8 Most Expensive Anime Movies

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Imagine venturing into a world where each frame is a masterpiece, where “Sakuga” moments dazzle your senses, and where “Kaiju” battles unfold with breathtaking visuals. Understanding the allure of the most expensive anime movies is to embark on a journey through the realms of “Studio Ghibli” magic, “Mecha” might, and “Shonen” heroics.

Join us as we step into this enchanted realm, exploring the “Makoto Shinkai”-esque landscapes, the “Hayao Miyazaki”-crafted dreams, and the “Mamoru Hosoda”-inspired adventures that have set the anime world ablaze. Whether you’re a seasoned “Otaku” or a curious newcomer, this exploration promises to reveal the captivating fusion of artistry and storytelling that defines the most expensive anime movies ever made.

8. Dragon Ball Super: Broly

Production Cost: $8,500,000
Duration: 1 hr. and 40 min.
Year Made: 2018
Theme: Universe Survival

Dragon Ball Super: BrolyImage source:  IMDb

Dragon Ball Super: Broly boasted a substantial production budget, which was justified by the film’s stunning visuals, high-quality animation, and attention to detail. Toei Animation recognized the immense popularity of the Dragon Ball franchise and the expectations of fans worldwide. The budget allowed them to push the boundaries of animation technology, delivering breathtaking fight sequences and dynamic character designs.

The decision to allocate a significant budget to Dragon Ball Super: Broly was driven by several factors. First and foremost, the film needed to meet the lofty standards set by the Dragon Ball franchise, ensuring it lived up to its legacy. Secondly, the creators wanted to attract both longtime fans and newcomers, making it accessible and captivating for all. Finally, the budget allowed for the creation of a visually stunning and emotionally resonant experience that could be appreciated by a global audience.

Did You Know?

“Broly” marked the 20th film installment in the Dragon Ball franchise, which has been captivating audiences since its inception in the 1980s.

7. The Red Turtle

Production Cost: $11,000,000
Duration: 1 hr. and 20 min.
Year Made: 2016
Theme: Humanity, Nature

The Red Turtlephoto source: KSFR

The film’s substantial budget can be credited to its visually captivating hand-drawn animation. Every scene in “The Red Turtle” showcases a painstaking focus on particulars, encapsulating the tranquil allure of a remote tropical island. Whether it’s the luxuriant plant life or the glistening ocean waves, the movie’s visual excellence engrosses the audience in a captivating environment.

The narrative of “The Red Turtle” unfolds without dialogue, relying solely on the power of imagery and sound. This minimalist approach required extensive effort to convey emotions, relationships, and the passage of time through animation and music. Achieving this level of storytelling finesse demanded substantial financial resources.

6. When Marnie Was There

Production Cost: $11,300,000
Duration: 1 hr. and 43 min.
Year Made: 2014
Theme: Alienation, Loneliness and forgiveness

When Marnie Was There photo source: Wikipedia

The film’s production cost can be attributed to its exceptional hand-drawn animation. Studio Ghibli is renowned for its commitment to traditional animation techniques, and “When Marnie Was There” is no exception. Each frame is meticulously crafted, capturing the beauty of the coastal town and the mysterious mansion that plays a central role in the story.

The film’s hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, composed by Takatsugu Muramatsu, adds depth and emotion to the story. The music complements the themes of loneliness and forgiveness, creating a deeply affecting viewing experience.

Did You Know?

The film is based on the novel of the same name by British author Joan G. Robinson.

5. From Up on Poppy Hill

Production Cost: $29,000,000
Duration: 1 hr. and 31 min.
Year Made: 2011
Theme: Nostalgia

From Up on Poppy Hill photo source: IMDb

From Up on Poppy Hill’s soundtrack, composed by Satoshi Takebe, complements its nostalgic themes. The music is evocative of the early 1960s, enhancing the viewer’s immersion in the era. Beyond its focus on nostalgia, the film delves into broader themes, such as Japan’s post-war identity crisis, generational divides, and the importance of preserving cultural heritage.

The movie’s budget can be linked to its dedication to historical precision and thoroughness. Taking place in Yokohama, Japan, in 1963, the film meticulously reimagines the period with great accuracy. Every aspect, from the streets and structures to cultural references, authentically evokes the essence of that bygone era.

Did You Know?

The film is directed by Goro Miyazaki, the son of renowned Studio Ghibli co-founder and director Hayao Miyazaki.

4. The Wind Rises

Production Cost: $31,000,000
Duration: 2 hr. and 6 min.
Year Made: 2013
Theme: Love, Destruction, Self Sacrifice

The Wind Risesphoto source: The Verge

The film’s narrative is inspired by the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane used by Japan during World War II. The historical context and meticulous research required a substantial investment in both storytelling and animation.

The film’s production cost reflects its artistic grandeur. “The Wind Rises” presents a meticulously crafted and historically accurate portrayal of early 20th-century Japan. The animation showcases intricate details, from the design of aircraft to the landscapes, adding depth to the storytelling.

3. Space Pirate Captain Harlock

Production Cost: $31,000,000
Duration: 1 hr. and 55 min.
Year Made: 1978
Theme: Hero

Space Pirate Captain Harlockphoto source: Wikipedia

Space Pirate Captain Harlock’s production cost reflected its ambition to deliver a visually stunning and emotionally resonant space opera. It introduced audiences to a richly developed universe with intricate spacecraft designs, battles among the stars, and a vast array of alien species. The film delves into moral complexity, exploring the blurred lines between hero and anti-hero.

Captain Harlock’s character and universe have influenced other anime and manga creators, inspiring references and homages in numerous series and films. The film’s score was composed by Seiji Yokoyama, known for his work on various anime series. The music adds depth and emotion to the epic space adventure.

2. Stand by Me Doraemon

Production Cost: $35,000,000
Duration: 1 hr. and 35 min.
Year Made: 2014
Theme: Friendship, Family, Disillusionment

Stand by Me Doraemonphoto source: Rotten Tomatoes

One of the key reasons behind the film’s substantial production cost is its utilization of state-of-the-art animation technology. “Stand by Me Doraemon” spared no expense in creating a visually immersive world. The attention to detail in character design, intricate landscapes, and dazzling special effects exemplifies the commitment to delivering a visually captivating narrative.

At the core of the film lies its emotional storytelling, a factor that necessitated a significant investment in character development. The film explores the profound and enduring friendship between Doraemon, a futuristic robotic cat, and Nobita, a young boy grappling with everyday challenges. The theme of friendship is artfully interwoven with family relationships, providing depth and relatability to the characters’ experiences.

1. The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Production Cost: $53,400,000
Duration: 2 hr. and 17 min.
Year Made: 2013
Theme: Early science fiction

The Tale of Princess Kaguyaphoto source: IMDb

The Tale of Princess Kaguya, a cinematic masterpiece of unparalleled grandeur, holds the distinguished title of being the most expensive anime movie ever created. With a monumental production cost of $53.4 million, this 2-hour-17-minute marvel of animation, released in 2013, transcends the boundaries of artistry and storytelling.

The film’s staggering production cost is undeniably justified by its breathtaking visual opulence. It introduces a distinctive animation style reminiscent of traditional Japanese watercolor paintings, where every frame radiates ethereal beauty. This artistic approach is further enriched by the meticulous artistry of hand-drawn animation, capturing the intricate nuances of characters and the enchanting landscapes they inhabit.


Head of Content at Rarest.org


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