21 Best Anime Movies on Netflix

Best Anime Movies on Netflix Right Now from the classic films to the latest Netflix original titles

Netflix on TV screen

The gigantic video streaming service Netflix is one of the best ways to enjoy watching anime. There are a variety of TV anime series and anime movies that are popular among both Japanese and foreigners. However, you may wander which anime you should watch on Netflix.

Today, I’d like to introduce the 21 best anime movies on Netflix, following the 30 best anime on Netflix. This best anime movie list only includes the one-shot anime films, so that you can complete the story within 1-2 hours. Of course, you can see the latest Netflix original anime movie on this list. These greatest anime movies are recommended to both anime beginners and lovers.

▶︎Check out the 30 best anime movies of all time, too!

1. Flavors of Youth

Flavors of Youth
Flavors of Youth on Netflix

Flavors of Youth (詩季織々), released in 2018, was produced by the Chinese animation studio Haoliners Animation League and the Japanese anime studio CoMix Wave Films. The drama anime movie can be divided into 3 short stories: The Rice Noodles (陽だまりの朝食), A Little Fashion Show (小さなファッションショー) and Love in Shanghai (上海恋).

CoMix Wave Films is famous for the world’s top anime director Makoto Shinkai, and Flavors of Youth is partly inspired by the works by him. Check out the best anime movies directed by Makoto Shinkai, too!

Released: 2018
Genre: Drama
Director: Li Haoling/Jiaoshou Yi Xiaoxing/Yoshitaka Takeuchi

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

2. A Whisker Away

A Whisker Away
A Whisker Away on Netflix

A Whisker Away (泣きたい私は猫をかぶる) is a recent anime movie released in 2020, which is exclusively distributed on Netflix. The fantasy film focuses on a junior-high school girl called Muge who falls in love with Kento. She has a magical mask that transforms her into a cat.

Released: 2020
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Director: Junichi Sato/Tomotaka Shibayama

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

3. A Silent Voice

A Silent Voice
A Silent Voice on Netflix

Modern anime fans have highly rated A Silent Voice (聲の形) since it was released in 2016. The drama anime movie was made based on the original manga published between 2013 and 2014. The story follows the two main characters: Shoko who is a deaf girl and Shoya who bullies her in the same class.

Released: 2020
Genre: Drama
Director: Naoko Yamada

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

4. In This Corner of the World

In This Corner of the World
In This Corner of the World on Netflix

As one of the greatest anime movie in the 2010s, In This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅に) should be listed. The historical drama movie focuses on Hiroshima around World War II, centering on the main character Suzu. How the people in Hiroshima lived with hunger and anxiety at that time is depicted in the anime movie.

Released: 2020
Genre: Drama, History
Director: Sunao Katabuchi

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

5. Penguin Highway

Penguin Highway
Penguin Highway on Netflix

Penguin Highway (ペンギン・ハイウェイ) is recommended to watch on Netflix now. The fantasy animated film, which was originally made as the popular novel written by Tomihiko Morimi in 2010, was made into an anime movie adaption in 2018. The story begins when a young boy called Aoyama finds penguins in the town. He tries to investigate where the penguins comes with an older lady.

Released: 2018
Genre: Fantasy
Director: Hiroyasu Ishida

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

6. Tokyo Godfathers

Tokyo Godfathers on Netflix
Tokyo Godfathers on Netflix

A renowned tragicomedy animation titled Tokyo Godfathers (東京ゴッドファーザーズ) is available on Netflix, which was released in 2003. Produced by a famous Japanese anime studio Madhouse, it was directed by Satoshi Kon, who is also known for Paprika in 2006. Set in the Christmas holidays in an alternative Tokyo, Tokyo Godfathers follows an adventure of three homeless characters. They find an abandoned baby at the dumping site by chance and decide to go seeking out her real parents.

