The idea that we’re in 2020 is strange, but what’s even stranger for me is reflecting on the past decade. A lot has happened — I was first introduced to anime in 2010, and since then, it’s been a decade filled with amazing shows and movies, with new friendships forged through those interests that I cherish to this day. Seeking out new shows and films to watch has been one of my favorite pastimes, and there are a few anime films in particular that have stuck with me over the years. Even now, I have revisited these films and enjoyed each of them even more than I did when I originally watched them, and they’ve become some of my favorite movies in general as a result.
For this list, I’ve strayed away from making a list based on how objectively good the movie is — instead, I’ve based it on how much I personally enjoy the movie and have rewatched it over the years (so even though I scored A Silent Voice very highly, it’s a movie I’ve only watched once, and as enjoyable as it was to watch, it isn’t something I wanted to watch multiple times since it’s a very emotionally taxing movie). So with that in mind, enjoy!
3. Wolf Children
I have very fond memories of this movie. I first saw this film in Anime Club, it was the last movie we watched for Fall Semester before going into Winter Break. My friends and I absolutely adored Wolf Children — it wrecked us, and we were so invested in the story and characters from start to finish. Wolf Children is a coming-of-age story, with some fantastical elements thrown in through the wolf transformations. Despite that, it’s a very human story of a mother doing her best to raise her children, never knowing if she’s doing it “right.” And that’s the joy of the movie — watching these characters grow up and recognizing their faults while coming out the other side stronger for it was so beautiful. I love Wolf Children — it’s incredibly sad and emotional, but its themes are so relatable for people at many different stages in their lives.
2. The Boy and The Beast
The Boy and The Beast masterfully blends two very different worlds and creates a simple story of two very different individuals who lean on each other for support throughout their lives and keep those experiences with them even after they move on, at least in Ren’s case. It’s another story about growing up, but it’s done through a sense of belonging. Neither Ren or Kumatetsu fit in, but they learn from each other and adjust over time. On their own, they’re both incredibly flawed, but together, they become stronger and overcome those flaws. They directly influence each other, and it’s an aspect of their character growth that wouldn’t have happened without their friendship and master-protegee dynamic. The Boy and The Beast is action-packed and exciting to watch, and by far, my favorite part of the movie is the timeskip done via a training montage about halfway through. The music is amazing, and watching Ren grow up into a powerful warrior was so fun to watch.
1. Your Name
When I first watched Your Name, I had no idea what to expect from the movie. From trailers, I think I was aware that it was a body-swapping film, but beyond that, I didn’t know anything else about it. And at the start, Your Name is lighthearted and comedic, allowing viewers to be sucked in by the body-swapping shenanigans and the challenges that come with it. But the movie takes a turn, and it’s this twist that launched the movie into the world-wide phenomenon it’s now known for. By the end of Your Name, it’s not the same film you started watching, but it’s so great because of it. When I first watched it, I didn’t fully understand or appreciate the intricacies of the plot or how it all connected, but on subsequent viewings, I’ve noticed something new each time. Because of that, I’ve come to love the movie more and more over the years.
Your Name‘s story unfolds beautifully, and not a single scene is wasted. It all works together to develop a rich cast of characters, a complex but meaningfully story, and world-building with a supernatural edge that feels earned and realistic. I adore the romance aspect of the movie as well. Taki and Mitsuha are fantastic on their own, but it’s through their interactions together that they become even better characters. I always look forward to their meeting at magic hour, and the moment Mitsuha realizes what Taki wrote on her hand. It’s hard not to root for a reunion between them, and I think that’s where Your Name succeeds so well, with characters who are so dynamic and interesting that the audience can so easily become invested in their journeys. I could go on about how I’ve become more obsessed with this movie over the years, but for now, I’ll leave it at that.
What were your favorite anime films of the decade? Let me know in the comments!