11 Anime Classics Everyone Should Own

11 Anime Classics Everyone Should Own
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Sturgeon’s Law dictates that 90 per cent of everything is crap. In the case of anime, 99.9 per cent would be nearer the mark. A lot of this stuff is nonsensical, over whimsical and/or uncomfortably violent and pervy. But just like every other genre, there are some absolute gems hidden amongst the refuse that deserve to be cherished by all.

Here are 11 anime classics that you should definitely take a chance on – and they’re all on sale right now at Amazon!

You can currently save up to 20% off anime DVDs and Blu-rays at Amazon. There are hundreds of titles to choose from, with prices starting at just $4. But which ones are worth your while?

Below you will find 11 anime classics that every movie buff should see – from vintage Studio Ghibli to modern masterpieces like The Tale Of The Princess Kayuga. Click on the headlines to go straight to the deals!

Grave Of The Fireflies

11 Anime Classics Everyone Should Own

After a World War II bombing, two orphaned children struggle to survive in the Japanese countryside feeling the helplessness and indifference of their countrymen. Through desperation, hunger and grief, these children’s lives are fragile but their spirit and love is inspiring.

Wolf Children

11 Anime Classics Everyone Should Own

Hana was bright and pretty and her future held endless possibilities. She met a man, who turned out to be a wolf, and they built a family. Hana loved her mate fiercely, but fate took him from her, leaving her alone with two unusual kids she didn’t know how to raise. Frightened of being discovered, Hana and her wolf children fled to the countryside to build a new life. This is a mother’s journey about teaching your children to chase their dreams as they discover who they will become.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

11 Anime Classics Everyone Should Own

Makoto Konno has the ability to, quite literally, “leap” backwards through time. She immediately sets about improving her grades and preventing personal mishaps but soon realises that changing the past isn’t as simple as it seems.


11 Anime Classics Everyone Should Own

Five year-old Sosuke lives in a small rotten by the sea, high on a cliff overlooking the Inland Sea. While playing on the rocky beach he discovers a goldfish named Ponyo, her head stuck in a jam jar. Sosuke rescues Ponyo and the new friends are fascinated by each other and promise to stay firm friends until Ponyo’s father – once human, now a sorcerer who lives deep under the sea – forces her to return with him to the ocean depths.

Ninja Scroll

11 Anime Classics Everyone Should Own

Jubei is a masterless ninja in Feudal Japan who travels the land alone, hiring his services to those with gold or a worthy cause. His abilities have served him well but he must face an old nemesis, who is bent on overthrowing the Japanese government and supported by a terrifying group of demons with superhuman powers.

Princess Mononoke

11 Anime Classics Everyone Should Own

The march of technology, created in the iron forges of the ambitious Tatara clan threatens the natural forces of the benevolent Great God of the Forest and the wide-eyed, spectral spirits he protects. Ashitaka, a young warrior from a remote and endangered village clan, kills a monster and discovers the beast is a “demon god”, transformed by human anger. Inflicted with its deadly curse, he sets out to the forests in search of the cure that will save his life. There, he meets Princess Mononoke, a young woman raised by wolves.

Spirited Away

11 Anime Classics Everyone Should Own

Chihiro discovers a secret world of strange spirits, creatures and sorcery. When her parents are mysteriously transformed, she must call upon the courage she never knew she had to free herself and return her family to the outside world.

Perfect Blue

11 Anime Classics Everyone Should Own

Mima Kirigoe is a squeaky-clean Japanese pop singer who decides to leave the music industry and try her hand at acting.Finding her way in her new field proves to be difficult as she is forced to take humiliating work in perverse low-budget films.Mima is stalked by an obsessed fan, irate at her decision to abandon her successful music career.


11 Anime Classics Everyone Should Own

Neo-Tokyo is being rebuilt after World War III. Kaneda and Tetsuo, two high school drop-outs stumble upon a secret government project to develop telekinetic humans, apparently for use as weapons. Tetsuo learns of the existence of Akira, the project’s most powerful subject, and determines to challenge him.

My Neighbor Totoro

11 Anime Classics Everyone Should Own

Satsuki and Mei move to a new home in the country with their father as their mother recovers from illness. They soon discover that they share the home with some rather unusual creatures and even stranger neighbours – forest guardians that the girls dub Totoro.

The Tale Of The Princess Kayuga

11 Anime Classics Everyone Should Own

A tiny girl found inside a shining stalk of bamboo grows into an exquisite young lady who must face her fate. Based on the Japanese folk-tale, “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”, “The Tale of The Princess Kayuga” is the culmination of decades of contemplation by director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata.

Any we missed? Share your personal favourite anime films in the comments!


  • There’s a difference between “should own” and “should watch”. I’d put all these in the “should watch” category, but to own them is a little more subjective.

  • Eh, I guess. Aside from Ninja Scroll (which is very much a product of the period it was made) I think these are all must-watch and I own several, but personally I wouldn’t own all of them.

    Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Perfect Blue are all definitely worthy of their spot on a list like this.

    If I was adding any Isao Takahata film, it wouldn’t be Princess Kaguya or Grave of the Fireflies though, it would be Only Yesterday (it’s secretly Ghibli’s best film). But honestly speaking you can’t really go wrong with Ghibli.

    Akira is an important film because of its visual influences and so on, but IMO it’s more of a curio than a particularly great film. Same sort of thing as Ghost in the Shell, though GitS was far more influential than Akira was and is a better movie.

    Ninja Scroll is a film we all thought was really cool when we were 15 because it was the “not for kids” anime with gore and violence and sex and a chick with a snake in her snatch, but I don’t think it holds up at all and it looks pretty incongruous alongside the rest of the films in this list.

    Some suggestions:
    – Redline. Takeshi Koike’s directorial debut and magnum opus which took seven years to create because he spent so long hand-animating so much of it. It’s one of the most visually striking and intricate traditionally-animated films ever.

    – Sword of the Stranger. If you’re looking for a Samurai film, this should be your go-to, not Ninja Scroll. A plot that actually makes sense combined with one of the best animated sword fights ever put to film at the end. Yutaka Nakamura, one of the best action animators out there, was basically given free reign for the final duel in the film and it shows.

    – Pretty much anything by Makoto Shinkai. How is Your Name not in this list, or 5cm Per Second? His films are stunning, if a bit repetitive since they’re always about the same thing. And of anything here, the fact that Your Name has a stunning 4k Bluray release makes it probably the only thing in this list that actually justifies the idea that you should own a copy.

    – Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress, Paprika. While personally Perfect Blue is my favorite of Satoshi Kon’s works, all of them deserve a watch.

    • Hey Neg, curious how you got here? All the links on the front page take me to lifehacker, it was only through editing the URL and the article title on seeing there were separate comments that I found it. Been noticing it happening a lot lately.

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