Since its inception, the anime industry has delighted us with Japanese culture. It has cemented its position in the entertainment sector with overwhelming popularity inside and outside Japan.

In the last couple of decades, anime movies have achieved great success, spreading worldwide to the point that they now compete with Western movies and even bag international awards- most notably the Oscars, one of which is on our picks for the best anime movies.


Here is a list of our list of the 10 best anime movies of all time, and they should be on your must-watch list. Anime fans will hopefully agree with me, while someone new to the genre should definitely check them out. These movies will transport you to a magical world with multiple universes that will immerse you in a second.

10 Best Anime Movies to Watch in the UAE and Saudi Arabia

Every single anime movie on this list is worth watching. They’re sorted by the year in which they were released.

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Genre: Comedy, Family I Rating: G

My Neighbor Totoro is another movie from the legendary Hayao Miyazaki and is considered one of the best movies to watch with the whole family.

The world of My Neighbor Totoro is so immersive and vibrant that it makes the viewers want to live in it. The plot is based on the idea of imaginary friends and the desire of our two protagonists to live with them to compensate for the lack of affection as a result of their mother’s illness and their father’s absence from work.

An imaginary friend called Totoro stole the hearts of many people inside and outside the film and became a famous symbol of Studio Ghibli and even the main destination of the Ghibli Museum.

Akira (1988)

Genre: Action, Drama I Rating: R+

After the strong performance of the Akira manga when it was published in 1982, the Tokyo Movie Shinsha studio, in cooperation with Bandai Entertainment and TOHO channel, transformed this manga into an anime movie in 1988.

This epic science fiction movie featured strong graphics and was considered one of the best of its era. Akira is considered a huge reference that inspired many successful anime and manga, such as Ghost in the Shell, Battle Angel Alita, and Cowboy Bebop.

The movie begins in 1998 after an explosion tears through Tokyo and is caused by a young boy with psychic powers leading to World War III and devastation to the entire world. In order to prevent further destruction that this child could cause, he is arrested and detained, and no one hears from him again. We move to 2019’s New Tokyo, a city full of violence and terrorism against the current government, where we meet Tetsu Shima, the child with psychic powers who has now become old. Tetsu’s supernatural powers reawaken, which attracts the attention of the government that seeks to isolate and control him.

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)

Genre: Action, Crime I Rating: R

After the great performance of the Cowboy Bebop series from 1998 to 1999 and throughout its 26 episodes, Sony Pictures Entertainment, in cooperation with Bones and Sunrise, decided to complete the journey of the Bebop crew with a new adventure through space, this time to the planet Mars.

The movie takes the Bebop crew on a new adventure, where they set out to chase a target on the planet Mars, but when an oil tanker suddenly explodes, a strange disease breaks out as a result of the smoke, taking a lot of lives with it.

When the team finds out who caused this explosion and tries to arrest them, it leads them to uncover a conspiracy that reaches far beyond what the team could have realized.

Spirited Away (2011)

Genre: Adventure I Rating: PG

Suffice it to say that this distinguished work comes to us from Oscar-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, who has given us many strong and successful projects throughout his history. Spirited Away was able to beat all Western movies and win the Academy Award for Best Animated Film in 2003, and became the first Japanese movie, whether anime or otherwise, to win an Oscar.

This is because of the good story and the imaginative world from Miyazaki with distinctive graphics and animations. It was also the highest-grossing movie in Japan at that point in time.

The movie tells a story about a young girl named Chihiro who, while travelling with her parents to their new home, takes the wrong path and ends up in a completely different place: a large cave. The parents decide to explore this place, and they find a large table full of food. As expected from human nature, which is full of greed, the parents eat the food while Chihiro is exploring the place. Upon her return, she discovers that they mysteriously turned into pigs, and now she must find out the reason behind what happened to her parents, find the evil witch that controls this mysterious place, and try to escape from it.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

Genre: Adventure, Comedy I Rating: G

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time manga was published in 2003 to little interest from manga fans in Japan. However, it attracted the attention of Madhouse, a famous studio, which was known for releasing the beloved anime Monster. Indeed, the studio was able to provide its best graphics and animation to bring this fictional story to life. 

