9 Best Anime Movies of All Time to Watch Right Now

There is not much anime. we cover the latest and greatest Japanese animations it has to offer, such as the freshest upcoming premieres of each season and the best anime of the year. With so many streaming services to choose from, you can’t throw a stone without watching a new series or movie to watch. But how to cut off the noise to get the best anime movies on Netflix, Hulu, Max and more? That’s where we come in.

We have searched the libraries of the most popular streaming services to bring you a list of the best anime movies that are currently streaming. From real classics like Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira and Hideaki Anno’s End of Evangelion to contemporary new favorites from directors like Masaaki Yuasa, Hiroyuki Imaishi and others, there’s an anime for everyone.

1. The End Of Evangelion

The End Of Evangelion

Run time: 1h 27m
Directors: Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki
Cast: Megumi Ogata, Megumi Hayashibara, Yūko Miyamura
Where to watch: Netflix

If you have never seen Neon Genesis Evangelion, this movie should by no means be your first impression of the series. It’s right there in the name: This is the end of one of the most psychologically stimulating and artistically transcendent anime of the 90s.

Hideaki Anno’s apocalyptic mecha series revolves around the members of NERV, a secret government organization that fights against a mysterious race of supernatural creatures known as “angels” that threaten to exterminate all of humanity. In their struggle for survival, NERV uses the “Evangelions”, biomechanical humanoid weapons that can only be controlled by teenagers like Shinji Ikari, the protagonist of the series. What begins as a rather cliched mecha premise is slowly turning into an intense psychological drama that explores dark and inappropriate topics that are hidden from the public eye. To reiterate, don’t watch this movie if you haven’t seen Neon Genesis Evangelion yet, as End of Evangelion begins immediately after the events of the series. If you’ve watched the anime, get ready for one of the most intense, moving and cathartic anime endings ever conceived. You’ve been warned.

2. Akira


Run time: 2h 4m
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Cast: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama
Where to watch: Hulu

There is anime before Akira, and then there is anime after Akira. Katsuhiro Otomo’s post-apocalyptic epic about a futuristic Tokyo on the verge of annihilation was such a pure distillation of talent and artistry at its release that neither the Japanese animation industry nor the medium itself was the same after it.

The story of Kaneda, the leader of an impetuous motorcycle gang, and his confrontation with his friend, the enemy Tetsuo, an angry young man with immense latent psychic abilities, is one of the most titanic and moving feuds that can be seen in the anime. The first 13 minutes of the film are one of the greatest sequences in animation history, while Geinoh Yamashirogumi’s world-building and noh-inspired score continues to exert their respective influences in the cyberpunk media world (and beyond). If you have never seen it, you must see it. And if you feel like more, I highly recommend you to read the original manga series. You will not regret it.

3. Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway

Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway

Run time: 1h 35m
Director: Shūkō Murase
Cast: Kensho Ono, Reina Ueda, Jun’ichi Suwabe
Where to watch: Netflix

Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway, the first part of a film trilogy set 12 years after the events of Mobile Suit Gundam: Chars Counterattack, tells the story of Hathaway Noa, who secretly heads a terrorist organization that wants to challenge the Earth Federation and prevent the privatization of the planet. Directed by Shuko Murase (Witch Hunter Robin) and based on the novel series of the same name by series creator Yoshiyuki Tomino, Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway is a brilliant introduction to the long-standing mecha franchise and a satisfying independent entry. The only drawback of watching the film is that, like all of us, you will have to wait for the second episode, which is currently in production and is scheduled for release at the end of 2024.

4. Memories


Run time: 1h 53m
Directors: Kōji Morimoto, Tensai Okamura, Katsuhiro Otomo
Cast: Tsutomu Isobe, Shouzou Iizuka, Kouichi Yamadera
Where to watch: Prime Video

Rock anime anthologies, and this is one of the best. After the release of Akira in 1988 and Roujin Z in 1991, Katsuhiro Otomo, as executive producer, produced Memories, an anthology based on three of his manga short stories, directed by K @ji Morimoto (who later directed Noiseman Sound Insect), Tensai Okamura (who worked as a key animator in 1995 Ghost in the Shell) and Otomo himself.

Memories are a prime example of what the anime medium has to offer. Each short film shows a combination of comedy, melancholy and artistic ambition that appeals to the respective talents of each of its three directors at their peak. The last two short films in the anthology, “Stink Bomb” and”Cannon Fodder”, are wonderful on their own, but it is the first film in the anthology, “Magnetic Rose”, which has built a cult following in the years since the film’s release. Written by the late Satoshi Kon and directed by Morimoto, the film is a ghost story set in outer space and follows a crew of space rescuers responding to an SOS signal sent from a graveyard of abandoned spaceships. It’s an excellent short film, one of my absolute favorites, and one that makes the experience of seeing memories worthwhile on its own.

