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Redline (2009)

If you’re a fan of the Fast & Furious franchise, then Redline is the movie for you. Another one of MADHOUSE’s works, and this time it’s the animation that truly makes it stand out. Technically, Redline is a side-story of the Trava: Fist Planet OVA series, but has its own story, characters, and plot. The story is an original work, set in the future where racers compete in “Redline”, an infamous race in which everything goes. JP finally has a chance to participate, but is there someone trying to stop him?

Redline Best standalone movies
©Katsuhito Ishii, MADHOUSE

Katsuhito Ishii’s story is pretty simple, with a lot of action, some romance, and a bit of conspiracy sprinkled in, the art style and the amazing animation are what make this movie unforgettable. With Takeshi Koike’s direction and character designs, MADHOUSE went all out. Racing scenes are absolute perfection, an amazing blend of colors, action, music, and voice acting. Character designs resemble those of Jojo characters in a way.

If you want a fun movie to simply pop on after a busy week, then Redline is definitely the right choice. Since it’s an original work and has no sequels, it’s a great option for a standalone anime movie. If you still need convincing, take a look at the trailer below:

Redline is available to rent or buy on Google Play.

your name. (2016)

Makoto Shinkai’s your name. is a household name for most anime fans these days. Multiple awards and impressive box office earnings can testify to the movie’s popularity.

your name. best standalone anime movies
© 2016「君の名は。」製作委員会

A gentle and heartwarming story about two people who shouldn’t have met, but somehow did. The plot follows Mitsuha and Taki who have wildly different lifestyles but yearn for a change. Taki is a high schooler in Tokyo, with a busy schedule and distant parents. Mitsuha lives in rural Japan and dreams of moving to a big city and being independent. One day, they both wake up and realize they somehow switched bodies…

Your name. delivers not only an amazing story but also breathtaking animation and music. RADWIMPS worked on the OST, and some of the tracks in the movie are truly amazing. Makoto Shinkai takes his perfectionism to another level, to the point where he even claimed the movie could have been better animated, had there been more time. However, for most fans, the movie will be perfect, especially if you love romance and appreciate fantasy elements.

You can find it on Amazon Prime.

A Silent Voice (2016)

One of the best KyoAni works, A Silent Voice is a complex story about growing up with disabilities, bullying, and mental health. Shouko is deaf, and when she transfers to another school, she becomes a bullying target. Shouya, a boy from her class, is her main tormentor. Soon she leaves the school and Shouya grows up as an outcast. Years later, they meet again and try to reconcile. However, some things can’t be easily forgotten.

A Silent Voice, koe no katachi 
best standalone anime movies
©大今良時・講談社/映画聲の形製作委員会

The story is based on a manga by Yoshitoki Oima, which ran for 62 chapters in 2013 and 2014. Naoko Yamada, best known for her work on the K-ON! franchise, directed the movie. Kensuke Ushio worked on the OST, while late Futoshi Nishiya did the character designs.

While the movie perhaps rushes things a bit, it’s still an enjoyable experience. A lot of manga/anime deal with mental health issues, however, not many do it this well. A Silent Voice manages to do it by showing us the long-term effects of bullying, as well as untreated mental issues. The characters in it aren’t perfect, but that is precisely what makes them so relatable and likable.

A Silent Voice is available on Amazon Prime.

In This Corner of the World (2016)

MAPPA’s In This Corner of the World, a heartwarming, emotional slice-of-life story about a young woman and her family who try to survive the Second World War. It’s similar to the Grave of the Fireflies, but somehow lighter and more hopeful, both in terms of the plot and the art style.

Suzu is a young woman from Hiroshima, who lives with her family and helps raise her siblings. A bit of an airhead and a skilled artist, one day she meets a young man and ends up marrying him – a decision that will take her to the neighboring city of Kure. At first, she struggles to adjust, but soon she learns to love her new family and neighbors. However, the war is looming on the horizon, and quite soon the air raids begin. Will Suzu be able to adjust to her new reality and what kind of future awaits her after the war ends?

In This Corner of the World Best standalone anime movies
© Fumiyo Kouno/Futabasha/Konosekai no katasumini Project

What stands out about this movie is the fact that it’s not really about war. It simply follows the people caught up in it, as they try to go on about their daily lives. There is a scene near the end of the movie, where Japan declares capitulation, and the characters, as well as the viewer, find themselves wondering what it was all for. It’s simple, yet emotional and heartbreaking in ways you never thought were possible.

The art style is unique, and studio MAPPA went out of its way to capture pre-war Hiroshima, using saved photographs as a reference point. The landscape shots are amazing, both from artistic and historical points of view. Sunao Katabuchi directed the movie, which was based on an award-winning manga by Fumiyo Kouno.

You can watch In This Corner of the World on Netflix.

Flavors of Youth (2018)

Flavors of Youth is a Chinese-Japanese anime movie, that was animated by the studio behind your name., CoMix Wave Films, and Chinese Haoliners Animation League. It follows 3 separate stories, all set in China. From fond childhood memories to crushing defeat of first love and harsh realities of everyday life, all 3 of these stories hold valuable messages for the viewer. Because of its simple nature, it’s a good starting point for fans who are looking for standalone anime movies.

©「詩季織々」フィルムパートナーズ

While each of the segments is different story-wise, they all share the same animation style. You can easily see the signature scenes of CoMix Wave Films in this movie, with some amazing scenery shots. The lighting in this movie takes on a completely new form as well, and fans of the studio will easily recognize the style. Food shots, especially present in the first story, are absolutely mouth-watering.

The movie may not be anything groundbreaking, but it is one of those things you will feel good about watching. The stories will make you feel accepted, and as if everything is going to be just fine. The themes for the stories are food, clothing, and shelter.

Flavors of Youth is a Netflix exclusive, so you can find it on Netflix.

It’s nearly impossible to make a list of the best standalone anime movies while limiting the content to only 10 titles. We hope this list serves as a good introduction point and perhaps as a way of finding movies you might have missed. Consider leaving us your own recommendations in the comments!

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Tamara Lazic

Loves anime, books and spends way too much time on Genshin Impact.

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