Non-franchise, non-Ghibli Japanese anime movies

by megamixx | created - 09 Mar 2013 | updated - 4 months ago | Public

A list of theatrical anime movies, arranged generally by year. So, no OAV (direct-to-video) releases, and only movies that do not have an additional series. Also, no sequels. I'm sure you all know Ghibli, so there's no need to list those. I haven't watched all of these, but I left a note with the ones that I have.

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1. Sakasama no Patema (2013)

Not Rated | 98 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

66 Metascore

A young girl, from a civilization that resides in deep underground tunnels, finds herself trapped in an inverted world and teams up with a resident to escape and return home.

Director: Yasuhiro Yoshiura | Stars: Yukiyo Fujii, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Shintarô Oohata, Shinya Fukumatsu

Votes: 5,361

2. Short Peace (2013)

68 min | Animation, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

A traveler is confronted by spirits in an abandoned shrine; a story of honor and firefighting in ancient Japan; a white bear defends the royal family from a monstrous red demon; ragtag soldiers battle a robotic force in futuristic Japan.

Directors: Hiroaki Andô, Hajime Katoki, Shûhei Morita, Katsuhiro Ôtomo | Stars: Kôichi Yamadera, Midori Yûki, Takeshi Kusao, Saori Hayami

Votes: 996

A collection of short films. As with any short film collection, some are hits, some are misses. Like Otomo's other short film collection 'Memories', this one was 50/50 for me.

3. Majokko shimai no Yoyo to Nene (2013)

100 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

This is a thrilling, magical and colorful movie about the adventures of two witches who embark on an adventure to save our world from dark magic, also known as curses.

Director: Takayuki Hirao | Stars: Sumire Morohoshi, Ai Kakuma, Katsumi Chô, Kyôko Hikami

Votes: 122

A fine movie. Nothing groundbreaking.

4. Haru (2013)

TV-14 | 60 min | Animation, Drama, Romance

A humanoid robot is asked to replace Hal, who was killed in a terrible accident, in order help Hal's girlfriend move on in life, but struggles to understand the real Hal's past and the meaning of being alive.

Director: Ryôtarô Makihara | Stars: Yoshimasa Hosoya, Yôko Hikasa, Mamoru Miyano, Tamio Ohki

Votes: 1,111

A bit short, and has a 'twist' that you could see coming miles away (although I didn't!! So embarrassing...), but it is well animated and nicely paced. So, I would recommend it to the average anime fan.

5. Koto no ha no niwa (2013)

TV-14 | 46 min | Animation, Drama, Romance

A 15-year-old boy and 27-year-old woman find an unlikely friendship one rainy day in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

Director: Makoto Shinkai | Stars: Miyu Irino, Kana Hanazawa, Fumi Hirano, Gou Maeda

Votes: 19,793

6. Ookami kodomo no Ame to Yuki (2012)

PG | 117 min | Animation, Drama, Family

71 Metascore

After her werewolf lover unexpectedly dies in an accident while hunting for food for their children, a young woman must find ways to raise the werewolf son and daughter that she had with him while keeping their traits hidden from society.

Director: Mamoru Hosoda | Stars: Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Ohsawa, Haru Kuroki, Yukito Nishii

Votes: 26,685

Very lovely and thoughtful movie. I'll say it - Hosoda is filling in for Hayao Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon quite nicely.

7. Fuse: teppô musume no torimonochô (2012)

Animation, Action, Drama

Fuse are hybrids between humans and dogs, who live in Japan in the Edo period. It was said that they kill people to feed themselves with their souls. Due to this rumors, the Shogun put a ... See full summary »

Director: Masayuki Miyaji | Stars: Atsushi Abe, Keiji Fujiwara, Kenji Hamada, Gekidan Hitori

Votes: 182

Love this one. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

8. Gusukô Budori no denki (2012)

108 min | Animation

Gusuko Budori lives happily with his little sister, father and mother. When the cold hits the Ihatobu Forest they are invaded and, with his family killed, he is left alone. He begins ... See full summary »

Director: Gisaburô Sugii | Stars: Akira Emoto, Ryûzô Hayashi, Shôzô Hayashiya, Tamiyo Kusakari

Votes: 151

10. Psychic School Wars (2012)

TV-PG | 107 min | Animation, Romance, Sci-Fi

A mysterious new transfer student who claims to be psychic, arrives and changes the lives of a group of students.