Released: 2003
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Mystery
Director: Satoshi Kon

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

7. Big Fish & Begonia

Big Fish & Begonia
Big Fish & Begonia on Netflix

Big Fish & Begonia (紅き大魚の伝説) is a quality Chinese animation released in 2016, based on a short animated film made by Liang Xuan and Zhang Chun. It is also known as the first commercial work of the directors’ founded animation studio B&T. The fantasy story is inspired by ancient Chinese myths and texts like Zhuangzi, following a 16-year-old girl named Chun. She goes off to the human world for the first time as a part of the coming-of-age ritual. In the course of her trip, she is saved by a young man named Kun with his life.

Released: 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Director: Liang Xuan/Zhang Chun

8. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day on Netflix

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。), the slice-of-life anime series aired in 2011, was adapted into an anime movie in 2013. It focuses on the complicated relationships between the protagonist Jintan, the heroine Menma and other 4 Super Peace Busters members. If you look for a movie that moves you to tears on Netflix, you should try to watch Anohana.

Released: 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Slice of life
Director: Tatsuyuki Nagai

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

9. Brave Story

Brave Story
Brave Story on Netflix

Brave Story (ブレイブ・ストーリー), which is also known as a popular novel written by Miyuki Miyabe in 2003, is a recommended fantasy anime movie to watch on Netflix. It depicts an elementary school boy Wataru who does the best to save his friends and family in the real world and the parallel world.

Released: 2006
Genre: Fantasy
Director: Koichi Chigira

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

10. The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl

The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl
The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl on Netflix

The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl (夜は短し歩けよ乙女) is an anime movie adapted from a novel written by Tomihiko Morimi in 2006. The story is set in Kyoto where a university student Senpai falls in love with a black-haired girl in the same university. He follows her getting involved in various mysterious incidents.

Released: 2017
Genre: Romance
Director: Masaaki Yuasa

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

11. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya on Netflix

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの消失) was is the slice-of-life anime movie produced by Kyoto Animation in 2010, following the TV anime series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya aired from 2006 to 2009. One of the main characters Kyon finds out something wrong happens with other SOS Brigade members and the world.

Released: 2010
Genre: Slice of life
Director: Tatsuya Ishihara

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

12. Paprika

Paprika on Netflix

Paprika (パプリカ), released in 2006, is the sci-fi anime movie adapted from the original novel written by Yasutaka Tsutsui in 1993. It was a Japanese anime movie that was watched by more people in not only Japan but also the United States at the early stage. The symbol of the film is the newly-invented device DC Mini, with which people can see others’ dreams. There are psychological problems in the near future world due to the machine.

Released: 2006
Genre: Science fiction, Thriller
Director: Satoshi Kon

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

13. Steamboy

Steamboy on Netflix

Steamboy (スチームボーイ) is the second full-length anime movie directed by Katsuhiro Otomo following the world’s famous Akira. The sci-fi anime movie was released in Japan in 2004 and in the United Stated in 2005.

The setting is United Kingdom in the mid 19th century with the industrial revolution. A 13-year-old boy Ray gets involved in the serious incidents when he receives Steam Balls from his grandfather Lloyd.

Released: 2004
Genre: Science fiction
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

14. Children of the Sea

Children of the Sea on Netflix
Children of the Sea on Netflix

Netflix offers lots of recent anime movies a couple of years after they were first released at the theater. Children of the Sea (海獣の子供) is one of the highly-recommended modern anime films to watch on Netflix, originally released in 2019. It was adapted from the same-titled manga serialized between 2006 and 2011, directed by Ayumu Watanabe.

Children of the Sea tells the story of a middle school girl Ruka. She meets mysterious brothers Umi and Sora, who can swim like a fish and communicate with creatures in the sea.

Released: 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Director: Ayumu Watanabe

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

15. Patema Inverted

Patema Inverted
Patema Inverted on Netflix

Patema Inverted (サカサマのパテマ) is a fantasy anime movie to watch on Netflix, released in 2013. It was directed by Yasuhiro Yoshiura who is also the director of famous sci-fi anime Time of Eve.

The world of Patema Inverted is divided into two: the one is a normal world Aiga and another is the world where gravity reverses. One day, a young boy Eiji in Aiga meets a teenager girl Patema who comes from the underground world.

