Action anime movies have become increasingly popular among fans of the genre and for good reason. These films offer high-energy fight scenes, intense action sequences, and memorable characters that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. From classic titles like Dragon Ball Z Movie: Dead Zone to modern masterpieces like Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Mugen Train, the world of action anime movies is vast and exciting. To help you navigate through the vast selection, I have compiled a list of the 15 best action anime movies, ranked by their excitement, intensity, and impact. It offers a comprehensive examination of each movie, enabling you to select the ones that pique your interest the most. So, whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the genre, these movies are guaranteed to provide a thrilling experience that will leave you wanting more. Now, all you have to do is buckle up and prepare for a thrilling ride full of heart-pumping action!
Best Action Anime Movies
15. Dragon Ball Z Movie: Dead Zone (1989)
What a great movie to kick off my list of best action anime movies! Dragon Ball Z Movie: The Dead Zone is based on the popular Dragon Ball Z manga and anime series. The film revolves around Goku and his friends, who must face a new villain named Garlic Jr. and his minions. Garlic Jr. seeks to obtain immortality by using the power of the Dragon Balls, and he kidnaps Gohan, Goku’s son, in order to lure Goku into a trap. The movie is considered one of the best action anime movies. It contains intense fight scenes, high-energy action sequences, and thrilling moments. The fight scenes are well choreographed and feature some of the most iconic moves and attacks from the Dragon Ball Z franchise, such as the Kamehameha and the Spirit Bomb. The action is also accompanied by a powerful soundtrack that enhances the emotional impact of the battles. In addition to the action, the movie also explores the relationships between the characters and their motivations. Goku’s love for his family and his desire to protect them is a major theme throughout the film. It certainly adds an emotional depth to the action that makes it more impactful. Truly a must-watch for fans of the franchise and action anime in general!See also: 14 Best Anime Movies Of 2022 Ranked
14. Redline (2009)
One of the best action anime movies, Redline is a visually stunning and exhilarating anime movie that follows the story of a daredevil racer named JP as he competes in the biggest and most dangerous race in the galaxy – the Redline. The action anime movie is known for its high-speed action, intricate animation, and stunning visuals, which set it apart as one of the best action anime movies ever made. What makes Redline so special is the sheer intensity of its action scenes. Actually, the race itself is a non-stop thrill ride filled with high-speed chases, explosive crashes, and death-defying stunts. Each racer has their own unique vehicle with outrageous designs and weapons. Also, the track itself is filled with obstacles and hazards that keep the tension high from start to finish. In addition to the action, Redline also features a colorful cast of characters with their own motivations and backstories. JP, the protagonist, is a lovable rogue who just wants to win the race. His love interest, Sonoshee, is a fierce competitor with a tragic past. However, what really sets Redline apart is its animation. The characters and vehicles are incredibly detailed, and the action is fluid and dynamic, making for a truly immersive experience.
13. Bayonetta: Bloody Fate (2013)
Based on the popular video game series “Bayonetta”, Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is an anime movie that follows the story of the eponymous heroine Bayonetta, a witch who awakens from a 500-year slumber with no memory of her past. As Bayonetta sets out on a quest to uncover the truth about her past, she finds herself caught in a war between the forces of heaven and hell. With her formidable fighting skills and powerful magical abilities, Bayonetta must fight her way through hordes of angels and demons to uncover the secrets of her past and the truth behind the ongoing conflict. The animation is fluid and dynamic, with every movement and action beautifully choreographed and executed. The action sequences are intense, featuring a mix of hand-to-hand combat, gunplay, and magical attacks. Seriously, every action fan should love it!
12. Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (1994)
Based on the popular video game franchise “Street Fighter II, “Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie” follows the story of the World Warrior Tournament, where the world’s greatest fighters come together to compete for the title of champion. However, the tournament is not just a simple fighting competition. The evil organization Shadaloo is behind the event, and their leader, M. Bison, is planning to use the tournament as a cover for his plan to conquer the world. The Street Fighter characters, including Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, and Guile, must come together to stop Bison and his minions and save the world. The action in the movie is fast-paced, with a mix of special moves that are iconic to the franchise. The fight scenes are well-choreographed and visually stunning, with intense energy and impact. The movie is a faithful adaptation of the source material, with well-developed characters, and exceptional animation quality. It really captures the spirit of the “Street Fighter” franchise and delivers a thrilling and engaging story. The film also has a great soundtrack, which enhances the intensity of the action scenes.