Director: Ryôsuke Nakamura | Stars: Yûtarô Honjô, Mayu Watanabe, Kana Hanazawa, Daisuke Ono

Votes: 338

A little dull and slow paced, with characters that I didn't care about. Not great.

11. Shinpi no hô (2012)

Not Rated | 119 min | Animation

When the earth and humankind are in danger, you will learn about the mystical laws that rule the world you live in

Director: Isamu Imakake | Stars: Ayumi Fujimura, Banjô Ginga, Philip Hersh, Daisuke Hirakawa

Votes: 66

This is a movie that was legitimately released into theatres, however it is funded by the 'Happy Science' cult, so beware. (I haven't watched this, nor will I ever, thanks).

12. Onigamiden (2011)

PG-13 | 100 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

A 15-year-old boy goes 1200 years back in time to find his unlikely destiny as the savior to end the war between humans and demons.

Director: Hirotsugu Kawasaki | Stars: Kenshô Ono, Satomi Ishihara, Takashi Kondô, Shôtarô Morikubo

Votes: 1,047

13. To aru hikuushi e no tsuioku (2011)

Not Rated | 99 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

A pilot, despite being advised not to, bonds with a princess when he is tasked with escorting the royal subject overseas and across enemy territory to reunite her with her future husband.

Director: Jun Shishido | Stars: Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Seika Taketomi, Katsumi Chô, Mitsuaki Hoshino

Votes: 653

14. Nijiiro hotaru (2011)

104 min | Animation

Yuuta is a 12 year old boy, who lost his father in the accident one year ago. For the summer vacation, he visited a deserted dam deep in the mountains, where he had a good time with his ... See full summary »

Director: Kônosuke Uda

Votes: 59

15. Tibet inu monogatari (2011)

95 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

Tianjin, a boy from the city, has to move to his father on the prairie of Tibet. There he meets a golden dog that helps him cope with the new challenges ahead.

Director: Masayuki Kojima

Votes: 126

16. Hoshi o ou kodomo (2011)

TV-14 | 116 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

A coming of age story involving young love and a mysterious music, coming from a crystal radio left as a memento by an absent father, that leads a young heroine deep into a hidden world.

Director: Makoto Shinkai | Stars: Hilary Haag, Corey Hartzog, Leraldo Anzaldua, David Matranga

Votes: 10,103

17. Majikku tsurî hausu (2011)

105 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

Annie and Jack discover a magic tree house that contains books that take them to different places in time.

Director: Hiroshi Nishikiori | Stars: Mana Ashida, Chika Anzai, Katsuhisa Hôki, Keiko Kitagawa

Votes: 112

18. Hotarubi no mori e (2011)

45 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

Hotaru is rescued by a spirit when she gets lost in a forest as a child. The two become friends, despite the spirit revealing that he will disappear if he is ever touched by a human.

Director: Takahiro Ômori | Stars: Hiroki Gotô, Asami Imai, Taya Jun, Ayane Sakura

Votes: 7,832

19. Friends: Mononokeshima no Naki (2011)

87 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

On an island, the residents have named the island "Monster Island." The monsters living on the island are friendly, but live in fear of humans. A child named Kotake wanders onto the island and meet a red ogre named Naki.

Director: Takashi Yamazaki | Stars: Sadao Abe, Shingo Katori, Seishirô Katô, Kôichi Yamadera

Votes: 185

20. Momo e no tegami (2011)

Not Rated | 120 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

65 Metascore

Clinging to an unfinished letter written by her recently deceased father, young Momo moves with her mother from bustling Tokyo to the remote Japanese island of Shio. Upon their arrival, she... See full summary »

Director: Hiroyuki Okiura | Stars: Karen Miyama, Yuka, Daizaburo Arakawa, Toshiyuki Nishida

Votes: 4,847

Like a low-rent 'Sprited Away' (I say that in the best way possible)

21. Uchû shô e yôkoso (2010)

Not Rated | 136 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

A tiny mountain village in a remote woodland region. Five primary school kids have come together in this idyllic spot in order to spend their summer holidays at a camp. At first the ... See full summary »

Directors: Kôji Masunari, Masaaki Yuasa | Stars: Tomoyo Kurosawa, Honoka Ikezuki, Takuto Yoshinaga, Tamaki Matsumoto

Votes: 689

22. Karafuru (2010)

TV-14 | 126 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

A sinful spirit is granted the opportunity to prove worthy for rebirth, inhabiting the body of a student who killed himself.

