100 Best Anime Movies Of All Time [1917 – 1955]

100 best anime movies of all time

Welcome to 100 Best Anime Movies Of All Time!

This is 100 the best anime movies list is unique due to a chronological timeline (from 1917 to 1955) of the best anime’s 100-year history!

It’s remarkable to consider that anime has been a form of entertainment for a full century. Starting from the production of the first Japanese animation in 1917, anime has entranced audiences with its imaginative storylines, cherished characters, and a touch of eccentricity.

The Tokyo Anime Award Festival (TAAF) that was hold from 10 of March to 13 of March , 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. The list of the best 100 anime movies of all time was created by the organizers. This is the best 100 anime movies list is unique due to a chronological timeline of the best anime’s 100-year history.

Although none of us were present at the inception of anime, it’s our responsibility to study its evolution and identify the top-notch masterpieces. Fantastic!

100 Best Anime Movies List

1. Best Anime Movies – The Dual Sword (なまくら刀) – 1917

The Dual Sword (なまくら刀)The Dual Sword (なまくら刀), it is a slapstick comedy and a remarkable creation of the animation realm, emerged during the infancy of the anime industry. An experimental group of visionary animators, who were pushing the limits of animation, produced the film at the Kyoto-based J.O Studio under the direction of Kenzo Masaoka, an unknown animator at the time.

Debuted in 1917, the film immediately won the hearts of the audience with its exceptional animation style, incorporating innovative techniques such as multi-plane camera shots. These advanced methods were ahead of their time, putting the Dual Sword (なまくら刀) among the pioneers of using cel animation, where individual frames are hand-drawn on transparent sheets, then stacked to produce a seamless motion illusion.

Watch The Dual Sword (Digitally Restored Version)

2. Best Anime Movies – The Golden Flower (こがねの花) – 1929

The Golden Flower (こがねの花)

The Golden Flower (こがねの花) is a renowned anime cinematic marvel, which was first introduced to the world in 1929. This everlasting work of art is widely considered as one of the paramount achievements in the realm of Japanese anime and has been widely acclaimed by spectators for its spellbinding visuals and an engaging narrative.

The movie follows the adventures of a youthful princess who sets out on a quest to secure the fabled Radiant Blossoms, a mystical object that is believed to bring peace and prosperity to the kingdom. Throughout her journey, she encounters numerous trials and meets a plethora of dynamic personalities while gaining profound insights into the essence of bravery, camaraderie, and love.

The Golden Flower is distinguished by its stunning animation, which was crafted by blending traditional hand-drawn techniques with advanced technology of its time. The film’s meticulous attention to detail, fluid motion, and vivid hues entrance the audience and take them on a journey to a fantastical realm, beyond their imagination.

Aside from its mesmerizing animation, The Golden Flower is also renowned for its captivating plot, filled with unexpected twists, turns, and emotional upheavals that keep the audience hooked from beginning to end. The characters in the film are intricately crafted, each with their unique personality and motivations, resulting in interactions that are both entertaining and thought-provoking.

As one of the earliest specimens of Japanese anime, The Golden Flower has had a substantial impact on the genre, shaping it into what it is today. Despite its age, the film remains as pertinent and enthralling as it was a century ago and continues to be a beloved classic, treasured by fans worldwide.

3. Best Anime Movies – Ocho Fujin no Gensou (お蝶夫人の幻想 ) – 1940

Ocho Fujin no Gensou (お蝶夫人の幻想 )

“Ocho Fujin no Gensou”, an epoch-making anime feature, unleashed its brilliance upon humanity in 1940, firmly etching its legacy as one of the pioneering and revolutionary works in the annals of anime.

The trailblazing animator, Kenzou Masaoka, masterfully helmed this filmic wonder, crafted by the iconic animation house, Nippon Douga, also famously known as Japan Cartoon. This stunning production was born from a revered Japanese fable, and garnered universal praise, both within the borders of Japan and beyond.

The plot revolves around Ocho, a young woman who is married to a wealthy merchant. Tragedy strikes when her husband suddenly passes away, leaving her to raise their daughter as a single mother. To make ends meet, Ocho takes up a job as a geisha, but her trials are far from over. She must battle the challenges of being a solo parent while also grappling with the expectations and prejudices of society.

The film delves into poignant themes such as love, loss, and the human spirit’s resilience. Through Ocho’s arduous journey, the film sheds light on the significance of perseverance and the indomitable spirit that drives individuals to overcome adversity.

The animation virtuosity of “Ocho Fujin no Gensou”, was a testament to its futurism, eliciting accolades for its unprecedented utilization of state-of-the-art animation techniques. The film pioneered a novel amalgamation of conventional animation techniques and cutting-edge innovations such as cel animation and the multi-plane camera, resulting in a sensory extravaganza that was unrivaled in its era.

The film was replete with intricately crafted character designs and elaborate background artwork, imparting a profound sense of dimension and richness to the narrative. This masterful combination of techniques brought the story and characters to life in a manner that was truly spellbinding, rendering it a timeless and unforgettable viewing experience for audiences.

4. Best Anime Movies – Momotaro’s Sea Eagles (桃太郎の海鷲) – 1942

Momotaro’s Sea Eagles (桃太郎の海鷲)

Set in 1942, during the tumultuous and trying times of the World War II era, “Momotaro’s Sea Eagles” emerges as a veritable masterpiece of Japanese animation. This film, a true gem of its era, shines as a beacon of artistry amidst the tempests of conflict.

Our hero, the valiant Momotaro, is tasked with a mission most perilous, to vanquish the malevolent demons that hath taken hold of a distant isle.

