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Best Anime Movies of All Time

No doubt anime is better than other animated productions out there. Read on to know the best anime movies of all time.
Abhijit Naik
Did You Know?
The first Japanese feature-length animated film was Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors (Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei), which was released on April 12, 1945.
Since its origin in 1917, anime has come a long way to gain wide popularity all over the world and not just in Japan. The high degree of variation in the artistic features and story telling of anime and its western counterpart is pretty obvious. It is even believed that the anime movies are far superior when it comes to story telling and showcasing emotions.
Without further ado, here are some anime masterpieces which you cannot afford to miss out on if you call yourself a fan of this genre, or if you have just started taking interest in it; the best anime movies of all time.

Akira (1988)

Original Title: Akira
Katsuhiro Otomo
: Akira is based on a manga by the same name. Set in the year 2019 in a city called Neo-Tokyo, it follows the teenage biker Tetsuo Shima, who has psychic abilities.
Tetsuo becomes the target of the authorities, police, and biker gangs, when they realize that his psychic abilities have striking resemblance to those of Akira, a small boy, with god-like abilities whose destruction had invariably destroyed Tokyo years ago.
Akira scaled the popularity charts in Japan as well as rest of the world, receiving 'A' rating from most of the critics (plus the coveted Thumbs Up from Roger Ebert) and went on to become a cult film. It also made it to the TIME magazine's list of top 5 anime DVDs in 2005.

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Original Title: Kōkaku Kidōtai
Mamoru Oshii
: An adaptation of the manga series by the same name, Ghost in the Shell follows officer Motoko Kusanagi and Bateau of Section 9 unit of the Japanese police in their pursuit of a hacker known as the Puppet Master.
It's not long before Kusanagi, who herself is a half human-half cyborg, realizes that there is more than what meets the eye, as she and her team are drawn into a web of intrigue.
One of the best animation movies of all times, Ghost in the Shell received wide critical acclaim on its release in 1995. It is believed to have inspired a number of filmmakers, with some people even going to the extent of drawing parallels to James Cameron's Avatar.

Spirited Away (2001)

Original Title: Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi
Hayao Miyazaki
: Spirited Away follows the adventures of Chihiro Ogino, a ten year old Japanese girl who enters the spirit world with her parents when they are moving to a new town in the countryside.
The film traces her attempts to save her parents, who are transformed into pigs by a witch, and regain her identity. Spirited Away earned critical acclaim and also became the highest-grossing movie in the history of Japan. It also won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2003, becoming the first anime movie to win the coveted award.

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Original Title: Hotaru no haka
Isao Takahata
: Set in the Japanese city of Kobe, Grave of the Fireflies tells the heart-wrenching story of Seita and Setsuko, the siblings who struggle to survive during World War II, after their mother is killed in bombing by the Allied Forces.
It is difficult to put Grave of the Fireflies in words, because it is one of those films wherein it's more about feeling the story rather than listening or watching it.
Grave of the Fireflies received universal acclaim with film critics going all out to praise it. Roger Ebert, for instance, called it one of the most powerful anti-war films of all time, gave it five stars, and also included it on his list of Great Movies.

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Original Title: Tonari no Totoro
Hayao Miyazaki
: My Neighbor Totoro is a story of two sisters, Satsuko and Mei, who chance upon a friendly spirit―whom Mei names Totoro―when they move to a new house to be close to their ailing mother. The film follows their interactions with their new friend; the simple, but heart warming experiences they have.
In spite of being a children's film, My Neighbor Totoro features in virtually every single list of best animes. The film's central character, Totoro became so popular that a species of velvet worm, Eoperipatus totoro was named after it in 2013.

Ninja Scroll (1993)

Original Title: Jûbê Ninpûchô
Yoshiaki Kawajiri
: Ninja Scroll follows wandering ninja, Jubei Kibagami's tryst for survival, when he is targeted by the Eight Devils of Kimon and a monster from whom he saves Kagero, a poison taster.
While on the run, the duo gets to know about an evil plan plotted by Lord Gemma, the man who controls the Devils, and decide to thwart it. Other than critical acclaim, Ninja Scroll won several awards and got 100 percent 'Fresh' rating on film review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes. The great story line and animation makes it a best movie in this category.

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Original Title: Mononoke-hime
Hayao Miyazaki
: Set in the late Muromachi period of Japan, Princess Mononoke follows the story of young Emishi warrior, Ashitaka, who sets out on a journey to find the cure for a curse which would eventually kill him.
In course of this, he ends up getting caught in the struggle between supernatural guardians of the forest and humans who rely on the resources derived from the forest.
On its release, Princess Mononoke became the highest-grossing movie in Japan. Additionally, it won a whole lot of prestigious awards and just missed out being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

Original Title: Kaze no Tani no Naushika
Hayao Miyazaki
: Based on Miyazaki's 1982 manga by the same name, this is the story of peace-loving princess Nausicaä, which revolves around her attempt to save the forest from the people of Tolmekia, who are planning to use deadly weapons to eradicate giant mutant insects that inhabit this forest.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind opened to positive reviews and also won the Ōfuji Noburō Award, which is named after Japanese animator, Noburō Ōfuji. More importantly, it laid the foundation of several anime studios, including the famous Studio Ghibli.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

Original Title: Toki o kakeru shôjo
Mamoru Hosoda
: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is based on the time travel fantasy.
It is the story of Makoto Konno, a teenager who gains the power of time travel and uses it like any normal teenager would, getting good grades, reliving karaoke sessions, and so on, until she realizes that her actions are affecting others and she can only use this power for a limited number of times.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time swept the Tokyo Anime Awards 2007 winning in six different categories, including the Animation of the Year. Besides the whole lot of awards, it also had positive reviews and festival circuit success coming its way.

Perfect Blue (1997)

Original Title: Pafekuto Buru
Satoshi Kon
: Perfect Blue is the story of Japanese pop idol, Mima Kirigoe, whose life takes a turn for the worse when she decides to quit singing to pursue a career in acting.
She has to deal with persistent threats, a website which puts in public domain the details about her personal life as they happen, and worse of all, a murderous stalker.
Perfect Blue made it big in the festival circuits, with some critics going to the extent of relating it to Alfred Hitchcock's films. However, commercial success eluded the film, which justifies its presence in the Entertainment Weekly's list of 50 Best Movies You Have Never Seen.
Other noteworthy mentions from the world of anime include Howl's Moving Castle, The Wind Rises, 5 Centimeters Per Second, Paprika, Lupin the Third: The Secret of Mamo, Panda and the Magic Serpent, Digital Monster X-Evolution, Castle in the Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Cowboy Bebop - The Movie, Ponyo, Vampire Hunter D, Millennium Actress.
The tremendous popularity of anime movies across the globe highlights the fact that the anime industry has seen a significant growth over the last few years, not just in Japan, but outside the country as well. Now that shouldn't really come as a surprise; not after going through this list at least.