Anime, a word that connects millions of people from all walks of life all over the world. Whether it’s about the hundreds of episodes of Naruto or One Piece or the heart-touching storylines of anime movies. It’s like the world of Anime keeps giving and giving, and we just can’t get enough of it.
When it comes to movies, the famous Studio Ghibli dominates the top ranking list in terms of ratings and earnings, however, there are plenty of lesser-heard names which are just as brilliant as Studio Ghibli and deserve to be on your watch list. So without further ado, let’s dive into the top five highest-grossing Anime films of all time.
5. Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea—Studio Ghibli
The fifth entry is by none other than Studio Ghibli, a name you’ll often read in this article. It was released in 2008, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and distributed by Toho. Brunhilde is the daughter of a once-human wizard and scientist who escapes from her marine life as a goldfish towards the human world. She gets trapped in a glass jar which washes her ashore, where she is discovered by a boy named Sosuke. He frees her from the jar injuring his finger in the process, which Brunhilde heals instantly with her magical powers. This marks the beginning of a deep bond between the two which pushes the story forward. Sosuke, not knowing she already had a name, names Brunhilde Ponyo. The movie revolves around the bond between Ponyo and Sosuke and how Ponyo deeply desires to be transformed into a human girl. The storyline is surreal, with the distinction between the real and imaginary often becoming seemingly meaningless. It’s as if a child’s world and an adult’s perception are mashed into one film.
4. Howl’s Moving Castle—Studio Ghibli
Yet again, we have a Studio Ghibli production most anime fans might have at least heard of. Howl’s Moving Castle is also a combination of Hayao Miyazaki and Toho. It was released in 2004 based loosely on a novel by Diana Wynne. It tells the story of Sophie, a hat maker who gets cursed by a Witch, transforming her into a 90-year-old woman. Seeking to break the curse, she travels through the countryside and comes across the moving castle owned by a Wizard named Howl (hence the name.) She makes a deal with Calcifer, a fire demon who promises to break her curse if she sets him free of Howl and their contract. A strongly emotional story from Miyazaki’s beautiful mind paired up with touching animation. It is no wonder it earned the amount it did.
3. Your Name—CoMix Wave Films
A film very few consistent Otakus would be unfamiliar with. Your Name is a 2016 film about two absolute strangers who somehow begin swapping bodies without ever really knowing it. Mitsuha and Taki slowly realize that they’ve been swapping bodies and try to keep up with each other’s lives. This eventually leads them to fall for each other, but there’s a deadly twist. The story is breath-taking, the animation is top-notch, and the characters are lovable. So it’s no wonder Your Name made the box office revenue it did. It also marks our first entry of a non-studio Ghibli film as this one is by CoMix Wave Films, it’s also distributed by Toho. Its writer and director are Makoto Shinkai, whose other works include The Garden of Words, 5 Centimeters Per Second, and Weathering With You.
2. Spirited Away—Studio Ghibli
At number 2, we yet again have a Studio Ghibli production. The famous and beautiful Spirited Away. A 2001 film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki about a ten-year-old girl Chihiro Ogino who enters the world of spirits while moving to a new home in Japan. Her parents get transformed into pigs by a witch, and now Chihiro has to find a way out of the spirit world and turn her parents back to normal. She enlists herself to work at the witch’s bathhouse in order to find her answers. The movie is so well received because of its sheer and undying originality. It’s almost as if the movie takes the viewer into a whole different world without having to try very hard. This is why it has left such a lasting impression on the world.
1. Demon Slayer Mugen Train—Ufotable
And on the top of the list is Demon Slayer Mugen Train. A very recent movie which launched in 2020 by Ufotable. It is the only film on this list that is also connected to an anime series of the same name. Now, keep in mind, this movie is yet to release in some parts of the world, which makes it even greater since it’s already making such a huge impact. The story is about Tanjiro, a swordsman, and his half-demon sister Nezuko as they board a train to ward of demons inside it. It also includes awesome characters like Inosuke and Zenitsu from the anime. The undeniable presence of Ufotable is clearly seen in the amazing animation of the film, the story also takes a lot of great twists and turns to keep you right on edge, and the characters are already adored by the world. This movie by Haruo Sotozaki is currently the highest-earning anime film of all time.
And these were the highest-earning anime movies of all time. Is there a movie that should be on the list but isn’t? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.