Looking for some escapism? There’s no better way to do that than with anime, and luckily for us – there have been some amazing anime films released as of late. Regardless of the genre you prefer (and whether you know who Hayao Miyazaki is – no shame either way!), there’s a modern anime film that you’re going to love, and we’ve probably listed it below.
When Marnie Was There
Billed as the “final film” for Studio Ghibli, it’s one of the last films that Hayao Miyazaki will ever work on. When Marnie Was There is based on a novel of the same name, written by Joan G. Robinson, but it takes place in Sapporo instead of England. While many anime films are full of fantastical concepts and imaginary creatures, When Marnie Was There is a quiet but incredibly moving drama about childhood friendships and the relationships formed between families. It’s not a surprise that this movie was nominated for an Academy Award, and it’s definitely worth viewing.
5 Centimeters Per Second
This isn’t the most fun film on the list, but if you’re looking for a romantic drama – this is the film you want to watch. 5 Centimeters Per Second follows the story of two childhood sweethearts who gradually lose contact over time and how it affects them moving forward. Again, it might not sound like the most exciting film, but it’s heartbreaking and offers a beautiful perspective on modern life and how our communication affects it. Save this film for a rainy day, trust me.
If you keep up with anime news, you’ll recognize the name of this movie as well as that of its director Makoto Shinkai. Though the story is a simple, body-swap school-set romance, the film is spectacular and it has led much of the film world to dub Shinkai the “new Hayao Miyazaki.” The movie is built for a young adult audience, but the story is much more layered than that. In lieu of accidentally spoiling any of the film for you, all I can say is go see this film ASAP – in theaters if you can.
The Red Turtle
Though it’s a Studio Ghibli co-production, this film is definitely not a Ghibli film – and that’s a good thing. Having premiered at Cannes in May 2016, the film is a beautiful take on the traditional “man is stranded on an island” tale. While there is a supernatural twist, it’s simple and doesn’t distract from the basis of the story. The director behind the film, Michael Dukok de Wit, is Dutch and has previously only made animated shorts. For a feature debut, The Red Turtle is pretty amazing.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Based on a 1967 novel of the same name, the film takes its concept from the book but focuses on a different character – the protagonist’s niece Makoto instead of the protagonist herself. Instead of a Looper-esque story, we get a fun sci-fi rom-com that’s adventurous and exciting to watch; you can’t help but fall in love with Makoto while watching the movie. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, out of all the films on this list, is bound to become your next feel-good movie you watch again and again and again.