5 Anime Films That Non-Anime Fans Can Enjoy

5 Great Films That Anyone Can Enjoy, Even Non-Anime Fans

Looking for some good films? Interested in seeing what anime may have to offer? Well than look no further! As I mentioned in my ‘How to Introduce Others to Anime’ article, it can be intimidating jumping into the plethora of anime out there. With this list I aim to recommend some great films and even try and convince some people to try something new. 

Rules for the list are as follows:

  • Ghibli is off limits. All of those films are pretty solid and get a recommendation from me, but since I want this list to be diverse I won’t be including any of them on it. If you want to know some good Ghibli films I recommend Spirited Away (check out my review of that), Howl’s Moving Castle, or Ponyo as a starting point.
  • No movies that require knowledge or are attached to a series. I have one exception on this list, but I’ll explain that one when we get to it. Without this rule you’d definitely see The Disappearances of Haruhi Suzumiya on here along with some others.
  • One movie per director. I want the list to be diverse, for similar reasons as there will be no Ghibli films.
  • Only films that are both subbed and dubbed are on this list. Want to be friendly to all audiences and subbed films are a turn off for a lot of people who may not watch this sort of thing regularly.
  • Each film will have a link to where you can purchase it, and if there is any way to stream the film (in NA) legally, I’ll link that as well. All films can be found at Rightstuf.com but I’ll only include the cheapest place.

With all that, let’s get on with the list!

5. Redline

redline-posterRedline is best for those that want something exciting to watch. This film doesn’t have that great of a plot (which is why it’s number 5), but it’ll be sure to have you pumped for it’s entire runtime.

Redline is about a race, but not just any race, the deadliest, most exciting race in all of space. There is also a bit of a romance subplot in this film, but the focus is almost entirely on the race. If you even remotely enjoy racing, you should definitely check this one out. Even if you don’t enjoy it, much like myself, I’m sure that the beautiful hand-drawn animation and pure excitement that the film evokes will keep you interested.

This movie is pretty adult, so I wouldn’t watch it with small children around. Just because it’s animated doesn’t mean it’s family friendly. Redline is rated PG-13 and has a runtime of 1hr 42min. You can purchase the film physically from Amazon on Blu-ray or DVD for $9.99 or less. Not to mention you can also stream it for $4.99 if you wanted to own it.

4. Cowboy Bebop:  The Movie

mv5bmta1odixmdyymzfeqtjeqwpwz15bbwu2mduwotq5ng-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Here is my one exception on this list. Before you go skipping this one though, here me out. While this film is tied to the Cowboy Bebop series, it requires no knowledge of it to enjoy this film. In fact, a lot of people have watched this movie thinking it was the series by mistake and end up walking away completely satisfied. It has been credited for getting people interested in anime all by itself, and that’s an accomplishment. This is a top-notch film for anyone who hasn’t already seen it.

Cowboy Bebop:  The Movie follows a group of bounty hunters as they get tied up in a terrorist plot. The movie has moments of action, heart, and genuine beauty. The characters are dynamic and it’s easy to pick up on everyone’s personalities without having seen the series.

This film is rated R and has a runtime of 1hr 55min. You can find Cowboy Bebop:  The Movie at Amazon on Blu-ray or DVD for less than $10. While the movie isn’t available for streaming anywhere I could find, the series is over on Hulu if you decide you’re interested after (or dare I say, before) seeing this film.

3. Colorful

This is one of those films that was a pleasant surprise for me. I didn’t expect much out of Colorful when I first watched it. However, the film managed to exceed my expectations.

colorful-2010Colorful follows a character who has died, but is granted a second chance at life. The catch? He is now somebody different than who he was before he died, with no idea who he’s “supposed” to be. On top of all this, the main character must also figure out what terrible crime he committed in his previous life in order to save the life of the young boy he finds himself as.

This movie sounds a bit confusing, but it isn’t. Coloful is stunning in both its narrative and visuals. The film is a bit on the slower side, but it is a heartwarming and unique experience. I don’t want to spoil anything so that’s really all I’m going to say about this one.

Colorful is PG-13 and has a runtime of 2hr 6min. This one costs a bit more on Amazon at around $20. It’s well worth the price in my opinion though. Unfortunately, this one isn’t available for streaming.

2. Paprika

paprika-18991Did you like the idea of Inception? If so, even if you didn’t actually like that movie, then Paprika is the film for you. Having inspired the American made movie Inception, Satoshi Kon’s Paprika is absolutely one of the most interesting films I’ve ever seen. While all of his films are great, Paprika manages to standout for its unique premise, interesting story, and visuals.

This movie is a bit weird, but it is one of those films that you’re likely to never forget after watching. Paprika follows a dream therapist who helps people by diving into their dreams. However, things quickly take a turn for the weird as dreams begin to affect reality. It’s not hard to see how Inception drew inspiration from this film.

Paprika is full of mystery, intrigue, and a bit of everything else. It’s a well-rounded film that is perfect for film lovers of any genre. Buckle up and enjoy the ride on this one. Unfortunately, Satoshi Kon’s works are pretty hard to find. However, this is the one work that is still readily available!

