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!
Redline 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
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.
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 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.
Did 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
Finally 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.