as writing material – you’re not a real man.” – Master Jiraiya

“Getting dumped always makes a man stronger. But then again, men aren’t meant to pursue happiness.” – Master Jiraiya

“Knowing what it feels to be in pain, is exactly why we try to be kind to others.” – Master Jiraiya

“When people get hurt, they learn to hate… When people hurt others, they become hated and racked with guilt. But knowing that pain allows people to be kind. Pain allows people to grow… and how you grow is up to you.” – Master Jiraiya

“You’re wrong, that’s not what makes a shinobi. You never did get it, a real ninja is one who endures no matter what gets thrown at him… Let me explain something to you, there is only one thing that matters if you are a shinobi, and it isn’t the number of Jutsu you possess. All you do need is the guts to never give up.” – Master Jiraiya

“Even I can tell that hatred is spreading. I wanted to do something about it…but I don’t know what. I believe… that someday the day will come when people truly understand one another!” – Master Jiraiya

Rock Lee Quotes From Naruto

Rock Lee

“A dropout will beat a genius through hard work.” – Rock Lee

Sakura Haruno Quotes From Naruto

Sakura Haruno

“A smile is the easiest way out of a difficult situation.” – Sakura Haruno

“Every one of us must do what’s in their power! If we’re going to die anyway, then it’s better to die fighting than to do nothing!” – Sakura Haruno

“The things that are most important aren’t written in books. You have to learn them by experiencing them yourself.” – Sakura Haruno

“I love you with all my heart!.. If you were to stay here with me, there would be no regrets…because every day we’d do something fun, we’d be happy I swear..! I would do anything for you! So…please, just stay with me!” – Sakura Haruno

Onoki Quotes From Naruto


“Never give up without even trying. Do what you can, no matter how small the effect it may have!” – Onoki

Madara Uchiha Quotes From Naruto

Madara Uchiha

“The concept of hope is nothing more than giving up. A word that holds no true meaning.” – Madara Uchiha

“When a man learns to love, he must bear the risk of hatred.” – Madara Uchiha

“In this world, wherever there is light – there are also shadows. As long as the concept of winners exists, there must also be losers. The selfish desire of wanting to maintain peace causes wars and hatred is born to protect love.” – Madara Uchiha

“I’d be lying if I said things are going according to my plan… but beggars can’t be choosers, right?” – Madara Uchiha

“The longer you live… The more you realize that reality is just made of pain, suffering and emptiness.” – Madara Uchiha

“Love is not necessary, power is the only true necessity.” – Madara Uchiha

Obito Uchiha Quotes From Naruto

Obito Uchiha

“The moment people come to know love, they run the risk of carrying hate.” – Obito Uchiha

“In the ninja world, those who don’t follow the rules are trash. But, those who abandon their friends are even worse than trash.” – Obito Uchiha

“No one cared who I was until I put on a mask.” – Obito Uchiha

Haku Quotes From Naruto

“It is only through the eyes of others that our lives have any meaning.” – Haku

Shino Aburame Quotes From Naruto

Shino Aburame

“Never underestimate your opponent, no matter how small they may seem.” – Shino Aburame

“Even if it’s been a while, you should remember your comrades faces. Why? Because otherwise you will hurt their feelings when they call out to you.” – Shino Aburame

Orochimaru Quotes From Naruto


“It’s human nature not to realize the true value of something unless they lose it.” – Orochimaru

“Either people change or they die before they do. It’s one or the other.” – Orochimaru

“Maybe, just maybe, there is no purpose in life… but if you linger a while longer in this world, you might discover something of value in it.” – Orochimaru

“Darkness. When everything that you know and love is taken away from you so harshly. All you can think about is anger, hatred, and even revenge. And no one can save you.” – Orochimaru

Kimimaro Quotes From Naruto


“I’ve been wondering… There must be a purpose for people being born into this world. Why are we here? What does it mean? I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I realized that finding our purpose is the meaning. That’s why we’re here. And the ones who find it… They’re the only ones who are truly free.” – Kimimaro

