Anime movies are a real delight to watch. They combine all real life elements similar to a motion picture. Yet, the absence of real-life people or real-life objects is what makes them so special and also powerful. Like real motion pictures, anime movies are of similar length and have a strong story to support the playtime. While anime movies can be of different genres, we will discuss only the action anime movies here. The basic essence of action anime films is so profound that they have easily reserved their place in the hearts of anime lovers. As my top anime advice, let us discuss the 10 best action anime movies, which have been tagged as classics and trendsetters by anime lovers and have since created a cult following them.
Imagine a film made in 1988 still cherished by fans all over the world and equally accepted by the new generation. Well, the movie Akira is what’s being talked about. Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, who created the manga of the same name, Akira is an epic animated science fiction action cult classic film, which takes place in a futuristic Neo Tokyo. A secret military project creates psionics called espers, which inadvertently leads to the destruction of Neo Tokyo. The main character Akira was the first and most powerful esper, whose psychic power led to the destruction of Tokyo during World War III. It is considered as one of the greatest science fiction movies to ever be made and is definitely one of the top action anime movies.
Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell is an anime cult action film directed by Mamoru Oshii based on the manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow. Set in the dystopian future, it follows the story of Motoko Kusanagi, a public security officer of Section 9 assigned to track down a mysterious ghost hacker titled as the “Puppet Master”. The film follows the quest of Motoko on her new assigned mission, which leads her to the mysterious Project 2501 created by the corrupt Section 6, which in turn was responsible for the creation of the antagonist. It is considered to be a benchmark for science fiction films and is hence rightfully tagged as one of best action anime movies.
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
The movie follows the story of D, a bounty hunter hired to bring back a young girl named Charlotte, who has been kidnaped by a noble vampire named Meier Link. The film is based on the novel Demon Deathchase, the third in Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D series. If you are a fan of hardcore anime action, then this film will surely satisfy you with loads of demon slaying action.
A critically acclaimed Japanese animated action film, released in 1993. Ninja Scroll depicts the events of a bloody battle, set in feudal Japan, between a ninja and the eight devils of Kimon. The film was written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. The anime movie has gained immense popularity due to its narrative style of the journey of the protagonist Koichi Yamadera, a ninja, whose character is inspired by the Japanese folk hero Yagyu Jubei Mitsuyoshi.
If you only expect plenty of action in a film, then Princess Mononoke is your choice of an action anime movie. Set in the late Muromachi period, the story revolves around a young Ashitaka, the last prince of the Emishi tribe, determined to restore peace between the forest spirits and humans, who consume the forest’s resources. Princess Mononoke is considered to be one of the best action anime movies until today. It gradually became the highest grossing film of all time till the release of Titanic later in the same year.
Cowboy Bebop – The Movie
Hardcore anime lovers are well acquainted with the name “Cowboy Bebop” for the television series, that ran through 1998-1999 and won million hearts with its 26 limited episodes. Based on the same storyline between episode 22 and 23, Cowboy Bebop – The Movie follows the story of the space bounty hunter crew on the spaceship named Bebop, assigned to take down a chemical terrorist threatening to destroy the planet Mars with an unknown pathogen. Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe and produced by Sun Studios, Cowboy Bebop is considered a classic in the world of action anime movies.
Street Fighter II – The Animated Movie
Ever imagined to recreate a game into a movie? The creators of this movie did this thing in reality by making a film based on the popular fighting game series of the same name. The film is written by Kenichi Imai and directed by Gisaburo Sugii. It follows the story of Ryu, a street fighter taking on a crime lord named Bison, who is bent to defeat the greatest fighters of the world. The film has a large following ever since and serves as an inspiration for the live-action film starring Van Damme.
Created by “Ghost in the Shell” fame, Masamune Shirow, Appleseed is a computer animated science fiction action film featuring some eye-catching animation. The film revolves around the former Deunan Kute, who embarks to restore peace with her cyborg partner in a post-apocalyptic Utopian city “Olympus”, whose population consists of genetically modified clones called Bioroids and humans in about the same proportions. The artificial Bioroids, who have hardly any feelings like anger or fear, were created with the intention to balance the human society and bring peace. But certain organizations are against it and want to disrupt the balance and peace once more. Appleseed and also its successor Appleseed – Ex Machina are definitely must watch for all fans, who love action, science fiction and epic soundtrack.
Sword of the Stranger
Sword of the Stranger is directed by Masahiro Ando and produced by Bones, the same studio co-producing the classic Cowboy Bebop – The Movie. The film follows the story of a young boy named Kotaro and his dog as they meet a retired ronin, Nanashi while running away from mysterious swordsmen hunting them for mysterious reasons. While avoiding to draw his sword ever again, Nanashi is caught between morality and commitment as he agrees to take Kotaro to a remote Buddhist temple. Sword of the Stranger is my top anime tip. It is a masterpiece of its genre. Everybody, who likes Samurai and Sword films, atmospheric soundtrack and top-notch animations, will love Sword of the Stranger.
Fist of the North Star
The last to include on our list, but not the least, is Fist of the North Star. Like most other anime action movies, it is an adaptation of a manga series of the same name. With violent elements, similar to the manga and set in a post-apocalyptic world, the story is based on the protagonist Kenshiro, who goes in search of his wife Yuria after being heavily defeated by his former friend Shin. The film is directed by Toyoo Yashida, who also directed the first film of the Vampire Hunter D Series.