With bravery in his heart and a glint in his eye, Momotaro sets forth on his journey. Lo and behold, he encounters a motley crew of animal accomplices, including a hound of fervent loyalty, a simian of cunning wit, and a regal pheasant of untold bravery. Together, this unlikely band embarks on a quest to defeat the demons, reclaim their homeland, and secure their nation’s future.

Momotaro’s Sea Eagles was produced by the Japanese company Nippon Eigasha. The film was directed by Mitsuyo Seo, who is considered one of the pioneers of Japanese animation, and the music was composed by the legendary composer Tamekichi Mochizuki.

Momotaro’s Sea Eagles is a timeless masterpiece of Japanese animation that continues to captivate audiences with its thrilling tale of adventure and friendship.

Watch Momotaro’s Sea Eagles

5. Best Enime Movies – Kumo to Tulip or The Spider and the Tulip (くもとちゅうりっぷ) – 1943

Kumo to Tulip or The Spider and the Tulip (くもとちゅうりっぷ)

The tale unfolds with a youthful arachnid, named Kumo, who dwells amidst the vibrant and aromatic tulip garden. The garden’s tulips are renowned for their stunning beauty and captivating fragrance, and Kumo is enamored by their mesmerizing allure. During one of his wanders, he chances upon a tulip, named Churi, who has become estranged from her kin and is in quest of a new abode. Despite the disparity in their species, Kumo and Churi forge an instant bond and embark on a journey to reunite Churi with her family. They face numerous hurdles and adversities but, with their steadfast friendship and unwavering resolve, they surmount each and every obstacle that comes their way.

The anime opus, “Kumo to Tulip,” directed by the renowned Japanese animator Mitsuyo Seo, made its cinematic debut in 1943. It stands as a milestone in the annals of Japanese animation, being one of the earliest anime films ever produced in the country and a catalyst for the flourishing of the nation’s animation industry. The film’s creation transpired during a tumultuous and uncertain era in Japan’s history, as the nation was consumed by the raging inferno of World War II. However, the filmmakers behind “The Spider and the Tulip” defied the odds and crafted a timeless work of art, which touched the hearts and fired the imaginations of viewers globally, transcending the boundaries of language and culture.

Watch The Spider and The Tulip

6. Best Anime Movie – Momotarou: Umi no Shinpei or Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors (桃太郎 海の神兵 ) – 1945

Momotarou Umi no Shinpei or Momotaro Divine Sea Warriors (桃太郎 海の神兵 )

“Momotarou: Umi no Shinpei,” also known as “Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors,” is a landmark in the world of Japanese anime. This classic anime, based on the revered Japanese folktale of Momotaro, first graced screens in 1945, and is widely considered to be among the first anime films ever created. The narrative recounts the daring adventures of Momotaro, a valiant young hero who embarks on a quest to vanquish malevolent spirits and safeguard the kingdom from imminent peril. The film’s enduring popularity testifies to its timeless appeal, as audiences continue to be entranced by Momotaro’s bravery and unwavering spirit.

Watch Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors

7. Best Anime Movies – Cherry Blossom: Spring’s Fantasy – 1946

Cherry Blossom Spring’s Fantasy

Spring is a season of hope, renewal, and beauty. And, when it comes to anime, the 1946 classic “Cherry Blossom” is the epitome of all these qualities. This timeless tale of love, loss, and rebirth has captivated audiences for generations and remains one of the most beloved anime of all time.

The acclaimed Japanese studio Shochiku birthed the film, helmed by the unparalleled auteur Yasujiro Ozu. The melodic essence of “Cherry Blossom,” as iconic as the film itself, is a melancholic and eerie score orchestrated by the eminent composer Fumio Hayasaka. Hayasaka, celebrated for his contribution to several of Ozu’s films, imbues the production with his signature touch.

Watch Cherry Blossom: Spring’s Fantasy

8. Best Anime Movies – Abandoned Cat Little Tora (すて猫トラちゃん) – 1947

Abandoned Cat Little Tora (すて猫トラちゃん)“Abandoned Cat Little Tora,” a timeless anime masterpiece produced by the fam’d Japanese studio Shochiku. Directed by the renowned filmmaker Yasuji Seo, this heartwarming anime follows the story of a young boy named Junichi and his adventure with an abandoned kitty named Tora.

This film delves into the themes of friendship, family, and the human spirit’s unwavering resilience. This touching tale is a must-watch for anyone who appreciates the power of companionhip and the strength of the human spirit. Get ready to be moved by this timeless classic and its portrayal of the unbreakable bond between Junichi and Tora.

Watch Abandoned Cat Little Tora

9. Best Anime Movies – The Whale (くじら) – 1952

The Whale (くじら)

“The Whale” is an iconic anime produced by the renowned Japanese studio, Shintōhō. Expertly directed by the gifted filmmaker, Kenzō Masaoka, this epic adventure invites you to embark on a journey with a young boy named Taro.

Taro embarks on a quest to locate the fabled whale said to possess the ability to grant wishes. Accompany Taro as he uncovers the enchantment of this magnificent being in this ageless masterpiece.

Watch The Whale

10. Best Anime Movies – Piggyback Ghost (おんぶおばけ) – 1955

Piggyback Ghost (おんぶおばけ)

“Piggyback Ghost” is a timeless anime classic, brought to life by the legendary Japanese studio Shintōhō. Directed by the skilled filmmaker Kenzō Masaoka, this anime tells the story of Taro, a young boy, who stumbles upon a ghost in need of a ride.

Will Taro have the courage to give this ghost a piggyback ride and fulfill its request? Find out in this spooky and heartwarming tale.

Watch Piggyback Ghost

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