Ino Yamanaka Quotes From Naruto

Ino Yamanaka

“There’s no meaning to a flower unless it blooms.” – Ino Yamanaka

Shikamaru Nara Quotes From Naruto

“Laziness is the mother of all bad habits, but ultimately she is a mother and we should respect her.” – Shikamaru Nara

Kakashi Hatake Quotes From Naruto

“To know what is right and choose to ignore it is the act of coward.” – Kakashi Hatake

“I won’t allow my comrades to die. I’ll protect you with my life. Trust me.” – Kakashi Hatake

“The hole in one’s heart gets filled by others around you. Friends won’t flock to someone who abandons the memory of his friends and gives up on the world just because things don’t go the way he wants them to. That won’t help fill the hole in your heart. And people won’t help those who run away and do nothing. As long as you don’t give up, there will always be salvation.” – Kakashi Hatake

“Forget about revenge. The fate of those who seek revenge is grim. It’s tragic, You will end up suffering and hurting yourself even more. Even if you do succeed in getting revenge, the only thing that remains is emptiness.” – Kakashi Hatake

“In society, those who don’t have many abilities tend to complain more.” – Kakashi Hatake

“The next generation will always surpass the previous one. It’s one of the never-ending cycles in life.” – Kakashi Hatake

“Some people want power and they get mad when they don’t get it. They take their fury out on everyone else. You don’t want it, it becomes you.” – Kakashi Hatake

“A ninja must see underneath the underneath.” – Kakashi Hatake

These Death Note Quotes explore the idea of justice, society, truth, life, death, humanity, and much more. I recommend everyone to watch Death Note. It is much better than watching some movie or TV Series, which is full of absurdity, propaganda, pathetic story-line, etc.

Teru Mikami Quotes From Death Note

Teru Mikami Quotes From Death Note

Teru Mikami is the second lead character of the Death Note series. He is a Kira follower and has the same goals and ideals as Light Yagami has.

When authorities investigate Light regarding the mysterious death of criminals, Mikami acts as a backup and uses Death Note to kill criminals. In the end, Mikami killed himself to help Light Yagami escape.

“In this world, there is only good and evil, that was the first universal truth I grasped from observing the world around me when I was a child. Every human being without exception ends up falling into one category or the other.” – Teru Mikami


Light Yagami Quotes From Death Note

Light Yagami Quotes From Death Note

Light Yagami is the main lead of the Death Note anime/manga series. He is a high school student who discovers a notebook named “Death Note” which allows him to kill anyone by just writing the name of that person and imagining his/her face.

He wanted to create a New World, an evil free ideal society. In his endeavor of becoming God of the New World, he decides to kill all criminals of the society using the Death Note.

“For murderers, there is no good or evil. I know that.” – Light Yagami


“I can’t develop feelings. That’s how most idiots screw up.” – Light Yagami


“Sometimes, the questions are complicated – and the answers are simple.” – Light Yagami


“In this world, there are very few people who actually trust each other.” – Light Yagami


“I understood that killing people was a crime. There was no other way! The world had to be fixed! A purpose given to me! Only I could do it. Who else could have done it, and come this far? Would they have kept going? The only one who can create a new world is me.” – Light Yagami


“Under normal circumstances, humans should have continued to evolve as the greatest creatures upon this earth, but we were actually regressing. A rotten world. Politics, law, education… Was there anybody around who could correct this world? But someone had to do it.” – Light Yagami


“You can’t ever win if you’re always on the defensive. To win, you have to attack!” – Light Yagami


“Humans aren’t made perfectly. Everyone lies. Even so… I’ve been careful not to tell lies that hurt others.” – Light Yagami


“The thing I hate the most is to trample on other people’s goodwill.” – Light Yagami


“This world is rotten and those who are making it rot deserve to die. Someone has to do it, so why not me? Even if it means sacrificing my own mind and soul, it’s worth it. Because the world… can’t go on like this. I wonder… what if someone else had picked up this notebook? Is there anyone out there other than me who’d be willing to eliminate the vermin from the world? If I don’t do it, then who will? That’s just it: there’s no one, but I can do it. In fact, I’m the only one who can. I’ll do it. Using the death note, I’ll change the world.” – Light Yagami


L Lawliet Quotes From Death Note

L Lawliet Quotes From Death Note

L Lawliet, also known as L in the series is a world-renowned detective who takes on the task of finding out the mass murderer Kira.

