Anime is more internationally mainstream than ever, and movies have been making strides on the global stage in recent years. The massive successes of the likes of Demon Slayer: Mugen Train and Jujutsu Kaisen 0 are testaments to this, and streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video have been collecting titles to hook potential anime fans.
That being said, Prime Video’s selection of movies included with subscriptions is admittedly limited. However, things look much more diverse when looking into Prime Video’s vault of anime movies eligible to rent or buy, with several of them ranking in the highest tiers on rating aggregator MyAnimeList.
10 The Boy And The Beast (8.28)
Studio Chizu and Mamoru Hosoda’s The Boy and the Beast is an anime-original story, telling a fantastical coming-of-age tale of a 9-year-old boy named Ren. Ren’s mother recently passed away, with her being the last family member of his who loved and was compassionate to him.
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Refusing to live with his cruel legal guardians, Ren runs away to Shibuya and encounters the fearsome Kumatetsu. He leads Ren to the beast realm of Shibuten to take him on as a disciple. The Boy and the Beast were well-received for balancing its fantasy nature with the themes of finding one’s sense of belonging and feeling loved.
9 Classmates (8.31)
Classmates is a special anime movie for the themes it chooses to tackle and how it approaches them. It’s an adaptation of writer Asumiko Nakamura’s manga of the same name, centering on the lives of high school students Rihito Sajo and Hikaru Kusakabe as they meet and bond in an all-boys school.
The former is a model honor student who aces his entrance exams, while the latter is a popular kid who plays in a band. Together they discover their shared passion for music and begin dating, with the movie earning praise for being a touching love story and one of the best LGBTQ+ romance anime.
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8 Weathering With You (8.32)
Director Makoto Shinkai and animation studio CoMix Wave Films’ Weathering with You is one of the best slice-of-life anime movies to come out in recent years. It’s also one of the highest-rated anime movies on HBO Max, incorporating the down-to-earth premise of young romance mixed in with light fantastical elements.
Weathering with You follows a young man named Hodaka Morishima who’s run away from home to Tokyo and is down on his luck. There, he befriends a girl named Hina Amano who’s revealed to have the ability to control the weather — but it comes at a great cost. The movie’s a touching, heartfelt romance with themes of environmentalism.
7 Maquia: When The Promised Flower Blooms (8.41)
Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms is another anime-original story, animated by P.A. Works and directed by Mari Okada. The movie received a strong critical reception for its creative take on the fantasy genre with its world, as well as for telling a deeply emotional and intimate story at its core.
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The movie’s protagonist, the orphaned Maquia, belongs to a species of mystical beings who live for centuries and stay separate from the squabbles of mankind. However, a human kingdom decides to invade her homeland to achieve immortality, with Maquia eventually finding herself stranded due to the invasion with an orphaned human child.
6 Violet Evergarden: Eternity And The Auto Memory Doll (8.41)
The Violet Evergarden TV anime, which is an adaptation of Kana Akatsuki’s light novels, was widely acclaimed for being a layered coming-of-age story with tasteful social commentary on the aftermath of war. Its success paved the way for two movies with Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll being the first. The titular Violet is an artificial young girl trained from birth to fight in the war, with her now struggling to find purpose in a post-war world.
Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll sees Violet get hired to help tutor a young noble named Isabella to fulfill the duty her family has imposed on her, even though she decided to throw that suffocating lifestyle away. Despite its short runtime, the movie was praised for sharing the overall franchise’s strengths of writing out immersive and rewarding character growth.
5 Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon A Time (8.65)
The original Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series is commonly regarded as a mecha anime classic from the ’90s, and it was expanded into a full-blown franchise in the decades that followed. Part of this expansion came in the Rebuild of Evangelion series, which is a collection of four movies that retell the original story.
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It’s a bit messy for the uninitiated anime fan looking from the outside in, but Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time was acclaimed for how it wrapped up the story under the weight of all that expectation. The series follows the dramatic battle of child soldiers piloting the titular Evangelion mechs against a hostile alien species, but it gradually unravels into a psychological thriller.
4 Demon Slayer: Mugen Train (8.67)
Ufotable’s anime adaptation of writer Koyoharu Gotouge’s Demon Slayer manga has quickly proven to be one of the most popular shonen action anime available. That intense momentum was carried further with 2020/2021’s smash-hit Demon Slayer: Mugen Train movie that adapted the arc of the same name, with a new focus on the Flame Pillar Kyojuro Rengoku.
Directly following the events of Demon Slayer season 1, Mugen Train follows Rengoku, Tanjiro, Nezuko, and more as they investigate a demon responsible for 40 people going missing. As fans would expect, Ufotable’s masterful animation work is on full display here and complements an emotional story.
3 Your Name (8.87)
As well-received as Weathering with You was, Shinkai’s Your Name arguably still reigns as the director’s best work for many fans. The latter movie was critically acclaimed when it was released in 2016, serving as a resonant romantic fantasy that’s worthy to stand alongside the likes of Studio Ghibli’s revered anime movies. Your Name is centered around the stories of two teenagers named Mitsuha and Taki.
The former is a girl from the countryside who wishes she was a boy in Tokyo, while the latter is a talented high school student aspiring to be an architect. The two suddenly begin swapping bodies, leading them to experience each other’s lives firsthand. If Weathering with You has one flaw, it’s that it’s a bit too similar to Your Name.
2 A Silent Voice (8.96)
Kyoto Animation and director Naoka Yamada’s A Silent Voice is a profound and heavy story, and it’s an immersive watch because of it. The anime movie is an adaptation of writer Yoshitoki Oima’s manga of the same name, telling the coming-of-age story of high school student Shoya Ishida. It begins with Shoya prepared to commit suicide, however, he stops himself last minute to try and tie up loose ends from his past.
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In 6th grade, a deaf girl named Shoko joined Shoya’s class and tried to mesh with the other students, only to be subjected to bullying by the latter and his friends. A Silent Voice follows Shoya’s attempt to make amends, with the movie garnering acclaim for its tactful approach to themes of bullying, mental health, forgiveness, and redemption.
1 Gintama: The Final (9.05)
Gintama is one of the longest-running and most-acclaimed shonen anime franchises for several reasons. The sprawling story mixes elements of action, science fiction, and comedy all in one to culminate into a gag series that frequently breaks the fourth wall and pokes fun at its contemporaries by parodying the shonen genre — and it even spawned some successful live-action movies.
Both Hideaki Sorachi’s original manga and the anime have concluded, with the aptly-named Gintama: The Final wrapping up the latter’s story. The movie picks up two years after the extraterrestrial Tendoushu invaded the Terminal in central Edo. Gintoki’s freelancing group Yorozuya has since parted ways, but they eventually come together for the conflict ahead.
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About The Author
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Guillermo Kurten is a journalism major at the University of Houston. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, he now resides in Houston. He is a fan of pretty much anything involving nerd culture. Video games, comics, movies, TV, anime, manga, you name it. He also has experience writing about soccer, specifically, the German team Bayern Munich.
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