15 Most Underrated Anime Movies

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15 Most Underrated Anime Movies


Anime enthusiasts often find themselves engrossed in the world of anime shows, but it’s important to remember that there are several underrated anime movies that offer a unique and captivating experience as well. When you’re short on time or seeking a different kind of anime adventure, movies can be the perfect choice. Contrary to the notion that anime movies are inferior to their television counterparts, they provide equally entertaining narratives with the added benefit of a shorter time commitment.


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While there are many acclaimed anime movies that receive widespread recognition, there are a handful of underrated gems that have been overlooked by fans. These films possess a certain charm and distinctive storytelling that may have been overshadowed by the popularity of other movies and shows. However, delving into these hidden treasures promises to unveil an entirely new anime experience.


15 The Murder Case Of Hana And Alice

MAL Rating: 7.25

The Murder Case Of Hana And Alice both characters stand together

The Murder Case of Hana and Alice

Release Date
February 20, 2015

Genres
Animation, Drama

Rating
7.1/10

Runtime
100 minutes

Why watch The Murder Case of Hana and Alice?

  • The movie tackles the issue of bullying and school life.
  • One of the best movies in the mystery genre.

The Murder Case of Hana and Alice is a captivating anime movie with a blend of mystery and coming-of-age storytelling. The film revolves around the friendship between two high school girls, Hana and Alice, who become entangled in a mysterious murder case. As they delve deeper into the investigation, their bond strengthens, and they uncover secrets that challenge their perceptions of truth and friendship.

In this heartwarming and suspenseful tale, Hana and Alice’s curiosity leads them to dig into the circumstances of a neighbor’s supposed murder. Their amateur detective skills are put to the test as they uncover clues and confront suspects. Along the way, the girls discover the value of trust, loyalty, and the power of friendship.

Release Date

Genre

Where To Watch

February 20, 2015

Drama Mystery

Prime Video

14 Only Yesterday

MAL Rating: 7.44

Only Yesterday protagonist planting rice

Only Yesterday

Release Date
July 20, 1991

Genres
Animation, Drama, Romance

Distributor(s)
Netflix

Director
Isao Takahata

Rating
7.6/10

Runtime
119 minutes

Why watch Only Yesterday?

  • Explores Japanese culture beautifully.
  • Very relatable movie for almost everyone.

Unlike many other anime films, Only Yesterday focuses on the realistic experiences and everyday lives of its characters rather than fantastical elements. The movie’s ability to evoke nostalgia and resonate with viewers has earned it praise as a true gem of the slice-of-life genre. Despite a 1991 movie, the animation quality and direction by Isao Takahata will leave you surprised.

Taeko, a 27-year-old office worker in Tokyo, embarks on a transformative journey to reconnect with family away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. The adventure leads Taeko on a nostalgic exploration of her past. The movie beautifully portrays how childhood memories can sometimes reshape the present.

Release Date

Genre

Where To Watch

July 20, 1991

Drama Romance

Netflix

13 Children Who Chase Lost Voices

MAL Rating: 7.51

Children Who Chase Lost Voices character kneels before two others

Children Who Chase Lost Voices

Release Date
May 7, 2011

Genres
Animation, Adventure, Drama

Rating
7.1/10

Runtime
116 minutes

Why watch Children Who Chase Lost Voices?

  • Very beautiful spiritual element.
  • Explores the other-worldly realm.

Children Who Chase Lost Voices is a beloved anime movie that has garnered a devoted following among anime enthusiasts. One of the reasons people love this film is its beautifully crafted world-building. The movie takes viewers on a magical journey to the underground realm of Agartha, a breathtaking and ethereal world filled with fantastical creatures and mesmerizing landscapes. The attention to detail in the animation and artistry is truly remarkable.

Children Who Chase Lost Voice is about Asuna, a young girl who embarks on a journey joined by a mysterious boy named Shun. Asuna discovers the secrets of Agartha and Shun while undergoing a transformative personal journey.

