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.