The best anime for beginners, from Spirited Away to Belle

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Are you new to the world of animation, thinking of giving it a chance, but don’t know where to start? Here is a list of 13 anime movies that are equally great to get you started in the world of Japanese animation. The point of this list is to shed some light on a variety of genres and tones that will also give you a good base for how to choose the type of anime you want to explore more of in the future. If you watch all these films and maybe take a look at some of the other works of these directors, you will get a very solid understanding of the world of animated films.



Related: On Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away’ and Growth Anxiety

Today’s video collider

Spirited Away (2001)

As they move to the countryside, Chihiro (Rumi Hiragiand her parents AkioTakashi NaitoyokoYasuko Swaguchi) gets lost and finds herself in an abandoned amusement park. As the family makes their way through the garden, they find enough food for the feast, and since there is no one around, the parents decide to dig for Chirio’s protests. While eating her parents turn into pigs. Then, Shiro quickly finds herself in a world of spirits and is forced to work in a bathroom to train and earn the witch Yubaba (Susan Blechet / Marie Natsuki), so she can get her parents back to normal.

kidnapped Comes from the legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Lustyfar It picks up Marvel’s western animation from studios, like Disney and Dreamworks, but adds a darker look. Miyazaki creates a vibrant world filled with disturbing spirits, giant talking babies, and old witches. Lustyfar It is also the only Japanese film to win Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards. If you enjoy this classic anime, be sure to check out Miyazaki’s other works like Prince MononokeAnd the Kiki’s Delivery Service.


Akira (1998)

Akira It takes place in 2015 in New Tokyo, a future of cyberpunk where gangs and crime are rampant in the streets. Our main character, Kaneda (Mitsuo Iwata)the leader of a teenage biker gang, winds up with the government after his friend Tetsuo (Nozomo Sasaki) gain supernatural abilities. The film changes between biker gang brawls, government drug plots, and full-blown action sequences that threaten the world. Takes us back to 1988 Akira It is a classic game that would make any anime list unfit without it. Akira Dripping with elegance and big ideas, it was a major contributor to the popularity of anime in the West.

Your Name (2016)

Mitsucha (Mona Kamishirashi), a girl living in rural Japan, wishes to be a child living in Tokyo. Soon, I woke up in Taki (Kamiki RyunosukeThe body – a schoolboy living in Tokyo. Periodically, the two switch places and learn to communicate with each other by leaving messages in a variety of ways. Both are forced to live as last in the day as they slowly begin to fall in love with each other. Compared to the other entries on this list, Your Name Provides a nice break for health and romance. Directed by an anime legend. Makoto ShinkaiAnd the Your Name The style and feel of a modern anime is more like any other title on the list. It’s a touching story that will likely leave you with tears in your eyes.


Ghost in the Shell (1995)

In futuristic Japan, the human body can now be replaced with electronic parts. Even the human brain can be turned into the Internet by what they call “ghosts”. Major Kusanagi Motoko (Atsuko Tanaka), the leader of an attack team, on a mission to track down a mysterious puppet master who has been messing with people’s memories through their ghosts. ghost in bowl Essential to an introduction to anime in large part because of its influence on modern cinema. ghost in bowl It is cyberpunk to its roots and explores what it means to have an identity in the modern world. It is also the only movie on this list that has a Hollywood blockbuster. If there is anything that can explain why animated films are so great, just compare 1995 ghost in bowl In the Hollywood Shallow Edition in 2017.


Perfect Blue (1997)

Pop idol Mima Kirigo (Junko Iwau) Want to become an actress. However, the only roles that can force her to portray acts of sexual violence, putting her at risk of tarnishing Mima’s public image. As Mima struggles to change her career, an obsessive fan starts stalking her. Eventually, the difficulties of her performance and the paranoia of the stalker begin to affect the way Mima sees reality. perfect blue Explores the horror that women in the entertainment industry can face. This is definitely one of the darker titles on this list and has some hard-to-watch scenes. perfect blue Directed by the legendary animation director Satoshi Konwhose work influenced Hollywood.

silent sound (2016)

In middle school, Shuya (Mio Irino(Scare his deaf classmate, Choco)Saori Hayami), because he felt it was an easy target. Soon, Choco transferred schools due to Shuya’s bullying. Years later, Shoya is separated from everyone around him and after deciding not to commit suicide, he searches for Shoya to try to make things right. silent sound A unique look at mental health and provides an accurate view of how bullying occurs in school. silent sound Directed by Naoko Yamadawith stunning animations to match the nuances the story brings.


