In this era of streaming platforms as the primary access point to media, movie lovers are less likely than ever to purchase individual movie titles. Even anime movies, which account for far less of mainstream media than American-produced live-action movies, have found themselves a home on one streaming service or another.


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Most notably, HBO Max has amassed nearly every Studio Ghibli movie, from the internationally acclaimed Spirited Away to hidden gems like Only Yesterday. Yet despite the hefty acquisitions of HBO Max and other streaming platforms, there are still quite a few incredible and even highly acclaimed anime movies that viewers will not be able to enjoy with a subscription. Here are just a few of the amazing anime movies that are currently unavailable on North American streaming services.

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10/10 Grave Of The Fireflies (1988)Grave of the Fireflies Setsuko standing

This notorious tearjerker is the only Studio Ghibli movie missing from HBO Max’s lineup, due to its distribution rights belonging to the Shinchosha Publishing Co. Whether viewers would rather rent, purchase, or wait until the movie finds its way onto a streaming platform, Grave Of The Fireflies is a must-see for anyone who considers themselves a movie connoisseur.

Adapted from a short story based on Japanese author, Akiyuki Nosaka’s, own experiences during World War I, the movie has been considered by critics as both one of the best war movies ever made and an iconic piece of Japanese animation.

9/10 Your Name (2016)

Despite being one of the highest-grossing anime movies of all time both worldwide and in Japan, this critically acclaimed fantasy romance is nowhere to be found in the realm of streaming. A mesmerizing blend of gorgeous animation, melodious songs, an entrancing narrative, and a myriad of covert details that need a few rewatches to catch, Your Name is well worth a spot in any entertainment collection.

A live-action remake is currently in the works, with J.J. Abrams as co-producer. Hopefully, the reimagined movie will, unlike its predecessor, be available to stream.

8/10 My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (2019)

Heroes Rising is the popular manga series’s second movie. The plot takes place after the events of the manga Meta Liberation Army arc. My Hero Academia’s creator and supervisor of its movies, Kōhei Horikoshi, has confirmed that all of MHA’s movies are canon to the manga. Therefore both fans and non-fans of the manga will want to make sure they’re up-to-date on the plot in order to avoid potential spoilers and to have the story context necessary to fully enjoy the movie.

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MHA’s third movie, World Heroes’ Mission, will begin streaming on Crunchyroll in August 2020 so subscribers should speedily rent or purchase Heroes Rising in order to watch its sequel the moment it drops.

7/10 Code Geass: Lelouch Of The Re;Surrection (2019)

Lelouch Of The Re;Surrection serves as the sequel to the three-part Code Geass compilation movie, which set up an alternate universe from the critically acclaimed Code Geass mecha anime series. Although the movies have already established themselves as having their own canon storyline, Re;Surrection is particularly controversial among fans of the original series for drastically altering the show’s iconic ending.

However, with the announcement of a sequel anime series in Re;Surrection’s alternate universe, viewers should consider putting canon divergence pet peeves aside to see where this new storyline goes.

6/10 Professor Layton And The Eternal Diva (2009)

Rather than being adapted from an anime or manga series, this movie is based on the Professor Layton puzzle video game franchise. The movie features an original plotline that’s loosely tied to the games and retains its trademark puzzles. Though viewers will have to either click pause or think fast in order to solve the puzzles before the characters do.

The art style, like the games, is simple but charming and the usual pleasant soundtrack, which features an actual orchestra, has a few particularly enchanting tracks in consideration of its opera setting.

5/10 Paprika (2006)

Perfect Blue’s director, Satoshi Kon, once again weaves a narrative that ponders the fine line between reality and fantasy in this surreal psychological thriller. Based on the eponymous novel, the movie revolves around Doctor Atsuko Chiba as she attempts to use the device her research team has created, one that allows users to enter people’s dreams in a form of psychotherapy.

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Paprika is the alter ego that Chiba adopts when in the dream world, which she uses to help psychiatric patients heal themselves through their dreams. When one of the dream devices is stolen, Chiba/Paprika frantically searches for the thief as dreams, nightmares, and the world of the awake begin to bleed together.

4/10 Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005)

One of the less common instances of a computer-animated anime movie, this cinematographic sequel to the landmark game Final Fantasy VII is a must-watch for passionate players. That said, it’s a difficult movie to truly enjoy without knowledge of Final Fantasy VII’s plot.

Advent Children begins two years after the game’s events, following Cloud Strife as he grapples with the guilt of having been unable to save people he cared about, particularly Aerith Gainsborough. On top of dealing with his emotions, Cloud must also contend with a mysterious illness that he and many others have become infected with.

3/10 Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)

Fans of the groundbreaking anime that were left disappointed by its live-action adaption, or anyone who is still emotional about the anime’s final moments, will, unfortunately, be unable to turn to Cowboy Bebop: The Movie for comfort unless they’re willing to shell out money to rent or buy a copy.

Also known in Japan by the title Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, the movie takes place between the anime’s twenty-second and twenty-third episodes and shows the bounty hunter gang on a hunt for a bioterrorist who is planning to eradicate human life on Mars.

2/10 The Anthem Of The Heart (2015)

From the Super Peace Busters, the title of the creative team that created Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, comes this slightly fantastical yet painfully real movie about rediscovering one’s voice. The Anthem of the Heart tells the tale of Jun, an imaginative girl that is rendered mute by a fairy’s curse after she accidentally exposes her father’s affair.

Jun enters high school still unable to speak but upon learning that she still has the ability to sing, begins to turn toward music as a way of expressing what’s in her heart. It’s an emotional movie and one that’s well worth a watch for fans of the genre.

1/10 Pokemon: The First Movie (1998)

This movie may not seem too impressive to many movie critics or those who aren’t already fans of the Pokemon games or anime series but for those who are, and especially those who grew up with it, Pokemon: The First Movie is an incredibly fun and memorable entry in the franchise.

The movie has received a remake in the form of Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution but the reincarnation doesn’t quite capture the charm of the original. If viewers do want to rent or purchase the original, they should be sure to select the Japanese version. The English dub unfortunately neuters much of the original dialogue, particularly in regard to the subject of ethics and morality.

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