Release Date

Genre

Where To Watch

May 07, 2011

Adventure Romance

Crunchyroll

12 A Letter To Momo

MAL Rating: 7.58

A Letter To Momo protagonist sits at desk

A Letter to Momo

Release Date
April 21, 2012

Genres
Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Director
Hiroyuki Okiura

Rating
7.2/10

Runtime
120 minutes

Why watch A Letter to Momo?

  • Strong focus on family bonds.
  • A movie with a lot to learn.

Released in 2011, A Letter to Momo is a delightful anime movie that offers a unique and heartwarming story. What sets this film apart is its incorporation of supernatural elements and its ability to blend them seamlessly with a coming-of-age narrative. With its beautiful animation and charming characters, A Letter to Momo is a visual treat that has been forgotten with time but surely needs everyone’s attention.

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The movie follows the journey of Momo, a young girl who moves to a rural island with her mother. As she struggles to adapt to her new surroundings, Momo receives a mysterious letter left behind by her late father. To her surprise, the letter seemed to be unfinished, and strange occurrences began happening around her. Soon, Momo discovers three mischievous goblin-like creatures who help her uncover the truth behind the letter.

11 Memories

MAL Rating: 7.71

Memories underrated film

Memories

Release Date
December 23, 1995

Main Genre
Anime

Studio
Studio 4°C, Madhouse

Runtime
113 min

Story By
Katsuhiro Otomo

Why watch Memories?

  • A movie with three different stories.
  • Written by the writer of Akira.

Katsuhiro Omoto is well-known in the anime universe as the creator of short films and manga. If you don’t recognize his name, you definitely know him from his best creation: Akira. Well, this is the list that contains some underrated diamonds of the industry, and Akira is far from that. However, Memories is another of Katshuhiro’s works that surely deserves all the recognition, especially from sci-fi fans.

Memories is an anthology movie comprising three stories. The first, Magnetic Rose, follows a space crew encountering a haunted spaceship, uncovering its tragic past. Stink Bomb revolves around a man accidentally causing a biological disaster, oblivious to his lethal effect. Lastly, Cannon Fodder depicts a city where cannons are part of everyday life.

Release Date

Genre

Where To Watch

December 23, 1995

Horror Sci-fi

Crunchyroll

10 Colorful

MAL Rating: 7.75

Colorful movie

Colorful

$16 $30 Save $14

Release Date
August 21, 2010

Genres
Animation, Drama, Fantasy

Rating
7.4/10

Runtime
126 minutes

Why watch Colorful?

  • Tackles the issue of depression.
  • A movie with a good spiritual element.

Colorful is a movie you have hardly heard of. It has amazing animation and has bagged a bunch of awards for it, but what’s best about the movie is that it’s perfect for today’s audience because it talks about stuff like anxiety, school struggles, and the tough things teens go through. The movie teaches us how we can face these things head-on, no matter how hard they seem. It’s all about standing strong against those tricky moments.

Colorful portrays the story of a soul given a second chance at life. A troubled soul enters the body of Makoto, a high school student who attempted suicide. The soul must uncover the reasons behind Makoto’s despair while adapting to human life. Through experiencing Makoto’s struggles and personal conflicts, the soul seeks redemption.

Release Date

Genre

Where To Watch

August 21, 2010

Drama Supernatural

Funimation

9 From Up On Poppy Hill

MAL Rating: 7.79

From Up On Poppy Hill two characters follow downhill path on bicycle

From Up The Poppy Hill

Release Date
July 16, 2011

Genres
Animation, Comedy, Drama

Rating
7.4/10

Runtime
91 minutes

Why watch From Up On Poppy Hill?

  • Post-war setting is beautifully depicted.
  • Beautifully written main and side characters.

From Up On Poppy Hill is an anime movie set in 1960s Yokohama, Japan. Directed by Studio Ghibli, this film combines romance, coming-of-age themes, and a touch of history. With its beautiful animation and heartfelt storytelling, it is a cinematic gem that enchants audiences and teaches the importance of preserving cherished memories.

The main characters of the movie, Umi and Shun, are two high school students who become very close as they fight for a shared cause. A tender romance blossoms between them. However, they soon discover a secret that connects their pasts in unexpected ways.

8 The Stranger By The Shore

MAL Rating: 7.86

A Stranger by the Shore

The Stranger by the Beach

Release Date
September 5, 2020

Genres
Animation, Drama, Romance

Rating
7.1/10

Runtime
59 minutes

Story By
Akiyo Ôhashi

Why watch The Stranger by the Shore?

  • Strongly supports LGBTQ rights.
  • Admired a lot for the direction.

Ranked number fifth on the list of the most liked boys’ love stories, A Stranger by the Shore is a movie with a lot to learn and a lot to appreciate. From the use of colors to the work of camera and direction, critics have appreciated the movie for a lot of its elements. The same appreciation has been gathered by its manga, selling millions of copies worldwide.

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A Stranger by the Shore revolves around Mio, a young man working at his family’s beachside café, who meets a mysterious writer named Shun. As they bond over time, their friendship deepens into something more profound. However, Shun’s secretive nature and eventual departure leave Mio engaged with unanswered questions and unresolved feelings.

7 In This Corner Of The World

MAL Rating: 8.22

In This Corner Of The World character holding item up in street

In This Corner of the World

Release Date
November 12, 2016

Genres
Animation, Drama, Family

Rating
7.8/10

Runtime
129minutes

Why watch In This Corner of the World?

  • Portrays the impact war brings on people.
  • A movie with a lot to learn.

If you are looking for a heart-touching historical movie, well, look no further. This movie has garnered praise for its historical accuracy and poignant storytelling, capturing the struggles of individuals during World War II. The movie teaches us about the resilience of the human spirit, the importance of finding beauty amidst adversity, and the enduring power of love and community.

Suzu, a quiet, daydreaming girl, resides on the outskirts of Hiroshima in the 1930s. In 1943, she moved to the naval base town of Kure, where she confronted the hardships of life during the Pacific War. Despite the challenges, Suzu tries to find joy and tranquility in her everyday existence.

Release Date

Genre

Where To Watch

November 12, 2016

Drama

Netflix

6 Millennium Actress

MAL Rating: 8.25

Millennium Actress cast all together

Millennium Actress

Release Date
September 14, 2002

Genres
Animation, Drama, Fantasy

Writers
Sadayuki Murai

Cast
Mami Koyama

Rating
7.8/10

Runtime
87 minutes

Why watch Millenium Actress?

  • A unique movie based on filmmaking.
  • The work of legendary writer Satoshi Kon.

Despite its critical acclaim and artistic brilliance, Millennium Actress has been overshadowed by more mainstream anime films. The movie is an overlooked gem that deserves a special place in the hearts of anime enthusiasts. Directed by Satoshi Kon, the film beautifully captures the essence of love and dreams.

Millennium Actress is the story of Chiyoko Fujiwara, a renowned actress who abruptly retired during the peak of her career. Director Genya Tachibana approaches her to create a documentary about her life. The film takes the audience on an alluring journey through Chiyoko’s memories, proving to be a real visual treat along the way.

Release Date

Genre

Where To Watch

September 14, 2002

Action Adventure

Crunchyroll

5 Tokyo Godfathers

MAL Rating: 8.27

Tokyo Godfathers best underrated anime movies

Tokyo Godfathers

Release Date
November 8, 2003

Genres
Adventure, Comedy, Animation

Rating
7.8/10

Runtime
92 minutes

Why watch Tokyo Goddfathers?

  • Shows the best side of humanity.
  • The work of one of the best anime writer Satoshi Kon.

If you’re into touching tales with heartfelt journeys and deep emotional growth, look no further. Exploring the importance of family and how humanity still resides among people, Tokyo Godfathers is a perfect watch and proof that not all superheroes wear capes. Most importantly, this movie was crafted by Satoshi Kon, a director who knows nothing else except how to deliver a masterpiece.

In Tokyo Godfathers, three homeless friends find a baby left on the streets during Christmas. Gin, Hana, and Miyuki set off on an incredible adventure across Tokyo to reunite the baby with its family. Along the way, they face all sorts of challenges and rediscover connections from their own pasts.

