The Best Anime Movies To Watch On OTT Platforms

When we think about animation, many images spring to mind, such as Tom and Jerry, Snow White, or The Lion King. The practice of associating animated films with children's stories has become industry standard. Things are a bit different in Japan. Anime is an abbreviation for Animation, and many outside of Japan connect it with Japanese cartoons as well as animation.


Japan has a distinct animation style. Their personalities are bright, vivid, and full of life. While these anime films were developed with a younger audience in mind, their storylines are still relevant today after so many years.

It was difficult to appreciate the native type of storytelling in the beginning as they weren’t easily accessible. However, with so many streaming choices available now, it is simple to find these hidden treasures. So, if you're searching for some unique and exciting stories to watch this weekend or during the curfew, we have got you covered.

In this post, we will rank the best Japanese anime movies to watch on OTT platforms like Netflix that you should watch even if you aren't a lover of animation.

1. A Whisker Away

  • Director: Junichi Sato, Tomotaka Shibayama
  • Cast:Mirai Shida Natsuki Hanae Hiroaki Ogi Koichi Yamadera, Minako Kotobuki
  • IMDb – 6.7/10
  • Streaming On: Netflix

There have been stranger things done in films than transforming into a cat to get friendlier to your sweetheart, however they are few and far between. It's not quite like you're standing outside a window with a boombox. But in Junichi Sato and Tomotaka Shibayama's A Whisker Away, even the most bizarre concept delivers beauty and heartfelt passion.

Mari Okada's writing expertly guides the animation through emotional loops and crinkly toy tunnels, eventually landing its ludicrous premise—complete with a troupe of angry, unhappy middle schoolers—in emotional honesty.

A sprinkling of Miyazaki canon (a flatulent face-dealing cat and a whole invisible cat-world) blends well with certain honest digs into its protagonists' mental health concerns (not quite as intensely and darkly as Neon Genesis Evangelion, though with a likewise fashionable flair).

While the characters are first irritating (they are middle schoolers, after all), the reality behind the narrative shines through, all while dazzling us with its realistic animal animation and gorgeous representations of smaller-town Tokoname life.

2. Modest Heroes

  • Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
  • Cast:Fumino Kimura Rio Suzuki Masaki Terasoma Machiko Ono
  • IMDb – 6.6/10
  • Streaming On: Netflix

Anthologies of short films are among the most remarkable displays of boundary-pushing visual narrative in animation, especially when it comes to Japanese animation.

A cursory look at anime anthologies generated in the last 30 years is sufficient: from Masao Maruyama and Rintaro's 1987 movie Labyrinth Tales to Katsuhiro Otomo's 1995 film Memories, anthologies pose as landmarks of anime heritage.

With all that in mind, director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, together with veteran Ghibli animators Yoshiyuki Momose (The Tale of Princess Kaguya) as well as Akihiko Yamashita (Howl's Moving Castle), have collaborated to produce Modest Heroes, the very first edition in Studio Ponoc's collection of animated short films.

Hiromasa Yonebayashi's "Kanini & Kanino'' is the anthology and perhaps the most overtly "Ghibli-esque" piece. The film, which follows the narrative of a couple of anthropomorphic crab kids living at the bottom of a riverbank, might be seen as a sequel to Yonebayashi’s directorial debut, the 2010 feature The Secret World of Arrietty, albeit this time developed and written solely by himself.

The next short film in the anthology, created by Yoshiyuki Momose, is the most moving in the collection and, possibly, the real namesake of Modest Heroes. “Life Ain't Gonna Lose” follows a young woman and her son Shun, a cheerful little boy born with a crippling egg allergy. “Life Ain't Gonna Lose” establishes a high standard for the film, however the anthology's third film, “Invisible,” manages to match and even exceed those expectations.

“Invisible” is created by Akihiko Yamashita, who is recognized not just for his previous work on Howl's Moving Castle, but more as a creative director on Yasuhiro Imagawa's Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still. The film is about a man who is unnoticeable to everyone he meets. Modest Heroes is Studio Ponoc's gratifying sophomore effort, a compilation of films that, taken together, echo the attitude of that most joyful and daring of adages made popular by the calibre of Rod Serling"...and there is nothing fiercer than the modest.

