Would you like to bring animes closer to your parents and ask yourself which one you could show them? If so, then I have a few suggestions for you. I have listed 20 animes that you can watch with your parents. I have only chosen films, because I think it’s a better introduction into the “world of anime” for someone new. Besides, there are really a lot of incredibly beautiful and meaningful anime films. I hope you find a suitable one that you will soon watch with your parents.
Here are 20 animes you can watch with your parents:
1. Grave of the Fireflies – (Hotaru no Haka)
© Studio Ghibli Inc.
Grave of the Fireflies is set in Japan in the final phase of World War II and tells of the desperate struggle of the fourteen-year-old boy Seita and his four-year-old sister Setsuko for bare survival in the bombed city Kobe. The tragic end is already anticipated at the beginning: Seita dies completely emaciated and unnoticed in a dark corner of a station. The film begins with the sentence “I died on September 21, 1945″…
Touching, loving, profound, beautiful, and insanely sad. All in all, an excellent film which is very realistically portrayed and depicts the cruel side of war well. Everyone should have seen this movie at least once because, in my opinion, this masterpiece definitely deserves it.
2. Paprika – (Papurika)
© Madhouse Inc.
The overweight Tokita Kousaku has developed a revolutionary psychotherapeutic treatment method. This is called DC Mini and is a device that allows the therapist to record and analyze the patient’s dreams on film. The therapist is also able to interact with the patient’s dreams and direct them in specific directions. Atsuko Chiba is one of the developers of this device. Although the DC Mini is not yet fully developed, Chiba is already illegally using the device to help her patients. In doing so, she acts under the alter ego “Paprika”, which always appears when Chiba is dreaming. A prototype of the DC Mini is stolen. The unknown thief uses it to manipulate people’s subconscious. As more and more people are manipulated, Chiba sets out as “Paprika” to find the thief and catch him…
Paprika has a very complex structure with many secondary lines and small details that run through the film over and over again and so it is sometimes challenging to capture everything. This is also mainly because dreams and reality are connected in such a multilayered way that you soon can’t tell the difference between them, just like the characters. In my eyes a brilliant film that you should have seen.
3. Summer Wars – (Samā Wōzu)
© Madhouse Inc.
In the world of Summer Wars exists a highly developed form of the Internet, called OZ. This is practically a parallel world in which everyone has their own virtual avatar, but which is also firmly integrated into all areas of real life.
The protagonist Kenji Koiso, a prodigy in mathematics, is also traveling within this world with his friends. He tried to solve a mathematical problem, which accidentally results in a virus breaking through Oz’s security barriers and seizing control of the network. After that, Kenji tries together with his friends to prevent the collapse of the virtual and real-world…
Summer Wars is an interesting, double-tracked story. On the one hand, you have the extended family with a proud history that has its own internal problems, and on the other hand, you have the OZ, an extension of the internet, which is attacked by an aggressive AI. The two stories intertwine, never really very clever, but still effective. It’s a family-friendly, quiet and enjoyable anime.
4. A Silent Voice – (Eiga Koe no Katachi)
© Kyoto Animation Co., Ltd.
In primary school, Shoya Ishida teased his deaf classmate Shoko Nishimiya. Because of Shoya, the whole class avoided and excluded Shoko, and the teachers are also overwhelmed with the situation. Moreover, Shoko is shy, and although she tries hard to approach the others, the events lead to the fact that she has to change school. He regrets what he had done to her, and when they meet again in high school, he wants to make up for his mistake and help her make friends…
The topics that are covered show situations that also can happen in real life. It is about inclusion, bullying, the guilt, and the search for forgiveness – But at no point does it seem corny or too much. A Silent Voice is a beautiful anime film.
5. Weathering With You – (Tenki no Ko)
© CoMix Wave Films, Inc.
The high school student Hodaka Morishima runs away from home and goes to Tokyo. Unfortunately, the exciting new beginning in the metropolis doesn’t bring the desired happiness, because Hodaka quickly gets financial problems and is alone most of the time. So he applies for a new job and gets it: Now he works as an editor for a magazine that writes about occult topics. Shortly after starting work, however, something strange happens: It just doesn’t stop raining. So it is a good thing that Hodaka finally meets Hina, who is also in Tokyo with her brother. She seems to have the extraordinary ability to control the weather…
Do you know the feeling when you look out of the window, it starts to rain, and you feel a little bit more wistful right away? Especially nowadays, when the topic “climate change” is more and more discussed, you notice what the weather does to you. Exactly this feeling and this topic is taken up by “Weathering with you”, with imaginative ideas. Weathering with you is an experience that makes you discuss and think about serious and current issues, but at the same time enchants you again and lets you sympathize with the story. I would also hihly recommend Your Name. (from the same director, Makoto Shinkai).
6. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas – (Kimi no Suizō o Tabetai)
© Studio VOLN Co., Ltd.
High school students Haruki Shiga and Sakura Yamauchi are the absolute counterparts of each other: While Sakura is a happy, energetic girl who is popular and well-liked by her classmates, Haruki is introverted, reserved and not interested in social interaction with his classmates. Instead, he enjoys reading books and imagining what his fellow students think about him. When Haruki waits in a hospital, he finds a small book – ” Living with death” -, a diary that describes the daily life of a dying person. It does not take long until the owner of the book appears: his classmate Sakura. Sakura suffers from a pancreatic disorder, and although medical progress allows her to live an almost normal life, she will die soon. However, this is something she has kept secret from all her friends until now. Because what she needs in this last time on earth is no pity, but real normality – normality which she finds in Haruki, who now changes from a “simple classmate” to a “classmate who knows my secret”…
The film is a splendid and elegant balancing act between life and death, explaining how close the two lie together. It is depicted that death is part of life and that life is worth living even after the death of a loved one. Alone because of the topic, which meaning life and death have, as well as their brilliant realization. Harmonious, emotionally moving, and realistic.
7. Kiki’s Delivery Service – (Majo no Takkyūbin)
© Studio Ghibli Inc.
The young witch Kiki leaves her family and friends at the age of thirteen to become a full-fledged witch in a strange city, as tradition demands of all young witches. Together with her black tomcat Jiji, the girl arrives in a town. In the unfamiliar and unknown big city, the girl falls into deep insecurity at first. Still, she finds an apartment and good friends in a bakery and starts thinking about opening a business herself: A delivery service that she wants to run with her flying skills.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is once again a Ghibli movie that focuses on nothing but calm, non-violent and action-free entertainment and, despite the almost complete absence of any noteworthy highlights, keeps its audience engaged from start to finish. It’s kept very child friendly, mainly in light and warm colours. The animations for the year 1989 are really something to be proud of, surely one of the best. The film is certainly fun for the whole family.
8. Castle in the Sky – (Tenkū no Shiro Rapyuta)
The orphan girl Sheeta possesses a magical crystal that is connected to Laputa, a castle in the sky. But the evil Muska and a gang of air pirates know the secret of the stone and want to get their hands on it. A journey full of danger begins for Sheeta…
Adventurous, magical and unusually rapid. Castle in the Sky is a masterpiece that takes the viewer into this wonderful world in no time at all. This anime film exudes a rousing aura of adventure, offers great characters and an impressive animation style.
9. Mirai – (Mirai no Mirai)
© Studio Chizu
Mirai is about a 4-year-old boy who has some difficulties with the new family member, his little sister Mirai and does not really get along with her. Suddenly, however, an older version of Mirai appears before him in a magical garden, visiting him from the future. She takes him on a journey through time and teaches him what it means to be a good big brother…
Early childhood is a time of acute necessities, of spontaneous joy, anger, bliss, and disappointment. Any change can mean the world and bring your little universe to collapse. Mirai shows all these things in a beautiful, lively, compassionate, funny, and imaginatively animated way. A beautiful, quite unknown anime film.
10. When Marnie Was There – (Omoide no Mānī)
© Studio Ghibli Inc.
The orphan girl Anna does not have a single friend with whom she could share her worries. She has asthma and feels like a misfit, believing that she cannot find access to other people. One day she is sent on a journey by her foster mother, Yoriko. She is allowed to spend the summer in a small village on the coast. There she comes across an empty old house, and she meets a mysterious blonde girl named Marnie. Anna has dreamed of a friend like Marnie all her life, but then Marnie suddenly disappears as quickly as she came. What secret does Marnie hide, and can Anna help her?
When Marnie Was There is a beautiful and extremely moving story about loneliness, friendship, adoption, family and forgiveness. It feels like a dream world with authentic characters and real emotions. The attention to detail in every movement of the characters gives them so much humanity. As an adult, you can’t stop reflecting on what’s happening and see so many bittersweet things. Keep your tissues ready…
© TMS Entertainment Co., Ltd.
In 1988 there was a nuclear explosion in Tokyo that destroyed everything and started the Third World War. 31 years later, the city was rebuilt as Neo-Tokyo. In the futuristic city with all its huge skyscrapers, certain prosperity has developed again, but there are also gangs. In the streets, there are repeatedly student riots and bomb attacks.
