Anime Films Aimed At Adults: 10 Great Movies That Prove Anime Isn’t Just For Kids

I’ve often come across the misconception that anime is just for kids. Trust me; it couldn’t be further from the truth. Anime isn’t limited to cute magical girls, adorable creatures, and colorful adventures. It’s a medium that’s as diverse as any other in the realm of entertainment, catering to audiences of all ages. Today, I’m here to shatter that misconception once and for all by presenting the best mature anime movies aimed at adults.

The movies below are gems that explore complex themes, tackle mature subjects, and deliver narratives that resonate with grown-up viewers.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at anime films aimed at adults!

10. The Garden of Words

  • Studio: CoMix Wave Films
  • Aired On: May 31, 2013 (Japan)
  • Length: 46 minutes

The Garden of Words is a mesmerizing anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai, known for his exceptional storytelling and stunning visuals. This movie is a masterclass in capturing the beauty of everyday life through animation.


Set in Tokyo, the story follows two seemingly disconnected individuals who find solace in a shared secret garden during rainy mornings. Takao, a high school student aspiring to be a shoemaker, meets Yukari, a mysterious woman who seems to have her own reasons for seeking refuge in this hidden oasis. The garden becomes the backdrop for their chance encounters and a place where they can escape their respective troubles.

What truly sets The Garden of Words apart is its meticulous attention to detail. The animation is so breathtakingly realistic that you can almost feel the raindrops and hear the rustling of leaves. The film deals with themes of loneliness, connection, and the significance of finding someone who understands you in a world that often feels indifferent.

9. Redline

  • Studio: Madhouse
  • Aired On: August 14, 2009 (Japan)
  • Length: 102 minutes

Redline is a high-octane, visually stunning, and adrenaline-pumping anime film that takes you on a wild ride. Directed by Takeshi Koike, this movie is a true feast for the eyes, known for its jaw-dropping, hand-drawn animation that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in traditional animation.

The anime revolves around JP, a talented but rebellious racer, as he competes in the most dangerous and prestigious intergalactic racing event known as the “Redline.” Set on a distant and diverse alien planet, the film introduces viewers to a bizarre and colorful cast of characters, each with their unique vehicles and personalities.


As the racers rev up their engines, the movie kicks into high gear, delivering heart-pounding action sequences, high-speed chases, and mind-bending physics-defying stunts.

8. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade

  • Studio: Production I.G
  • Aired On: November 17, 1999
  • Length: 102 minutes

A dark and thought-provoking anime film, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade stands as a compelling choice among mature anime movies. It blends political intrigue, psychological drama, and intense action into a gripping narrative. Directed by Hiroyuki Okiura and written by Mamoru Oshii, this movie is a part of the larger Kerberos Saga, known for its dystopian and politically charged themes.

The anime takes place in alternate-history Japan, where the country is under the control of a powerful government known as the Capital Police. The film follows Kazuki Fuse, a member of the Special Unit, a paramilitary organization tasked with maintaining order and suppressing civil unrest. The Special Unit is equipped with powerful armored suits and operates ruthlessly to quell any opposition.

While this movie is not a light-hearted or action-packed anime, it is a must-watch for those who appreciate complex narratives that challenge viewers to contemplate the moral dilemmas faced by its characters. It’s a haunting and thought-provoking film that lingers in the mind long after the credits roll.


7. Princess Mononoke

  • Studio: Studio Ghibli
  • Aired On: July 12, 1997
  • Length: 134 minutes

Princess Mononoke is a timeless masterpiece directed by the renowned Hayao Miyazaki, and it’s often considered one of the greatest anime films ever made. It’s not just an animated film; it’s a cinematic work of art that appeals to viewers of all ages.

The film takes place in an enchanting and mythical version of ancient Japan, where humans and nature spirits coexist, though not always peacefully. The story focuses on Ashitaka, a young prince who becomes cursed during a confrontation with a cursed boar demon. In search of a cure, he embarks on a journey into the heart of a forest inhabited by various supernatural beings, including the enigmatic Princess Mononoke, a human raised by wolves.

At its core, Princess Mononoke is a tale of the struggle between industrialization and nature, with complex characters who inhabit the gray areas between good and evil. The film tackles deep themes like environmentalism, the consequences of human greed, and the clash between traditional and modern values.

6. Millennium Actress

  • Studio: Madhouse
  • Aired On: September 14, 2002
  • Length: 87 minutes

Millennium Actress, directed by Satoshi Kon, is a true standout among mature anime movies. Kon is well-known for his unique storytelling style, which often blurs the boundaries between reality and fiction. This heartfelt and emotionally resonant film invites viewers to ponder the relationship between reality and fiction, the passage of time, and the stories that shape our lives.


