20 Anime To Watch For Unique And Gorgeous Animation

List Rules

Vote up the anime with the most gorgeous art and animation.

Look, we all love anime. It's over-the-top, high energy, and can serve as a much needed reprieve from the doldrums of everyday life. After a while, though, much of the genre starts to look a little... derivative. If you're not paying attention, you can watch multiple episodes of different high school dramas or action-adventures from different series and they all sort of blend together. There are, however, some glowing exceptions to this rule. Aside from an anime’s fascinating story line or imaginative setting, the distinctive art style is a huge reason viewers become immersed in a show. 

Additionally, not all anime has to be vibrant or cheerful to be enjoyed. In fact, there are some anime titles that share a darker, more complex atmosphere. However, this doesn’t mean that its art style can’t be admired. Awaken your senses with these visually stunning anime titles that will tug at your heart-strings and open your mind. At the very least, it's something new.  


  • 1
    72 VOTES

    This award-winning film from Studio Ghibli is, quite simply, an animated masterpiece. Spirited Away follows a young girl as she learns to overcome her fears and take responsibility for her actions. The character designs and layouts are so gorgeous, they're visually addicting. Adorned with vivid colors and intricate details, these images are impossible to get out of your head.

    Take the bathhouse, for example. The walls, ceilings, and floors have so many complex details added to them it’s hard to keep your eyes focused solely on the action in the foreground. The unique hand-drawn art style of the film has an old-school animated feel to it, which is pure magic and exactly what Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki are known for. 

  • 2
    28 VOTES

    This much-beloved animation follows the story of a young woman who falls in love with a mysterious man. She's forced to raise their two children on her own after he abandons her. From Studio Chizu, this beautiful film is an absolute joy to look at.

    The artistic details in Wolf Children are abundant, displaying richly colored scenes and uniquely styled characters. It’s also another film that uses some CGI to help entrance the audience. In addition, there are many beautiful landscape shots and even some intricate cityscapes that help give this film a realistic touch without losing its fairytale-like feel.

    It’s also flat-out spectacular to see moments where the characters and frames are still, allowing the viewer a chance to admire the scenery. If the Grand Canyon was an anime, this would be it. 

  • Great Pretender
    Photo: Wit Studio

    Perhaps because it's only available on Netflix, Great Pretender didn't get as much attention as it deserves. But if you want to see great art and animation, this series is not to be missed. 

    Depending where the story is set in the moment, the color palette and art style changes - many of which are inspired by actual artists. During the parts set in Hollywood, the art features psychedelic colors that call to mind pop artists like Andy Warhol. Meanwhile, the Singapore scenes take their cue from Belorussian painter Leonid Afremov. The scenes in Europe favor a softer Art Nouveau style. These changes help set the mood of the scenes while also creating a deeper cultural connection to the setting. 

  • 4
    59 VOTES
    Your Name
    Photo: CoMix Wave Films

    A critically-acclaimed film from CoMix Wave Films, Kimi no Na wa (Your Name) is a supernatural drama about a boy and girl who switch lives in a miraculous way. The art style utilizes rich colors and pays super close attention to detail. This is especially prevalent in the background structures and intricate architecture work.

    Perhaps the most interesting quality of Your Name is the character’s overall design. They are created with less exaggeration than is typical, but they don’t lose the characteristic features that anime characters are well known for. Their overall design fits in wonderfully with the film’s realistic setting. 

  • As the title implies, Children of the Sea heavily features the ocean and the plants and animals that live in it. These elements are all animated with great care and respect. Using a well-blended mix of CGI, 2D animation, and texturized scrapbook sketches, the GKIDs film manages to convey the amazing power of nature with seeming ease. 

    The characters themselves are also animated to reflect the beauty of nature - for example, close-ups of the characters' faces feature sparkling eyes that are meant to resemble sea glass. The characters's faces are so detailed that you can even see their eyebrow hairs and skin wrinkles. That's not something you see everyday. 

  • 6
    31 VOTES
    Photo: Wit Studio

    Wit Studio rarely disappoints when it comes to high-quality animation and art, so it's no surprise that Bubble is a feast for the eyes. Set in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo overrun by mysterious bubbles, the children left behind in the dilapidated city engage in extreme parkour battles in order to barter and trade supplies. 

    The film definitely delivers on incredible parkour sequences that defy reality along with spellbinding visuals of a sunken city filled with sparkly bubbles.