Release Date

Genre

Where To Watch

November 08, 2003

Comedy Drama

Prime Video

4 Redline

MAL Rating: 8.28

Redline two characters lean against a surface

Redline

Release Date
October 9, 2010

Studio
Madhouse

Director
Takeshi Koike

Runtime
102 Minutes

Genres
Racing

Why watch Redline?

  • Great watch for adrenaline junkies.
  • Perfect for those who love car racing genre.

Here’s a movie for adrenaline junkies and racing enthusiasts alike. The movie is directed by Takeshi Koike, known for directing other spectacular pieces similar to this one. The race sequences are nothing short of exhilarating, featuring high-speed chases, explosive action, and pulsating soundtracks that perfectly complement the scenes.

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Set in a futuristic universe, the film revolves around JP, a fearless and skilled racer who enters the notorious Redline race. The competition takes place on a treacherous intergalactic track, pitting JP against rival racers and forcing him to push his limits to the extreme: winning the Redline is no easy task. Along the way, JP must overcome deadly traps and powerful opponents.

Release Date

Genre

Where To Watch

October 09, 2010

Action Sci-fi

Prime Video

3 Grave Of The Fireflies

MAL Rating: 8.51

Grave of the Fireflies-1

Grave of the Fireflies

Release Date
April 16, 1988

Studio
Studio Ghibli

Rating
7.5/10

Genres
Drama, War

Why watch Grave of the Fireflies?

  • Sad and depressing, but a lot to learn from.
  • Best anime movie based on war.

War often brings out the worst in humanity, showing us the true value of life. It makes us see that the things we usually overlook are actually what we deeply crave in tough times. In a touching story that beautifully portrays these emotions, you’ll learn to appreciate the life you’ve been given, realizing that things could always be much worse.

Grave of the Fireflies portrays the devastating aftermath of World War II on two siblings, Seita and Setsuko, in Japan. Orphaned and struggling to survive amidst the war’s destruction, they face starvation and societal neglect. They seek refuge in an abandoned shelter, clinging to each other. Despite Seita’s efforts to provide for Setsuko, their situation worsens.

Release Date

Genre

Where To Watch

April 16, 1988

Drama

Prime Video

2 Wolf Children

MAL Rating: 8.57

Wolf's Children protagonist holding two children

Wolf Children

$33 $35 Save $2

Release Date
July 21, 2012

Studio
Studio Chizu

Director
Mamoru Hosoda

Runtime
117 minutes

Genres
Anime

Why watch Wolf Children?

  • A film with a deep understanding of motherhood.
  • A perfect blend of fantasy and reality.

At the core of Wolf Children, the movie delves into the profound teachings of motherhood, highlighting the immense sacrifices and unwavering love of a dedicated mother. Through the character of Hana, we witness her determination as she navigates the challenges of raising her half-human, half-wolf children, Yuki and Ame.

With its fantasy and slice-of-life narrative, Wolf Children asks a question about Yuki and Ame in the world, given their unique characteristics. Wolf Children is a touching and underrated film that should definitely be on your watchlist. Amazon Prime is also home to some fantastic anime movies.

1 A Silent Voice

MAL Rating: 8.93

A Silent Voice cast members stand outdoors

A Silent Voice

$37 $77 Save $40

Release Date
September 17, 2016

Main Genre
Anime

Studio
Kyoto

Rating
8.1/10

Runtime
2 Hours 9 Minutes

Genres
Drama

Why watch A Silent Voice?

  • Tackles the themes of bullying.
  • Shows the challenges faced by the disabled.

A Silent Voice is a beloved anime film that tackles challenging subjects like bullying with remarkable sensitivity, showcasing the profound impact it can have. The film sheds light on such experiences, emphasizing the importance of understanding others and creating a supportive environment.

A Silent Voice tells the story of Shoko Nishimiya, an elementary school girl who is relentlessly bullied by her classmates, led by Shoya Ishida. However, the tables turned soon, and Shoya became the target of ridicule from his classmates. Years later, burdened by guilt and remorse, Shoya seeks a chance for redemption and sets out to reconnect with Shoko, hoping to befriend her.

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