Updated on May 29, 9:30 a.m. (GMT+8): Improved relevancy. 

Updated on May 29, 9:00 a.m. (GMT+8): Added The Boy and the Heron.

Two tickets to the highest-grossing anime movie of all time, please.

Throughout the years, Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli has dominated the anime box office with feature films such as Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Boy and the Heron, and Spirited Away.

These four movies are among the 10 highest-grossing anime movies worldwide and have grossed millions of dollars since their release.

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Makoto Shinkai’s works Your Name and Suzume no Tojimari are also on top of the charts.

Films from shonen franchises like Jujutsu Kaisen, Demon Slayer, and One Piece are on the rise, all of which broke records during their respective premieres.

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From heartwarming tales of love and friendship to epic clashes between good and evil, each one is a story written to inspire.

But you don’t have to be a magic-wielding badass to make a difference — even everyday heroes can rise with small acts and change the lives of those they care about for the better.

Top 10 highest-grossing anime movies of all time

10. Jujutsu Kaisen 0
9. Ponyo
8. Howl’s Moving Castle
7. One Piece Film: Red
6. The First Slam Dunk
5. The Boy and the Heron
4. Suzume no Tojimari
3. Your Name
2. Spirited Away
1. Demon Slayer Mugen Train

10. Jujutsu Kaisen 0

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 characters from the movie
Credit: MAPPA, ONE Esports

Worldwide gross: US$196,290,952
Animation studio:
Release date:
December 2021

The Jujutsu Kaisen anime series welcomes you to a world of cursed energy and spirits, starring protagonists Yuji Itadori, Nobara Kugisaki, and Megumi Fushiguro.

Diving a bit deeper into the anime’s lore, the prequel movie, Jujutsu Kaisen 0, lets fans in on the tale of Yuta Okkotsu, a high-school student haunted by the cursed spirit of his childhood friend, Rika Orimoto.

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The film takes place before the events that transpired in Season 1, featuring a younger Gojo Satoru guiding Yuta on how to control Rika.

The movie debuted in December 2021 in Japan, before premiering worldwide in 2022. It also cemented itself as the highest-grossing movie of 2021 in Japan, after earning US$91 million.

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8. Ponyo

Ponyo wallpaper
Credit: Studio Ghibli

Worldwide gross: US$204,826,668
Animation studio:
Studio Ghibli
Release date:
July 2008

Hayao Miyazaki’s works are simply blockbusters, and Ponyo is no exception. It revolves around the adventures of a goldfish named Ponyo, who escapes from the ocean and meets a young boy named Sousuke. The two embark on a magical journey in a quest to transform the fish into a human girl.

Miyazaki’s wholesome picture made an impressive US$3,585,852 during its opening weekend in the United States and Canada in 2008.

7. Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle wallpaper
Credit: Studio Ghibli

Worldwide gross: US$237,536,126
Animation studio:
Studio Ghibli
Release date:
November 2004

Another Studio Ghibli film, Howl’s Moving Castle tells the tale of Sophie Hatter, a young hat maker, and Howl Pendragon, a wizard who owns the titular moving castle. When Sophie encounters the Witch of the Waste, who transforms her into a 90-year-old woman, she sets off on a quest to break the curse.

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Credit: Ensky, Studio Ghibli
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Howl’s Moving Castle first premiered during the 61st Venice Film Festival in 2004, where it won the Osella Awards for Technical Achievement.

6. One Piece Film Red

One Piece Film Red poster
Credit: Toei Animation

Worldwide gross: US$246,570,000
Animation studio:
Toei Animation
Release date:
August 2022

Officially the highest-grossing movie in One Piece history, One Piece Film Red introduces a new and mysterious character in the franchise named Uta. She is known as “the world’s greatest diva” and is the daughter of Shanks, one of the Four Emperors and Luffy’s childhood hero.

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The movie broke records and greatly surpassed Jujutsu Kaisen 0’s earnings within a short period of time.

5. The Boy and the Heron

Mahito Maki from The Boy and the Heron official teaser trailer
Credit: GKIDS

Worldwide gross: US$294,217,033
Animation studio:
Studio Ghibli
Release date:
July 2023

The Boy and the Heron is a fantasy film by Miyazaki that tells the story of Mahito, a 12-year-old boy burdened by grief after his mother’s passing.

Struggling to adjust to a new town, Mahito’s world is upended by a stalking heron. The heron reveals a startling truth: Mahito’s mother might still be alive. This revelation leads Mahito on a fantastical journey.

