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Top Trending Anime Movies to Watch This Year

Anime movies have always been a cornerstone of the animation industry, captivating audiences with their unique storytelling, stunning visuals, and emotional depth. While TV series garner much attention, there is a world of anime movies that offer equally thrilling and heartwarming experiences. From the latest Ghibli masterpiece to the timeless classics and Netflix’s trending originals, this year promises a diverse lineup of anime films that cater to a wide array of tastes and genres. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the world of anime, these films are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Key Takeaways

  • Anime movies like ‘The Boy and the Heron’ are not just for fans of the medium but are recognized globally, as evidenced by Oscar nominations.
  • Netflix continues to be a treasure trove for anime lovers, with a variety of original movies and series that are reshaping the landscape of anime streaming.
  • Iconic movies such as ‘Akira’ and ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ have defined the anime genre and continue to influence new generations of creators and fans.
  • The anime industry is not shying away from tackling controversial topics, with movies that challenge conventions and stir up discussions within the community.
  • Romantic anime films have evolved over the years, with recent titles since 2020 enriching the genre and captivating audiences with new love stories.

Must-See Anime Movies in Theaters This Year

Must-See Anime Movies in Theaters This Year

The Boy and the Heron: A New Ghibli Classic

After a decade-long hiatus, the master of animation, Hayao Miyazaki, graces the silver screen with his latest creation, THE BOY AND THE HERON. This hand-drawn marvel intertwines the realms of the living and the dead in a semi-autobiographical tale that explores the cyclical nature of life and death.

The film’s release, shrouded in secrecy, has sparked a fervor among Ghibli enthusiasts and cinephiles alike. With showtimes available for both English dubbed and subtitled versions, audiences worldwide are eager to witness Miyazaki’s newest narrative unfold.

In a landscape where digital animation dominates, THE BOY AND THE HERON stands as a testament to the enduring charm of traditional animation techniques.

As Miyazaki’s supposed swan song, THE WIND RISES, fades into the backdrop, THE BOY AND THE HERON emerges, not just as a continuation of his storied career, but as a potential classic that may redefine the genre for years to come.

Demon Slayer Compilation: A Cinematic Journey

The Demon Slayer series has captivated audiences worldwide with its gripping story and stunning visuals. The compilation film brings together the pivotal moments of Tanjiro’s quest, as he seeks to avenge his family and cure his sister. With the Hashira Training arc, fans are treated to a deeper dive into the world of the Demon Slayer Corps.

  • Subtitled and Dubbed Showtimes Available
  • Reunites with Hashira Members
  • New Battles and Challenges

The cinematic journey of Demon Slayer is not just a retelling; it’s an enhancement of the original series, with improved animation and storytelling. The film serves as a bridge for newcomers and a treat for long-time fans, ensuring that the legacy of Tanjiro’s journey continues to resonate.

The Demon Slayer compilation is a testament to the series’ impact on the anime genre, offering a fresh perspective on Tanjiro’s harrowing and heartfelt story.

The End of Evangelion: Theatrical Release

For the first time, THE END OF EVANGELION makes its grand entrance into US movie theatres, offering fans and newcomers alike a chance to experience the alternative conclusion to the iconic ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’ TV series. This cinematic event reimagines the series’ final episodes, delivering a gripping narrative where the stakes are higher than ever as NERV faces an unprecedented attack.

As the battle intensifies, Asuka’s resurgence and a descent of new adversaries set the stage for a climactic showdown. Meanwhile, Shinji’s personal journey reaches a pivotal moment, as he becomes a witness to the unfolding chaos.

The theatrical release provides a unique opportunity to witness the culmination of a saga that has captivated audiences for decades. With its complex characters and profound themes, ‘The End of Evangelion’ is a testament to the enduring legacy of the franchise. Fans of the series and the uninitiated are encouraged to seize this chance to immerse themselves in a defining piece of anime history.

Anime Movies That Defined the Genre

Anime Movies That Defined the Genre

Akira: The Cyberpunk Masterpiece

Released in 1988, Akira not only redefined the anime genre but also left an indelible mark on the cyberpunk aesthetic. Set in the dystopian metropolis of Neo-Tokyo, the film’s blend of chaos, rebellion, and telekinetic powers captivated audiences worldwide. Its impact on Western perceptions of animation was profound, challenging the notion that animated films were solely for children.