Released: 2013
Genre: Fantasy
Director: Yasuhiro Yoshiura

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

16. Genocidal Organ

Genocidal Organ
Genocidal Organ on Netflix

Genocidal Organ (虐殺器官), written by Keikaku Ito in 2007, is one of the top-rated Japanese sci-fi novels in the 2000s. It was adapted into an anime movie in 2017.

The story begins when a nuclear bomb terror happens in Sarajevo which intensifies conflicts and terrorism all over the world. People are forced to be monitored by the governments in developed countries to prevent terrors.

Released: 2017
Genre: Science fiction
Director: Shuko Murase

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

17. The End of Evangelion

The End of Evangelion
The End of Evangelion on Netflix

The End of Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン劇場版 Air/まごころを、君に), released as an anime movie in 1997, is the remake of the 25th and final episode of Neon Genesis EVANGELION aired in 1995-1996. For the fans of Evangelion, this old movie is a must-watch on Netflix.

The anime film also focuses on the story of the 4 teenagers: Shinji Ikari, Rei Ayanami, Asuka Langley Soryu and Kaworu Nagisa who fight with the enemies called Angels by piloting the giant humanoid robot Evangelions.

Released: 1997
Genre: Mecha, Action, Fantasy
Director: Hideaki Anno/Kazuya Tsurumaki

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

18. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie on Netflix

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (カウボーイビバップ 天国の階段) is the anime movie adaption of the 1999’s Cowboy Bebop, which is popular among not only Japanese but also international anime fans.

The anime movie is set in Mars on the days before Halloween in 2071, where the Bebop crews follow a terrorist incident that kills about 400 people.

Released: 2001
Genre: Action, Science Fiction
Director: Shinichiro Watanabe

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

19. Akira

Akira on Netflix

The worldly renowned anime director Katsuhiro Otomo completed his masterpiece manga titled Akira (アキラ) in 1982-1990, which was adapted into an anime movie in 1988. It was based on the 3 volumes that had been published by 1988 with the climax story exactly different from that of the manga’s 6th volume.

The setting is Neo Tokyo in 2019, where Tokyo is destroyed due to the outbreak of WWIII. The story centers on the two main characters: a leader of the Bosozoku group (Japanese biker gang) named Shotaro Kaneda and his childhood friend Tetsuo Shima. They gets involved in a conspiracy related to a boy named Akira.

Released: 1988
Genre: Science Fiction
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

20. Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell on Netflix

Ghost in the Shell (GHOST IN THE SHELL / 攻殻機動隊) is the first anime movie adaption of the classic anime franchise, directed by Mamoru Oshii. It is based on the manga volume 1 that was made by the manga artist Masamune Shirow in 1991.

Ghost in the Shell is set in the futuristic world where the science technology including cyborgs and cyberbrains is highly developed. It depicts the main character Major Motoko Kusanagi and other Public Security Section 9 members working to prevent crimes in the society.

Released: 1995
Genre: Science Fiction
Director: Mamoru Oshii

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

21. One Piece Film: Strong World

One Piece Film: Strong World
One Piece Film: Strong World on Netflix

There are lots of anime film titles of the famous manga series One Piece. One Piece Film: Strong World (ワンピースフィルム ストロングワールド) is the 10th anime movie of One Piece. It is one of the most recommended titles since it was the first movie that was written by the manga artist Eiichiro Oda.

The story is closely related to the main story of the manga. The setting is the East Blue, and the Straw Hat Pirates battle against Shiki the Golden Lion who is looked on as a legendary pirate as well as the Pirate King Gol D. Roger.

Released: 2009
Genre: Action, Adventure
Director: Munehisa Sakai

▶︎Watch on Netflix!

Please be noted that some anime movies may be unavailable on Netflix now on your country.

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I'm writing by my motto: helping travelers spend their limited time experiencing something priceless in Japan. My articles won't let you down! Living in Tokyo and traveling many popular and hidden sites all over Japan, I deliver well-selected and latest tourist information to you from the perspective of “100% Japanese local”. My specific interests are island hopping, eating countless bowls of ramen, watching anime and reading manga. Enjoy Japan Web Magazine for recommended food spots, hidden gems Japanese Otaku (geek) culture, and everything about Japan :)