3. Blame!

  • Director: Hiroyuki Seshita
  • Cast:Sora Amamiya Kana Hanazawa Takahiro Sakurai
  • IMDb – 6.7/10
  • Streaming On: Netflix

Tsutomu Nihei is a pioneer in the field of gloomy industrial sci-fi. He was educated as an architect before building a degree as a manga creator.

His earliest and most well-known series, Blame! is regarded as a pivotal book in Nihei's aesthetic heritage, inspiring everything from computer games to music to fashion and art. Efforts to convert the series into yet another anime have been undertaken in the past, but none have proven successful.

Until now, that is. Hiroyuki Seshita of Polygon Pictures has produced the long-awaited Blame! with the help of Netflix. Blame! is situated on a far-future Earth that has been devoured by a gigantic, self-replicating construction known as The City. Killy, a quiet loner, wanders the levels of the planet in search of a person with the "net terminal gene," a rare characteristic considered to be the only way to stop the city's never-ending aggressive expansion.

With a script written by Sadayuki Murai, well known for his work on Cowboy Bebop as well as Satoshi Kon's Perfect Blue, and directed by Nihei himself, Seshita's film cuts most of the manga's earlier parts and simplifies the tale into a far more cinematic and action-driven event.

Yuki Moriyama competently enhances the original's unified character designs, endowing its casts with different, easily recognizable traits and shapes that significantly improve the story's narrative.

Blame! is as accurate a version as it is possible to get, and it serves as an appropriate introduction to the series as the manga itself. This story creates a compelling argument for being not just one of the most philosophically interesting anime films of recent years, but also one among, if not the finest original anime film to visit Netflix in a long time.

4. Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro

  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Cast:Yasuo Yamada Eiko Masuyama Kiyoshi Kobayashi Makio Inoue Goro Naya Sumi Shimamoto Taro Ishida
  • IMDb: 7.6/10
  • Streaming On: Netflix

The essence of Miyazaki's career would be that it brims with an abundance of riches, every film in its own right inextricably linked to the anime canon. His films have received so much praise for their visual narrative and emotional skill that perhaps those few movies that may be deemed his "worst" nevertheless rank miles over those animators who just aspire to his level.

Lupin III: Cagliostro's Castle Miyazaki's version of Kazuhiko Kato's legendary master criminal is both a rousing heist picture with heart and one of Miyazaki's weaker works. As a result of Miyazaki's inexperience as a filmmaker, Castle of Cagliostro suffers from a sluggish middle act and a disappointingly simple adversary while yet managing to shine with his distinctive charm shining through the baggage of a previous production.

Fans of the series slammed the film for depriving Lupin of his anarchist tendencies and instead portraying him as a real gentleman robber, robbing only when his hazy sense of honor allows it. In any event, Miyazaki's proto-Ghibli masterpiece, The Castle of Cagliostro, remains a significant and necessary relic. Even if a Miyazaki picture has flaws, it is still an accomplishment.

5. The End of Evangelion

  • Director: Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki
  • Cast:Megumi Ogata Megumi Hayashibara Yuko Miyamura Kotono Mitsuishi Fumihiko Tachiki Yuriko Yamaguchi
  • IMDb: 8.1/10
  • Streaming On: Netflix

Fans of the anime will remember the final two episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The two-part finale, captioned "Do you love me" and "Take care of yourself," famously skipped over the climactic conclusion to the series' main story, rather choosing to take place entirely outside of the action inside the subconscious of the show's main character, Shinji Ikari, as he struggled to fix the self-loathing and hatred that troubled him all through the plot.

Disgruntled fans threatened Anno's life and damaged Gainax's building with graffiti because of the unusual and unsatisfactory nature of the finale. As a result, Anno began work on a new series finale that would be split into two parts and broadcast in cinemas. End of Evangelion is not the film for you if you're looking for a lighthearted, campy, and joyous ending.

Instead, viewers were awarded to one of the most tragic, avant-garde, and, strangely enough, life-affirming anime series finale ever created. In summary, it combines the finest and worst aspects of Evangelion to produce a film unlike any other that has come before it. Despite its persistent gloom, End of Evangelion stays faithful to its subtitle's ethos, which is that the pleasure of death is found in the process of regeneration.