Akira’s narrative complexity and visual spectacle have led to numerous interpretations, with many viewing it as an allegory for the nuclear threat and a commentary on societal direction in the late 20th century.

The film’s animation, produced by the renowned studio Production I.G, remains a benchmark for quality in the industry. With its crisp animation work and striking visuals, Akira continues to be a critically acclaimed piece that withstands the test of time. Its influence extends beyond anime, touching various aspects of pop culture and inspiring creators across different mediums.

My Neighbour Totoro: The Heartwarming Family Tale

In the enchanting world of My Neighbour Totoro, magic and reality intertwine to tell a story that resonates with audiences of all ages. The film’s portrayal of childhood innocence and the beauty of nature has cemented its place as a timeless classic.

  • Studio Ghibli’s Icon: Totoro, the lovable forest spirit, has become synonymous with the studio itself, embodying the charm and whimsy that define many of Miyazaki’s works.
  • A Tale of Hope: Amidst the challenges faced by two young sisters, the film instills a sense of hope and the power of laughter to overcome darkness.
  • Cultural Impact: Totoro’s influence extends beyond the screen, inspiring merchandise, art, and a dedicated fan base worldwide.

The simplicity of the narrative, coupled with the depth of the emotional journey, makes My Neighbour Totoro a film that continues to capture hearts decades after its release.

Whether it’s the first or the fiftieth viewing, My Neighbour Totoro remains a must-watch, offering a comforting escape into a world where fantasy provides solace and joy.

Your Name: The Modern Anime Phenomenon

Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name became a global sensation, captivating audiences with its blend of supernatural elements and heartfelt romance. The film’s success is a testament to its universal themes and stunning animation, making it a benchmark for modern anime.

The story’s unique take on body swapping and destiny intertwines the lives of two teenagers in a narrative that’s both enchanting and emotionally resonant.

Your Name is not just a film; it’s an experience that resonates with a diverse range of anime enthusiasts. Whether you’re drawn to slice-of-life narratives or tragic romances, this movie has something for everyone. Below is a list of reasons why Your Name has become such a beloved title:

  • Relatable characters that embody the complexities of youth
  • A visually striking animation style that enhances the storytelling
  • Themes of love, fate, and time that transcend cultural boundaries
  • A soundtrack that perfectly complements the emotional tone of the film

As one of the highest-grossing anime movies of all time, Your Name has set a high bar for what animated storytelling can achieve. It’s a film that invites viewers to explore the depth of human connection through a beautifully crafted animated world.

Anime Movies on Netflix You Can’t Miss

Anime Movies on Netflix You Can't Miss

Netflix Original Anime Movies: What’s Trending

Netflix’s anime selection has become a treasure trove for fans, offering a diverse range of titles that cater to various tastes. The best anime on Netflix right now includes a mix of beloved classics and bold new originals, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

With an ever-growing library, Netflix ensures that anime enthusiasts have access to both legacy content and fresh, innovative stories. Among the recent additions, Ōoku: The Inner Chambers stands out as an engaging samurai period piece, captivating audiences with its rich narrative and historical depth.

Netflix’s commitment to anime is evident in its continuously updated catalog, which not only brings the classics to the forefront but also introduces viewers to groundbreaking new titles.

To help you navigate the vast selection, here’s a quick list of categories that are trending on Netflix:

  • Best Netflix Original Movies
  • Best Comedies on Netflix
  • Best Netflix Original Series
  • Best Anime on Netflix
  • Best Shows on Netflix
  • Best Movies on Netflix
  • Best Fantasy Movies on Netflix

Comedy Gems: The Lighter Side of Anime

In a world where the spectrum of anime spans from epic fantasies to heart-wrenching dramas, the comedy genre offers a delightful respite. These films are not just about laughs; they weave intricate narratives that resonate with audiences, often becoming a collection of the best anime movies of all time.

  • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.: A psychic teenager’s hilarious attempts to live a normal life.
  • KonoSuba: A satirical take on the Isekai genre where a dysfunctional group tackles fantasy world problems.
  • Nichijou: Ordinary life, extraordinary events, and a unique brand of humor.

Embrace the lighter side of anime, where every chuckle and giggle is a step away from the mundane and a leap into a world of joy and creativity.

While some may overlook comedy in search of more ‘serious’ genres, it’s the comedic anime that often captures the essence of life’s absurdities. It’s a genre that, through its humor, can offer profound insights into the human condition.