11. Paprika (2006)
Coming up next, Paprika is a mind-bending anime movie that explores the boundaries between dreams and reality. The action anime movie follows the story of a research psychologist named Atsuko Chiba, who uses a device called the DC Mini to enter her patients’ dreams and analyze their subconscious minds. However, when the DC Mini is stolen and used to invade people’s dreams in the real world, Atsuko must become her dream persona, Paprika, to save the day. The movie blends together elements of science fiction, fantasy, and psychological thriller to create a world that is both surreal and captivating. The action in Paprika takes place primarily in people’s dreams, which allows for a wide range of visually stunning sequences. Accordingly, throughout the movie, the line between dreams and reality is blurred, creating a sense of unpredictability and wonder. The characters must navigate through dreamscapes that are constantly shifting and evolving, making for some truly unforgettable moments. There are scenes of giant robots battling it out in a cityscape, a parade of surreal imagery and creatures, and a breathtaking climax that ties everything together. In addition to the action, Paprika also has a deeply philosophical and emotional core. The movie explores themes of identity, memory, and the power of the mind, making for a thought-provoking and engaging experience.
10. Boruto: Naruto the Movie (2015)
Based on the popular “Naruto” manga and anime series, Boruto: Naruto the Movie takes place several years after the end of the “Naruto” storyline and follows the adventures of Naruto’s son, Boruto Uzumaki. Boruto is a young ninja who dreams of becoming a powerful ninja like his father but struggles with the pressure and expectations of being the son of a legendary hero. When a powerful new villain threatens the safety of the Hidden Leaf Village, Boruto and his friends must band together to stop them and prove their worth as ninjas. The action in Boruto is exciting, with a mix of supernatural abilities that are iconic to the “Naruto” franchise. Also, the fight scenes are well-choreographed and visually stunning, with intense energy and impact. The movie captures the spirit of the “Naruto” franchise and delivers a thrilling story.
9. Asura (2012)
Asura tells the story of a boy named Asura, who lives in a world where humans are oppressed by demons. He is born into a poor family and is forced to beg on the streets to survive. He is eventually sold to a group of bandits who train him to become a skilled fighter. The movie explores themes of social inequality, corruption, and the struggle for power. Asura’s journey takes him from poverty to power as he rises through the ranks of the bandits. He becomes a leader in the fight against the demonic rulers. The action in Asura is brutal and intense, with fast-paced fight scenes and gory violence. The fight choreography is incredibly well-done, with a mix of hand-to-hand combat, weapons, and supernatural abilities. The movie does not shy away from showing the consequences of violence, and the fight scenes are often graphic. What makes Asura one of the best action anime movies ever is its powerful storytelling, complex characters, and stunning animation. Also, the movie tackles serious themes and delivers a gripping narrative that keeps the audience engaged from start to finish. The animation is beautifully done, with vivid colors and detailed character designs that bring the world of Asura to life.
8. One Piece Film: Strong World (2009)
Based on the popular manga and anime series, One Piece Film: Strong World follows the story of the Straw Hat Pirates, who embark on a mission to rescue their crewmate, Nico Robin, from the clutches of the notorious pirate, Golden Lion Shiki. Shiki is a mighty pirate who has been imprisoned for over 20 years but has managed to escape and seek revenge on the world. He plans to use a dangerous weapon called the “Dyna Stones” to destroy the world’s strongest fortresses and rule over the remaining kingdoms. The movie features intense action sequences, including battles with giant monsters, explosive fights against Shiki and his henchmen, and epic moments of teamwork between the Straw Hat Pirates. The action is fast-paced and visually stunning, with a mix of hand-to-hand combat, sword fighting, and supernatural abilities. The film’s success is attributed to its strong storytelling, dynamic characters, and excellent animation quality. Also, it features a unique storyline that is not often found in the manga or anime series.
7. Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (2001)
No list of best action anime movies would be complete without Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ On Heaven’s Doors! Based on the popular “Cowboy Bebop” anime series, Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door takes place between episodes 22 and 23 of the series and follows the story of the bounty hunters of the spaceship Bebop as they try to catch a terrorist who has released a deadly virus on the city of Mars. The film features highly choreographed fight scenes that make use of a variety of weapons and techniques. Also, It delves into the motivations and backstories of its characters, allowing audiences to connect with them on a deeper level.