Kira means killer in Japanese. It was a name given by the public in Death Note to the figure who is responsible for the mysterious death of criminals due to heart attack. In Death Note, different characters use Death Note and act as Kira. Still, since nobody knows who they are, so their actions are attributed to the single entity named Kira.

During his investigation, L becomes suspicious of Light Yagami and makes it a goal to prove that Kira is none other than Light Yagami.

“Risking your life and doing something that could easily rob you of your life are exact opposites.” – L Lawliet


“There is no heaven or hell. No matter what you do while you’re alive, everybody goes to the same place once you die. Death is Equal.” – L Lawliet


“Being alone is better than being with the wrong person.” – L Lawliet


“Not every genius is understood.” – L Lawliet


“Let’s value our lives.” – L Lawliet


“There are many types of monsters in this world. Monsters who will not show themselves and who cause trouble; monsters who abduct children; monsters who devour dreams; monsters who suck blood, and… monsters who always tell lies.” – L Lawliet


“Learn to treasure your life because unfortunately, it can be taken away from you anytime.” – L Lawliet


“No matter how gifted you are… You, alone, cannot change the world.” – L Lawliet


“Lying monsters are a real nuisance. They are much more cunning than other monsters. They pose as humans even though they have no understanding of the human heart. They eat even though they’ve never experienced hunger. They study even though they have no interest in academics. They seek friendship even though they do not know how to love.” – L Lawliet


“If you use your head, you won’t get fat even if you eat sweets.” – L Lawliet


“Sometimes, the questions are complicated – and the answers are simple.” – L Lawliet


Mello Quotes From Death Note

Mello Quotes From Death Note

Mello grew up in an orphanage named Wammy’s House along with Near. He, along with Near, are the two potential successors of the greatest detective in the world, L. He is proposed to work with Near to find out “Kira”, the murderer of L.

But he refuses due to his differences with Near and goes on to join the Mafia. There he gets to know about Death Note and how it can be used to kill people by just knowing their names and faces.

“In the end, there is no greater motivation than revenge.” – Mello


“It’s time I started living my own life.” – Mello


Misa Amane Quotes From Death Note

Misa Amane Quotes From Death Note

Misa Amane is an upcoming model and ardent supporter of Kira as he murdered the killers of Amane’s family. She eventually becomes the second character after Light to use Death Note and becomes the second Kira.

She even made the Shinigami Eye Deal with the Shinigami who possess her. For the uninitiated in Shinigami Eye Deal, one gets Shinigami Eyes in return for half of his/her lifetime. Misa is the first character shown in the series to get the Shinigami Eyes by making a deal with Rem, the Shinigami who gave her the Death Note.

By using the Shinigami Eyes, she finds out that Kira is none other than Light Yagami. From then on, she helps Light in every way possible.

“Unless someone makes the first move, nothing will happen.” – Misa Amane


Ryuk Quotes From Death Note

Ryuk Quotes From Death Note

Ryuk is a Shinigami. After getting bored in the Shinigami Realm, he drops a Death Note in the Human World so that someone could find that notebook and use it. This way, Ryuk gets access to the Human World and amuse himself. The Death Note he dropped was found by Light, and he starts using it to kill “criminals” in the society to create an evil free utopian society.

“I don’t care if it is fortunate or unfortunate that Light picked up the Death Note. However… It is generally bad luck for a person to be followed by a God of Death.” – Ryuk


“The human world is a boring place with boring people doing boring things.” – Ryuk


“All humans die the same, the place they go after death isn’t decided upon by a god it is Mu (nothingness).” – Ryuk


Soichiro Yagami Quotes From Death Note

Soichiro Yagami Quotes From Death Note

Soichiro Yagami is a kind and just police officer and chief of the National Police Agency (NPA). He also helps the Japanese Task Force, an organization searching for Kira. He is the father of Light Yagami, and to prove his son’s innocence, he kidnaps Light and his girlfriend Misa Amane and put them in a situation where Light has no option but to kill his father if he is Kira.

“Laws aren’t perfect, because humans who created laws aren’t perfect. It’s impossible to be perfect. However, the laws are evidence of the human’s struggle to be righteous.” – Soichiro Yagami


“The real evil is the power to kill people. Someone who finds himself with that power is cursed. No matter how you use it, anything obtained by killing people can never bring true happiness.” – Soichiro Yagami


Near Quotes From Death Note

Near Quotes From Death Note

Just like Mello, he grew up in an orphanage named Wammy’s House. He is the younger one of the two potential successors of L. After Mello left, he alone investigated the Kira case for four years after the death of L and submitted his report to the President of the United States.

“If you can’t beat the game, if you can’t solve the puzzle, you’re nothing but a loser.” – Near


“What is right from wrong? What is good from evil? Nobody can truly distinguish between them. Even if there was a god. Now, supposing a god and his world existed, even then I’d stop and think for myself. I’d decide for myself whether his teachings are right or wrong. After all, I am just the same as you. I put faith in my own convictions as to what I believe is right, and consider them to be righteous.” – Near


“People in supervising positions in investigation are supposed to give too much of their opinion, and if they are wrong, all it would take is an apology.” – Near


“I don’t know what to say. Now, I think it’s just best to observe closely.” – Near


Which ones are your favorites Death Note Quotes? Please tell me in the comment section below. Also, if you like this article, then please share it on your social media (Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc).

  1. “If you don’t take risks, you can’t create a future!” – Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece)

  2. “Fear is not evil. It tells you what your weakness is. And once you know your weakness, you can become stronger as well as kinder.” – Gildarts Clive (Fairy Tail)

  3. “People’s lives don’t end when they die, it ends when they lose faith.” – Itachi Uchiha (Naruto)

  4. “If you don’t like your destiny, don’t accept it.” – Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto)

  5. “When you give up, that’s when the game ends.” – Mitsuyoshi Anzai (Slam Dunk)

  6. “All we can do is live until the day we die. Control what we can…and fly free.” – Deneil Young (Uchuu Kyoudai or Space Brothers) 

  7. “Forgetting is like a wound. The wound may heal, but it has already left a scar.” – Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece)

  8. “Giving up kills people. When people reject giving up… they finally win the right to transcend humanity.” – Alucard (Hellsing)

  9. “If you don’t share someone’s pain, you can never understand them.” – Nagato (Naruto)

  10. “Whatever you lose, you’ll find it again. But what you throw away you’ll never get back.“ – Himura Kenshin (Rurouni Kenshin)

  11. “We don’t have to know what tomorrow holds! That’s why we can live for everything we’re worth today!” – Natsu Dragneel (Fairy Tail)

  12. “I’ll leave tomorrow’s problems to tomorrow’s me.” – Saitama (One-Punch Man)

  13. “Being lonely is more painful then getting hurt.” – Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece)

  14. “There’s no shame in falling down! True shame is to not stand up again!” – Shintarō Midorima (Kuroko’s Basketball)

  15. “Why should I apologize for being a monster? Has anyone ever apologized for turning me into one?” – Juuzou Suzuya (Tokyo Ghoul)

  16. “People become stronger because they have memories they can’t forget.” – Tsunade (Naruto)

  17. “If you wanna make people dream, you’ve gotta start by believing in that dream yourself!” – Seiya Kanie (Amagi Brilliant Park)

  18. “Simplicity is the easiest path to true beauty.” – Seishuu Handa (Barakamon)

  19. “Don’t be so quick to throw away your life. No matter how disgraceful or embarrassing it may be, you need to keep struggling to find your way out until the very end.” – Clare (Claymore)

  20. “The world’s not perfect, but it’s there for us trying the best it can. That’s what makes it so damn beautiful.” – Roy Mustang (Fullmetal Alchemist)

  21. “If you can’t do something, then don’t. Focus on what you can.” – Shiroe (Log Horizon)

  22. “It doesn’t do any good to pretend you can’t see what’s going on.” – Yuuya Mochizuki (Another)

  23. “A dropout will beat a genius through hard work.” – Rock Lee (Naruto)

  24. “Sometimes, people are just mean. Don’t fight mean with mean. Hold your head high.” – Hinata Miyake (A Place Further than the Universe)

  25. “To act is not necessarily compassion. True compassion sometimes comes from inaction.” – Hinata Miyake (A Place Further than the Universe)

  26. “When you hit the point of no return, that’s the moment it truly becomes a journey. If you can still turn back, it’s not really a journey.” – Hinata Miyake (A Place Further than the Universe)

  27. “Being weak is nothing to be ashamed of… Staying weak is !!“ – Fuegoleon Vermillion (Black Clover)

  28. “Reject common sense to make the impossible possible.”– Simon (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)

  29. “If you really want to be strong… Stop caring about what your surrounding thinks of you!”– Saitama (One Punch Man)

  30. “Who decides limits? And based on what? You said you worked hard? Well, maybe you need to work a little harder. Is that really the limit of your strength? Could the you of tomorrow beat you today? Instead of giving in, move forward.”– Saitama (One Punch Man)

  31. “A person grows up when he’s able to overcome hardships. Protection is important, but there are some things that a person must learn on his own.“– Jiraiya (Naruto)

  32. “Hard work is worthless for those that don’t believe in themselves.”– Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto)

  33. “Mistakes are not shackles that halt one from stepping forward. Rather, they are that which sustain and grow one’s heart.”– Mavis Vermillion (Fairy Tail)

  34. “A place where someone still thinks about you is a place you can call home.”– Jiraiya (Naruto)

  35. “Life comes at a cost. Wouldn’t it be arrogant to die before you’ve repaid that debt?”– Yuuji Kazami (The Fruit of Grisaia / Gurizaia no Kajitsu)

  36. “Vision is not what your eyes see, but an image that your brain comprehends.”– Touko Aozaki (The Garden of Sinners / Kara no Kyōkai)

  37. “Hatred and Sorrow are power. They are yours to control. All you have to do is to turn them into strength and use that strength to move forward.“– Sebastian Michaelis (Black Butler / Kuroshitsuji)

  38. “It’s not always possible to do what we want to do, but it’s important to believe in something before you actually do it.”– Might Guy (Naruto)

  39. “Don’t beg for things. Do it yourself, or else you won’t get anything.”– Renton Thurston (Eureka Seven)

  40. “Life and death are like light and shadow. They’re both always there. But people don’t like thinking about death, so subconsciously, they always look away from it.”– Yato (Noragami)

  41. “Moving on doesn’t mean you forget about things. It just means you have to accept what’s happened and continue living.“– Erza Scarlet (Fairy Tail)

  42. “If you keep on hiding your true feelings, who is going to be happy? If you are sad, you should say it out loud!”– Haruhi Fujioka (Ouran High School Host Club)

  43. “You can die anytime, but living takes true courage.”– Himura Kenshin (Rurouni Kenshin)

  44. “Every journey begins with a single step. We just have to have patience.”– Milly Thompson (Trigun)

  45. “If nobody cares to accept you and wants you in this world, accept yourself and you will see that you don’t need them and their selfish ideas.”– Alibaba Saluja (Universal Warriors)

  46. “Don’t be upset because of what you can’t do. Do what you do best, live as carefree and optimistically as you can, because some people aren’t able to do that.”– Keima Katsuragi (The World God Only Knows)

  47. “If you begin to regret, you’ll dull your future decisions and let others make your choices for you. All that’s left for you then is to die. Nobody can foretell the outcome. Each decision you make holds meaning only by affecting your next decision.”– Erwin Smith (Attack on Titan)

  48. “Everything has a beginning and an end. Life is just a cycle of starts and stops. There are ends we don’t desire, but they’re inevitable, we have to face them. It’s what being human is all about.”– Jet Black (Cowboy Bebop)

  49. “Anything can happen. No one ever thinks it will until it does. What will happen, happens. That’s how the world is. The most important thing is to not let the tragedy defeat you. To believe that you can get through it.”– Kyousuke Natsume (Little Busters!)

