Last Updated on September 12, 2020 by OtakuKart Staff
Here’s the anime thing: it’s a platform, not a genre. Yeah, most animated films have some aesthetic parallels. Yeah, they are mostly, but not necessarily, based on manga or Japanese comics. Other than that, though, there are no restrictions. Spiky-haired action stars, magic-sounding schoolgirls, surreal fairytales, and odd-ball superhero stories are just the tip of the iceberg. If you can imagine it, there’s definitely an anime out there.
Here are the best anime films that you can stream this month
1. In This Corner of the World
While high school dramas make up a lot of anime offerings, there are also a decent amount of historical collections available. It can be hard to see Japan as a poor and war-torn nation now that our current picture is of a technical powerhouse. This corner of the globe offers us a snapshot of how war has changed the ordinary woman’s life.
Suzu, a naive young woman from Eba in Hiroshima, is married to a man named Shusaku, a civilian navy. She moves to his family’s home in Kure, where she has to deal with the increasingly changing demands put on her as a housewife and a resident living during the war, as well as the return of her school friend Tetsu.
The film takes place primarily from 1944 to 1945, near the end of the Second World War, but also offers a snapshot of the pre-and post-atom bomb Hiroshima, with early war years presented as more casual and amusing, giving way to a more tense atmosphere as time passes.
2. Lu Over The Wall
Director Masaaki Yuasa, a well-known director in Japan, rose to Western fame at the start of 2019 with his highly successful adaptation of Go Nagai’s Devilman in the Netflix original Devilman series: Crybaby. Since then, his films The Night Is Short, Move On Girl, Lu Over the Wall, and Ride Your Wave have graced big screen and film theatres around America. Lu Over the Wall is now streaming on Netflix, taking Yuasa’s delightfully weird animation style to living rooms all over the world.
The film focuses on the moody high school student Kai, who lives in a small fishing village and loves playing music in his spare time. When he publishes a video of his job online, a couple of schoolmates, Yuho and Kunio, see it and ask him to join their band, SIREN.
They’re training on Merfolk Island, a location related to the city’s folklore of terrifying mermaids. When playing music, Kai hears a mermaid’s song and becomes friends with Lu, a little mermaid with a talent for singing. Of course, he’s trying to keep Lu a secret from the city before she plays a concert with SIREN and inadvertently becomes popular.
3. The Garden Of Words
Miyazaki is not the only director whose less well-known films have found a home on Netflix. Makoto Shinkai has recently enjoyed success with his 2016 hit movie Your Name. Before that, though, he directed a number of videos, including the 2013 Garden of Words. At the beginning of this short, moody film, high school student Takao Akizuki decides to miss school in favor of sketching shoes in the garden of Shinjuku Gyoen, a large park in Tokyo.
While there, he bumps into Yukari Yukino, a mystery 27-year-old woman who skips work to enjoy beer and chocolate in the forest. Throughout the rainy season, the two come together and get to know each other, and Takao is getting more and more interested in being a shoemaker and making a pair of shoes for Yukari.
When the work of Yukari — and its motives for neglecting it — becomes known, the couple finds itself torn apart by the demands of society. There’s a lot of drama going on in just 46 minutes, and if you can get over the dubious adult-teen relationship, the film is an absolute delight for the eyes, particularly the garden scenery.
4. A Silent Voice
A silent voice is a Japanese anime film, a film with the most heart-breaking story on this page. The film is produced by Kyoto Animation and directed by Naoko Yamada. It tells the story of a boy named Shoya Ishida who used to scare a deaf girl named Shoko Nishimiya into a new education, and years later it’s his chance at salvation that he’s set out to make amends with her.
This film is based on a manga of the same name. The best thing you can see if you like your name or any of the work of Makoto Shinka.
This is a genuinely stunning film that addresses serious topics such as violence, injury, and suicide, with empathy and an outstanding sense of dramatic suspense.
Just make sure you’ve got a box of tissues next to your popcorn — you’re going to need it for the climax, for sure.
5. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is the film that brought Mamoru Hosoda widespread recognition and popularity, one of his early films, who later directed several great movies including Summer Wars, Wolf Girls, The Boy, and the Beast, and the most recent Mirai hit that was also nominated for the Academy Awards, all of his movies, but The Girl Who Leapt Through Time remains the best and most classic hit.
It was praised and also received several awards, such as the Japan Academy Award for Animation of the Year. Makoto Konno is a high school student who learns the ability of time travel and constantly relives in a time loop on the same day.
6. Miss Hokusai
Another historic feature, Miss Hokusai, is based on the real-life artist Katsushika Oi, the daughter of the famous Hokusai. It takes place during the Edo period when Hokusai was already in his fifties and considered a renowned artist in Japan. O-Ei is one of his four children, and she lives with him and has to deal with his many shortcomings, all while completing all of his projects without any acknowledgment.
The couple act more like roommates than father and daughter, and the film discusses their tumultuous relationship, as well as O-Ei ‘s friendship with her half-sister, the blind and sickly O-Nao.
This is one of those films that is much more about characters than a story, but the characters are so real, and the animation—especially when bringing artists’ paintings to life—is completely lovely.
7. Mary and the Witch’s Flower
Netflix does not have any of the Studio Ghibli movies for North American streaming, but apart from Miyazaki’s Lupin III film debut, they already have Studio Ponoc’s Mary and the Witch’s Egg. Studio Ponoc was created by Ghibli alumnus Yoshiaki Nishimura, and this initial work from the studio undoubtedly bears a similarity to Ghibli’s work, both visually and in tone and style.
The story, based on Mary Stewart’s novel The Little Broomstick, follows the young Mary Smith who has just moved into the very English estate of her Great Aunt Charlotte.
Mary is restless while waiting for her parents to return and for school to begin, and sadly she has no desire to help out with things around the home. She decides to explore the grounds of the estate and finds herself trailing a pair of cats in the trees, where she encounters a rare purple flower. This flower gives her the ability to ride a broomstick, which sends her away to a magic academy, where she discovers that there are limitations to the ability of magic.