Director: Keiichi Hara | Stars: Kumiko Asô, Greg Ayres, Luci Christian, Keiji Fujiwara

Votes: 3,647

23. Eve no jikan (2010)

106 min | Animation, Romance, Sci-Fi

In a not too distant future, a young man's outlook on his home android begins to change after tracking the android's behavioral log to a mysterious cafe.

Director: Yasuhiro Yoshiura | Stars: Jun Fukuyama, Kenji Nojima, Rie Tanaka, Rina Satô

Votes: 2,748

There is an OVA series, but (apparently) that series is all included in the movie. I've only watched the OAV, but I loved it.

24. Yonayona pengin (2009)

87 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

An animated adventure about three children who travel to a fantasy land.

Director: Rintaro | Stars: Féodor Atkine, Rica Matsumoto, Jeanne Savary, Jeremy Prevost

Votes: 124

25. Redline (2009)

Not Rated | 102 min | Animation, Action, Sci-Fi

A story about the most popular racing event in the galaxy, the Redline, and the various racers who compete in it.

Director: Takeshi Koike | Stars: Takuya Kimura, Yû Aoi, Tadanobu Asano, Yoshiyuki Morishita

Votes: 7,968

27. Summer Wars (2009)

PG | 114 min | Animation, Action, Comedy

63 Metascore

A student tries to fix a problem he accidentally caused in OZ, a digital world, while pretending to be the fiancé of his friend at her grandmother's 90th birthday.

Director: Mamoru Hosoda | Stars: Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Nanami Sakuraba, Mitsuki Tanimura, Takahiro Yokokawa

Votes: 20,391 | Gross: $0.08M

28. Hottarake no shima - Haruka to maho no kagami (2009)

TV-G | 93 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

Having lost her mother, Haruka is now a 16 year old girl and feels neglected by her father. She escapes to her grandmother's house and discovers a fox-like creature who steals her keys. She... See full summary »

Director: Shinsuke Sato | Stars: Christine Marie Cabanos, Patrick Seitz, Julie Maddalena, Julie Ann Taylor

Votes: 600

Aimed at kids, but it has enough heart that I was able to enjoy it too.

29. Maimai Shinko to sennen no mahô (2009)

93 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

Inspired by her grandfather's stories, young Shinko embarks on wild flights of fancy about the history of the little town she lives in. But dreams can't fend off the realities of growing up.

Director: Sunao Katabuchi | Stars: Masao Agawa, Chisa Bandai, Romy Beckman, J. David Brimmer

Votes: 738

I watched this when it came out, but I can barely remember any details. It's about a girl who moves to the countryside?? I remember enjoying it, but it wasn't the most memorable story.

30. Sukai kurora (2008)

PG-13 | 122 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

A group of eternally young fighter pilots known as Kildren experience the sudden loss of innocence as they battle the enemy in astonishing dogfights above the clouds.

Director: Mamoru Oshii | Stars: Rinko Kikuchi, Ryo Kase, Shôsuke Tanihara, Megumi Yamaguchi

Votes: 4,838

31. Kappa no ku to natsu yasumi (2007)

138 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Kochi Uehara is a fourth grade student living in the suburb of Tokyo. One day he picks up a large stone which turns out to be a fossil of a baby "Kappa" (a mythical Japanese water creature)... See full summary »

Director: Keiichi Hara | Stars: Kazato Tomizawa, Takahiro Yokokawa, Naoki Tanaka, Naomi Nishida

Votes: 1,299

32. 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)

TV-PG | 63 min | Animation, Drama, Romance

Told in three interconnected segments, we follow a young man named Takaki through his life as cruel winters, cold technology, and finally, adult obligations and responsibility converge to test the delicate petals of love.

