18 Anime Movies Like Spirited Away Worth Watching

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Spirited Away is a classic animated film, Spirited Away was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The film is about a sullen 10-year-old girl named Chihiro Ogino who finds herself in the spirit world of Japanese Shinto-Buddhist folklore while moving into a new neighborhood as she moves to a new neighborhood. To free herself and her parents after the witch Yubaba transforms them into pigs, Chihiro works in Yubaba’s bathhouse for a job.

Whether you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli or not, there’s no denying the impact that their movies have had on anime as a whole. From classics like Spirited Away to more contemporary fare like Howl’s Moving Castle and The Cat Returns, these films have left an impression on audiences all over the world. Whether you’re looking for something to watch on a rainy day or want to introduce someone to the world of anime, these picks are a great place to start.

When it comes to finding anime movies like Spirited Away, the options are endless. There are a ton of great anime movies out there that share similar themes and plot elements. Here are 18 Anime movies like Spirited Away. From heartwarming to downright terrifying, each of these picks will give you the feels.

18 Anime Movies Like Spirited Away 

18. Children Who Chase Lost Voices

Asuna, a bright and valiant young girl who lives near the mountain near her house, is the star of Children Who Chase Lost Voices, a 2011 Japanese anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai. Her free time is spent playing in the forest of the mountain near her house and listening to a radio powered by a strange crystal. Suddenly, she hears a hauntingly beautiful melody on the radio and meets a mysterious boy.

18 Anime Movies Like Spirited Away
Children Who Chase Lost Voices

A mysterious boy disappears almost immediately after she meets him. Asuna, however, meets him again after he is presumed dead and begins her journey into the underworld. Her journey leads her to learn valuable life, death, and love lessons. Throughout this coming-of-age tale, you’ll discover a world full of wonder, beauty, and terror that’s populated by bizarre creatures.

Featuring mesmerizing artwork, adventure at every turn, and enchanting creatures all wrapped in a timeless story, this film encompasses the grandeur of Spirited Away while blending ancient mythology and a little bit of romance.

17. Ghost in The Shell

With the advent of cybernetic parts, the human body can now be replaced; even the human brain can be transformed into a cyber world with what they call “ghosts.” The mysterious Puppet Master has been manipulating people’s memories through their ghosts. Major Kusanagi Motoko (Atsuko Tanaka) leads a team to hunt him down on a mission.

18 Anime Movies Like Spirited Away
Ghost in The Shell

An introduction to anime movies cannot be complete without mentioning Ghost in the Shell. The movie explores what it means to be an individual in the modern world and is a cyberpunk film to its roots. In addition, it was also the only movie on this list to have been adapted for live-action by Hollywood. In 2017, Hollywood produced a shallow remake of Ghost in the Shell to demonstrate why anime movies are great.

16. To the Forest of Firefly Lights

Look no further than To the Forest of Firefly Lights if you liked the supernatural aspects of Spirited Away, but wished there was more romance. Yuki Midorikawa wrote a one-shot manga titled To the Forest of Firefly Lights. Hotaru Takegawa, a six-year-old girl, gets lost in a forest filled with supernatural creatures when she gets lost.

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18 Anime Movies Like Spirited Away
To the Forest of Firefly Lights

She encounters Gin, a man-like entity who wears a mask during her stay there. Upon learning that her friend is supernatural and that touching him will cause him to disappear, Hataru returns to see Gin every summer, and their relationship grows as they wrestle with its limitations. 

While Hotaru has always considered Gin a childhood crush, Gin wonders what will happen as she gets older. On the other hand, Gin wonders if their relationship will ever mature since she has always avoided humans until she meets Hotaru. The Forest of Firefly Lights is a tale of forbidden love and a timeless tale infused with Japanese folklore. When you read this story, you’ll be tempted to run to your nearest enchanted forest.

15. Wolf Children

A haunting fairytale from Japan, Wolf Children is directed and co-written by Mamoru Hosoda. With its bittersweet atmosphere and enchanting imagery, this 2012 Japanese animation film is an awe-inspiring experience. In this epic cinematic achievement, a woman falls in love with a Wolf Man and gives birth to two half-human and half-wolf children. In an accident, Hana’s werewolf lover dies in the process of hunting for food for her children, leaving her to raise this odd family alone.

18 Anime Movies Like Spirited Away
Wolf Children

A woman decides to emigrate to the countryside, where her children can live a healthy life, to avoid the stress of raising her feral children in an urban setting while keeping their identity a secret. It is a beautiful, emotional, and surprisingly complex film that examines a single mother’s struggles in an unforgiving modern world as well as a coming-of-age story.