The teenager Shotaro Kaneda is the leader of a motorcycle gang, in which his friend Tetsuo Shima is also a member. Both grew up together in an orphanage. When they get into a street fight with another gang one day, Tetsuo meets a tiny and old looking man, whom he almost runs over. This man had escaped from a military research facility. When the gang comes to help him, the military also arrived. The man, Takashi, and also Tetsuo are taken away by the army. The others are handed over to the police. At the military facility, Tetsuo is examined, and it is found out that he has the same supernatural powers as the other people held here. The other three, Takashi, another man, and a woman are small, almost like children, yet looking very old. Yet, Tetsuo’s powers are unique, and his strength is compared to Akiras, who caused the explosion 31 years earlier. When Tetsuo regains consciousness, he flees.
Akira offers great action, fantastic animations and an interesting story. It also kept me thinking about it for quite a long time after first watching it. Definitely a must-see for me.
Akira is an in itself completely successful film, which everyone! must have seen. The hype triggered at the time is more than justified considering the result. This is the material with which the genre made itself known in the early 90s and gradually became an insider tip.
12. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind – (Kaze no Tani no Naushika)
In a post-apocalyptic future, a large part of the earth is covered by the “Sea of Corruption”, a huge, poisonous mushroom forest that is constantly expanding and threatens to spread over even the remaining areas of land inhabited by the few remaining people. The forest was created after the “Seven Days of Fire”, a great war in which huge artificial warriors were used, “God Warriors”. Since then, the forest has continued to spread, and humanity has been shrinking. Although some inventions, such as aviation, have been preserved, many technologies of earlier times have been forgotten, and people live in simple conditions.
Nausicaä is the princess of the “Valley of the Wind”, which is protected from the spores by winds blowing from the sea. She has a special feeling for animals and nature and is also a talented pilot. She studies the plants of the mushroom forest and finds out that their poison comes from the soil, which is contaminated everywhere. When the Valley of the Wind is attacked by another great power to subjugate the fertile land, Nausicaä is the last hope of her people.
In this whole genre-mix, we are told a story that is still relevant today (even after 36 years!). It is socially critical and shows how horribly people deal with nature’s resources and how conflicts destroy entire civilizations and the earth – a beautiful and exciting film with important messages.
13. Tokyo Godfathers – (Tōkyō Goddofāzāzu)
© Madhouse Inc.
When three homeless people find a baby in the trash on the streets of Tokyo on Christmas Eve, their lives are changed forever. As the New Year approaches, these three socially forgotten misfits join forces to solve the riddle of the abandoned girl and to fathom the fate of her parents…
The special thing about Tokyo Godfathers for me is the constant change between absolute hilarious jokes and deadly serious topics in this extraordinary setting with these exceptional characters. This film asks for humanity, family ties, and tolerance, while at the same time, it shows us that you can be happy and a good person even with little things. Snappy, dramatic, funny, and beautiful. A film that warms the heart and makes you feel good.
14. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade – (Jinrō)
© Production I.G, Inc.
In an alternative reality, society developed differently after the Second World War. Germany won the war and now also dominates the states of its allies. In Japan, an authoritarian terror regime prevails, which bloody fights the emerging resistance movements, especially with its brutal special units. One of them is the Wolf Brigade, which one day also wants to smash a group of partisans in the sewers. Among them is also Kazuki Fuse. During the hunt in the sewers, he confronts a girl with a bomb. He tries to persuade her to give up, but the girl blows herself up. He is injured, and after his recovery, he is ordered back to the academy because of his hesitation. Lamenting with feelings of guilt, he roams the city and meets Kei Amemiya, the girl’s sister. Between the two, a cautious romance develops, but Kei also has a secret.
Jin-Roh is a very well-considered anime, which not only deals with an interesting thematic twist of Japanese society but also delves into the fragile psyche of a PTSD-plagued man, who is in the middle of a complex conspiracy. A film that encourages reflection and participation. Nothing seems exaggerated or contrived; the film is authentic.
15. The Garden of Words – (Kotonoha no Niwa)
© CoMix Wave Films, Inc.
The 15-year-old Takao Akizuki lives together with his melodramatic mother and his older brother Shouta. His biggest dream is to become a shoemaker. He sits in a Japanese garden and draws shoe sketches. Meeting on rainy days with the mysterious Yukari Yukino, who apparently only eats beer and chocolate, changes the student’s life…
Besides the breathtaking animations and drawings, it has a beautiful and bitter story with charming characters. A very nice short film(~45min.), which, in my opinion, deserves more attention.
The animation is just incredibly beautiful – here is the link to the trailer. Take a minute and see for yourself how amazing the artstyle is.
© Sunrise Inc.
A soul of a deceased sinner gets a second chance. A mysterious angel transfers it into the body of the 14-year-old Makoto, who barely survived a suicide attempt. As an “exchange student”, he is supposed to restore his unhappy life, enjoy life more, and remember his own sin.
