The anime world is divided into two popular categories, tv-series, and movies. Lucky for us Japan always delivers the best of both. With 4 months already passed into this year, few good anime movies have been released while many movies released last year are still collecting money and going on strong on the box office.
Japan has become the hub of animated series and movies with the advent of the century. The studios focus on minute details to make sure the fans get what they deserve. 2021 was another great year for the anime industry. While we witnessed some of the best anime series, we also got some of the very best anime movies to be ever made.
Let’s have a look at the highest-grossing anime films till March 2022.
Demon Slayer: Mugen Train
Yes, you read it correctly, even after almost 1.5 years of its Japanese release, Demon Slayer Mugen Train is still running in some theatres across the world. Mugen train has become the best anime film to be ever made. The movie was released on 16th October 2020 in Japan and debuted in American theatres 6 months later on April 23rd, 2021. After 220 days of its release, Demon Slayer: Mugen train crossed the 40 billion Yen mark and became the highest-grossing movie in Japan.
The movie continues from where the 1st season of the hit show ended. Tanjiro along with his sister Nezuko, his friends Zenitsu and Inosuke board the Infinity train (Mugen train) to investigate the disappearance of the passengers and the disturbances being caused by a demon onboard. They are also assisted by the Flame Hashira Kyojuro Rengoku. The movie is adapted from Koyoharu Gotouge’s manga by the same name. Stunning visuals, impressive storyline, and pulsating action scenes are what made this movie a worldwide success. The movie has collected $503 million as of now and became the highest-grossing movie in 2020 in the world.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is the prequel to the 2020 blockbuster series Jujutsu Kaisen. Both Jujutsu Kaisen and Jujutsu Kaisen have been adopted from the manga of the same name created by Gege Akutami. The movie is produced by MAPPA (famous for Attack on Titan final season). Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was released on December 24th, 2021 in Japan and is yet to hit other theatres worldwide. As a matter of fact, it is set to release in the US on the 18th of this month.
The movie focuses on Yuta Okkotsu who is haunted by the spirit of his childhood friend Rika. He is taken in by the jujutsu sorcerers and learns to channel the energy of Rika’s spirit to help others. The movie also marks the return of various characters shown in the first season. The cast of the movie includes the antagonist Suguro Geto, jujutsu sorcerers Maki Zenin, Toge Inumaki, Panda alongside the very famous Satoru Gojo. The movie has garnered over $107 million till now; this is sure to increase once the movie is released in other countries of the world soon.
Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time
This movie is a part of the Neon Genesis Evangelion (NGE) franchise. The NGE manga is written by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. The manga debuted in the December of 1994 and went on till June 2013. The show is so popular that it has made way for various audiobooks, video games, a novel, and numerous successful films. This film is the fourth and final installment in the Rebuild of Evangelion franchise.
The movie continues where the last part left off. Shinji lost his will to live but soon he learns what hope is after arriving at a settlement of survivors on the outskirts of Tokyo-3. While Evangelion answers questions, more questions tend to arise. The 25-year-old franchise finally came to an end, that too with a happy ending. The movie has been written and produced beautifully. It became the 2nd highest-earning film of 2021 only behind Jujutsu Kaisen 0 with a box office collection of $102 million.
Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet
Gosho Aoyama’s manga by the name Case Closed, known as Detective Conan has been adopted into a lengthy movie series. Case Closed: The Scarlet Bullet is the 24th installment in the series. The movie was originally supposed to be released in April 2020 but was postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, the film has been a very big success.
The movie follows Conan who tries to uncover the kidnapping of the top executives of the World Sports Games in Japan. While doing so Conan also discovers that these kidnappings are somewhat connected to the one which happened 15 years back in Boston. The movie has a runtime of 110 minutes and grossed $95 million on the box office. The movie is still playing in some selected theatres so expect its collection to go up by maybe a couple more million dollars. The next movie in the series named Detective Conan: The Bride of Halloween is slated for an April 15th release this year.
Belle is a fantasy film written and directed by Mamoru Hosoda. The story of the movie takes the central idea from the classic 1756 French fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. The film was first premiered at Cannes Film Festival on July 15th, 2021, with a Japan-wide release the next day. It even received a 14-minute long standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival.
The movie follows the story of a 17-year-old high school student named Suzu Naito. She enters the popular virtual world of ‘U’ and becomes an international singing star. Soon she goes on an emotional as she tries to find the identity of a Dragon who crashes one of her virtual concerts, and is escaping the authorities. The story has been beautifully fabricated along with memorable characters. As of now, the movie has collected $63 million becoming 3rd highest-grossing Japanese film of 2021. The movie is still running in some selected theatres in Japan.
My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission
This is a superhero film based on the manga My Hero Academia created by Kohei Horikoshi. The film is set during the Endeavour Agency arc of the manga. Deku is joined by his classmates to stop a terrorist plan spread all over the world. The film was released on August 6 2021 in Japan. 2 months later, it was released in the USA on October 29th. The film got generally good reviews from the critics, and also achieved praise for its animation. The film’s box office collection is recorded at $46 million worldwide.
Sword Art Online The Movie: Progressive – Aria of a Starless Night
Sword art online is a very popular anime adapted from the novels of the same name written by Reki Kawahara. The movie debuted in Japan on October 30th, 2020, and became a success very soon. Asuna and Kirito’s adventures unfold as they traverse every floor of Aincrad to reach Floor 75, this movie fills in the gaps within the numerous time-skips.
Kirito and Asuna’s encounter is the main subject of the movie. It also covers the events on the 1st floor of Aincard. Emphasis is also put on Asuna’s struggle to adjust to her new life and its realities. Further details about the players are revealed as the story progresses. The film was received well by the fans and critics alike. The movie earned $13 million. A sequel for the movie was announced to be released this year.
These are the movies that have performed so far so well on the box office. Fruits Basket prelude was also released a month back but it has not earned much as compared to these movies. That’s why it doesn’t make the cut in this list. Let us know if there’s any movie we missed or you’d like to see in this list.
Also Read: Top 8 Underrated Anime Movies To Watch