Anime films can sometimes be a bit too adult-oriented, but here are a few anime that the whole family can enjoy.
While it had made it to the shores of the United States long before 1988, when Akira showed up in theaters and movie rental stores across the country, many Americans were introduced to the Japanese art of anime for the first time. For decades, it seemed like anime was only meant for adults, but that changed in the 1990s with the rise of Pokemon. Ever since then, the American fanbase for anime has grown by leaps and bounds.
It can still be difficult to know for sure if an anime movie is a good fit for the whole family. With so many options, and so many different stories to take in, how can someone be sure that the movie they choose will entertain a child and an adult for movie night? Here are some movies you can feel sure will satisfy the whole family.
10. Princess Mononoke
Written and directed by the iconic Hayao Miyazaki, Princess Mononoke tells the story of Ashitaka, the last Emishi prince. While protecting his village from a demon, Asitaka is stricken with a deadly curse. To find a cure, Ashitaka must travel to the western forests that the demon came from. When he reaches the western woods, Ashitaka finds that there is a war happening between the humans and the gods. Ashitaka does his best to convince Lady Eboshi, the leader of the humans, and Princess Mononoke, a human raised by a wolf-god, to end the fighting. While Princess Mononoke is family-friendly for the most part, there are some scenes that may be too violent for children under 13.
9. Professor Layton And The Eternal Diva
When the famous singer Janice Quatlane meets a little girl who claims to be the reincarnation of her friend Melina, she calls in the world-renowned puzzle solver and archaeologist Professor Layton to help her discover the truth. Layton and his assistant Luke head to the theater to see Janice’s new opera, but soon find themselves trapped in the opera house, held captive by a mysterious man who forces them to solve a series of riddles.
With a long list of Professor Layton video games, movies, TV shows, and manga, you can be sure that Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva, along with the whole franchise, will be filled with fun adventure and family-friendly jokes. Best of all, there’s so much more of the Professor’s adventures to enjoy when the movie ends.
8. Spirited Away
While traveling to their new home, a family takes a wrong turn and ends up at an abandoned amusement park. While her father is excited to explore the park, ten-year-old Chihiro is afraid. After eating food from an empty restaurant at the abandoned park, Chihiro’s parents magically turn into pigs. As the sun sets, the residents of the park – demons, spirits, and evil gods, come out.
With her parents stuck as pigs, it is up to Chihiro to find a way back to the real world, but if she forgets her name, she will be stuck at the amusement park forever. Another Miyazaki classic, Spirited Away may sound like a horror movie, but it is more akin to a fairytale that is safe for the whole family to enjoy.
7. Howl’s Moving Castle
When 18-year-old Sophie is turned into a 90-year-old woman by a witch, she goes on a quest to break the curse. After meeting a scarecrow she names Turniphead, Sophie ends up at the strange walking castle of a magician named Howl.
In Howl’s castle, Sophie meets a fire demon named Calcifer who claims to be able to remove Sophie’s curse, but only if she can free him of his contract under Howl. Based on the novel by Diana Wynne Jones, Howl’s Moving Castle is an anime classic that has captured the imaginations of fans across the world.
6. A Letter To Momo
After the death of her father, Momo and her mother leave Tokyo and move to the remote island of Shio. Momo soon discovers that her new home is also the home of a trio of mischievous imps, an ogre, and a farting lizard. Each night, when the people of the island sleep, these strange creatures go around stealing food and causing problems. Now that Momo knows they are there, they believe she may be able to help free them from the island so they can return to their true homes.
Just five-years-old, Sosuke lives a tranquil life with his mother on an oceanside cliff. When he discovers a goldfish trapped in a bottle on the beach, Sosuke frees the little fish, only to learn that the goldfish is actually Ponyo, the daughter of a wizard and a sea goddess.
Ponyo wishes to become a human, and with the help of Sosuke she may make her dream a reality, but her powerful father is against it. He even attempts to destroy their world to get her back. Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Ponyo is a modern-day fairytale that everyone can enjoy.
4. My Neighbor Totoro
Wishing to be closer to his sick wife, professor Tatsuo Kusakabe moves his two daughters to a new home near the hospital. Satsuki and Mei soon meet a first spirit they name Totoro.
Throughout the summer, the sisters have a number of small adventures with Totoro and the other forest spirits as the three become friends. When Mei runs away, Satsuki and Totoro go on a journey to find her. My Neighbor Totoro is another highly acclaimed anime film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, a master of the art form.
3. Kiki’s Delivery Service
Based on the novel by Eiko Kadono and written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Kiki’s Delivery Service centers on the life of Kiki, a young witch who is still learning to use her powers. With the help of her talking cat Jiji, Kiki moves to a seaside village and opens a “Witch Delivery Business” where she delivers food and supplies to the villagers via her flying broom. Meanwhile, a boy named Tombo who is enamored by Kiki works on his own flying machine. When Tombo’s experimental airship gets into an accident, it’s up to Kiki to save him.
2. The Secret World Of Arrietty
When a boy named Shō goes to his Great Aunt’s house for a visit during the summer, he sees something that he can’t believe. A girl who is only four inches tall. In time, Shō learns that the girl is named Arrietty, and she and her family live under the floorboards of the house.
With the family discovered by Shō, Arrietty’s father decides that they must move from the home, even though Shō promises them that he will not harm them or tell any other humans about them. Over the course of the week, as her family prepares to move, Arrietty and Shō become friends.
1. The Cat Returns
When high school student Haru Yoshioka saved a cat from being hit by a truck, she didn’t realize the cat was actually Lune, Prince of the Cat Kingdom. When Lune proposes marriage to Haru, she isn’t sure it’s a good idea but still finds herself slowly turning into a cat. With the help of two other cats, one a large white cat, and the other a sleek cat statue that has come to life, Haru plans a way out of the cat world she finds herself entangled in before she forever becomes a cat herself.