  50. “You’ll only realize that you truly love someone if they already caused you enormous pain. Your enemies can never hurt you the way your loved ones can. It’s the people close to your heart that can give you the most piercing wound. Love is a double-edged sword, it can heal the wound faster or it can sink the blade even deeper.”– Himura Kenshin (Rurouni Kenshin)

  51. “It is at the moment of death that humanity has value.”– Archer (Fate Series)

  52. “A lesson without pain is meaningless. That’s because no one can gain without sacrificing something. But by enduring that pain and overcoming it, he shall obtain a powerful, unmatched heart.”– Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)

  53. “You need to accept the fact that you’re not the best and have all the will to strive to be better than anyone you face.”– Roronoa Zoro (One Piece)

What's your favorite? Comment down yours. Suggest more to add here :)


Hong Kong content distributor MediaLink Entertainment Limited's Ani-One YouTube channel announced on Monday that it will stream the television anime of author Nachi Kio and illustrator Eretto's Boku-tachi no Remake (Remake Our Life!) light novel series on July 3.

Alongside Hong Kong and India, Ani-One will stream the anime in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, New Caledonia, Northern Mariana Islands, Malaysia, the Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Thailand, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.

The anime will premiere on July 3 on the Tokyo MX, BS Kyoto, BS NTV, and Sun TV channels; on July 6 on Hokkaido TV and Shizuoka Broadcasting System; and on July 7 on AT-X.

The anime stars:

Tomoki Kobayashi (Akame ga KILL!Infinite Dendrogram) is directing the anime at feel. Kio is credited as the original creator, and is in charge of the series scripts. Kōsuke Kawamura is designing the characters, and Eretto is credited for the original character designs. Front Wing is producing the series.

The story centers on the unsuccessful game director Kyōya Hashiba. His company goes bankrupt, and he ends up returning to his parents' home. He lies in bed thinking about the successful creators of his generation. When he opens his eyes, Kyōya finds that he has gone back in time 10 years to when he started college. He has an opportunity to remake his life, starting as an arts college student. He now lives in a four-person coed share house. Kyōya has the chance to spend his formative years with creators he knows will be famous in the future, but things might not turn out as he expected.

Kodokawa publishes the novels in Japan. The novels ranked at #6 on the list of top light novels in Takarajimasha's Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! (This Light Novel Is Amazing!) guidebook for 2018, and the series ranked at #7 on the list for 2019.

Bonjin Hirameki launched a manga adaptation of the novel series on Kodansha's Suiyōbi no Sirius (Wednesday Sirius) section on the Niconico service in November 2018.

