Avatar is the highest grossing movie in history. That is clear to all of us. But, if we leave the real image, the titles that dispute the honor – and the cockiness, why not say it – of having raised more than any other are different. Animated blockbusters and, specifically, those of Japanese animation, exist in a world apart. First, because its audience, although it is increasingly massive, continues to function as a niche, so you have to look at its figures with perspective. And second, because for that very reason, the ranking does not stop changing.
The anime audience is so dedicated and moves in such dynamic fashions that practically every Japanese animated film that has any degree of success ends up becoming the highest grossing film of all time. In live action cinema, the position has been disputed by the same two films for more than a decade. In anime, however, a new blockbuster title topples the previous one almost every year. This makes the list of the highest-grossing anime films of all time much more varied: we have many Studio Ghibli movies, sure (here’s a guide on where to see them all), but also isolated phenomena from cult directors, some that another adaptation of a video game to the big screen and even movie versions of animes that are normally broadcast in series. The latter, which in another time might have seemed like cheap side projects with a whiff of DVD, have been dominating the billboard lately.
If you think Spirited Away is still the highest-grossing anime film of all time, you’re wrong (and you’re getting older). If you think that the bombshell that was Your Name in its day continues to reign over the collections of Japanese animated films, more of the same. The most successful anime movie right now is quite another, one that you probably haven’t even heard of. Let’s go from position 10 to top 1:
The 10 Highest Grossing Movies in Anime History
Pokemon: The Movie (1998)
The least grossing of the ten films that make up this list is what in Spain we know as Pokemon: The Movie , which in reality was nothing more than a mix made with a special episode of the series, a short prologue and a feature film about Mewtwo, one of the most powerful Pokemon. It has raised $172,744,662 to date.
One Piece Film: Red (2022)
It has practically just been released and is already ranked ninth among the highest grossing anime films. This parallel story to one of the most successful anime series (whose manga is also the world’s longest book) has already grossed $165,533,514. It’s her fault that Princess Mononoke , which once ranked at the top of the list, now doesn’t even appear on it.
Always by your side, Doraemon (2014)
Nostalgia moves mountains, and if not, tell it to this 3D CG-based remake of one of the most endearing anime series of our childhood (which also had some pretty commendable two-dimensional movies). It accumulates about 183,442,714 dollars at the box office.
Time with you (2019)
The second great success of independent director Makoto Shinkai fell short of his first hit in the ranking (do you know which one we’re talking about?), but it didn’t do bad numbers for that. This doomsday romance story has grossed $193,715,360.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie (2021)
Another of the most recent entries on the list. Based on one of the anime series that has been hitting the big time lately, the film went directly to sixth place in the ranking and has already grossed $196,047,295.
Ponyo on the Cliff (2008)
It ‘s surprising that a movie like this ranks above Princess Mononoke , a much better-known and valued example of Studio Ghibli’s filmography. However, Miyazaki is Miyazaki and he knew how to connect with viewers from all over the world with this reinterpretation of the Little Mermaid. It has raised $204,826,668.
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
Miyazaki’s penultimate jewel that finds a place in the ranking . This film, released just three years after the biggest success in Ghibli history, has earned a very creditable fourth place on the list in its own right. It has raised 236,323,601 dollars.
If Makoto Shinkai broke the mold with Time With You , Your Name was directly passing the game. This romance between an urban boy and a country girl, crossed by a time travel plot, was able to transcend the barriers of the anime niche and attract the attention of Hollywood, where a live -action remake has been in the works for years . So far, the animated version has grossed $380,140,500.
Spirited Away (2001)
The immortal Studio Ghibli has to settle for the silver medal in this ranking . His highest-rated work in and outside of Japan—named no less than the 75th best film ever by the British Film Institute—has reigned on this list for years, but its time has passed. In total, it has raised $395,580,000.
Night Watch: Infinity Train (2020)
The first place in the ranking of the highest-grossing anime films in history is for this spin-off in the form of a feature film of Watchmen of the Night , a very successful series also known by the titles Demon Slayer or, directly, Kimetsu no Yaiba.Ni The coronavirus pandemic at full power was able to stop the tsunamis of the public (mainly Asian, mind you) that pounced on movie theaters as soon as the film was released. Its collection is heart-stopping: $506,523,013.