5. The Rebuild Of Evangelion Tetralogy

The Rebuild Of Evangelion Tetralogy

Run time: 1h 38m
Director: Hideaki Anno
Cast: Megumi Ogata, Megumi Hayashibara, Yuko Miyamura
Where to watch: Prime Video

Do you remember when I said earlier on this list that the end of Evangelion was the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion? This was both true and false, because although Hideaki Anno had originally intended to end the series with his aforementioned 1997 film, he finally returned to the series in 2007 with the first of a tetralogy of films that would open the franchise to future creators, 994 Mobile Fighter G Gundam. It didn’t work out that way.

The reconstruction of the Evangelion tetralogy is an opportunity not only for Anno and Company to reinvent the series for a new generation of viewers, but also for the director to look at the work with new eyes, while continuing to explore his relationship with these characters. The production of Neon Genesis Evangelion and End of Evangelion is famous for its behind-the-scenes difficulties associated with Anna’s struggle with depression, and the reconstruction films feel like evidence that an older, wiser director is returning to clarify the life-affirming themes inherent in his Magnum opus, while at the same time saying goodbye to it.

Read Also: The 10 Best Anime Series On HIDIVE

6. Promare


Run time: 1h 51m
Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi
Cast: Kenichi Matsuyama, Taichi Saotome, Masato Sakai
Where to watch: Max

Fans of Gurren Lagann and the anime studio Trigger owe it to themselves to watch promars. Director Hiroyuki Imaishi and screenwriter Kazuki Nakashima reunite to deliver a sci-fi action epic about a team of firefighter mecha pilots fighting against a terrorist group that wants to destroy humanity by spontaneous combustion. Admittedly, this is not exactly the true premise of the film, but at the risk of spoiling the best surprises that Promare has to offer, I will say no more. What I will say is that the film is one of Trigger’s most beautiful productions to date, with beautiful cel shading sets, creative character designs and an equal amount of over-the-top action and humor. If you like anime like BNA: Brand new Animal, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and Kill la Kill, it’s a breeze to watch promars.

7. The Deer King

The Deer King

Run time: 1h 53m
Directors: Masashi Andō, Masayuki Miyaji
Cast: Shinichi Tsutsumi, Ryoma Takeuchi, Anne Watanabe
Where to watch: Hulu

For those looking forward to Hayao Miyazaki’s next movie, The Boy and the Heron, this fantasy drama from a trio of Ghibli alumni is the perfect movie to watch while you wait. In collaboration with Masashi and extraterritorial (character designer of Princess Mononoke) and Masayuki Miyaji (assistant director of Spirited Away) and written by former Ghibli author Taku Kishimoto, The Deer follows King Van, a once proud warrior who escapes slavery and takes on the responsibility of protecting a young girl in the midst of the outbreak of a terrible supernatural virus plaguing his country.

Although it may not be exactly the Mononoke princess of this generation, The Deer King is nevertheless a beautiful and entertaining film about found families, survival and the importance of embracing science instead of superstition and barbarism. Also, regardless of his loose association with Ghibli, The Deer King is one of the best anime movies released this decade.

8. Spirited Away

Spirited Away

Run time: 2h 5m
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Cast: Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki
Where to watch: Max

The debate about which of Hayao Miyazaki’s films deserves the award as his “best” is endless, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s just continue with the film that earned him his first Oscar. Spirited Away is probably one of the greatest achievements of Miyazaki’s inimitable work, a fantasy that combines Japanese folklore with a youthful search for meaning to create a timeless work of lasting beauty.

Spirited Away tells the story of Chihiro, a 10-year-old girl who is accidentally transferred to a spirit world while moving to a new city with her parents. After her parents are turned into pigs, Chihiro seeks refuge in the bathhouse of a powerful witch with the help of Haku, a mysterious boy who apparently knows her from her past. Encountering a colorful cast of larger-than-life creatures and characters, Chihiro must confront the unknown and devise a plan to save his parents and return safely to the mortal realm. There’s a reason Spirited Away is touted as one of the most culturally significant anime movies of the 21st century, and that’s because it’s really that good.

9. The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl

The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl

Run time: 1h 32m
Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Cast: Gen Hoshino, Kana Hanazawa, Hiroshi Kamiya
Where to watch: Max

Masaaki Yuasa is a Moderna master of animation, known for his eccentric free-form approach to animation, populated by mischievous and memorable characters who go on eccentric adventures. The night is short, Walk on Girl is a perfect example of that; it’s a boisterous late-night crawl bar that blossoms into a heartfelt romantic comedy.

Based on Tomihiko Morimi’s novel of the same name, the film is a kind of spiritual sequel to Yuasa’s 2010 masterpiece The Tatami Galaxy, in which characters and the entire environment of the University of the Outsiders are reused to tell a different story of youthful love and abandonment. There are so many fantastic anime under Yuasa direction to choose from, from Devilman Crybaby and Ping Pong, the animation, to Kaiba and keep your hands off Eizouken. However, if you’re looking for a solid introduction to your feature-length work, The Night Is Short is a fantastic place to start.

Read Also: 7 Best Volatile Father and Son Relationships in Anime

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