Paprika (2006)

A new technology called “DC Mini” allows people to look into someone else’s dreams. DC Mini is still in its early stages of development, and therefore, only a few people can access it. After the DC Mini was stolen, Dr. Shiba Atsuko (Megumi Hayashibara) is forced to track him down before the mysterious person who controls dreams kills more lives. This is the second Satoshi Kon movie on this list and another movie whose influence can be seen in Hollywood. Red pepper He has many similarities with Christopher Nolan‘s beginningBoth deal with the layers that come with dreams. However, as Nolan builds a heist scenario, Kuhn explores what dreams would actually look like on screen. paprika The baffling editing blurs the line between real life and dreams, while pushing the boundaries of animation as a whole.


Redline (2009)

The most popular and dangerous race in the world is Redline. A race in which people across the galaxy participate and watch. Our main character, JP (Takuya Kimura)He loves racing more than anything and will do everything he can to get to Redline. After failing to qualify for the Yellowline race, JP is given another chance to compete when Redline’s position as a military robot planet is revealed, whose leaders want to kill every contestant who participates. No movie will get as blood pumping as Redline. Anything goes in this racing saga. Director Takeshi Koike It uses animation stretching technology to distort car racing perspectives, creating a very unique animation-only experience. The perfect combination of off-the-wall story and cartoon style Redline A journey you will never want to end.


belle (2021)

suzu (Kaho Nakamura) is a high school girl who wishes things could go back to how they were before. Recently, she refused to sing out loud. However, Suzu joins a virtual world called “U” where her avatar Belle becomes a successful singer. Quickly becoming a sensation, Belle prepares to sing in front of a large audience at “U” when the monster appears to spoil the show. Bell then searches for the monster to help uncover the trauma he has gone through. belle It is the latest entry on this list, coming out in 2021. It tells a complex story about how the Internet can help us deal with trauma. belle It is a great representation of how the Internet is used to make connections with all kinds of people and how we can use those connections to solve problems in our real lives.


The Boy and the Beast (2015)

Ring (Shota SutaniHe’s the boy, and the KomatetsuJohn Swase / Kōji Yakusho) is a monster. in boy and beastAnd the Ren runs away from home after his mother’s death. Alone in Tokyo, Rin meets Komatetsu, a monster from a magical land, who asks if Rin will be his first disciple. After reluctantly accepting the role, Rin wishes to become as powerful as Komatsu even though he is a human rather than a monster. The remainder of the film explores the growing relationship between Ren and Kumatetsu as Ren discovers what he wants to do with his life in a different world and Kumatetsu prepares for his battle to become the master of Earth. boy and beast It is a wonderful family story that shows how our relationships with others will make us grow. The dynamic between Ren and Kumatetsu is always funny but also makes serious notes as the driving core behind the movie. Anime is known for having some of the greatest family novels boy and beast He is a good example of that.


Tomb of the Fireflies (1988)

Tomb of the fireflies It tells the story of Sita’s brother and sister (Tsutomo Tatsumiand SetsukoAyano Shirashi), while trying to survive the bombings of war in rural Japan in 1945. Directed by Isao Takahata At Studio Ghibli, this movie is like watching an accident in slow motion, you know what the outcome will be right from the beginning of the movie, however, it doesn’t make the ending any easier to watch. Tomb of the fireflies It’s a view rooted in the horrors of war that uses enough magic to make you sometimes forget you’re watching a war movie.

Just Yesterday (1991)

only yesterday It tells the story of a 27-year-old Taiko (Miki Imai, Yoko Hona), who makes the odd choice of vacation from her office job in Tokyo…farming. On her trip to the farms, Taiko recalls the events of her life when she was in the fifth grade. As a child, Taiko dealt with difficulties at school, her first crush, and difficult family relationships, all of which tell us about her age nearly 20 years later. As Taiko remembers her time in fifth grade, it helps her decide whether she should stay at her office in Tokyo or become a farmer in rural Japan. only yesterday It is the tonal heart of director Isao Takahata, transforming from melancholy Tomb of the fireflies For this happy hour mostly. This is the closest movie on the list to a slice of the life anime genre. only yesterday It will take you back to thinking about your childhood in the best possible way.


wolf children (2012)

wolf children tell a story here (Oi Miyazaki), a single mother forced to raise her two children, YukiHaru Kuroki) and Ame (Yukito NishiAlone after the death of her partner. The catch – Just like their father, Yuki and Amy are half wolf, half human. wolf children He dives into the complex home life of a single parent and the difficulty of allowing children to grow into what they want. Will her children choose to be more human or more werewolf? wolf children rResults in a story that is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking.

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