10 Must-See Hidden Gem Anime Movies

Updated on August 11, 2017

Looking for an anime movie you haven't seen before? This list contains worthwhile movies that are often overlooked, giving you a chance to watch a great movie you might have missed.

10. Flanders no Inu (The Dog of Flanders)


Genres: Drama, Historical

Studio: Nippon Animation

Aired: March 15, 1997

MAL Score: 8.05

Popularity: #3299

Duration: 1 hr 42 min


A tale of hardship and loss, this is the story of the bond between a poor boy and his dog set in 19th-century Belgium.


This is one of those movies you go into knowing it's going to give you feels. I mean, come on, it's a sad movie about a boy and a dog, the most depressing kind of movie. Personally, I found it rather frustrating since the end appeared very preventable, but if you want to cry, this movie is a great choice.

9. Ouritsu Uchuugun: Honneamise no Tsubasa (Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise)


Genres: Action, Drama, Military, Sci-Fi, Space

Studio: Gainax

Aired: March 14, 1987

MAL Score: 7.69

Popularity: #2298

Duration: 2 hr 1 min


Shiro is an unmotivated cadet in the Royal Space Force, an organization that has yet to send anyone into space. When he meets Riquinni Nonderaiko, a young, religious woman interested in space exploration, he begins to change and mature. This leads him to volunteer as a pilot for a rocket ship under construction. However, the warmongering government may have other plans for the Royal Space Force.


This is an enjoyable movie, for the most part. It's got action, romance, and even a bit of comedy. I had mixed feelings about the main character, but I enjoyed the old engineer guys and the action towards the end.

8. Wata no Kuni Hoshi (The Star of Cottonland)


Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Psychological, Romance, Shoujo

Studio: Mushi Production

Aired: February 11, 1984

MAL Score: 7.08

Popularity: #6008

Duration: 1 hr 36 min


Two-month-old kitten Chibi-neko believes she is a small human who can speak human words, though people only hear her meow. After being abandoned by her former owners, she is taken in by 18-year-old Tokio, who she falls in love with. After hearing about a paradise called Cottonland, where dreams come true, she sets off to find it.


This movie is cute but weird. There are some very pleasant scenes and character growth. However, it should be noted that there are a lot of people in the movie who are mean to poor, little kittens. If that makes you uncomfortable, maybe take a pass on this one.

7. Fuse: Teppou Musume no Torimonochou (Fusé: Memoirs of a Huntress)


Genres: Action, Drama, Historical, Supernatural

Studio: TMS Entertainment

Aired: October 20, 2012

MAL Score: 7.49

Popularity: #2694

Duration: 1 hr 50 min


Hamaji, a female hunter, comes to stay with her brother and hunt Fuse, half-dog, half-humans with a need to kill. Little does she know, one may become her closest friend, or even more.


This is an enjoyable movie. It has action, suspense, and romance. There was a part towards the climax that was weird, but I liked the vibrant colors, the energy of the city, and the ending.

6. Roujin Z (Elderly Person Z)


Genres: Comedy, Drama, Mecha, Sci-Fi

Aired: September 14, 1991

MAL Score: 7.14

Popularity: #3176

Duration: 1 hr 19 min


The Z Project intends to use machines to take care of the elderly without human intervention. However, the true intentions of the company behind it are dubious, and the machine develops a mind of its own. What will become of the old man strapped to the test machine?


This is a fun watch. There is a lot of comedy, some enjoyable action, and even some romance. Don't go into this expecting something serious because most of it is pure silliness, but it's a fun ride that even has a touching moment or two.

5. Nitaboh


Genres: Historical, Music

Aired: February 21, 2004

MAL Score: 7.51

Popularity: #4385

Duration: 1 hr 39 min


Nitaro becomes blind at a young age, but after he inherits a shamisen from his mother and learns from a blind traveling shamisen player, it becomes apparent that he has a gift. One day he will eventually come to found the Tsugaru style of shamisen playing.


This is a pleasant movie with nice music. There isn't really much action but it does get exciting towards the end. There is a hint of romance, though I wanted a bit more.

4. Majokko Shimai no Yoyo to Nene (Magical Sisters Yoyo & Nene)


Genres: Fantasy, Magic

Studio: ufotable

Aired: December 28, 2013

MAL Score: 7.61

Popularity: #3300

Duration: 1 hr 40 min


Sisters Yoyo and Nene are magic users for hire in a fantasy world. One day buildings appear from another world, and while exploring them, Yoyo is transported to our world. There she encounters two children whose parents have turned into monsters. Will she be able to save them and return to her world?


This is a fun ride. Yes, some of it doesn't exactly make sense, but if you don't take it too seriously, you'll enjoy it. There is plenty of action to keep you entertained.

3. Mai Mai Shinko to Sennen no Mahou (Mai Mai Shinko and the Millennium-Old Magic)


Genres: Adventure, Drama

Studio: Madhouse

Aired: August 15, 2009

MAL Score: 7.34

Popularity: #3744

Duration: 1 hr 33 min


Kiiko is a new third grade transfer student from Tokyo who is having trouble fitting in until her classmate Shinko befriends her and shares her daydreams of a girl one thousand years ago.


This is a nice coming of age movie. The countryside atmosphere is very peaceful and the movie evokes a range of emotions. There is also a little comedy, but overall this is a serious movie, despite the fantasy elements.

2. Giovanni no Shima (Giovanni's Island)


Genres: Drama, Historical

Studio: Production I.G

Aired: February 22, 2014

MAL Score: 7.83

Popularity: #2990

Duration: 1 hr 42 min


Soon after the end of World War II, Soviet soldiers invade and occupy the island of Shikotan. Brothers Junpei and Kanta are forced to move into the stable with their family while the Russian commander and his family, including his daughter Tanya, move into their house. This is the story of how the Japanese and Russians interact during these troubled times, focusing on the lives of the children affected.


This is a touching movie with a good balance of heartwarming and sad moments, another great movie for feels. It will make you cry, but it is more than just a tear-jerker. The characters are engaging and the historical aspects provide an added dimension. Also, for those familiar with Night on the Galactic Railroad, there are frequent references.

1. Omae Umasou da na (You Are Umasou)


Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Kids

Studio: Ajia-Do

Aired: October 16, 2010

MAL Score: 8.11

Popularity: #3719

Duration: 1 hr 30 min


A Tyrannosaurus named Heart is raised by a herbivorous dinosaur alongside her own son, making him think he too is a herbivore. An encounter with other carnivores causes him to have an identity crisis and results in him leaving. Later he meets a baby Ankylosaurus and, intending to eat it, calls it Umasou (looks delicious). However, Umasou thinks Heart is his father, and they end up developing a familial bond.


This is the cutest movie. The family dynamics are very heartwarming and the story is entertaining. If you're looking for a good kids movie, this one is ideal. It's family friendly and has great morals. It's also fun for adults and will be sure to make you smile.

What's your favorite hidden gem anime movie? Comment below!

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