Anime Underground Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch  

Ranker Film
960 votes 184 voters 6.7k views 21 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite Japanese films that were made for young audiences, but are beloved by people of all ages.

Sometimes big budget children's films leave a lot to be desired, but Japanese kids' films often prove to be thoughtful, insightful, and incredibly creative. The top Japanese movies for kids feature intriguing characters getting swept up into wonder and mystery. This is a list of the best kids' anime movies, including everything from Howl's Moving Castle to Princess Mononoke to Wolf Children.

What films will you find on this list of the best Japanese kids' movies? Spirited Away follows a young girl as she navigates a world of strange spirits. This universal tale was beloved by movie-goers all over the world. Grave of Fireflies is another great kids' movie produced in Japan. The Prince of the Cat Kingdom owes his life to a brave girl in the 2002 movie The Cat Returns. Other good films featured on this list include Whisper of the Heart, A Letter to Momo, and When Marnie was There.

Do you have a favorite kids' anime film? Vote the best movies up to the top of this list and share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Spirited Away is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Spirited Away Miyu Irino, Bunta Sugawara, Ryunosuke Kamiki Spirited Away is a 2001 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. The film stars Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Takeshi Naito, ...more

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My Neighbor Totoro is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
My Neighbor Totoro Noriko Hidaka, Ikue Ōtani, Sumi Shimamoto My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. The film – which stars the voice actors Noriko Hidaka, Chika ...more

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Ponyo is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Ponyo Nozomi Ōhashi, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, George Tokoro Ponyo, initially titled in English as Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, is a 2008 Japanese animated fantasy comedy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli and Toho. It is ...more

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Howl's Moving Castle is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Howl's Moving Castle Akihiro Miwa, Akio Ōtsuka, Takuya Kimura Howl's Moving Castle is a 2004 Japanese animated fantasy film scripted and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The film is based on the novel of the same name by British writer Diana Wynne Jones. The ...more

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Castle in the Sky is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Castle In The Sky Megumi Hayashibara, Mayumi Tanaka, Ichirō Nagai Castle in the Sky is a 1986 Japanese animated adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and is also the first film produced and released by Studio Ghibli. The film was distributed by ...more

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Princess Mononoke is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Princess Mononoke Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson, Jada Pinkett Smith Princess Mononoke is a 1997 anime epic action historical fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It was animated by Studio Ghibli and produced by Toshio Suzuki. The film stars the ...more

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Kiki's Delivery Service is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Kiki's Delivery Service Kikuko Inoue, Kappei Yamaguchi, Akio Ōtsuka Kiki's Delivery Service is a 1989 Japanese animated fantasy film produced by Studio Ghibli. It was written, produced and directed by Hayao Miyazaki as an adaptation of the 1985 novel of the same ...more

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The Cat Returns is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
The Cat Returns Aki Maeda, Tetsurō Tamba, Takayuki Yamada The Cat Returns is a 2002 Japanese animated drama film directed by Hiroyuki Morita of Studio Ghibli. A spin-off of Whisper of the Heart, it was theatrically released in Japan on July 19, 2002 ...more

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Wolf Children is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Wolf Children Aoi Miyazaki, Megumi Hayashibara, Bunta Sugawara Wolf Children is a 2012 Japanese animated film directed and co-written by Mamoru Hosoda. The film stars the voices of Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Haru Kuroki and Yukito Nishii. The story follows ...more

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Arrietty is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
The Secret World Of Arrietty Mirai Shida, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Kirin Kiki Arrietty, titled The Borrower Arrietty in Japan and The Secret World of Arrietty in North America, is a 2010 Japanese animated fantasy film directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and scripted by Hayao ...more

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Whisper of the Heart is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Whisper Of The Heart Mayumi Iizuka, Minami Takayama, Shigeru Muroi Whisper of the Heart is a 1995 Japanese animated romantic drama film directed by Yoshifumi Kondō and written by Hayao Miyazaki based on the 1989 manga of the same name by Aoi Hiiragi. The film ...more

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When Marnie Was There is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
When Marnie Was There Kasumi Arimura, Susumu Terajima, Kazuko Yoshiyuki When Marnie Was There is a 2014 Japanese anime film written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, produced by Studio Ghibli, and based on the novel When Marnie Was There by Joan G. Robinson. It ...more

15 Famous People Who Went to Med School

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Grave of the Fireflies is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Grave Of The Fireflies Yoshiko Shinohara, Akemi Yamaguchi, Ayano Shiraishi Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 Japanese animated drama film written and directed by Isao Takahata and animated by Studio Ghibli. It is based on the 1967 semi-autobiographical novel Grave of ...more

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From up on Poppy Hill is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
From Up On Poppy Hill Masami Nagasawa, Teruyuki Kagawa, Yuriko Ishida From Up on Poppy Hill is a 2011 Japanese animated drama film directed by Gorō Miyazaki, scripted by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa, and produced by Studio Ghibli. It is based on the 1980 ...more

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Porco Rosso is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Porco Rosso Akio Ōtsuka, Akemi Okamura, Osamu Saka Porco Rosso is a 1992 Japanese animated adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is based on Hikōtei Jidai, a three-part watercolor manga by Miyazaki. The film stars the voices ...more

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A Letter to Momo is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
A Letter To Momo Kōichi Yamadera, Toshiyuki Nishida, Chō A Letter to Momo is a 2011 Japanese anime drama film written and directed by Hiroyuki Okiura. It is produced by the animation studio Production I.G. This film follows the 11-year-old Momo, who ...more

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Pokémon: The First Movie is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Pokémon: The First Movie Megumi Hayashibara, Mayumi Iizuka, Shin-ichiro Miki Pokémon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, commonly referred to as Pokémon: The First Movie, originally released as Pocket Monsters the Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back!, is a 1998 ...more

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My Neighbors the Yamadas is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
My Neighbors The Yamadas Akiko Yano, Yukiji Asaoka, Toru Masuoka My Neighbors the Yamadas is a 1999 Japanese animated comedy film written and directed by Isao Takahata and produced by Studio Ghibli. The film stars Hayato Isobata, Masako Araki, Naomi Uno, ...more

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A Cat In Paris is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
A Cat In Paris Bernadette Lafont, Patrick Descamps, Dominique Blanc A Cat In Paris is a 2010 animated mystery crime film written by Alain Gagnol and Jacques-Rémy Girerd, directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol. "Dino is a cat who shares his ...more

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Astro Boy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Astro Boy Charlize Theron, Kristen Bell, Nicolas Cage Astro Boy is a 2009 American-Hong Konger-Chinese computer-animated action film loosely based on the manga and anime series of the same name by the Japanese writer and illustrator Osamu Tezuka. ...more

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Panda! Go, Panda! is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Panda! Go, Panda! Kazuo Kumakura, Kazuko Sugiyama, Yoshiko Ohta Panda! Go, Panda! is a Japanese animated film, first released in 1972. It was written and created by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Isao Takahata, predating Studio Ghibli. This short movie hit ...more