Want to know what anime movies are coming to theatres in 2023 (and into 2024)? We can tell you! Anime movies have been extremely popular for years, and Western fandom for anime continues to grow. Anime influences countless creators in the US, and fan interest means that more and more anime movies are playing in US movie theatres — and a lot more quickly, following their Japanese premieres, than they used to.
In the rest of 2023, the anime movie landscape includes THE BOY AND THE HERON, the new movie from Hayao Miyazaki, and more classic re-releases from Studio Ghibli. And the Anime Expo Cinema Nights program will bring a set of movies from acclaimed filmmaker Satoshi Kon — including his amazing PAPRIKA — back to theatres over the next few months. Here are the anime movies coming to US theaters soon.
Anime Coming To Movie Theatres In 2023 and Early 2024
The following movies are set for U.S. release (or, in some cases, re-release) in 2023 and the beginning of 2024.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Sophie, a quiet girl working in a hat shop, finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl. The vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste, jealous of their friendship, puts a curse on Sophie and turns her into a 90-year-old woman. On a quest to break the spell, Sophie climbs aboard Howl’s magnificent moving castle and into a new life of wonder and adventure. But as the true power of Howl’s wizardry is revealed, Sophie finds herself fighting to protect them both from a dangerous war of sorcery that threatens their world. The English-dubbed cast features the voice talents of Lauren Bacall, Christian Bale, Billy Crystal, Blythe Danner, Emily Mortimer and Jean Simmons.
The music drama anime BLUE GIANT is directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa, of the series "Mob Psycho 100" and "Death Parade," and the movie DETECTIVE CONAN: THE BLACK IRON SUBMARINE. The film follows the story of Dai Miyamoto, a former high school basketball player who discovers a love of jazz, and dedicates himself to learning the saxophone. He leaves his town for the clubs of Tokyo, determined to become the best saxophone player in the world, but he soon discovers the life of a professional musician is not for the faint of heart.
Plays on October 8 and 9.
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods 10th Anniversary
Following the events from the "Dragon Ball Z" television series, after the defeat of Majin Buu, a new power awakens and threatens humanity. Beerus, an ancient and powerful God of Destruction, searches for Goku after hearing rumors of the Saiyan warrior who defeated Frieza. Realizing the threat Beerus poses to their home planet, the Z-fighters must find a way to stop him. Only Goku, humanity's last hope, can ascend to the level of a legendary Super Saiyan God and stop Beerus from destroying Earth, and possibly the entire universe! Fans of Dragon Ball Z, one of the most successful anime brands of all time, will be delighted to know that Battle of Gods is an original work from the Dragon Ball creator himself, Akira Toriyama. Added value includes exclusive bonus content from the Dragon Ball Z team.
Plays on October 17.
Chihiro’s family is moving to a new house, but when they stop on the way to explore an abandoned village, her parents undergo a mysterious transformation and Chihiro is whisked into a world of fantastic spirits ruled over by the sorceress Yubaba. Put to work in a magical bathhouse for spirits and demons, Chihiro must use all her wits to survive in this strange new place, find a way to free her parents and return to the normal world. Overflowing with imaginative creatures and thrilling storytelling, Spirited Away became a worldwide smash hit, and is one of the most critically-acclaimed films of all time.
Ghost in the Shell
A female cybernetic government agent, Major Motoko Kusanagi, and the Internal Bureau of Investigations are hot on the trail of “The Puppet Master,” a mysterious and threatening computer virus capable of infiltrating human hosts. Together with her fellow agents from Section 9, Kusanagi embarks on a high-tech race against time to capture the omnipresent entity. Director Mamoru Oshii’s award-winning cyber-tech thriller, based on the comic book by Shirow Masamune, is lauded as one of the leading Japanese animation films.
The Boy and the Heron
Hayao Miyazaki hasn't made a new movie in ten years but his latest is finally here! THE BOY AND THE HERON just opened in Japan, and its release was so secretive that we didn't even know the proper title until just before that Japanese debut. This new hand-drawn animated movie from Miyazaki follows a young boy named Mahito who ventures into a world shared by the living and the dead. There, death comes to an end, and life finds a new beginning in Miyazaki's semi-autobiographical fantasy about life, death, and creation, in tribute to friendship.
Opens on December 8.
Tokyo Godfathers 20th Anniversary
TOKYO GODFATHERS, the acclaimed holiday classic from master director Satoshi Kon (PAPRIKA, PERFECT BLUE), returns to theaters to celebrate its 20th anniversary. On Christmas Eve, three homeless companions stumble upon a baby girl in a garbage heap. They name her Kiyoko, and vow to care for her as they track down her family. Haunted by memories of their own broken pasts and pursued by a cast of shadowy characters from Tokyo’s nightlife, Hana, Gin and Miyuki overcome their differences and learn to trust one another as a new, makeshift family. With the New Year fast approaching, the mystery behind baby Kiyoko deepens, and these unlikely heroes discover the surprising — and sometimes miraculous — connections that have brought them all together. Co-written by Keiko Nobumoto (Cowboy Bebop) and featuring a whimsical score by Keiichi Suzuki, TOKYO GODFATHERS is a masterpiece by turns heartfelt, hilarious and highly original, a tale of hope and redemption in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
Caught up in a world of dreams, lost in the cruelty of reality. What should have been an easy bounty turns into biological war after a terrorist gets hold of a deadly virus. Drawn in by the pretty price on the mastermind’s head, Spike and the Bebop crew are ready to collect a much-needed reward. Unfortunately, the gang’s about to find themselves in more trouble than money when the terrorist threatens to unleash the virus on Halloween–effectively killing everyone on Mars. With little time and leads that seem more dreamy than helpful, they’ll have to use their own bag of tricks to stop a dangerous plot.
29 year old Dr. Atsuko Chiba is an attractive but modest Japanese research psychotherapist whose work is on the cutting edge of her field. Her alter-ego is a stunning and fearless 18 year old ‘dream detective,’ code named PAPRIKA, who can enter into people’s dreams and synchronize with their unconscious to help uncover the source of their neurosis. At Atsuko’s lab, a powerful new psychotherapy devise known as the ‘DC-MINI’ has been invented by her brilliant colleague, Dr. Tokita, a nerdy overweight genius. Although this state-of-the-art device could revolutionize the world of psychotherapy, in the wrong hands the potential misuse of the device could be devastating, allowing the user to completely annihilate the dreamer’s personality while they are asleep. When one of the only four existing DC-MINI prototypes is stolen in the final stages of research, around the same time that Dr. Tokita’s research assistant Himuro goes missing, Atsuko suspects it’s not a coincidence. If the DC MINI isn’t found, this could lead to the government’s refusal to sanction the use of the machine for psychotherapy treatment. When several of the remaining researchers at the lab start to go mad, dreaming while in their waking states, haunted by a Japanese doll which featured heavily in the dreams of one of Himuro’s schizophrenic patients, Atsuko knows for sure that whoever is manipulating the machines has a more evil purpose. The DC MINI is being used to destroy people’s minds.
We'll have more anime coming to the big screen later this year!
All images courtesy of GKids.