6. Steamboy (2004)
Steamboy is directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, who is also known for directing the classic anime film “Akira“. It takes place in an alternate Victorian-era England and follows the story of a young inventor named Ray Steam, who is caught up in a battle between two factions fighting for control of a new, powerful steam-based technology. The film is known for its impressive visuals, particularly the detailed depictions of machinery and the intricate steampunk aesthetic. It also features a strong cast of characters and an engaging storyline that explores themes of power, morality, and progress. Steamboy features intense and complex action scenes that make use of steampunk technology in creative ways, such as using giant machines to battle each other or using steam-powered gadgets to traverse dangerous environments. The action is fast-paced and visually impressive, with a high degree of detail and intricacy.
5. Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (2021)
For those who don’t know, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 serves as a prequel to the “Jujutsu Kaisen” anime series. The movie explores the origin story of the character Yuta Okkotsu, a high school student with a tragic past who gains supernatural powers after encountering a cursed spirit. The film has been praised for its ability to expand upon the mythology of the “Jujutsu Kaisen” universe while delivering a self-contained and emotionally resonant story. The movie features intense and highly choreographed fight scenes that make use of a variety of cursed powers and techniques. The action is fast-paced and visually stunning, with a high degree of detail and fluidity. In addition to its action, the movie also explores complex themes such as trauma, grief, and the nature of power. It delves into the motivations and backstories of its characters, allowing audiences to connect with them on a deeper level.
4. Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. – Solid State Society (2011)
Set in the same universe as the popular Ghost in the Shell anime and manga series, the movie Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society follows the story of the members of Section 9, a specialized counter-terrorism unit tasked with investigating cybercrimes and other high-tech offenses in a future world where technology and humanity have become increasingly intertwined. As the movie opens, Section 9 is investigating a string of mysterious suicides by elderly individuals, all of whom had been recipients of government benefits. The investigation leads the team to a new type of advanced AI called the “Puppeteer,” which has the ability to manipulate human behavior and memories. As the team delves deeper into the Puppeteer’s plans, they find themselves pitted against a powerful conspiracy that threatens to upend the very fabric of society. The action scenes are a highlight of Ghost blending high-tech gadgetry and intense gun battles to create a thrilling experience. One notable action scene occurs early in the movie when the members of Section 9 are ambushed by a group of heavily armed thugs and engage in a fierce gun battle while utilizing their advanced cybernetic enhancements to evade enemy fire and take out their attackers. I bet you’d love that!
3. Sword of the Stranger (2007)
Sword of the Stranger follows the story of a nameless samurai who is hired by a boy named Kotarou to protect him on his journey to a temple. Kotarou is being pursued by a group of Chinese warriors, who want to capture him and use him in a mystical ritual that will grant them eternal life. The action in Sword of the Stranger is thrilling and intense, with a mix of sword fights, hand-to-hand combat, and supernatural abilities. The fight scenes are expertly choreographed and visually stunning. The movie as a whole has a unique and engaging story that is propelled forward by its well-crafted action scenes. The characters are well-developed and have distinct personalities and motivations, which adds depth to the story. The relationship between the samurai and Kotarou adds a great emotional dimension to the action.
2. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train (2020)
Demon Slayer – The Movie: Mugen Train serves as a direct continuation of the “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” anime series. The movie follows the story of Tanjiro Kamado and his companions as they board a mysterious train in order to investigate a series of disappearances and confront a mighty demon who has been terrorizing the passengers. The film is known for its stunning animation, captivating storyline, and emotional depth. It has actually broken box office records in Japan and internationally. The movie has been praised for its ability to expand upon the themes of the original anime series. The film features intense and highly choreographed fight scenes that make use of a variety of weapons and techniques. The action is fast-paced and visually stunning, with a high degree of detail and fluidity. In addition to its action, the movie also explores complex themes such as loss, grief, and the human condition. It delves into the motivations and backstories of its characters, allowing audiences to connect with them on a deeper level.
1. Ninja Scroll (1993)
My top pick for this list, Ninja Scroll tells the story of Jubei Kibagami, a wandering swordsman who becomes embroiled in a plot to overthrow the government. Jubei is hired by a government spy named Dakuan to investigate a mysterious plague that is killing people across the land. Jubei soon discovers that the plague is the work of a group of supernatural warriors known as the Eight Devils of Kimon, who are working with a powerful government official named Gemma. The action in “Ninja Scroll” is super-intense, with a mix of hand-to-hand combat, sword fights, and supernatural abilities. The fight scenes are incredibly well-choreographed and visually stunning. However, the level of violence and brutality is not for the faint of heart. Basically, Ninja Scroll is EVERYTHING you look for in action anime movies and is an absolute must-see!