The story revolves around Makoto Kono, a young girl who is a high school senior, but she is having difficulty determining her future and what she should do while bearing the pressure of her parents and her desire to spend time with her best friends.

Makoto’s life changes completely when she discovers that she has the ability to jump through time, and she soon learns the hard way that every choice she makes across time will have a consequence, and time is more complicated than it seems.

The Wind Rises (2013)

Genre: Biography, Drama I Rating: Pg13

Japan is very proud of its people, and from time to time, they try to shed light on some famous names for the whole world to know. One of them was Studio Ghibli’s effort to tell the story of the engineer Jiro Hirakashi, who built a plane with his friends during World War II. This long journey was told through the eyes of none other than the director Hayao Miyazaki, who gave his best to tell the story of Jiro.

Jiro Hirakashi suffers from short-sightedness, but this does not prevent him from becoming a pilot. He left his hometown to study aeronautical engineering at Tokyo Imperial University in order to design and build aeroplanes like his idol, Giovanni Battista Caproni, who is considered the pioneer of the Italian aircraft industry.

However, Jiro’s arrival in Tokyo coincides with the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, causing him to go through social unrest and distress until he built the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, which was used in World War II.

The Boy and the Beast (2015)

Genre: Action, Adventure I Rating: PG13

Chizu Studio’s The Boy and the Beast is one of the most unforgettable movies ever, and it will immerse you in its magical and impressive world. The movie features an excellent plot and perfect graphics and animation, won the Best Film Award in Japan for the year 2016, and was nominated for many awards around the world, with an impressive revenue of over $49 million, with a $4 million budget.

Rin is a 9-year-old kid who, after losing all of his family, has nowhere to go, so he lives on the streets and alleys of Shibuya. However, he encounters a mysterious world full of monsters called Shibuten in the alleys of Shibuya.

In this world, we meet Kumatetsu, who takes Rin as his student. As the years pass, it becomes clear that the two help each other in more ways than they thought and have relationships far beyond the interests and goals that the boy and the beast initially pursued.

Your Name (2016)

Genre: Fantasy, Drama I Rating: PG 13

Your Name received good reviews and strong reactions inside and outside Japan and collected more than $382 million in revenue from a budget of $52.1 million. 

Mitsuha is a young girl full of joy and energy but hates her life in a small village isolated from the world. Her life’s dream is to move to Tokyo and all its noise and luxurious life. However, we have Taki on the other side, who lives in Tokyo in a difficult and fast life and wants to live an isolated and quiet life.

Mysteriously, each of them switches into the other’s body, so Mitsuha lives Taki’s life in Tokyo like she has always dreamed of, and Taki lives Mitsuha’s calm and isolated life. In order to maintain living like this, the duo set rules between themselves after getting to know each other but things don’t always go as desired when they decide to meet face to face while in each other’s body.

Grave Of The Fireflies (2016)

Genre: War Drama I Rating: PG13

World War II was a very difficult period for Japan, and we can see it clearly in the works of the legendary writer Akayuki Nosaka, who lost his sister as a result of it. 

This movie features a very sad tone with hard scenes and tells the story of Seita and his younger sister, Setsuko, and the difficult life they lived during the bombing of villages in Japan during World War II- trying to survive amidst the destruction and fires around them.

The film is considered one of the best anti-war movies and has won many international awards.

A Silent Voice (2016)

Genre: Drama I Rating: PG13

One of the most re-watchable movies and one that should be recommended to everyone is A Silent Voice, which highlights the problem of bullying.

Ishida used to pour his energy into bullying everyone; even the deaf girl, Nemecia, was not safe from him. However, the situation changes and he discovers how badly he wronged people around him.

When he decides to end his life, Ishida meets Nimisha again, and his life turns completely around, and he becomes a different person, but perhaps it is a little too late for those who love him.

Abbas Jaffar Ali
Abbas Jaffar Ali

Abbas has been covering tech for more than two decades- before phones became smart or clouds stored data. He brought publications like CNET, TechRadar and IGN to the Middle East.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *