While there are haters of anime and people who cannot even imagine their lives without a new episode of their favorite animated series each day, some anime movies are great pieces of culture that simply have to be watched by everyone. Some of movies defined the general direction of cinema in general while other movies are just great stories.
#1. Your Name (Kimi no Na wa)
This is a great romantic comedy/drama/fantasy that will blow your mind with an amazing unconventional plot twist and emotional story bits that simply demand you to cry. Each and every moment of this anime is a perfect example of animation and work put behind each frame by talented artists. Technical details, an amazing color palette, and moving story will leave you impressed.
This anime is a paradigm of a good Sci-Fi. A story that managed to make all of us think about technology, human evolution, and our purpose as species definitely has a lot of hidden messages and undertones that are hard to pick up on the first viewing. Give it a chance and watch it alone. You will find not only amazing animation, but a great story wrapped in it.
#3. My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro)
This is a great story about growing up and dealing with tragedies in your life. A great fantasy fairytale with lots of cultural bits that are stemming from Japanese mythology and city legends, this story has amazingly well-crafted characters and short emotional moments that just make you feel good. A giant magical rabbit who helps two girls to travel to their sick mother in a flying cat-bus… What can be better?
#4. Vampire Hunter D (Banpaia Hantā Dī)
A lone warrior who is half-human and half-vampire travels all over the world and hunts down vampires. This is a single story from many, but it has one of the best animations in the history of anime. Great landscapes, well-choreographed battles, intense fight scenes, and lots of imagery with references to religion, medieval history, and classical literature. A masterpiece.
#5. Ghost in the Shell (Kōkaku Kidōtai Gōsuto In Za Sheru)
Probably, one of the most influential anime movies of all time. This animation changed the way we think about the world around us and made many contemplate about our relationship with technology. Wachowskis, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron – all of them were inspired by themes and story bits from this anime movie that didn’t age a bit. It is still a gorgeous film that has a lot of relevant social commentary.