Table of content    
  1. Princess Mononoke (1997)
  2. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
  3. The Cat's Return (2002)
  4. Suzume no Tojimari (2022)
  5. Weathering With You (2019)
  6. A Whisker Away (2020)
  7. Belle (2021)
  8. The Boy And The Beast (2015)
  9. Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
  10. Spirited Away (2001)

10 Must-Watch Anime Movies If You Like The Boy And The Heron

At last, Hayao Miyazaki’s final creation is out in theaters. The Boy and the Heron quickly earns positive reviews from both fans and critics, and is widely considered a worthy goodbye from the legendary Japanese director. Following the footsteps of a young boy named Mahito to the fantasy realm to revive his mother, the animated film takes us on yet another whimsical adventure with magical creatures and stunning visuals.
I have to admit, I felt a little bit sad when the credit rolled, and I’m sure plenty of you guys feel the same. And, in case you just can’t get enough of The Boy and the Heron, here are 10 similar anime Movies you should definitely check out later. Let’s get into an adventure full of magic and fantasy with these 10 anime below.

#1. Princess Mononoke (1997)

Princess Mononoke (1997) Source: Studio Ghibli
In the mystical realm of Princess Mononoke, also directed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, the protagonist Ashitaka becomes entangled in a conflict between industrial humans and the Forest Gods. As he seeks a cure for a curse, he encounters San the fierce and determined human girl who was raised by wolves, and bears deep hatred for humanity. 
Released in 1997, the film is widely considered one of the best Ghibli movies of all time. It is celebrated for its breathtaking animation, complex characters, and its exploration of the delicate balance between humanity and nature.

#2. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

My Neighbor Totoro (1988) Source: Studio Ghibli
Admit it, who doesn’t want to immerse in the magical world of Totoro and his friends? Released in 1988, My Neighbor Totoro, another enchanting creation by Hayao Miyazaki, follows the delightful adventures of two young sisters, Satsuke and Mei, who move to the countryside and befriend the whimsical forest spirits, including the iconic Totoro. 
Featuring almost no drama, My Neighbor Totoro’s heartwarming tale is cherished for its innocence, magical charm, escapism, and the profound connection it fosters with the wonders of childhood.

#3. The Cat's Return (2002)

The Cat's Return (2002) Source: Studio Ghibli
In terms of setting, The Cat’s Return is like a more light-hearted and girly version of The Boy and the Heron. The anime spins a whimsical tale centered around Haru, a high school girl who saves a cat’s life, only to find herself engaged to the feline Prince Lune of the Cat Kingdom. 
Directed by Hiroyuki Morita, this delightful Ghibli masterpiece is adored for its charming characters, imaginative storytelling, and the exploration of self-discovery and courage. It also inspires many young girls in the world to get themselves a feline friend!

#4. Suzume no Tojimari (2022)

Suzume no Tojimari (2022) Source: Toho
The latest animated sensation by the talented Shinkai Makoto, Suzume no Tojimari tells the faithful encounter between Suzume, a young high school girl, and Sota, a college student who can seal mysterious “doors” across Japan. As the latter’s human form is taken away by a mischievous spirit, the two travel across Japan together, saving the country from natural disasters by sealing “doors”, while also finding a way to turn Sota back to normal.
As with many other Shinkai Makoto films, the course of Suzume no Tojimari is filled with breathtaking animation, bittersweet romance, and magical tales that are tied heavily to Japanese culture.

#5. Weathering With You (2019)

Weathering With You (2019) Source: Toho
Another animated masterpiece directed by Makoto Shinkai, Weathering With You follows the journey of Hodaka and Hina, a special girl who can control rainy weather at her will. This visually stunning anime explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the profound impact of human actions on nature. Also, have I mentioned that the anime’s soundtracks are all absolute bangers?

#6. A Whisker Away (2020)

A Whisker Away (2020) Source: Netflix
Japanese studios tend to have a knack for seamlessly weaving magical elements into normal slice-of-life settings, and A Whisker Away is a good example. The anime tells the enchanting story of Miyo Sasaki, who can transform into a cat to get closer to her crush, a huge feline lover. 
The film weaves a tale of self-acceptance and the magic found in embracing one's true self. It’s also pretty intriguing to see how Miyo manages to use her superpower in her ordinary life, and how the two’s relationship gradually blossoms towards the end.

#7. Belle (2021)

Belle (2021) Source: Netflix
Instead of focusing on a fantasy dreamland like others in this list, Belle explores the vast and enthralling virtual world of U, where the shy Suzu Naito takes on the persona of Belle, a virtual diva who has thousands of followers. As she navigates this digital realm, she discovers the complexities of identity, fame, and the power of connection.

#8. The Boy And The Beast (2015)

The Boy And The Beast (2015) Source: Toho
The 2015 award-winning, The Boy and the Beast follows the unlikely bond between Kyuta, a young boy, and Kumatetsu, a bear-like creature from the beast realm. As they embark on a journey of growth and self-discovery, the film captivates audiences with its rich storytelling, vibrant animation, action-packed swordfighting, and themes of mentorship and forgiveness.

#9. Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

Howl's Moving Castle (2004) Source: Studio Ghibli
Hayao Miyazaki weaves yet another mesmerizing love story that blooms in the middle of warfare. The anime unfolds the fantastical tale of Sophie, a young woman cursed to inhabit an elderly body, and Howl, an eccentric yet charming wizard whose real identity is shrouded in mystery. If you’re a fan of Miyazaki’s trademark theme of escapism, you’ll surely love Howls’ Moving Castle.

#10. Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away (2001) Source: Studio Ghibli
There’s not much needed to say about Spirited Away, really. The only anime to win an Academy Award so far in history, Spirited Away follows Chihiro to the enchanting spirit realm, where she must find a way to save her parents who were transformed into pigs. 
Here, she meets all kinds of mystical and perilous characters, such as the gentle Haku, the greedy No Face, or the cynical Yubaba. Watching Chihiro grow as a character in the movie, we feel like we’ve grown as human beings in real life as well.
Do you think these 10 anime movies we’ve recommended can rival The Boy and the Heron in terms of animation and story? Tell us more in the comment section.
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