22 Great Non-Ghibli Movies You Could Watch With Your Family

Finding an appropriate anime movie can be difficult once you step out of the realm of Studio Ghibli, otherwise known as the Disney of anime.

There are many great anime movies out there, but if you showed Akira or Jin-Roh to children, at best they would not know what’s going on at all and at worst, they’d be scarred for life.

Likewise, many anime movies are based on existing TV shows, leading many to scratch their heads in confusion because they’re missing a great chunk of the plot.

So here are 23 great non-Ghibli anime movies preapproved for both children and adults, new and old to the anime world. These are in no order of course!

 

1The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Toki o Kakeru Shoujo)

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Studio: Madhouse

A movie about time traveling and growing up, its simple yet layered story is easy to appreciate at all levels.

 

2Tokyo Godfathers

Tokyo Godfathers

Studio: Madhouse

An unconventional Christmas movie with a unique story. We follow three homeless characters as they attempt to return a lost baby to her parents and end up facing their personal issues they’ve run from. A really great movie showing the humanity of strangers.

 

3Giovanni’s Island (Giovanni no Shima)

Giovanni's Island

Studio: Production I.G

A post-World War II movie that is not Grave of the Fireflies and a little bit happier too. Two Japanese boys try to live and grow in a defeated Japan and learn about surviving in a harsh world through their interaction with Russian forces. The themes of acceptance make this movie one with a great lesson for all viewers.

 

4Children Who Chase Lost Voices (Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo)

Children Who Chase Lost Voices

Studio: CoMix Wave Films

Made by rising director Makoto Shinkai, this coming of age story tackles loss and loneliness through a girl named Asuna as is thrown into a fantasy adventure filled with monsters.

 

5Patema Inverted (Sakasama no Patema)

Patema Inverted

Studio:  Purple Cow Studios Japan

Taking place in an alternate reality where half of humanity are affected by a reversed gravity and must live underground, a boy and a girl learn about looking past differences and finding that perspectives on life are different for each person.

 

6Hotarubi no Mori e

Hotarubi no Mori e

Studio: Brain’s Base

This short film is about finding friendship and romance in the strangeness of the supernatural. It might make some cry at the end.

 

7Colorful

Colorful

Studio: Ascension

A second chance is given to a soul, who learns about the value of life and correcting one’s mistakes in this semi-supernatural movie.

 

8Piano no Mori

Piano no MoriStudio: Madhouse

Piano no Mori is about building friendship, in this case using music as a central point. The musical pieces are enjoyable and the characters’ differing approaches to life will be appreciated by most.

 

9The Place Promised in Our Early Days (Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho)

The Place Promised in Our Early Days

Studio: CoMix Wave Inc.

A story about three children following their dreams, and how friendship transcends both time and one’s goals. The humanism is mixed with a science fiction aspect, making it enjoyable for everyone.

 

10Summer Wars

Summer Wars

Studio: Madhouse

This film offers great action, atmosphere, and tone, as well as a strong portrayal of the strength of family. It’s able to bring many elements into a cohesive story, and each person can appreciate it in their own way.

 

11A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi)

A Silent Voice

Studio: Kyoto Animation

A boy bullies a girl, who is forced to transfer schools, but in an ironic twist, the boy becomes bullied himself. It’s a moral lesson against bullying but also a heartwarming story of redemption.

 

12The Anthem of the Heart (Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda.)

The Anthem of the Heart

Studio: A-1 Pictures

A girl lives with a strong guilt after tearing her family apart with something she said. Thus, she lives unable to speak, but she must tackle that guilt as she faces the hardships of friendship and growing up.

 

13Who’s Left Behind? (Ushiro no Shoumen Daare)

Who's Left Behind?

Studio: Mushi Production

A tale of a young girl trying to find her place in her large family as Japan’s World War II activities begin to affect the lives of ordinary people. A reflection on war and its effects on society.

 

14Wolf Children (Ookami Kodomo Ame to Yuki)

Wolf Children

Studio: Madhouse, Studio Chizu

Born of a secretive love between a human and a werewolf, two children must grow up hiding their true identities while trying to live a normal life. The theme of seeking acceptance is played very well here, something most people could appreciate.

 

15A Letter to Momo (Momo e no Tegami)

A Letter to Momo

Studio: Production I.G

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard at all ages, so Momo’s journey to reconcile with her feelings of guilt is a powerful one for both young and old.

 

16Tamako Love Story

Tamako Love Story

Studio: Kyoto Animation

High school is a time of growth and maturation. Two characters with different backgrounds and goals meet in this all-encompassing story of romance, dreams, and reality.

 

175 Centimeters Per Second (Byousoku Go Centimeter)

5 Centimeters Per Second

Studio: CoMix Wave Inc.

Reality is harsh, and that’s what this story aims to convey. A movie about the mundanity of love, it will have you reflecting on the preciousness of one’s own actions as well as its futilities in the unpredictable currents of life.

 

18The Boy and the Beast (Bakemono no Ko)

The Boy and the Beast

Studio: Studio Chizu

The value of a parent-child bond is at the forefront of this story of an abandoned boy who finds a role model in a respected but flawed fighter of a different world.

19Summer Days with Coo (Kappa no Kuu to Natsuyasumi)

Summer Days with Coo

Studio: Shin-Ei Animation

A mythical Kappa is adopted by a family and must cope with its difficult past and future. The Kappa’s conflict between his longing for his own kind and accepting his new reality is surprisingly human and easily relatable.

 

20Hal

Hal

Studio: Wit Studio

In a futuristic society in which robots can act as normal humans, one robot is created to take the place of a girl’s boyfriend, leading to a tale of romance that transcends identity.

 

21Classmates (Doukyuusei)

Classmates

Studio: A-1 Pictures

Two very different high school boys must learn to work with each other in their school festival. They learn of respect and love and they must figure out how to handle their feelings responsibly. Contains boy love.

 

22Your name. (Kimi no na wa.)

Your name.

Studio: CoMix Wave Films

The hit anime move of 2016, it revolves around a boy and a girl with opposite dreams and through a phenomenon of body switching, they must learn of the realities of each other’s lives together.

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