Crunchyroll is regarded as one of the anime streaming giants and has been a beloved platform for anime enthusiasts for years. Its user-friendly accessibility has drawn countless fans into the world of anime, making it a revered starting point in the community.
While Crunchyroll’s reputation primarily rests on its series offerings, it is worth mentioning that the platform also boasts a diverse collection of anime movies. Unfortunately, Studio Ghibli movies are out of the list as HBO Max distributes it exclusively for North America.
If you are one of those newer fans of anime or someone who got curious enough to look for anime movies, you’ve come to the right track as we will explore some of the ones that are available on Crunchyroll right now, spanning from new favorites, cherished classics, and some underrated gems.
1. Akira (1988)
An enduring masterpiece, Akira stands as one of the pioneering anime films that garnered international acclaim, serving as a gateway for many into the realm of Japanese animation. More than three decades after its release, this gritty and visceral sci-fi spectacle continues to captivate audiences with its visually stunning aesthetics and thought-provoking themes.
The narrative unfolds in the cyberpunk megalopolis of Neo-Tokyo, a dystopian city that emerged from the ashes of Tokyo’s destruction. In this unforgiving world marred by crime, gang conflicts, and sinister experiments, we follow the story of Shoutarou and his group of misfit rebels. When one of his close friends mysteriously develops psychic abilities, their lives take a dark and dangerous turn as he becomes a target for government abduction and manipulation.
Akira remains a timeless testament to the enduring power of anime to both captivate and challenge viewers, cementing its status as an iconic piece of cinematic history.
2. The Boy and The Beast (2015)
The story in The Boy and the Beast is about Ren, a young boy grappling with loneliness, who stumbles upon a peculiar monster named Kumatetsu. This fateful encounter leads him into the mystical Beast Kingdom, where Ren evolves into Kumatetsu’s pupil. Despite their seemingly constant conflicts and mutual aversion, their lives become increasingly intertwined during their years of cohabitation, forging an unbreakable bond in the process. As Ren returns to the human realm and begins to forge connections, the narrative takes a complex turn.
The Boy and the Beast shines brightest in its impeccable animation and the portrayal of Ren and Kumatetsu’s evolving relationship. Its character development narrative makes it a good watch for the whole family.
3. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)
In her final year of high school, Makoto Konno grapples with the looming uncertainty of her future. The pressures of teachers’ expectations and the simple pleasures of time spent with her closest friends weigh heavily on her. However, Makoto’s life takes an unexpected twist when she stumbles upon a remarkable ability—she can literally leap through time.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a coming-of-age tale that ordinarily yet beautifully reveals to us a profound truth—that every choice we make carries significant consequences. There are not many films that can make us appreciate simple truths in life in such an entertaining and beautiful way as this film.
4. Your Name (2016)
The lives of Mitsuha Miyamizu, a small-town high school girl yearning for Tokyo’s bustling vibrancy, and Taki Tachibana, a city-dwelling high school student with dreams of architecture, collide in an extraordinary twist of fate. Their remarkable journey begins when Mitsuha awakens in an unfamiliar room, suddenly inhabiting Taki’s life in Tokyo—yet trapped within his male identity. Conversely, Taki finds himself thrust into the tranquil countryside existence of Mitsuha.
Your Name skillfully weaves a literal narrative of “star-crossed love” as they find themselves at the center of a celestial event. Beautifully combining the themes of love, time, and destiny, this film delivers a soul-stirring journey up to the very end, making it easily one of the best anime movies on Crunchyroll.
5. Josee Tiger and The Fish (2020)
University student Tsuneo Suzukawa, passionate about marine biology and diving, juggles multiple part-time jobs to fund his dream of studying abroad. He meets Josee, initially rude but wheelchair-bound, and becomes her caretaker. Despite the annoyance, Tsuneo sees a chance to save money.