Chiyoko Fujiwara is a retired actress who has become somewhat of a recluse. When a documentary filmmaker and his cameraman set out to interview her, Chiyoko’s life story unfolds in a captivating and nonlinear narrative. The film skillfully interweaves her film roles with her personal experiences, blurring the lines between her on-screen characters and her true self.

The film explores themes of love, dedication, and the transformative power of storytelling. Chiyoko’s relentless pursuit of a mysterious man she met only briefly as a young girl becomes a symbol of her unwavering commitment to her craft and her desire to reunite with a lost love.

5. Paprika

  • Studio: Madhouse
  • Aired On: November 25, 2006
  • Length: 90 minutes

Paprika is a visually dazzling and mind-bending anime film directed by Satoshi Kon who is famed for his exploration of psychological and surreal themes. The movie has become famous for its breathtaking and surreal dream sequences where the laws of physics and logic are constantly shifting.

It’s set in a near-futuristic world where a device known as the DC Mini allows therapists to enter patients’ dreams and explore their innermost thoughts and emotions. The titular character, Dr. Atsuko Chiba, uses this technology under the pseudonym “Paprika” to help patients confront their psychological issues.


However, when the DC Mini technology is stolen and used to invade people’s dreams without their consent, chaos ensues. Dreams and reality begin to intertwine, and the line between the two becomes increasingly blurred. Dr. Chiba, along with her colleagues and friends, must unravel the mystery behind the stolen device and prevent a full-scale disaster.

Fans were captivated by how it challenges them to question the nature of reality and the fragility of the human mind.

4. Grave of the Fireflies

  • Studio: Studio Ghibli
  • Aired On: April 16, 1988
  • Length: 89 minutes

One of the saddest mature anime movies, Grave of the Fireflies is a touching and emotionally intense masterpiece directed by Isao Takahata and produced by Studio Ghibli. It’s a hauntingly beautiful yet heartbreaking tale set against the backdrop of Japan during World War II.

The story follows two siblings, Seita and Setsuko, as they struggle to survive in the midst of the war’s devastating effects. After their home is destroyed in an air raid, the young brother and sister are left to fend for themselves. They face hunger, disease, and the indifference of a society overwhelmed by the war. The film poignantly portrays the harsh realities of wartime Japan, especially for civilians.


This heartfelt film takes a deep dive into resilience, sacrifice, and how war can affect innocent lives. It’s a solid pick for people who want a movie that really shows the grit and determination of the human spirit when life gets tough.

3. Perfect Blue

  • Studio: Madhouse
  • Aired On: February 28, 1997
  • Length: 81 minutes

If you watch anime AMVs and like Lana Del Rey, you’ve probably already seen some scenes from this movie on YouTube. Many AMV editors love to include Perfect Blue because of its aesthetics, often making it an essential choice in their creative endeavors.

The film follows the journey of Mima, a former pop idol pursuing an acting career. As her world blurs between reality and delusion, a series of disturbing events unfolds, blurring the lines between identity and obsession.

Perfect Blue is a mature film with a thought-provoking narrative that deals with the depths of fame, sanity, and blurred boundaries of perception.


2. Ghost in the Shell

  • Studio: Production I.G
  • Aired On: November 18, 1995 (Japan)
  • Length: 82 minutes

One of the most iconic mature anime movies, Ghost in the Shell is a masterpiece. The film’s influence on the sci-fi genre, both in anime and beyond, is undeniable. It has inspired countless works, including films like The Matrix.

The movie invites you into a world where cyborg Major Motoko Kusanagi hunts a mysterious hacker known as the Puppet Master.

In a future where humans are interconnected with technology, it delves into questions of identity, humanity, and the nature of consciousness.

The detailed and immersive portrayal of a futuristic, cyberpunk world is nothing short of mesmerizing. Moreover, Ghost in the Shell features complex mysteries and philosophical explorations that’ll challenge your perception of reality.


1. Akira

  • Studio: Tokyo Movie Shinsha (TMS Entertainment)
  • Aired On: July 16, 1988
  • Length: 125 minutes

Akira is a cyberpunk anime movie that left an indelible mark on the world of animation and science fiction. Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, who also wrote the manga it’s based on, this film is a landmark in the medium, known for its groundbreaking animation, dystopian cyberpunk setting, and complex narrative.

This cyberpunk masterpiece follows Kaneda and Tetsuo, friends caught in a web of government conspiracy and psychic powers after a mysterious explosion. Tetsuo gains formidable telekinetic abilities, leading to a clash between power and control in a city on the brink of chaos.

The film offers explosive action, intense motorcycle chases, and a mind-bending plot that explores power, friendship, and the darker aspects of human nature.

For fans of cyberpunk, dystopian futures, and animation as a medium for mature storytelling, Akira is a must-watch that showcases the enduring power of animation to tackle complex themes and captivate audiences across generations.


Blogger / Jujutsu Sorcerer / Unpredictable knuckle head Ninja that spends his free time writing, reading, watching and playing all things Anime, Manga and Gaming.

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