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He ventures into an abandoned tower, a gateway to another world, where he must confront challenges and discover his own courage in the hope of finding his mother.

With its signature hand-drawn animation and a score by Joe Hisaishi, The Boy and the Heron is a visually stunning and emotionally resonant film that has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide.

5. The First Slam Dunk

Shohoku High team from The First Slam Dunk
Credit: Toei Animation

Worldwide gross: US$279,045,965
Animation studio:
Toei Animation
Release date:
December 2022

Prepare to be washed over by a wave of nostalgia as you watch (or re-watch) “The First Slam Dunk,” a film that brings to life Japan’s beloved basketball anime series.

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In this animated masterpiece, the spotlight shifts from the protagonist Hanamichi Sakuragi to Shohoku High’s point guard, Ryota Miyagi. The film seamlessly continues the story from where the anime left off, showcasing Hanamichi and Miyagi’s journey as they compete in the inter-high tournament.

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Credit: Mobysing
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The First Slam Dunk is a must-watch for those longing to relive the excitement and passion that made the basketball anime series a cherished part of Japanese pop culture.

4. Suzume no Tojimari

Suzume no Tojimari movie poster
Credit: CoMix Wave Films

Worldwide gross: US$323,638,107
Animation studio:
CoMix Wave Films
Release date:
November 2022

Makoto Shinkai, known for his movies exploring themes of forbidden love, has tackled various aspects such as distance, age, time, and nature in his works. In his latest film, Suzume no Tojimari, he delves into a new dimension of forbidden love.

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Suzume no Tojimari takes viewers on a journey alongside Suzume and Souta, two protagonists who stumble upon a hidden door nestled within the mountains. This door becomes the gateway to an adventure that unfolds across Japan.

The movie derives its title from the Japanese word “tojimari,” which symbolizes the core plot element — a mysterious white door. “Tojimari” carries the meaning of closing doors or locking them away.

Suzume no Tojimari strikes a chord particularly with Japanese audiences by drawing inspiration from real-life events, such as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. Through its narrative, the film acknowledges the impact of natural disasters that have affected the Land of the Rising Sun in the past.

3. Your Name

Your Name wallpaper
Credit: CoMix Wave Films

Worldwide gross: US$382,238,181
Animation studio:
CoMix Wave Films
Release date:
August 2016

Perhaps the most-loved Makoto Shinkai film of our generation, Your Name centers on the mundane lives of a high school boy living in Tokyo named Taki Tachibana and a high school girl in the countryside named Mitsuha Miyamizu. One fateful day, the two inexplicably begin to switch bodies.

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During its first few weeks at the Japanese box office, Your Name held the top spot for several consecutive weekends. It grossed US$160 million in 2016 according to Oricon News, besting international titles in the country such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Shin Godzilla, Zootopia, and Finding Dory.

2. Spirited Away

One of the highest-grossing anime movies of all time is Spirited Away. Chihiro and No Face in Spirited Away
Credit: Studio Ghibli

Worldwide gross: US$395,580,000
Animation studio:
Studio Ghibli
Release date:
July 2001

Are you really a true anime fan if you have never watched a Studio Ghibli film, especially the storied animation studio’s highest-grossing movie of all time?

Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away is considered by many fans a classic anime movie. It follows the story of Chihiro Ogino, a young girl who moves into a new neighborhood and accidentally stumbles upon the spirit world. Later on, she meets a boy named Haku who helps her find a way out of the spiritual dimension.

The movie has received multiple local and international awards, including the 30th Annie Awards for Best Animated Feature and the 8th Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Animated Feature.

1. Demon Slayer Mugen Train

Demon Slayer Mugen Train Arc
Credit: ufotable

Worldwide gross: US$507,127,293
Animation studio:
Release date:
October 2020

Choo choo! All aboard the Mugen money train!

Ufotable’s Demon Slayer Mugen Train is the highest-grossing anime movie of all time.

The film follows the manga’s Mugen Train arc, featuring the Kamado siblings, their friends, and the Flame Hashira, Kyokuro Rengoku. The group is on a hunt to find a dangerous demon aboard the Mugen Train while defending the 200 passengers onboard.

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Despite being released at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the movie broke records and became the highest-grossing Japanese film of all time with more than US$506 million in earnings. In fact, it beat Spirited Away’s 19-year record after grossing US$223 million just over two months after its release.

The film received high praise for its gorgeous visuals and top-tier animation, particularly its enthralling fight scenes.

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