Anime films sure aren't what they used to be. Back in the day, if you wanted to see an anime, such as Wicked City or Robot Carnival, you'd have to rent it on VHS or just place an order and buy it. Such is not the case today. Today, anime's are no longer relegated to dusty shelves in video rental stores. We are now living at a time when anime's are given theatrical releases. That being said, it stands that we anime fans would be curious as to what are the highest grossing anime films of all time. If so, then fear not, for you about only seconds away from finding out just what the 10 highest grossing anime movies of all time are.
The 10 Highest Grossing Anime Movies of All Time
The following list of anime films contains the anime's which took in the most revenue from their world-wide theatrical release. The total does not include profit generated from merchandise. Anime is considered a treasure for many people who first encounter it. The worlds which are created are laden with charm, action and beauty. The narratives run the gamut of basic children's fare to ones filled with complex characters and meaning. Fortunately, the majority of the films on our list are available on streaming services such as Hulu, HBOMax and Netflix.
10. The Secret World Of Arrietty ($149,411,550)
The Secret World of Arrietty is a beautifully rendered anime based on the novel "The Borrowers" by Mary Norton. Created in 2010 by Studio Ghibli, The Secret World of Arrietty centers around a certain Borrower named Arrietty. Borrowers are little humanoid creatures that reside under the floor who borrow items from the humans in order to survive. The story begins when Arrietty finds herself the friend of a young human, Sho, a small boy with a heart problem. Directed by first time director Hiromasa Yonebayashi and written by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa, this movie was seen by over 7,500,000 people.
9. Pokemon: The First Movie ($163,644,662)
The reign of Mewtwo must be stopped. That's the basic premise of Pokemon: The First Movie. Basically, a scientist named Dr. Fuji found a way to clone Pokemon's and did so with Mew, also known as Mewtwo. Mewtwo then decides to clone other Pokemon's and thus the reign of Mewtwo begins. Released in 1998, the film became an instant success with fans, introducing two new Pokemon into the mix: Snubbull and Marill. Properly titled, Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back was not only the first Pokemon film but also the most profitable in the franchise.
8. Princess Mononoke ($169,785,704)
Princess Mononoke's release stunned moviegoers. A film revolving around imbalance as two worlds collide, found itself an instant hit. As the peaceful world of the Shinto gods smashes up against the influx of humanity and its concept of war, balance appears to be lost. Carefully crafted by master animator, Hayao Miyazaki, Princess Mononoke captivated fans of anime, making it the eighth highest grossing anime of all time. Famed movie critic Roger Ebert said that the film was "one of the most visually inventive films I have ever seen. The imagery created is fanciful, detailed and an excellent example of a masters vision unfolding right before our eyes.
7. Stand By Me Doraemon ($183,442,714)
Doraemon is an adorable robotic feline who also happens to be a time traveler from the 22nd century. Doraemon himself has been around since 1969 in manga form. Stand By Me Doraemon is a feature film made with CGI. A combination of bits and pieces from several manga stories, Stand By Me Doraemon debuted in 2014 to rave reviews and quickly became a box office hit. Seen as a cultural icon in Japan, the character of Doraemon continues to be adored by fans world wide with no sign of slowing down.
6. Weathering With You ($193,932,489)
With a Rotten Tomatoes critics score of 92% and an audience score of 96%, one must acknowledge that this must be a pretty good flick, and so it is. This beautifully animated film by Makoto Shinkai is not only breathtaking but also comes with an engaging story. Released in 2019 by Toho Studios, Weathering With You went on to win an Oscar for Best International Feature Film for 2019. The plot revolves around two teenage lovers, Hodaka and Hina who attempt to stop a huge storm before it lands in Tokyo using only Hina's supernatural powers.
5. Ponyo ($204,826,668)
Ponyo is the magical story of a young boy who finds a goldfish trapped in a jar. Upon releasing the goldfish named Ponyo. Ponyo licks Sosuke's finger, which subsequently heals the cut while the blood from the cut gives Ponyo the ability to switch from human to goldfish. Ponyo is another example from the genius mind of Hayao Miyazaki. Released in 2008 by Toho, the magically captivating Ponyo is a jewel among animated films. The story is tender, appealing and beautifully rendered. Trust us when we say that you won't regret time spent watching this gem.
4. Howl's Moving Castle ($236,269,142)
Fans of the film, Howl's Moving Castle like The Little Songbird have this to say about the film, "The animation here is amazing, the backgrounds are gorgeous and the colors so bright. Plus the castle itself was a wonder to behold. The visual style here also has a certain elegance about it, and the atmosphere the visuals create is somewhat meticulous." Adapted from the novel by Diana Wynne Jones, director Hayao Miyazaki takes us on another of his magical rides. The anime is a work of art, scoring high with fans around the world, becoming a resounding commercial success.
3. Spirited Away ($355,668,961)
A good anime can whisk you away, immersing you into a world of spectacular fantasy and beauty. Written and directed by Hayao Miyazak and released in 2001, Spirited Away both captivates and astonishes audiences. Miyazak's unique and complex plot centers on a 10 year old girl named Chihiro. When Chihiro and her parents wander into an old, abandoned amusement park, she quickly finds it's no ordinary park, but a resort for spirits. Her parents are swiftly transformed into pigs, and it's up to Chihiro to rectify all.
2. Your Name ($358,180,115)
Your Name takes on the struggles of adolescence. Released in 2016 in Japan and 2017 in the states, Your Name revolves around two main characters, Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana who undergo a body switching experience. Influenced by the traditional Japanese tale,Torikaebaya Monogatari, Your Name never fails to embrace the viewer with its emotional, satisfying and entertaining premise, Your Name just might be one of those films you remember long after you see it.
1. Demon Slayer: Mugen Train ($454,779,627)
Demon Slayer tops our list of the The 10 Highest Grossing Anime Movies of All Time. This intense yet beautiful anime both fascinates and intrigues. As the trailer shows, the colors are magnificent as is the blending of 2D and 3D animation techniques. Mesmerizing to behold, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train takes off where the series ended. The film, directed by Haruo Sotozaki quickly became the highest grossing Japanese film of all time, racking up numerous awards including Best Animation Film at the 45th Hochi Film Awards.
There you have it a list of the highest grossing anime films of all time. As previously stated, anime has come a long way from the days of yore when fans needed to rent or purchase videos from the source. Now, anime is part of mainstream media. Today, many anime films produced in Japan score world-wide theatrical releases and many are available on streaming services like Hulu. While action is a huge part of these films, their narratives often contain characters which are motivated by complex circumstances of ethics and morality.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson