5 of the Best Japanese Animated Films You Need to Watch

Miyazaki's Spirited Away

Japanese animated films are a league of their own. Anyone who is a fan should be familiar with legendary Hayao Miyazaki and the famous Studio Ghibli that, along with other animators and producers, have produced some of Japan’s top-grossing and critically acclaimed animated movies in Japan. With so many to choose from, here are some of the best ones to add to your must-watch list.

 

Spirited Away (2001)


This Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli films tells the story of Chihiro and her journey into the spirit world. This animated movie will take you into a unique and wonderful supernatural world teeming with fascinating characters.

 

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)


Prepare the tissues because there is just no way you can finish this film without crying buckets of tears. As heavy as that may sound, this Isao Takahata and Studio Ghibli animated film gives a heartwrenching glimpse into the impact of war. Set in World War II, Grave of the Fireflies tells the story of two siblings struggling to survive.

 

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)


This animated movie is another one of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s best-loved works. It tells the story of two sisters and their university professor father as they moved to a new home to be closer to the hospital where their sick mother was staying. It follows their adventures as they encounter the wood and soot spirits in the area.

 

Princess Mononoke (1997)


This Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli animated film set in the late Muromachi period. It follows the story of Ashitaka and a female warrior he met after he left his village. Ashitaka is the last Emishi prince who is trying to make peace with the supernatural creatures of the forest and the humans living in the nearby settlement called Irontown.

 

Your Name (2016)


Makoto Shinkai’s animated film was a big hit not just in Japan but in many countries across the globe. It follows the story of a high school girl and a boy who live in Japan’s countryside and bustling Tokyo respectively. This body-swapping tale is a delightful and beautiful journey into the lives of the characters set in places brought to life with such an amazing attention to details.

Two Hayao Miyazaki Films for the Must-Watch List

My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro

It will be hard to find a fan of Japanese animated movies who has not heard of Hayao Miyazaki. Widely considered as one of the greatest animation directors in Japan, he is known for a lot of iconic works that continue to delight people of all ages not just in Japan but across the globe. So if you are looking for ideas on what to watch for some holiday anime binge, here are some of his unmissable works you need to watch.

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
You have to see the movie to understand why it has become one Hayao Miyazaki’s work. The story, which is set in a time after the war in Japan, may seem simple enough. A father with his two daughters named Satsuki and Mei moved to a village in a rural area. This was so they can stay closer to where the children’s mother is hospitalized. And it is where that Satsuki and Mei’s adventures began as they discovered the natural world around them and the adorable, magical creatures they encountered. From Totoro to the catbus and all the other mythical beings they came across, My Neighbor Totoro is a wonderful tale that will make you fall in love with Japanese anime.

Princess Mononoke (1997)
Princess Mononoke is widely-considered as Miyazaki’s greatest masterpiece. Like My Neighbor Totoro, it also features supernatural beings but with a more serious undertone. Set in Japan’s Muromachi period, it tells the story of Emishi prince Ashitaka who set out on a journey to find a cure to the curse he got from the boar god consumed by rage. It focuses on the mythical creatures who protect a forest, the people who are slowly destroying it as they use up its resources, and Princess Mononoke – the daughter of a wolf gold.

Top 2 Upcoming Animated Films

lightning mcqueen

Let’s face it.

All of us, kids or kids-at-heart, enjoy watching animated films.

Why?

These films do not only teach us how to be more compassionate with each other, but also teach us the importance of living life to the fullest. These films do not only teach us how to be more understanding of each other, but also teach us the importance of having a family or real friendship and true love.

That being said, here are the top 2 upcoming animated films:

Cars 3

If you don’t know anything about Lightning McQueen, you’re seriously missing out on one of Pixar Studios and Walt Disney Pictures’ most successful animated films of all time. Cars 3 follows the story of Lightning McQueen after getting himself kicked out in what he loves most: speed car racing. Now, the question is: With Hudson Hornet’s inspiring story from back then, will Lightning still be able to overcome his greatest challenge yet in the Piston Cup?

What To Look Out For: Pretty much like having Cars 2 Carla Veloso awesomely voice over Jeff Gorvette in the animated film’s Brazilian version, look out for more awesome voice overs in the upcoming Cars movie.

Despicable Me 3

Gru is back, along with his super-agent wife Lucy and their cute girls, in a whole new adventure! In this latest installment, the “Grucy” team must stop Balthazar Bratt – a former child star from the 1980’s who became obsessed with his previous movie role – from dominating the entire world. Adding to the already hilarious plot, Gru’s twin brother – Dru – is looking forward to one last action-packed swoop with him: to acquire the diamond Balthazar has stolen.

What To Look Out For: Who could ever forget about Bob, Kevin, and Stuart? Look out for Bob, Kevin, Stuart, and the rest of those cute Minions mixing drinks in an island – and yes, being chaotic (as usual) in Gru’s house.