The top 10 Japanese anime movies range from post-apocalyptic cyberpunk epics to tragic tales of World War II and psychological thrillers to martial arts action spectaculars. The range of Japanese anime is unmatched in animated film anywhere else in the world. Here are the top Japanese anime movies produced by the adult animation capital of the world.

  1. "Akira" The film that brought Japanese anime movies to an international audience tops this list. "Akira" is a mystical, futuristic tale set in a post-apocalyptic neo-Tokyo where punks on motorcycles fight with one another as the government experiments on forgotten kids. It is the crowning achievement of Japanese anime movies, spectacular visually while making audiences think.

  2. "Grave of the Fireflies" This tragic tale of children in World War II shows the emotional range of Japanese anime movies. It is one of the most moving depictions of Japan during the war of any film. A boy and his little sister struggle to survive while their father in fighting.

  3. "Princess Mononoke" This "Star Wars"-style hero's journey is a popular Japanese anime movie. It is the story of a hero caught between two warring factions as he searches for the cure for a fatal curse.

  4. "Perfect Blue" This Hitchcockian thriller about a stalked actress shows that suspense is not limited to live-action. "Perfect Blue" is unique among the top Japanese anime movies because it is more about inaction than action.

  5. "Ghost in the Shell" Another cyberpunk classic, "Ghost" is action-packed, sleek and sexy. It is a cult favorite in the United States as well as in its home country. "Ghost" is the story of a female cyborg cop hunting down a mysterious hacker.

  6. "Ninja Scroll" This martial arts spectacular is fantastically bloody. It takes the myth of the ninja to ridiculous levels while upping the gore content, as hero Jubei teams up with a female assassin who is slowly dying. It is easily one of the top Japanese anime movies, but is definitely also for adults only.

  7. "Howl's Moving castle" This is one of the best Japanese anime movies for the whole family. A young woman quests to rid herself of a witch's curse and the only cure lies with a wizard in the moving castle of the movie's name.

  8. "Wicked City" This movie about invading aliens seducing the populace with sex is definitely for the adults. It inspired a live-action remake in Hong Kong.

  9. "Spirited Away" This majestic fantasy about a little girl's journey into a land populated by supernatural figures and people turned into animals is uniquely Japanese but transcends cultural barriers.

  10. "Vampire Hunter D" This horror flick is the scariest of the top Japanese anime movies. Set in a futuristic world where the supernatural is the norm, a young girl hires a mysterious anti-hero to protect her from the vampires that hunt her. The hunters become the hunted in this great Japanese anime movie.