6. A Silent Voice

  • Director: Naoko Yamada
  • Cast:Miyu Irino Saori Hayami Aoi Yuki Kensho Ono Yuki Kaneko Yui Ishikawa Megumi Han Toshiyuki Toyonaga Mayu Matsuoka
  • IMDb: 8.2/10
  • Streaming On: Netflix

Naoko Yamada's appearance is a breath of fresh air in a sector that is dominated by men, not to mention the unique quality of her movies.

Yamada is a filmmaker par excellence, proficient in apprehending attention and conveying sorrowful and wistful redemption through fragile mixtures of deft sound, rapid editing, ethereal color palettes, as well as characters with affluent inner lives rife with twisty, familiar struggles, motivated by the likes of Yasujiro Ozu, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Sergei Parajanov, Sofia Coppola, as well as Lucile Hadzi

A Silent Voice, based on Yoshitoki Oima's manga of the very same name, is an excellent example of all of these tastes at work. When Shoya Ishida encounters Shoko Nishimiya, a deaf foreign student, in primary school, he constantly abuses her, much to the delight of his friends. When Shoya pushes too far, causing Shoko to move again because of her own safety, he is labelled a pariah by his classmates and sinks into self-imposed solitude and self-hatred.

Years later, Shoya sees Shoko again, this time as an adolescent, and tries to make apologies for the pain he caused her, all while struggling to comprehend his own reasons. A Silent Voice is a touching portrayal of teenage abuse, healing, and repentance for the pain done by someone else and ourselves, and is without a doubt one of the best romantic anime movies.

7. Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack

  • Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino
  • Cast:Toru Furuya Shuichi Ikeda Hirotaka Suzuoki Maria Kawamura Nozomu Sasaki Koichi Yamadera
  • IMDb: 7.7/10
  • Streaming On: Netflix

With the first film releasing in 1978, the Gundam cinematic universe finally got its conclusion in the form of Char’s Counterattack, which had the power of three seasons of TV backing it. Yoshiyuki Tomino, the inventor of the Gundam series, filmed and scripted the movie, which was based on his novel Hi-Streamer.

Char's Counterattack, often regarded as the greatest film in the Gundam genre, is most effective in concluding the 14-year conflict between the "hero" of the Earth Federation, Amuro Ray, and the head of Neo-Zeon, Char Aznable.

The plot revolves around a classic Gundam predicament: Char's Neo-Zeon army seeks to dump an asteroid laden with nuclear bombs onto Earth, freeing the provinces from the yoke of servitude imposed by their enemies, the Earth Federation, but killing everyone on Earth on the way.

As with many of the finest Gundam stories, Tomino takes a hard sci-fi approach to the plot, explicitly setting out the theory behind things like enormous mobile suits and "new types" (humans that have developed to obtain psychic abilities).

Tomino meticulously sets out the logic behind Char and Amuro's feelings and hatreds, preventing the audience from picking a clear side. The Gundam series has always been ready to engage in debates on the horrors of war and also how humanity, despite its achievements, never appears to be able to separate itself from humanity's baser tendencies.

Char's Counterattack tries to do the same thing, but it's more focused on putting an end to the competition between Amuro and Char—and it succeeds spectacularly on that front.

The film is unquestionably one of the great moments of the Gundam Universe, with stunning, suspenseful battle sequences set in space, superb music by Shigeaki Saegusa, as well as some of the most praised Gundam layouts in the history of the franchise.

One disadvantage is that if you don't have the time to watch hundreds of shows on television with these people, the narrative might be unclear, and Char/conclusion Amuro's may not be as powerful. Nevertheless, Char's Counterattack is a pivotal moment in the Gundam world, and it's still worth seeing over 30 years later. Salute to Zeon!

Conclusion

Anime movies may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially those who don’t know Japanese and aren’t fans of watching movies with subtitles. However, for those who have grown up with these Japanese cartoons, we are sure you are bound to enjoy our list of the best anime movies of all times available on OTT!

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