Fantasy Anime: Escaping into Magical Worlds

The realm of anime is a treasure trove for those seeking an escape into the extraordinary. Fantasy anime offers a unique blend of imagination and storytelling that transports viewers to worlds where magic is real and adventures are boundless. From the whimsical to the dark, fantasy anime spans a broad spectrum, ensuring there’s a magical world for every type of viewer.

In the vast universe of anime, fantasy stands out as a genre that consistently captivates and enchants audiences with its creative narratives and vivid worlds.

Netflix has become a sanctuary for fans of fantasy anime, with a growing library that caters to the genre’s diverse tastes. Here’s a glimpse at some of the best fantasy anime currently streaming:

  • A Whisker Away
  • One Piece Film: Strong World
  • Black Clover: Sword of the Wizard King
  • Dragon Quest: Your Story

Each title offers a distinct journey into realms of wonder, showcasing the incredible versatility and depth of fantasy anime. Whether you’re in the mood for a light-hearted adventure or a tale of epic proportions, these selections promise to deliver an unforgettable viewing experience.

Anime Movies for the Romantic at Heart

Anime Movies for the Romantic at Heart

Romance Anime Since 2020: The Love Stories That Captivated Us

The past few years have been a golden era for romance anime, with titles that have redefined the genre and captured the hearts of fans worldwide. 2024 is no exception, with a lineup of stories that range from the sweet and tender to the complex and profound.

  • A Sign Of Affection and Tales of Wedding Rings have already made their mark on platforms like Netflix, setting the tone for a year filled with love.
  • Upcoming releases such as Atri: My Dear Moments and A Condition Called Love are highly anticipated, promising to deliver narratives that resonate with the romantic in all of us.

These romantic tales are not just about the initial spark but also explore the depths of commitment and the nuances of relationships that evolve over time.

For those who prefer to celebrate love from the comfort of their homes, the current selection offers a variety of experiences. From the heartwarming to the groundbreaking, each film presents a unique take on love’s many forms, ensuring there’s something for every type of anime enthusiast.

If You Loved Your Name: Movies to Stir Your Emotions

Following the emotional journey of Your Name, many viewers find themselves seeking similar experiences that resonate with the heart. These films not only mirror the poignant narrative of love and connection but also offer their own unique takes on the complexities of relationships. Each movie is a gateway to a new world of feelings, where the themes of love, loss, and the bittersweet nature of human connections are explored.

For those who cherished the tender story of Your Name, a selection of anime movies is available that promise to evoke a similar spectrum of emotions. Here’s a list of titles that will undoubtedly appeal to fans of heartfelt storytelling:

  • Suzume
  • The Wind Rises
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • The Garden of Words
  • 5 Centimeters Per Second

These recommendations are not just films; they are emotional voyages that promise to leave an indelible mark on your soul, much like Your Name did.

The Best of Shonen Anime: Where Action Meets Romance

Shonen anime has long captivated audiences with its thrilling action sequences and heartfelt romantic subplots. The fusion of high-stakes battles with tender love stories creates a unique experience that resonates with a wide range of viewers. From the enduring classics to the latest hits, these series offer something for everyone.

  • Naruto: A tale of a young ninja’s quest for recognition and love amidst the trials of his world.
  • Attack on Titan: A gripping story of survival and sacrifice, with underlying themes of love and loyalty.
  • Basilisk: A Romeo and Juliet-esque narrative set against a backdrop of ninja clan wars.

These anime not only entertain but also explore the complexities of relationships in high-pressure environments. The characters’ romantic journeys are as much a part of the story as their combative endeavors, providing a multi-dimensional viewing experience.

The genre’s popularity is evident in the variety of movie genres available on platforms that cater to movie enthusiasts. Whether you’re exploring new releases or diving into the entertainment options at your local cinema, shonen anime with a romantic twist is a genre that continues to thrive and evolve.

Controversial and Groundbreaking Anime Movies

Controversial and Groundbreaking Anime Movies

Anime Corner’s Anime of the Year: The Surprises and Snubs

Each year, Anime Corner’s rankings stir the pot with their Anime of the Year selections, often leading to heated debates among fans. The anticipation and controversy surrounding the announcement are as much a tradition as the accolades themselves. This year was no exception, with heavy hitters like Attack on Titan and JJK expected to take the crown, only to be edged out by dark horse contenders.

The Anime of the Year award is not just about popularity; it’s a reflection of the industry’s dynamic nature and the ever-changing tastes of its audience.