Director: Makoto Shinkai | Stars: Kenji Mizuhashi, Yoshimi Kondou, Satomi Hanamura, Ayaka Onoue

Votes: 38,247

33. Sword of the Stranger (2007)

Not Rated | 103 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

A swordsman from a strange land is caught in a struggle between morality, righteousness, and devotion as he reluctantly agrees to take a raggedy boy and his dog to a remote, Buddhist temple.

Director: Masahiro Andô | Stars: Tomoya Nagase, Yuri Chinen, Kôichi Yamadera, Akio Ôtsuka

Votes: 11,994

34. Piano no mori (2007)

101 min | Animation, Drama, Family

Two different people - the son of a prostitute, and the son of a professional musician - develop a bond of friendship through their love of playing the piano.

Directors: Masayuki Kojima, Ryôsuke Nakamura | Stars: Aya Ueto, Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Hiroyuki Amano, Mayuko Fukuda

Votes: 1,224

35. Bekushiru: 2077 Nihon sakoku (2007)

PG-13 | 109 min | Animation, Action, Sci-Fi

Japan, 2077: A female agent named Vexille is dispatched to Tokyo to investigate whether Japanese are developing robotic technology, which has been banned by the U.N. due to its potential threat to humankind.

Director: Fumihiko Sori | Stars: Meisa Kuroki, Shôsuke Tanihara, Yasuko Matsuyuki, Akio Ôtsuka

Votes: 7,066

36. Shin SOS dai Tôkyô tankentai (2007)

Animation

Ryuhei Ozaki is a 5th grader who discovers a journal written by his father Shohei when he was himself a kid: "Tokyo Exploring Records,". Ryuhei informs his online friends and create his own... See full summary »

Director: Shinji Takagi | Stars: Akiko Yajima, Bin Shimada, Issei Futamata, Kikumi Umeda

Votes: 43

37. Toki o kakeru shôjo (2006)

Not Rated | 98 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

A high-school girl named Makoto acquires the power to travel back in time, and decides to use it for her own personal benefits. Little does she know that she is affecting the lives of others just as much as she is her own.

Director: Mamoru Hosoda | Stars: Riisa Naka, Takuya Ishida, Mitsutaka Itakura, Ayami Kakiuchi

Votes: 46,687

Very imaginative and creative work from Hosoda.

38. Brave Story (2006)

112 min | Animation, Adventure, Mystery

When eleven-year-old Wataru is told he can change his destiny by entering a magic gateway into another world, he jumps at the chance. But on his quest to find the Tower of Fortune and be granted any wish, he must conjure up all his bravery to battle a world of demons, his own friends and ultimately himself.

Director: Kôichi Chigira | Stars: Takako Matsu, Eiji Wentz, Miki Imai, Tarô Ishida

Votes: 1,199

39. Gin-iro no kami no Agito (2006)

Not Rated | 95 min | Animation, Drama, Romance

It is 300 years into the future. Earth's environment had been devastated by mankind's own foolish plans and humankind is beleaguered by the sentient forests which they have awoken. The ... See full summary »

Director: Keiichi Sugiyama | Stars: Ryô Katsuji, Aoi Miyazaki, Yûko Kotegawa, Masaru Hamaguchi

Votes: 3,966

40. Tekkonkinkreet (2006)

R | 111 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

65 Metascore

In Treasure Town, life can be both peaceful and violent. This is never truer than for our heroes, Black and White - two street kids who claim to traverse the urban city as if it were their ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Arias | Stars: Kazunari Ninomiya, Yû Aoi, Yûsuke Iseya, Kankurô Kudô

Votes: 10,707

41. Paprika (2006)

R | 90 min | Animation, Adventure, Crime

81 Metascore

When a machine that allows therapists to enter their patients' dreams is stolen, all Hell breaks loose. Only a young female therapist, Paprika, can stop it.