Just when he contemplates quitting, he discovers Josee’s dream of exploring the world unburdened by her physical limitations. With a change of heart, he joins her instead, and through their shared adventures, they find solace in each other’s company.
Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is a touching tale that beautifully encapsulates the essence of human connection amid life’s challenges and adversities. In a world where simplicity often eludes us, the film explores the profound journey of two individuals who draw closer as they navigate the complexities of existence, heal emotional wounds, and discover the meaning of life.
6. To Me, the One Who Loved You (2022)
Seven-year-old Koyomi chooses to live with his father after his parents’ divorce, leading him to meet Shiori, another researcher’s daughter. They become close friends. Years pass, and they plan to marry, but their parents’ marriage makes them step-siblings. Refusing this fate, they use their parents’ research to escape to a parallel world, risking their desired futures.
To Me, The One Who Loved You is the twin movie of To Every You I’ve Loved Before. Together, these movies went on to challenge conventional ways of film-making. These movies were purposely designed to be watched in any order, essentially creating a dynamic narrative depending on the watch order. It is a soul-stirring story of love, dedication, sorrow, and human limitation.
7. To Every You I’ve Loved Before (2022)
In a world where parallel realities exist, and people can jump realities from time to time, Koyomi Takasaki, living with his mother post-divorce, struggles with isolation at a university prep school. One day, he meets Kazune Takigawa, claiming that she came from the 85th world, a world where they are lovers.
While this is the twin movie of To Me, the One Who Loved You, this story explores a different narrative of Koyomi’s life, where he meets a different fateful encounter. Even then, throughout the whole film, the viewers are reminded again and again how both movies interconnect with subtle intricacies.
8. Wolf Children (2012)
Hana, a college student, falls in love with a mysterious non-human classmate who’s the last living werewolf. They start a family, and Hana gives birth to two unique children, Ame and Yuki, who can transform into wolves like their father. After his sudden death, Hana raises her unconventional family alone, facing challenges in the city. She decides to move to the countryside, hoping for a more accepting life for her children.
Wolf Children is a moving film that captures the trials of a single mother in the modern world in a creative way. Reflecting on the challenges of parenthood, viewers might feel a tug in their heartstrings, so prepare to take on an emotional trip with this film.
9. Maquia: When The Promised Flower Blooms (2017)
Maquia, an Iorph with a long life, feels a constant loneliness despite her people’s presence. The outside world’s invasion by the kingdom of Mezarte disrupts her peaceful life. She’s left alone, far from home, and finds a baby named Ariel. Determined to raise him despite her lack of knowledge about humans and their quick aging, Maquia faces profound challenges.
Maquia: When The Promised Flower Blooms has an emotionally charged narrative that delves deep into the relationship of Maquia, who will inevitably outlive her son due to her nature. With beautifully well-done visuals and rich storytelling, it is a masterpiece yet to be appreciated by many.
10. The Garden of Sinners (2007 – 2013)
In late ’90s Japan, a string of disturbing suicides captures headlines, all tied to a chilling commonality—fatal leaps from the foreboding Fujou building, a decrepit structure casting a shadow over the city. Shiki Ryougi, a seemingly unemotional woman residing in a desolate apartment, possesses an extraordinary gift: the ability to perceive an individual’s lines of death. She becomes a key figure in the investigation of these unsettling incidents. Assisting her are the skilled doll-making detective Touko Aozaki, known for her magical expertise, and Mikiya Kokutou, Touko’s loyal assistant and Shiki’s friend.
This thought-provoking movie series, The Garden of Sinners, is the movie adaptation of Kinoko Nasu’s intricate light novel series, consisting of 8 movies and some OVAs, exploring profound themes such as abuse and suicide, a topic not for the faint of heart. Its nonlinear storytelling may leave new viewers feeling perplexed at the first movies, but if finished, it would reach a full circle of understanding. The Garden of Sinners can easily be one of the best movies on Crunchyroll if you like taboo topics with a great overall narrative.