14. Kiki’s Delivery Service

Adapted from the 1985 novel of the same name by Eiko Kadono, Kiki’s Delivery Service is written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. A 13-year-old witch-in-training, Kiki lives alone in a distant town for a year to become a full-blown witch. Gigi, a talking black cat, accompanies her when she rides her broom to town. It is a struggle for her to live alone, but she learns how to deal with it.

It’s an allegory and social commentary about teenage Japanese girls’ conflict between independence and dependability, underlying its straightforward plot of self-discovery and valor. Kiki’s Delivery Service is an uplifting movie that will always make you smile. If you’re looking for something uplifting, you should give it a shot.

13. Ponyo

A sailor named Sosuke is the hero of Ponyo’s tale. One day, Sosuke caught a goldfish trapped in a glass jar and named it Ponyo. He lives on an oceanside cliff with his mother, Lisa. Her original name was Brunhilde, and she was the daughter of Fujimoto, a human scientist. With her siblings, Brunhilde lives in a submarine with her father.

18 Anime Movies Like Spirited Away

To live in the outside world, Brunhilde sneaked out of her house one day. She was caught in a glass jar that floated to the shore, and Sosuke broke the jar to rescue her. He was injured, and Ponyo’s father finally got her back home. She transforms into a human with Sosuke’s blood using her magical powers.

12. Howl’s Moving Castle

The hit Studio Ghibli anime film Howl’s Moving Castle is based on the British novel of the same name written by Diana Wynne Jones and was directed by Hayao Miyazaki three years after Spirited Away.

18 Anime Movies Like Spirited Away
Howl’s Moving Castle

Similarly to Spirited Away, witches and wizards play an important role in Howl’s Moving Castle. Sophie, a young girl who was cursed to become old, seeks help from a young wizard named Howl, who supports her in her quest to return to normal.

11. The Secret World of Arrietty

This heartwarming story of an adventurous 14-year-old girl, Arrietty Clock, is told in two English language versions acclaimed for their stunning animation and music. The tiny Clock family lives in the recesses of a suburban house without the homeowners knowing.

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For years, they have visited their unofficial landlords only at night to “borrow” items. A friendship forms between young Arrietty and Shawn, the homeowners’ son, as Arrietty maintains her innocence. However, Shawn poses a great risk for the rest of Arrietty’s family due to his outcast status within his own family. 

10. The Cat Returns 

A Studio Ghibli classic, this story revolves around a young girl named Haru who saves a seemingly simple cat from an accident. She is surprised to discover that the cat is not only able to speak, but he is also the son of the Cat King and the crown prince of the Cat Kingdom.

18 Anime Movies Like Spirited Away
The Cat Returns 

The tales of Haru’s heroics have impressed the cat kingdom so much that she is taken there to marry the prince. The Cat Returns follows Haru as she slowly begins to transform into one of the Cat Kingdom’s inhabitants. It focuses on a heroine who is transported to another world and has to overcome various obstacles to escape and return home, much like Spirited Away.

9. Mary and The Witch’s Flower 

A 10-year-old girl, Mary Smith, moves into a new home with her aunt but soon finds it quite dull, but when she is searching for a missing cat in the woods, she finds a magical garden and a broomstick.

A broomstick whisks Mary up into Endo College, a secret magical school for witches, by picking her up and whisking her up. Mary is welcomed with open arms by the headmistress at Endo College, but she soon discovers the school and her are not what they seem.

8. Princess Mononoke

With its simple yet morally complex story and stunning visuals, Princess Mononoke is a classic in the world of animation. It is a historical fantasy war film set in the 14th century of Japan. During the fight against the rampaging boar god, Ashitaka, a sanguine young warrior, is struck by a deadly curse, which makes him a lodestar in the world of animation.

18 Anime Movies Like Spirited Away
Princess Mononoke

It is now necessary for him to travel to the West in search of a cure. There he becomes embroiled in a war between Lady Eboshi and her loyal clan and the gods of the forest, led by the valiant Princess Mononoke. If you like Spirited Away, you should give this movie a shot. You won’t be disappointed. Ashitaka sees righteousness in both sides and tries to resolve their disagreements before they collide with one another.

7. The Boy and The Beast

A nine-year-old boy named Ren, who just lost his mother recently, falls in love with the Beast in the film The Boy and the Beast, the most recent of Mamoru Hosoda’s films. Previously, he lived with his parents after their divorce, but now he lives with the Beast. As the protagonist is unable to find his father and does not wish to live with his legal guardians, he escapes to Shibuya’s streets.

