The best Japanese cartoon movies are all those films that have filled the void after Disney has now stopped producing 2D-animated movies. Many of the best Japanese cartoon movies emerge from Japan's Studio Ghibli, and these are some of the best cartoon movies of all time. If you still are an adult who can appreciate fine, hand drawn animation, then these movies are right up your alley.
"Spirited Away." The best Japanese cartoon movie is Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" from 2001. The accolades that his traditionally hand drawn film have received are insanely enormous–everything from an Oscar Award for best animated feature in 2002 to the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2002. It is still the biggest-grossing film ever in Japan, and it tells the story of a young girl who endures dislocation and the rites of passage, going from child, essentially, into adulthood. The movie handles these themes by putting the child into a monster-and-spirit-dominated fantasy world, a creatively effective strategy.
"Princess Mononoke." "Princess Mononoke" is yet another film by Hayao Miyazakis, and this one is heavy on the pro-environmental and anti-military themes, though cutely and neatly disguised as a sweet, little kid's animated feature. This standout Japanese cartoon movie was also notable in how violent it was; in fact, it was ultra-violent, with it being the most violent Miyazaki movie. The movie centered on the conflict between man's encroachment into nature for industry purposes and, conversely, the spirits of nature who wanted to protect their land. The movie featured way more than just a few scenes of limbs being chopped off, albeit, bloody limbs in sweetly drawn children's animation.
"Howl's Moving Castle." Released in 2004, "Howl's Moving Castle" is a Japanese cartoon movie that has been established as one of the most successful in the history of Japan: its worldwide gross stands at in excess of $231 million. It tells the fantastical story of a young, 18-year-old woman who endures the effects of a curse put on her by a witch! The curse entails that this former 18-year-old lass becomes a 90-year-old hag. However, during the course of the film, she finds that being cursed to spend her life as an old woman imbues her with the unexpected and startling benefits of liberation from self-consciousness, anxiety and fear.