The results can be surprising, with some fan-favorite series not even making the cut. Below is a snapshot of the top contenders and their unexpected rankings:

  • Attack on Titan
  • JJK
  • Oshi no Ko

While the snubs can be disappointing for many, they highlight the breadth of quality anime available and the difficulty in crowning a single champion. The conversation sparked by these results is a testament to the passion of the anime community and the importance of these stories in our lives.

Pushing Boundaries: Anime That Challenged Conventions

Throughout the history of anime, certain titles have stood out for their willingness to push the envelope and challenge the status quo. These groundbreaking works have often sparked controversy, but they have also paved the way for new storytelling techniques and themes within the medium.

  • Devilman Crybaby: A modern reimagining of a classic, this anime dives deep into psychological horror, leaving viewers both disturbed and captivated.
  • Death Note: With its intricate plot and moral dilemmas, it subverts the typical hero-villain dynamic and keeps audiences guessing until the very end.
  • Shoujo Tsubaki: Known for its harrowing content, this anime is so controversial that it faced bans, including in its home country of Japan.

These anime not only entertain but also provoke thought and discussion, challenging viewers to look beyond the surface.

From exploring the dark side of virtual reality to presenting stories that require multiple viewings to fully appreciate, these anime have reshaped the landscape of the genre. They have introduced new power systems, subverted expected narrative arcs, and even tackled themes that pass the Bechdel Test, all while maintaining a unique artistic vision.

Anime Influencers: Movies That Inspired Western Creators

The influence of anime on Western creators is undeniable, with a growing fandom that eagerly anticipates the release of Japanese animated films in US theaters. Distributors like GKids have played a pivotal role in bringing anime classics to the big screen, fostering a cultural exchange that enriches both industries.

The synergy between Eastern and Western animation continues to evolve, with anime movies not only entertaining but also inspiring a new generation of creators.

Anime has transcended cultural barriers, introducing a variety of genres and stories to Western audiences. This has led to a mutual admiration and influence, with Western creators often acknowledging their debt to the artistry of anime. Below is a list of anime movies that have had a significant impact on Western animation and storytelling:

  • Akira: A cyberpunk saga that redefined the possibilities of animation.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Its themes and visuals influenced numerous sci-fi films.
  • Spirited Away: A storytelling masterpiece that captivated audiences globally.
  • My Neighbour Totoro: A heartwarming tale that has become a cultural icon.

These films, among others, have not only entertained but also served as a source of inspiration, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in animation and storytelling.


As we’ve explored the vibrant world of anime movies, it’s clear that the genre offers a rich tapestry of storytelling that appeals to a wide audience. From the captivating visuals of Studio Ghibli’s latest masterpiece to the intense action of shonen favorites, there’s something for everyone in this year’s lineup. Whether you’re a long-time fan or new to the scene, these trending anime movies are not just entertainment; they’re a testament to the creativity and passion that drives this unique form of art. So grab your popcorn, settle in, and let these animated wonders transport you to worlds beyond imagination. Remember, while series may dominate weekly conversations, the films we’ve highlighted are the gems that continue to shape the legacy of anime in cinema.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some must-see anime movies in theaters this year?

Anime fans should look out for titles such as ‘The Boy and the Heron’ by Studio Ghibli, ‘Demon Slayer Compilation,’ and ‘The End of Evangelion’ which are all hitting theaters this year.

Which anime movies have defined the genre?

Classics like ‘Akira,’ ‘My Neighbour Totoro,’ and ‘Your Name’ are considered genre-defining films that have left a significant impact on the world of anime.

Are there any anime movies on Netflix that I shouldn’t miss?

Netflix has a trending selection of anime movies, including original productions, comedies, and fantasy-themed titles that are definitely worth watching.

Can you recommend any anime movies for someone who loves romance?

If you’re a fan of romance, you might enjoy recent titles like ‘Romance Anime Since 2020’ or other movies that evoke similar emotions as ‘Your Name.’

What are some controversial and groundbreaking anime movies?

Anime movies that have pushed boundaries and challenged conventions include those that have sparked debates in Anime Corner’s Anime of the Year rankings or have influenced Western creators.

How are anime movies faring in US theaters?

The popularity of anime movies in the US is growing, with more films being released shortly after their Japanese premieres. Distributors like GKids are also bringing back classics like Studio Ghibli films to the big screen.