The top ten fantasy anime movies will usher you into magical lands born from the imaginations of Japanese artists. If you choose to undertake these journeys, be prepared to encounter anything from walking houses to forest spirits.

  1. “Princess Mononoke” Humans and forest spirits battle for territory in the fantasy anime movie “Princess Mononoke.” The thrilling plot revolves around a cursed man named Ashitaka. Only this brave soul can bring peace to the warring sides.

  2. “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” This fantasy anime movie draws inspiration from a manga series of the same name. Similar to the protagonist of “Princess Mononoke,” Nausicaa must act a peacemaker between two groups at war. Although the story takes place in a fantastical setting, the film delivers a message about environmental awareness. 

  3. “Spirited Away” While working at a bathhouse, a young girl faces all sorts of fantastical creatures in this anime fantasy movie. “Spirited Away” is one of the highest grossing films ever released in Japan.

  4. “My Neighbor Totoro” 1988 marked the debut of “My Neighbor Totoro,” a fantasy anime movie about the relationship between two girls and neighboring forest spirits. Hayao Miyazaki wrote and directed this classic family film.

  5. “Howl’s Moving Castle” In Miyazaki’s “Howl’s Moving Castle,” a girl trapped in the body of an aged woman undergoes a journey in a walking castle. This fantasy anime movie received a nomination for Best Animated Feature Film of 2006 at the Academy Awards.

  6. “Ponyo” This fantasy anime movie tells that tale of magical goldfish who is fascinated with human life. The movie won various awards, including five prizes at the Tokyo Anime Awards in 2009.

  7. The Cat Returns” In this story, a girl stumbles into a magical world of cats after becoming engaged to a Lune, a feline prince. Hiroyuki Morita directed this fantastical journey, which debuted in 2002.

  8. “Kiki’s Delivery Service” Kiki, a novice witch, learns lessons of self-reliance in this animated fantasy. The plot borrows elements from a book by Eiko Kadono. This film adaptation received an award for Most Popular Film of 1990 from the Japanese Academy. 

  9. “Castle in the Sky” As the name of this fantasy film suggests, the plot revolves around a mysterious floating castle. As two children seek out this magical structure, everything from pirates to military forces intrudes on their mission.

  10. "Takes of Earthsea" In “Tales from Earthsea,” a wandering wizard and young prince share a perilous adventure. The movie is based on a book series by Ursula K. Le Guin.