Here’s the thing about anime: it’s a platform, not a genre. Yes, most animated films have aesthetic parallels. Yes, they are primarily, but not necessarily, based on Japanese manga or comics. Other than that, however, there are no restrictions. Spiky-haired action stars, magical-sounding schoolgirls, surreal fairy tales and bizarre superhero stories are just the tip of the iceberg. If you can imagine it, there’s definitely anime out there.
Here are the best anime movies you can stream this month
1. In this corner of the world
While high school dramas make up a lot of anime offerings, there’s also a decent amount of historical collections available. It can be hard to see Japan as a poor, war-torn nation now that our current image is that of a technical powerhouse. This corner of the globe offers us a snapshot of how war has changed the lives of ordinary women.
Suzu, a naive young woman from Eba in Hiroshima, is married to a man named Shusaku, a civilian in the navy. She moves to her family’s home in Kure, where she has to deal with the increasingly changing demands placed on her as a housewife and resident living during the war, as well as the return of her friend from Tetsu school.
The film is mainly set in 1944-1945, towards the end of World War II, but also offers a snapshot of before and after the Hiroshima atomic bomb, with the early war years presented as more laid back. and fun, giving way to a more tense atmosphere over time.
2. Read on the wall
Masaaki Yuasa, a well-known director in Japan, rose to fame in the West in early 2019 with his highly successful adaptation of Go Nagai’s Devilman in the Netflix original series Devilman: Crybaby. Since then, his films The Night Is Short, Move On Girl, Lu Over the Wall and Ride Your Wave have graced the big screen and movie theaters across America. Lu Over the Wall is now streaming on Netflix, bringing Yuasa’s deliciously weird animation style to living rooms around the world.
The film centers on moody high school student Kai, who lives in a small fishing village and enjoys playing music in his spare time. When he posts a video of his work online, two classmates, Yuho and Kunio, see him and ask him to join their group, SIREN.
They train on Merfolk Island, a place linked to the folklore of the city of terrifying mermaids. While playing music, Kai hears a mermaid’s song and befriends Lu, a little mermaid with a talent for singing. Of course, he tries to keep Lu a secret from the town before she plays a gig with SIREN and inadvertently becomes popular.
3. The Garden of Words
Miyazaki isn’t the only director whose lesser-known films have found their way to Netflix. Makoto Shinkai recently found success with his hit 2016 film Your Name. Before that, however, he made a number of videos, including 2013’s Garden of Words. At the start of this whimsical short, high school student Takao Akizuki decides to miss school to design shoes in Shinjuku Gyoen’s garden. , a large park in Tokyo.
There, he comes across Yukari Yukino, a mysterious 27-year-old woman who refrains from working to enjoy beer and chocolate in the forest. Throughout the rainy season, the two meet and get to know each other, and Takao becomes more interested in being a shoemaker and making a pair of shoes for Yukari.
When Yukari’s work—and his reasons for neglecting it—becomes known, the couple find themselves torn apart by the demands of society. There’s plenty of drama in just 46 minutes, and if you can get over the dodgy relationship between adults and teens, the film is an absolute delight to behold, especially the garden scenery.
4. A Silent Voice
A Silent Voice is a Japanese anime film, a film with the most heartbreaking story on this page. The film is produced by Kyoto Animation and directed by Naoko Yamada. It tells the story of a boy named Shoya Ishida who used to scare a deaf girl named Shoko Nishimiya into a new upbringing, and years later it was her chance for salvation that he decided to make amends with her.
This film is based on a manga of the same name. The best thing you can see if you like your name or any of Makoto Shinka’s works.
It’s a truly breathtaking film that tackles serious topics such as violence, injury and suicide, with empathy and an exceptional sense of dramatic suspense.
Just make sure you have a box of tissues next to your popcorn – you’ll need it for the climax, that’s for sure.
5. The girl who crossed time
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is the film that brought widespread recognition and popularity to Mamoru Hosoda, one of his early films, who went on to direct several major films including Summer Wars, Wolf Girls, The Boy and the Beast , and Mirai’s most recent hit. which was also nominated for the Oscars, all of its films, but The Girl Who Leapt Through Time remains the best and most classic hit.
It received acclaim and also received several awards, such as the Japan Academy Award for Animation of the Year. Makoto Konno is a high school student who learns the ability to time travel and constantly relives in a time loop on the same day.
6. Miss Hokusai
Another historical feature, Miss Hokusai, is based on the real-life artist Katsushika Oi, the famous Hokusai’s daughter. It is set during the Edo period when Hokusai was already in his 50s and considered a renowned artist in Japan. O-Ei is one of his four children, and she lives with him and has to deal with his many shortcomings, while carrying out all his plans without any recognition.
The pair act more like roommates than father and daughter, and the film touches on their tumultuous relationship, as well as O-Ei’s friendship with her half-sister, the blind and sickly O-Nao.
It’s one of those movies that is much more about characters than a story, but the characters are so real and the animation, especially when it comes to bringing artists’ paintings to life, is quite lovely.
7. Mary and the Witch’s Flower
Netflix doesn’t have any of the Studio Ghibli movies for North American streaming, but aside from Miyazaki’s Lupine III movie debut, they already have Studio Ponoc’s Mary and the Witch’s Egg. Studio Ponoc was created by Ghibli alumnus Yoshiaki Nishimura, and this early work from the studio undoubtedly bears some similarity to Ghibli’s work, both visually, in tone, and in style.
The story, based on Mary Stewart’s novel The Little Broom, follows young Mary Smith who has just moved into the very English estate of her great aunt Charlotte.
Mary is restless waiting for her parents to come back and school to start, and unfortunately she has no desire to help with things around the house. She decides to explore the grounds of the estate and finds herself dragging a pair of cats through the trees, where she encounters a rare purple flower. This flower gives her the ability to ride a broomstick, which sends her to a magic academy, where she discovers that there are limits to the ability of magic.