An anime drama that doesn’t need any exaggerated basics or sudden strokes of fate, but simply tells a soulful story based on circumstances taken from life, which refuses to be drawn in clear black and white and relies on a reasonable development of the characters. Colorful presents a very well done drama that seeks the emotional closeness to the audience and encourages you to think about it. The film deals with the topic “suicide” seriously, yet still wants to give us new courage to face life.
17. Millennium Actress – (Sennen Joyū)
© Madhouse Inc.
Chiyoko Fujiwara was an outstanding actress. When she reached her peak about 30 years ago, she retired and disappeared. The filmmaker Genya Tachibana is one of her greatest admirers, and when he is asked to make a documentary about her for a film studio, a dream comes true for him. Chiyoko agrees to an interview, and Genya and his assistant make their way to the mountain villa where the actress lives. He starts talking to her about her career and hands her a small old key as a gift. This key, however, was already in the actress’s possession, and she begins to tell him what happened back then…
A successful presentation of a life story that leaves the viewer with the satisfying feeling of having seen a good movie. From the successful beginning to the soulful end, Millenium Actress takes the viewer on a journey through an eventful life, avoiding unnecessary kitsch and relying solely on the good narration and the power of the visuals.
18. 5 Centimeters per Second (Three short films) – (Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru)
© CoMix Wave Films, Inc.
The plot begins in Japan in the 1990s. Each of the three short films revolves around a boy named Takaki Tono.
First Film (Ōkashō):
After finishing primary school, Takaki Tono and his best friend Akari Shinohara lose sight of each other. Akari moves with her parents to Tochigi Prefecture, while Takaki’s secondary school in Tokyo awaits him. Nevertheless, they try to maintain at least pen friends. Apart from the two’s special feelings for each other, it will soon be just the time that lasts…
Second Film (Cosmonaut):
In the second film, Cosmonaut, Takaki is now in his third year of high school in Tanegashima. Among other things, the Tanegashima Space Center is located there. One of Takaki’s classmates, Kanae Sumita, shows feelings for Takaki but doesn’t dare to confess her love to him. Later, she watches Takaki staring into the distance, as if he is constantly looking for something that seems far away…
Third Film (Byōsoku 5 Centimeter):
In 2008, the two finally drifted completely apart, each one following his own path. Takaki works as a computer programmer in Tokyo and Akari is preparing for her wedding. One day at a railroad crossing, Takaki notices the face of a familiar-looking young woman. As he turns around again, confused, to catch another glimpse, a passing train breaks the sight…
5 Centimeters per Second is an animated homage to true love and, in a broader sense, to persevering in love, even if time and distance are not the foundation. It is an atmospheric film, which convinces with a good narration, brilliant visuals, and a stunning story.
Shinkai explained that 5 centimeters per second should not contain any fantasy or science fiction elements, unlike his previous projects. Instead, the film shows the real world from a different perspective. Makoto’s film takes a look at the real problems of many people: Time, space, people, and love.
19. A Letter To Momo – (Momo e no Tegami)
© Production I.G, Inc.
“Dear Momo!” – that was all that was written in a letter left by Momo’s deceased father. Momo and her mother had just moved from the big city of Tokyo to the countryside by the Japanese Seto Inland Sea. They live on an island, in a beautiful city surrounded by idyllic houses and natural landscapes. But even as Momo begins a new life, she continues to wonder what her father really wanted to write in this letter. One day she discovers an old book in the attic, and all sorts of strange things start to happen…
Sensitive, amusing, and warm. A Letter to Momo is a wonderful anime film that tells an emotional story and has some beautiful animations. But more than anything else, it’s astonishing how well the characters are dealt with in the anime, which at first seems shallow, but with time gain more and more depth. A film that is especially recommended to lovers of calm and realistic works.
20. The Place Promised In our Early Days – (Kumo no Mukō, Yakusoku no Basho)
© CoMix Wave Films, Inc.
In a fictional parallel world, Japan was divided between the victorious powers after the Second World War. The friends Hiroki, Takuya, and Sayuri feel magically attracted by a huge tower on the other side of the border. They make a promise to each other: They want to fly over the border in a homemade airplane to solve the secret of the tower. When the young Sayuri disappears without a trace, the plan of childhood friends is destroyed. Years later, divided Japan is on the brink of war – and Hiroki finds Sayuri again, who has been in a coma since her disappearance. Hiroki makes a plan to free his girlfriend. He doesn’t know yet that Sayuri’s fate is connected with the mysterious tower…
Great pictures, complex story, and many interpretation possibilities. The Place promised in our early days is a beautifully atmospheric science fiction film about friendship and the power of love, which connects two people even across worlds, drives them and empowers them to almost superhuman deeds.