It’s an exciting time for anime! Creators are developing films in every genre, and new companies like Studio Ponoc are pulling together incredible talent to create projects that take anime in new directions. And more of these projects are coming to the United States quickly — no more waiting years for distribution outside of Japan.
Here are the best new anime movies in theatres now and coming soon.
The new anime company Studio Ponoc was founded by Yoshiaki Nishimura (THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA, WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE) and features a roster of talent drawn from Studio Ghibli. MODEST HEROES is an anthology of three short stories created by some of anime’s greatest talents.
So, you get three stories that explore how heroism intersects with real life, and the anthology format allows the creators to experiment with visual and storytelling approaches. All three parts of MODEST HEROES make us want to see more from Studio Ponoc and from these creators and characters. (January 10)
DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY
The DRAGON BALL SUPER storyline continues in a new movie that follows the conclusion of the Universe Survival Saga. Goku has tasted the power of a god and preserved multiple universes. While he no longer has access to the amazing power of the Ultra Instinct, Goku and Vegeta continue training on Earth, unaware that one of the most powerful beings in the multiverse — maybe the most powerful — is coming their way.
DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY explores the history of Planet Vegeta and the paths these three Saiyans took out into the universe. It revamps Broly, first introduced in 1993, whose appearances have been popular, but never strictly canonical. Since this movie is written by DRAGON BALL creator Akira Toriyama, Broly finally gets legitimized. So this is, without exaggeration, an event more than 25 years in the making. (January 16)
A SILENT VOICE
A popular boy and a deaf girl new to his school change each other’s lives in surprising ways. When Shoko Nishimiya shows up at school, Shôya Ishida sees her disability as a chance to amuse himself. But his bullying has consequences that define the entire arc of his life. He becomes an outcast and eventually comes to believe he must make amends for his high school actions.
The drama A SILENT VOICE approaches the coming-of-age story from a potent new angle. Reiko Yoshida wrote the adaptation of Yoshitoki Ōima’s manga, and Naoko Yamada directs, with character designs by Futoshi Nishiya. (January 28)
I WANT TO EAT YOUR PANCREAS
I WANT TO EAT YOUR PANCREAS sounds like a horror movie, but it’s really a bittersweet romance that follows two polar opposites — an aloof bookworm and a popular student — who forge a surprising connection. While visiting the hospital, Haruki Shiga finds a book inscribed with the phrase “living with dying.” It’s the diary of cheerful and popular Sakura, who reveals to Haruki that her pancreatic illness is terminal.
Bonded by Sakura’s shared secret, the unlikely pair find new hope in one another. Sakura wants to live her last days to the fullest, and her bright spirit inspires a new outlook in Haruki. (February 7)
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM NT (Narrative)
The Sunrise animation studio begins to explore the next 100 years in the Universal Century timeline in this first of several new GUNDAM films. It’s a year after the Laplace Incident seen in MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM UNICORN. The public knows about Newtypes, and the two Unicorn mobile suits have been hidden away from the public eye. But there’s a third Unicorn suit — the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam 03, named Phenex. When it appears in the Earth Sphere, it triggers a collaborative effort between the Federation and Neo-Zeon: the Phoenix Hunt. (February 19)