Anime Lists

Top 10 Transferred To Another World Anime Part 5 [HD]
Top 10 Transferred To Another World Anime Part 5 [HD] Hello there everyone and welcome back to another Top 10 Anime list! Today I have showcased some Isekai Anime. Comment down below how many are you familiar with. I’ve added some Underrated Anime in the mix :) I hope you enjoyed the video. Keep the support coming guys and I’ll see you in the next video :D ─────────♛ Don’t Forget to ♛ ───────── ➡️ Leave a Like (If you loved the video) ➡️ Subscribe for more Top 10s ➡️ Turn on Your Notifications ???? ➡️Comment for more Suggestions and Recommendations ➡️ Share it with your Circle ──────── ♛ About this Video ♛ ──────── ????Intro Source - The God of High School, Demon Slayer, Soul Eater, Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia, Naruto Shippuden, Akame ga Kill! ????Outro Anime - My Hero Academia ───────── ♛ Songs Used ♛ ────────── ????Intro: ÉWN & Whogaux - Start That Fire [NCS Release] ????Outro Beats: Syn Cole - Feel Good [NCS Release] ????Tracks used - Egzod - Royalty (ft. Neoni) (Wiguez & Alltair Remix) [NCS Release] Lost Sky - Where We Started (feat. Jex) [NCS Release] STAR SEED - Chasing Stars [NCS Release] ──────── ♛ Social Media ♛ ───────── ????Instagram - ????Facebook - ????Twitter - ──────── ♛ PLEASE READ ME ♛ ──────── ???? This list is based on my own personal opinion. So you might disagree with the list because everyone has their own personal favourite when It comes to anime. ???? If you want me to make a list of your favorite genre feel free to let me know! Just comment it down below and I will overlook the comment section. Thank you for your support. #top10anime #TransferredToAnotherWorldAnime #HonestTen #IsekaiAnime #AnimeReview
1 0   1521   Top Anime Lists
TOP 10 ANIME რომელიც აუცილებლად უნდა ნახო!
ヅთუ გინდა მეტი ანიმე კონტენტი დაალაიქე ვიდეო და გამოიწერე არხი!ヅ ????Twitch არხი ► ????MyAnimeList ► ???? Instagram ► ???? Facebook ჯგუფი ► მიპოვე სოც. ქსელებში: Twitch ► Instagram ► Facebook ► ●-------------------------------------------● ტოპ 10 ანიმე : 10. Charlotte - შარლოტა 9. Mirai Nikki - მომავლის დღიური 8. Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai - ამ ღორს არ უნდა რომ იოცნებოს გოგონაზე ბაჭიას კოსტიუმში 7. Angel Beats - ანგელოზის რითმები / Plastic Memories - პლასტიკური მოგონებები 6. Dororo - დორორო 5. B: the beginning - ბი: დასაწყისი 4. Your Lie in April - შენი აპრილის ტყუილი/ I want to eat your Pancreas - მინდა შენი პანკრეასი შევჭამო 3. ???? 2. ????? 1. ????????????????????? ●-------------------------------------------● სთხარეთ LIKE-ი ამ ვიძიოს :დ ! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SUBSCRIBE ► Instagram ► Facebook ► #ტოპ10ანიმე #TOP10ANIME #alexrae
0 0   1030   Top Anime Lists

Follow Us

Latest Movies

【Complete Series】 One Punch Man (Season 1)
《One Punch Man》 English Full Episode Playlist: 《一拳超人》简体中文字幕播放清单: ———————————————————— ????Synopsis Saitama is a hero who only became a hero for fun. After three years of “special” training, though, he’s become so strong that he’s practically invincible. In fact, he’s too strong—even his mightiest opponents are taken out with a single punch, and it turns out that being devastatingly powerful is actually kind of a bore. With his passion for being a hero lost along with his hair, yet still faced with new enemies every day, how much longer can he keep it going? ———————————————————— 0:00:00 Episode 01:The Strongest Man 0:24:22 Episode 02:The Lone Cyborg 0:48:42 Episode 03:The Obsessive Scientist 1:13:02 Episode 04:The Modern Ninja 1:37:22 Episode 05:The Ultimate Mentor 2:01:42 Episode 06:The Terrifying City 2:26:02 Episode 07:The Ultimate Disciple 2:50:22 Episode 08:The Deep Sea King 3:14:42 Episode 09:Unyielding Justice 3:39:02 Episode 10:Unparalleled Peril 4:03:22 Episode 11:The Dominator of The Universe 4:27:42 Episode 12:The Strongest Hero ———————————————————— Free Anime Streaming Online on Muse Asia Channel! Be sure to subscribe to our channel so you won't miss the latest Anime! ????Our Official Website: ????Facebook: ????Instagram: @musesg_ ????YouTube: ????Official Anime Merchandise: ????For collaboration of merchandise, events, exhibitions, and more, contact MUSE! ????Licensing form: #OnePunchMan #ワンパンマン #HERO #ONE #村田雄介 #Saitama #Action #Comedy #free #anime #museasia #musesg
0 0   771   Anime Movies

Wallpaper Stats

7460 Wallpapers

1223014 Hits



Video Stats

277 Videos

84403 Plays