15 Modern Anime Movies That Every Fan Should Watch

We are currently living in a golden age of anime movies. In the past, most worthwhile movies were only produced by Studio Ghibli or were compilation films, like Mobile Suit Gundam: The Trilogy. But now the best talents in animation are working on movies at a diverse set of studios that illustrate life from many different perspectives.

Unlike older classic film’s focus on fantasy children’s stories, these films don’t shy away from controversy with topics like suicide, broken families, religion, and disabilities. These modern anime movies that have been released since 2010 pack a powerful punch.

 

Genre: Drama / Romance / Supernatural

Studio: CoMix Wave Films

Quick Pitch: Mitsuha has always yearned to live in Tokyo and leave the countryside. Taki, a student living in Tokyo, struggles to juggle his life as a student and part-time worker. These two lives become intertwined as a mysterious phenomenon allows them to switch bodies without having met before.

 

Genre: Drama

Studio: Kyoto Animation

Quick Pitch: Shouya Ishida is a boy who is always getting into trouble. When a deaf transfer student named Shouko Nishimiya is introduced to Ishida’s class, he deems her as the perfect target for bullying. Ishida bullies Nishimiya to kill boredom and doesn’t think about the effects of his actions until he starts to become ostracized by his own classmates.

 

3Wolf Children (Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki)

Genre: Fantasy / Slice of Life

Studio: Studio Chizu

Quick Pitch: Hana is a college student who falls in love with a mysterious man. On a full moon, it is revealed that he is the last werewolf but that doesn’t weaken their bond. Shortly after giving birth to two babies, Hana’s lover dies in an accident. Now, she is left alone to raise two children who can turn into werewolves and are the last of their kind.

 

Genre: Drama / Romance / Supernatural

Studio: Brain’s Base

Quick pitch: Six-year-old Hotaru Takegawa loses her way in an ancient forest while visiting her uncle. Hotaru meets a masked spirit named Gin when she is alone and desperate for help. Gin is willing to help Hotaru but he warns her not to touch him or else he will disappear forever.

Despite this, the two become close friends over the years as Hotaru visits Gin every summer. When romantic feelings form, their resolve is put to the test.

 

Genre: Adventure / Supernatural

Studio: Studio Chizu

Quick Pitch: Ren is a 10-year-old boy who runs away from his terrible family life to wander the streets of Shibuya. When Ren gets lost in a maze of alleyways, he ends up in Shibuten – a world of beasts that is full of fierce aggression and gentle kindness.

 

Genre: Romance / Slice of Life / Shounen Ai

Studio: A-1 Pictures

Quick Pitch: Rihito is a straightlaced honor student who gets perfect scores on every subject. Hikaru is a slacker who plays guitar in a band and is popular with girls. These two contrasting boys form an unlikely connection after Hikaru offers to help Rihito prepare for the upcoming chorus festival.

 

7The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Kaguya-hime no Monogatari)

Studio: Drama / Fantasy / Historical

Studio: Studio Ghibli

Quick Pitch: Okina works as a bamboo cutter in the countryside, and discovers a baby in a glowing shoot. He immediately takes the baby home to raise the child with his loving wife. They believe she is a princess sent to Earth as a divine blessing and settle on naming her Kaguya. As time goes on, Kaguya’s purpose and origin come to light.

 

Genre: Drama / Historical

Studio: MAPPA

Quick Pitch: The story is about a young woman named Suzu Urano. In 1944, she moves to the small town of Kure, which is just outside of Hiroshima. Suzu recently married Shuusaku Houjou, who works as a clerk at a naval base. Living with her new family, Suzu starts getting used to a quiet life until the U.S. air raids start happening.

 

9The Anthem of the Heart (Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda.)

Genre: Drama / Romance

Studio: A-1 Pictures

Quick Pitch: Jun used to be a chatterbox, but a magical egg convinces her that her talking caused her parent’s divorce. Placed under a “curse,” Jun loses her ability to speak. In high school, Jun is enrolled in the Community Outreach program with three other students. After bonding, they decide to do a musical based on Jun’s experiences.

 

10Patema Inverted (Sakasama no Patema)

Genre: Drama / Science Fiction

Studio: Studio Rikka / Purple Cow Studio Japan

Quick Pitch: Patema is an adventurous girl from an underground civilization. After being inspired by a missing friend, she decides to explore the network of tunnels that make up her world. After entering a forbidden zone, Patema finds herself falling towards the sky.

She is saved by a boy from the surface. From birth, he and the citizens of the surface are taught that Inverts like Patema are sinners doomed to be swallowed by the sky. He resists this propaganda and tries to save Patema.

11Planetarian: Hoshi no Hito

Genre: Post-apocalyptic

Studio: David Production

Quick Pitch: In the future, the world has become devastated by nuclear and biological warfare. A young scavenger named Kuzuya explores an abandoned city and discovers a service robot awaiting customers in a rooftop planetarian. Kuzuya decides to help repair the planetarian’s projector, which is a decision that will change his fate.

 

12The Secret World of Arrietty (Karigurashi no Arrietty)

Genre: Fantasy

Studio: Studio Ghibli

Quick Pitch: Arrietty and her family are tiny beings that live in a human garden. They are called “borrowers” and take small items from the human world so that they may eke out a living. A 12-year-old human boy named Shou starts to notice things going missing and he discovers Arrietty. The two strike up a friendship in spite of the differences that make it hard for them to spend time together.

 

Genre: Drama / Slice of Life / Supernatural

Studio: Sunrise / Ascension

Quick Pitch: Upon reaching the train station to death, a soul is notified that they have won a lottery and will have a second chance at life. The soul is to possess the body of Makoto, a boy who committed suicide by overdosing on pills. Watched over by a neutral spirit named Purapura, the soul has six-months figure out the greatest sin it committed in its former life while trying to discover why Makoto committed suicide.

 

Genre: Comedy / Slice of Life

Studio: A-1 Pictures

Quick Pitch: Jesus and Buddha decide to rent a Tokyo apartment while taking a vacation on Earth. They attempt to hide their true identities while learning about modern Japanese life and each other.

 

15The Garden of Words

Genre: Drama / Romance / Slice of Life

Studio: CoMix Wave Films

Quick Pitch: On a rainy morning, 15-year-old Takao Akizuki decides to skip class so he can sketch shoe designs in a beautiful garden. He meets a mysterious woman named Yukari Yukino, who is visiting the garden while skipping work. Offering to make Takao shoes, the two unknowingly bond during the rainy season and ease the burdens in each other’s hearts.

What are your favorite modern anime movies?

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