Director: Satoshi Kon | Stars: Megumi Hayashibara, Tôru Emori, Katsunosuke Hori, Tôru Furuya

Votes: 55,083 | Gross: $0.88M

My least favorite of Satoshi Kon's work. I want to re-visit it, but the novel reads like the author's masturbatory fantasy, so I'm hesitant...

42. Kumo no mukô, yakusoku no basho (2004)

TV-PG | 91 min | Animation, Drama, Romance

In an alternate postwar timeline, Japan is divided into the Union-controlled North and the US-controlled South.

Directors: Makoto Shinkai, Yoshio Suzuki | Stars: Hidetaka Yoshioka, Masato Hagiwara, Yuka Nanri, Unshô Ishizuka

Votes: 10,497

43. Suchîmubôi (2004)

PG-13 | 126 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

66 Metascore

In 1860s Britain, a boy inventor finds himself caught in the middle of a deadly conflict over a revolutionary advance in steam power.

Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo | Stars: Anna Paquin, Patrick Stewart, Alfred Molina, Anne Suzuki

Votes: 14,950 | Gross: $0.41M

44. Mind Game (I) (2004)

103 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

66 Metascore

After a deadly encounter with two yakuza, a loser with a crush on his childhood girlfriend goes to heaven and back, embarking on a psychedelic self-discovery experience with her and his friends.

Directors: Masaaki Yuasa, Kôji Morimoto | Stars: Kôji Imada, Sayaka Maeda, Takashi Fujii, Seiko Takuma

Votes: 6,710 | Gross: $0.04M

45. Nitaboh: Tsugaru shamisen shiso gaibun (2004)

100 min | Animation, Drama, Music

Nitaboh inherits a shamisen after going blind at a young age. As he improves his skills, he tries to perfect his own unique style.

Director: Akio Nishizawa | Stars: Yumi Furukawa, Sayaka Hanamura, Satoshi Hino, Tomohiko Imai

Votes: 68

46. Dead Leaves (2004)

Not Rated | 55 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

Two awaken on Earth with no recollection of their past and embark on a devastating crime spree but are sent to an infamous lunar penitentiary named Dead Leaves.

Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi | Stars: Kappei Yamaguchi, Takako Honda, Yûko Mizutani, Mitsuo Iwata

Votes: 2,938

47. Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

PG-13 | 92 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

73 Metascore

On Christmas Eve, three homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo find a newborn baby among the trash and set out to find its parents.

Directors: Satoshi Kon, Shôgo Furuya | Stars: Tôru Emori, Yoshiaki Umegaki, Aya Okamoto, Shôzô Îzuka

Votes: 23,702 | Gross: $0.13M

My personal favorite of Satoshi Kon's work. My boyfriend said 'This movie was a miracle'. This is one you can show to your non-anime fan friends and they will love it (unless they have no soul).

48. Tamala 2010: A Punk Cat in Space (2002)

92 min | Animation, Comedy, Drama

56 Metascore

A cerebral and existential story of Tamla, a kitten from the Planet of Cats, who sets out to solve the mystery of her birth.

Director: Tol | Stars: Béatrice Dalle, Takeshi Katô, Hisayo Mochizuki, Shinji Takeda

Votes: 430

49. Parumu no ki (2002)

130 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

Palme is a puppet created by a man for his sickly wife. After her death, Palme becomes paralyzed with sorrow until he happens to cross paths with a woman being pursued who asks him to ... See full summary »

Director: Takashi Nakamura | Stars: Akiko Hiramatsu, Megumi Toyoguchi, Daisuke Sakaguchi, Yurika Hino

Votes: 401

People either love or hate this one - I loved it. If you don't like it within the first half-hour, your won't like it. I found the world engrossing, some find it slow.

50. Arîte hime (2001)

105 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

Confined in the castle tower by her father, Princess Arete spends her days watching the world outside her window. Sometimes she sneaks out. Prospective suitors are sent on quests to collect magic treasures to win her hand in marriage.

Director: Sunao Katabuchi | Stars: Houko Kuwashima, Tsuyoshi Koyama, Minami Takayama, Yûsuke Numata

Votes: 464

51. Metropolis (2001)

PG-13 | 108 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

7.3