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Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch 

Ranker Film
1.8k votes 365 voters 18.6k views 22 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.

list ordered by
1
Spirited Away is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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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#12 of 589 The Best Animated Films Everfeaturing The Best Anime Like 5 Centimeters Per Secondlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
My Neighbor Totoro is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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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#104 of 318 The Best English Dubbed Anime of All Time #202 of 243 Critically Acclaimed Movies That Kinda Suckfeaturing There's Totally a My Neighbor Totoro Sequel, But You Can Only See It At The Ghibli Museum

3
Howl's Moving Castle is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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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#57 of 589 The Best Animated Films Ever #1,053 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #225 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

4
Ponyo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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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#127 of 589 The Best Animated Films Ever #386 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

5
Kiki's Delivery Service ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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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#94 of 589 The Best Animated Films Ever #275 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

6
Princess Mononoke is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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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#45 of 589 The Best Animated Films Ever #1,445 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #340 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

7
Castle in the Sky is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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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#312 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #27 of 80 25+ Anime With Great Rewatch Value

8
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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#370 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies #300 of 314 The Best Movies for Kids #4 of 11 11 Great Studio Ghibli Films Not Directed By Hayao Miyazaki

9
Wolf Children is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Aoi Miyazaki, Megumi Hayashibara, Bunta Sugawara
Wolf Children is a 2012 Japanese supernatural anime film directed by Mamoru Hosoda. After her werewolf lover unexpectedly dies in an accident while hunting for food for their children, a young ...more

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#2 of 16 The 15+ Best Werewolf Anime Of All Time #6 of 15 The 15 Most Heartwarming Anime Hugs of All Time

10
Arrietty is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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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#55 of 78 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #3 of 11 11 Great Studio Ghibli Films Not Directed By Hayao Miyazaki

11
When Marnie Was There is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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
12
Whisper of the Heart is listed (or ranked) 12 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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#199 of 318 The Best English Dubbed Anime of All Time #758 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #2 of 11 11 Great Studio Ghibli Films Not Directed By Hayao Miyazaki

13
Grave of the Fireflies ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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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#116 of 589 The Best Animated Films Ever #181 of 318 The Best English Dubbed Anime of All Time

14
From up on Poppy Hill is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Masami Nagasawa, Teruyuki Kagawa, Yuriko Ishida
From Up on Poppy Hill is a 2011 Japanese animated drama film directed by Gorō Miyazaki, based on the 1980 serialized Japanese comic of the same name illustrated by Chizuru Takahashi and written ...more

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#218 of 318 The Best English Dubbed Anime of All Time #387 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies

15
Pokémon: The Firs... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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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#121 of 165 The Greatest Comic Book Movies of All Time #15 of 19 All Of Your Favorite Non-Disney Movies From The '90s

16
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
17
Porco Rosso is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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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#182 of 589 The Best Animated Films Ever #385 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies

18
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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#436 of 589 The Best Animated Films Ever #11 of 11 11 Great Studio Ghibli Films Not Directed By Hayao Miyazaki

19
A Cat In Paris is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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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#456 of 589 The Best Animated Films Ever #86 of 112 The Best Foreign Films Of The 2010s Decade

20
Panda! Go, Panda! is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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
21
Astro Boy is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
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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#61 of 113 The Absolute Worst Animated Movies #72 of 99 The Greatest Kids Sci-Fi Movies

22
Weathering with You is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Kotaro Daigo, Nana Mori, Sei Hiraizumi
Weathering with You is a 2019 Japanese animated romantic fantasy film directed by Makoto Shinkai. A high-school freshman boy, Hodaka Morishima (Kotaro Daigo) runs away to Tokyo and befriends an ...more