Anime films are known for their stunning visuals and complex tales that famously leave their mark on viewers. Studios like Studio 4°C use their modern effects and advanced computer graphics to create vivid illustrations that evoke emotion and make even the most fantastical universes believable. If you’re looking for an anime movie that’ll blow you away with its impressive cinematography, check out these five titles below.
Where to watch: HBO Max
Belle is an anime held in high regard. Its dramatic tale, amazing soundtrack, and breathtaking visuals earned the film a fourteen-minute standing ovation at its premiere at the 2021 Cannes film festival. Directed by Mamoru Hosoda, Belle is an imaginative take on the animated classic Beauty and the Beast that transports the tale from the countryside of mid-1700s France to a virtual world in modern-day Japan. Looking at Belle’s grand animation, it’s clear that Studio Chizu aimed for prestige. Belle is filled with vivid displays of depth and dimension that seem to stretch on for miles, creating an imaginative universe that’s both grand and believable. The film combines advanced computer graphics with rich, textured illustrations that really come to life, immersing you deeper into a majestic place where you can tap into your greatest strengths with the click of a button.
- Spirited Away
Where to Watch: HBO Max
Spirited Away is a cinematic masterpiece straight out of the Studio Ghibli vault. Its achievements in art production and storytelling have been recognized all over the world, including at the Academy Awards, where it made history as the first anime to win the award for Best Animated Feature. Spirited Away is a heart-warming coming-of-age story of maturity and perseverance as 10-year-old Chihiro goes on a quest to rescue her parents, who have been captured by a devious witch. The film’s attention to detail is compelling, adding realistic touches and outstanding sound design that gives its fantastical tale a natural tone. Spirited Away’s depiction of traditional Japanese architecture, mouth-watering food, vivacious characters, and remarkable soundtrack make it one of the best anime films of all time. It’s jam-packed with dazzling scenes and heart-pumping action that expand across your screen and take you on a wild ride you’ll never forget.
Where to Watch: HBO Max
From the brilliant minds at Studio Trigger, the same studio that brought us Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia, comes an anime whose unique style made it a standout in 2019. Promare is known for its eye-catching futuristic imagery, larger-than-life characters, and heart-pumping mecha action that keeps you glued to your screen. It tells the story of a crew of high-tech firefighters (led by the passionate Galo Thymos) who work together to save the world from mass destruction. Although the film tells a touching underdog story of humanity and heroism, what’s most impressive about Promare is its neon-pastel aesthetic with vivid hues of pink, blue, yellow, and black that are completely fascinating. The art direction in Promare is superb, with clever use of light and shadow that plays tricks on the eye, manipulating space to create motion, tone, and depth. The film’s varying use of camera angles keeps the eye moving, with lightning-paced scenes that plant you smack-dab in the heart of the action, unfurling before you like the pages of a manga.
- Children of the Sea
Where To Watch: Netflix
Children of the Sea takes us on a thought-provoking aquatic adventure in Japan. Produced by Studio 4°C, Children of the Sea tells the story of a 14-year-old girl named Ruka who meets two mysterious boys over summer break. Together, they investigate a supernatural connection that draws them to the ocean and uncover truths about the meaning of life and nature’s interconnected relationship to the universe. In addition to stimulating our minds with its philosophical themes and strengthening our respect for nature, Children of the Sea delivers stunning imagery with extraordinary attention to detail. The film’s striking oceanic visuals are backed by optimal sound design that perfectly captures the essence of summer in Japan. Studio 4°C’s vivid shots of sunset skies, floral bushes, chirping insects, and crashing waves are so realistic you can practically smell the salt water from your screen. Everything from the intricate detailing of the human face to the swift, fluid motion of wind-blown hair and jumping dolphins really makes you forget you’re watching an animated film.
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train
Where To Watch: Funimation
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train treats us to an emotional tale of heroism, bravery, and acceptance backed by a captivating score and bold cgi animation. The film was a box office smash during its 2020 release, breaking records in Japan and claiming the number one spot in the United States. With one look at the movie, it’s not hard to see why: the anime is emotionally gripping, phenomenally acted, and flawlessly animated. Mugen Train is Demon Slayer meets Inception as our Demon Slayer Corps heroes take on a sadistic sleep-inducing demon that takes over a train and threatens the lives of 200 innocent people. In addition to its heartfelt supernatural drama, Mugen Train features cinematic CGI effects that flow together seamlessly, creating interior and exterior shots that are photo-realistic. Mugen Train delivers striking illustrations of explosive sword fighting techniques and high-flying hand-to-hand combat that’ll have you on the edge of your seat. The film features the bright, vivid illustration and mature rated dark fantasy that makes the series popular, solidifying itself as one of the most successful anime films ever released in theaters.
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Kaillaby is a writer from The Bronx with infectious high energy and a passion for geek culture. She loves connecting with Blerds like herself and hopes to create her own cartoon someday.