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Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch 

Ranker Film
Updated January 17, 2020 2k votes 421 voters 24.3k 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

Released: 2001

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

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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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

Released: 1988

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

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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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

Released: 2004

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

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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#14 of 568 The Best Animated Films Ever #218 of 736 The Best Anime Series of All Time #261 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies

4
Ponyo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Nozomi Ōhashi, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, George Tokoro

Released: 2008

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

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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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

Released: 1989

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

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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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

Released: 1997

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

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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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

Released: 1986

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

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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8
Arrietty is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Mirai Shida, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Kirin Kiki

Released: 2010

Directed by: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

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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#194 of 568 The Best Animated Films Ever #63 of 76 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #137 of 325 The Best English Dubbed Anime of All Time

9
Wolf Children is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Aoi Miyazaki, Megumi Hayashibara, Bunta Sugawara

Released: 2012

Directed by: Mamoru Hosoda

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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10
The Cat Returns is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
The Cat Returns Aki Maeda, Tetsurō Tamba, Takayuki Yamada

Released: 2002

Directed by: Hiroyuki Morita

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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11
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

Released: 1995

Directed by: Yoshifumi Kondō

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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12
When Marnie Was There is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Kasumi Arimura, Susumu Terajima, Kazuko Yoshiyuki

Released: 2014

Directed by: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

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

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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

Released: 1988

Directed by: Isao Takahata

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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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

Released: 2011

Directed by: Gorō Miyazaki

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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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

Released: 1998

Directed by: Michael Haigney, Kunihiko Yuyama

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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16
Porco Rosso is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Akio Ōtsuka, Akemi Okamura, Osamu Saka

Released: 1992

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

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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#216 of 568 The Best Animated Films Ever #384 of 736 The Best Anime Series of All Time #345 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies

17
A Letter to Momo is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
A Letter To Momo Kōichi Yamadera, Toshiyuki Nishida, Chō

Released: 2011

Directed by: Hiroyuki Okiura

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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18
Astro Boy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Charlize Theron, Kristen Bell, Nicolas Cage

Released: 2009

Directed by: David Bowers

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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19
My Neighbors the Yamadas... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
My Neighbors The Yamadas Akiko Yano, Yukiji Asaoka, Toru Masuoka

Released: 1999

Directed by: Isao Takahata

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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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

Released: 1972

Directed by: Isao Takahata

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
A Cat In Paris is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Amazing Japanese Kids Movies You Should Watch
Bernadette Lafont, Patrick Descamps, Dominique Blanc

Released: 2010

Directed by: Jean-Loup Felicioli, Alain Gagnol

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
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

Released: 2020

Directed by: Makoto Shinkai

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