This one is rated R and is another I wouldn’t watch with really young kids. It has a runtime of 1hr 30min. You can find this one at Amazon for about $9 or even less in some cases. Again, no streaming for this one.

1. Wolf Children

maxresdefaultFinally number 1! This one could really be any  Hosuda film, but I chose this one because it is insanely good. Wolf Children is a family friendly, gentle film that is truly spectacular. I can not give this movie enough praise. Please do yourself a favor and go watch this movie.

Wolf Children follows a young mother who has to raise two kids all on her own. If that weren’t hard enough, they are also half-wolf. This may sound a bit silly, but the movie is very serious and filled with great messages. The movie has great atmosphere in both visual and sound design. Truly the best animated film I’ve ever watched.

Even if you don’t check out any other film on this list, I really encourage you to check this one out. There are some out there that don’t like this one, but every single person I’ve ever shown this film to has absolutely fallen in love with it. Wolf Children is a near perfect example of what anime has to offer, so please consider checking this one out.

Wolf Children is rated PG and has a runtime of 1hr 57min. It is a bit slow at times, but stick with it. Japanese films tend to be slower than Western ones, but with good reason, especially here. You can get this one in Blu-ray/DVD combo from Amazon for just over $20. This one used to be up for streaming, but is currently unavailable. Keep your eyes peeled though, it may come back.

And That’s It!

These are 5 of my top anime film recommendations that anyone could enjoy. If you found this list useful, please be sure to let me know by leaving a like and consider commenting. Feel free to share the list with your friends or family as well. Seen any of these films or think I left out a good one? Let me know in the comments below.


14 thoughts on “5 Anime Films That Non-Anime Fans Can Enjoy

  1. The title bothers me a little.
    Shouldn’t it be “People who have prejudice against anime” more than “Non-anime Fan”?
    I’m not an anime fan. I’m not (at all) a fan of the drawing style. I can still enjoy wide range of anime.

    Do you really have to be a fan to enjoy something?
    I don’t think so. You can like something without being a fan.

    Especially when “anime” only means a drawing style (the “manga” style) and not even a genre (Gore, SF, drama, shounen, magical girl, etc.).
    “Because it’s animated doesn’t mean it’s family friendly.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t see the problem. Your second paragraph is pretty much my point. I put emphasis on genre and story beats.

      Also, to say that anime only encompasses a “drawing style” is kind of oversimplifying things. When you say you don’t like the drawing style, that doesn’t mean anything to me. You don’t like the harsh line work of older anime? Cell shading? Digital art? It isn’t just one thing. That is the whole point of the article. Anime is something that anybody could enjoy, they just need to find a story that appeals to them. That’s what I try to offer here.

      I don’t understand at all what you are trying to imply with your last line. This is a an article aimed at people who have this underlying assumption or knows somebody who does. So what exactly is the problem?

      Again, I appreciate you taking the time to comment but I fail to see exactly what your critique is.


      1. Sorry. I wasn’t very explicit (or maybe I just need to work my English).

        When you wrote “when you say you don’t like the drawing style” you actually showed my point.
        I never said I didn’t like the art. I like the manga style.
        I say I wasn’t a fan. That’s the all difference.
        A fan, after all is someone who’s enthusiastically devoted to something.
        A “non-fan” like I said just like and enjoy.

        Maybe I’m wrong but I assume you wrote this article for people who have prejudice against anime or just don’t know what anime are.
        That’s why I quote that last line. Anime just mean animated drawing and “because it’s animated doesn’t mean it’s family friendly.” Only people who don’t know at all anime would make such mistake.
        Your article isn’t for a non-fan but a discovery for newcomers or people who are very unfamiliar.

        So my all point was “non-anime fan” was maybe a little weak as a title to appeal people.
        I expected find here very particular, unknown, rare, anime movies. But except Redline, the other are actually pretty famous. I can confirm you as a non-fan.

        Thanks for replying. That’s a very good article so I thought I would be sad if it target the right persons.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for taking the time to reply, I now follow what you were saying much better. You are right that this post is meant for newcomers or those unfamiliar but it also meant as a resource to help people who really enjoy anime show it to people who may have a bias against it.

          Again, this is a pretty old article so maybe the title isn’t perfect but it does accurately represent the content. That being said, given your definitions it is a little weak but as a native English speaker I am not being quite as literal. Still, I appreciate your feedback and thank you again for stopping by.


  2. Wolf Children and Girl Who Leapt Through Time are two Hosuda films that I can imagine non-anime fans enjoying. A lot of people won’t check out those films because it is anime, but if they were made by Disney everyone would gush over them.

    Cowboy Bebop is always a good recommendation for non-anime fans. It feels like a western sci-fi show. The movie was alright, but I much prefer the series – particularly the funnier episodes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking a look at the list 🙂

      Unfortunately anime is still kind of stigmatized but yeah if Hosuda’s films were Ghibli movies (which does have the Disney stamp on them, at least state side) they would be a lot more popular.

      I agree that Bebop’s series is better but the film is still pretty great. It definitely accomplishes the point of this list any way. Wanted people to try expanding their horizons or have an idea of what would work as introductory material for showing others.

      Liked by 1 person

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