At the same time, Kumatetsu meets Ren and takes him as his disciple, bringing him back to the Beast Kingdom. At the 37th Japan Academy Prizes, the film won Animation of the Year and was Japan’s second highest-grossing film in 2015. It grossed USD 48.6 million at the box office.

6. Grave of The Fireflies

In the grave of the Fireflies, however, we learn about the failure of heroism and nobility in difficult circumstances. Based on Akiyuki Nosaka’s semi-autobiographical short story of the same name, this 1988 Japanese anti-war film was written and directed by Isao Takahata and animated by Studio Ghibli. Two siblings, Seita and Setsuko, live in Kobe during the declining days of World War II in Grave of the Fireflies, set in the city of Kobe, Japan.

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18 Anime Movies Like Spirited Away
Grave of The Fireflies

Two siblings must rely on one another for survival after being separated from their parents by an American firebombing. This harrowing tale of lost innocence is one of the most profound anti-war statements ever presented on the big screen. If you are into profound films like Spirited Away, you will enjoy Grave of the Fireflies

5. When Marnie Was There

It tells the story of Anna, who had a sudden asthma attack, and her parents were advised to send her to the countryside. When Marnie was there, the psychological drama could be confusing if not carefully followed. When in the countryside, Anna was sent to visit a relative by her stepmother. When Anna met a blonde girl named Marnie, she became obsessed with an abandoned mansion.

18 Anime Movies Like Spirited Away
When Marnie Was There

When Anna came looking for Marnie, one of the new families moved into the mansion after a while, and one of them, named Sayaka, gave Anna a diary. They became friends, and they kept their friendship a secret. Anna found out that she was the granddaughter of Marnie after finding some viral information in Marnie’s diary.

4. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Mamoru Uda directed this movie in 2006. It is based on a novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, which bears the same name as the film. It is about Makato Kinno, a high school student of 17, along with her friends Chiaki and Kosuke, who became able to time travel after a close call with death.

With her ability to time travel, Makato solved small personal problems and other problems as well. However, it took her a while to realize her decision’s dangers.

3. Your Name

Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi), a girl from rural Japan, desires to become a guy in Tokyo. Taki (Ry√Ľnosuke Kamiki), a Tokyo schoolboy, wakes up soon after and exchanges bodies with her. They learn to communicate by leaving messages in many different ways, and occasionally switch places.

18 Anime Movies Like Spirited Away
Your Name

The two are forced to live with each other for the day, while slowly falling in love. Your Name provides a nice break from the other entries on this list in terms of wholesomeness and romance. One of the most recognizable anime films, Your Name, is directed by Makoto Shinkai, one of the greatest anime cinema legends. Tears are likely to flow from your eyes after reading this heartfelt story.

2. 5 Centimeters Per Second

The Name is derived from how quickly cherry blossom petals fall; petals represent human life, and falling represents how couples begin their lives together but gradually drift away. This story takes place in the 1990s and 2000s in Japan and tells of a boy named Takaki T’no and his love interest Akari Shinohara.

As opposed to his previous films, this one does not contain fantasy or science fiction elements. Instead, it tackles themes such as time, space, people, and love that real-life people face. The 2007 Asia Pacific Screen Awards honored 5 Centimeters Per Second as Best Animated Feature Film.

1. A Whisker Away

Despite a Japanese title that translates directly to “Wanting to Cry, I Pretend to Be a Cat,” Netflix’s English title is considerably more reminiscent of Spirited Away but with a cat-themed twist. Even though the two films are vastly different, this isn’t a wholly wrong description. Miyo (Cherami Leigh) finds herself entangled in a beautifully painted but perilous fantasy world in an anime film comparable to Spirited Away.

18 Anime Movies Like Spirited Away
A Whisker Away

Miyo (Johnny Yong Bosch) develops a huge crush on her classmate Hinode in the story. While she isn’t afraid to admit it, it can be a little uncomfortable to watch, but their very teenaged but relatable struggles mostly outweigh the emotional strength of their struggles at home. Though Miyo appears to be an ecstatic ball of sunshine at school, she is having trouble adjusting to living with her stepmother and father.

To cope, Miyo changes into a cute kitten thanks to a gift from a mysterious cat. Hinode becomes friends with her in cat form, learning more about his home life in the process, but the transformation comes with a catch that leads to an exciting adventure. There are similar elements of spooky fantasy and teenage family dynamics to Spirited Away in A Whisker Away, but the romance is more prominent.

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By Drishty Dwivedi

Drishty Dwivedi is a BCA graduate who specializes in writing about anime and manga. She currently lives in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. In her spare time, She likes to code, read fiction and draw. Also, she is an animal lover. You can reach out to her at drishtydwivedi75@gmail.com.

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