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10 anime films that lived up to the hype


Hype can easily ruin movies by driving audience expectations to unrealistic heights. Fortunately, these films could deliver and a few more.

Over the years, anime films have grown in popularity. From films based on an existing anime series to original feature films like the works of Studio Ghibli, Studio TRIGGER or Satoshi Kon, fans everywhere are always looking forward to seeing a new anime film debut in theaters.

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The success of these films has varied, with some generating amazing buzz from the start and others falling under the radar. Sometimes fans are completely disappointed when a new, highly anticipated film is released. But sometimes, especially in recent years, movies prove to be worth the wait and even surprise viewers with their greatness.

10 Weathering with you thrilled the fans with its emotional plot and breathtaking animation

Hodaka and Hina from Weathering With You

Released in 2019, the romantic fantasy Weathering with You was an instant hit after its release. Directed by Makoto Shinkai, the film was recognized for its emotional plot and beautiful graphics, and its popularity quickly accelerated. Although some said it was too similar to his earlier film Your Name, the consensus was positive all round. The film was so successful in cinemas that it became the top grossing Japanese film of 2019. To date, it is currently ranked 6th among the top-selling anime films of all time.

9 The heartwarming story of motherhood for wolf children was a hit

Wolf Children was a bittersweet story published in 2012 and still widely acclaimed today. The film, expected for its unique story and amazing animation, did not disappoint. Few knew what to expect when it came out, but the audience was presented with a beautiful display of a mother’s love that moved them to tears. It became the 35th highest grossing anime film of all time and enjoyed worldwide success. While that success wasn’t a record, it became a memorable film that is loved by everyone and is likely to be celebrated as a classic.

8th In the forest of fireflies, his love story brought fans to tears

In the forest of fireflies light

Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light is based on the one-shot shojo manga by Yuki Midorikawa and was known for its beautiful but heartbreaking story of love and loss. Although it was not known outside of Japan until the film was released, the film enjoyed huge success for months after its first debut.

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It was critically acclaimed and quickly became a favorite and earned a spot among fans as a popular film. Its simple but beautiful story has been praised by everyone and compared to the works of Studio Ghibli and Makoto Shinkai.

7th Paprika was an overwhelming but mind-boggling experience

Paprika as a fairy

6th The message reached the audience in a quiet voice

The 2016 film, A Silent Voice, was predicted to be a huge hit among anime fans. However, no one could predict how big the hit would be. The combination of breathtaking graphics and heartbreaking story produced by Kyoto Animation amazed fans. It was the 19th highest-grossing film in 2016 in Japan and received endless praise for its beauty and complexity. Big names in the industry such as Makoto Shinkai also praised it as a masterpiece.

5 Promare had a tremendous reception after the release

Studio TRIGGER fans were more than excited about Promare’s release in theaters in 2019. Fans expected the movie to be great, especially when it comes from such an excellent studio. No wonder the film was a huge hit, ranking # 8 in Japanese cinemas on its first weekend in Japan. It thrived just as well when it was released outside of Japan and became a favorite among anime fans. Things went so well in the US that it returned along with an additional special for new performances.

4th Sailor Moon Eternal was a worthy sequel to the franchise

Sailor Moon forever

Fans have long been waiting for the two-part film Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal: The Movie and were thrilled when these arcs finally came to life as originally portrayed in the manga.

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The films did well when they were released, with the first part taking 9th place on the first weekend. While there has been some criticism, Sailor Moon fans tend to agree that it is a very welcome addition to the franchise.

3 Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 Three times was a much needed conclusion for fans

Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time was the last film in the Rebuild of Evangelion series. Fans have been eagerly waiting for the release, and now that it’s finally out it seems like the wait has been worth it. It was ranked 9th in the top grossing anime films, beating Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire. It is also the most successful of the Evangelion films. It has received an enthusiastic positive response since its release, with fans praising its tremendous improvements over previous parts.

2 Audiences around the world were fascinated by your name

Your name

Your Name was released in 2016 and was an automatic hit. As one of Makoto Shinkai’s many amazing works, it was meant to be great from the start. However, nobody knew how great it was going to be. Its success was so enormous that it overtook the number 3 top grossing anime film in the world and in Japan. It even surpassed Disney’s Frozen on Japanese airwaves. It has been received amazingly positively by anime lovers around the world and has earned a spot as a modern classic.

1 Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train became the number one anime film of all time

Demon Slayer The movie Mugen Train

The popular Demon Slayer series has gained fans around the world and has become a phenomenon. However, the 2020 release of Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train was eagerly anticipated. It shot up to become the top grossing anime film in the world, shocking even seasoned fans. Since then, it has been celebrated and praised by fans and professionals alike. Its stunning animations and powerful action scenes, not to mention its ever-growing fan base, make the film an instant favorite that rivals other great films.

NEXT: 5 Most Anticipated Anime Movies Of 2021 (And 5 That Are Not Talked About Enough)

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About the author

Chelsea Steele
(18 articles published)

Chelsea has over seven years of writing experience and studied literature and creative writing during her associate degree. She specializes in fiction and has written her own manuscripts. She loves writing, art and everything creative. Her skills and passion help her in her role as a list writer for CBR.

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