• Makoto Shinkai is a celebrated anime director with a catalog of outstanding movies that have garnered multiple nominations and awards.
  • Shinkai’s movies often revolve around romantic themes and resonate with the audience, allowing viewers to dream on a grand scale.
  • His latest project, Suzume, has received praise for its visuals and music, solidifying Shinkai’s reputation as a talented filmmaker.

Makoto Shinkai is one of the greatest anime directors of all time. He started directing in 1998, and since then, he has produced many outstanding movies that have been nominated for multiple awards.


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Makoto Shinkai’s movies are relatable as they contain a tinge of his own personal experiences. Alongside his role as director, Shinkai has also worked in several other positions, which shows his dedication to his craft. Makoto Shinkai has an amazing catalog of movies under his belt, but which is his best one?

UPDATED on February 8th, 2024, by Suzail Ahmad: Makoto Shinkai is a genius who has been making animated movies for decades. He has been involved in some of the biggest and most successful anime movies in recent years. Makoto Shinkai’s work is celebrated around the world, which is hardly surprising given its quality. His movies help viewers to dream on a grand scale.

A lot of his work revolves around romantic themes, and they resonate with the audience. The success of his latest project, Suzume, will only propel him forward and give him the confidence to pursue even bigger projects. It is going to be a while before Makoto Shinkai drops a new project, so until then, fans can spend their time revisiting the greatest works of Makoto Shinkai.

11 Other Worlds

IMDb Rating: 5.7

Other Worlds Shinkai movie

  • Release Date: 1997
  • Stream: N/A

Other Worlds was Shinkai’s first-ever work. It has a very short runtime of one minute, and it covers a conversation between a man and a woman. While the movie does not have an engaging plot, the animation has a certain charm that draws in the viewers.

While mainstream anime fans might not find it appealing, Shinkai fans will definitely want to check it out. As Shinkai’s first piece of work, Other Worlds holds a certain degree of importance that cannot be overlooked.

10 Someone’s Gaze

IMDb Rating: 7.2

Someone's Gaze anime movie

  • Release Date: February 10, 2013
  • Stream: N/A

Someone’s Gaze is a short movie with a run time of only 7 minutes. Despite its brevity, the movie managed to captivate the audience with its quality. The movie is set in the future, and it follows Aya Okamura and her family.

The movie masterfully shows the difference between Aya’s current and past selves. Throughout the movie, she reminisces about her childhood and how she became the woman she is now. She tries hard to understand what caused her to grow apart from her family.

9 She and Her Cat

IMDb Rating: 7.1

She and her Cat movie

  • Release Date: 1999
  • Stream: N/A

She and Her Cat is the first movie in which Makoto Shinkai was also involved in voice acting. It came out in 1999, which is why the style of animation is quite different from the other Shinkai movies.


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The plot of She and Her Cat revolves around a woman and a cat. After being rescued by the woman, the cat falls in love with her. The movie is quite imaginative and impressive at the same time, considering Shinkai did most of the work.

8 Voices of a Distant Star

IMDb Rating: 7.1

Voices of a Distant Star anime movie

  • Release Date: February 2, 2002
  • Stream: N/A

Voices of a Distant Star is a short movie that was released in 2002. It gained a lot of popularity within a short period, and it even earned multiple nominations. The movie went on to win the Animation Kobe Award and the Seiun Award for Best Media. The movie follows the lives of two childhood friends, who are separated by fate. One of them is sent to space to fight aliens, while the other is left pondering what to do. The two try to keep in touch with texts, but as the distance increases, so does the time it takes for the messages to reach the earth.

7 The Place Promised In Our Early Days

IMDb Rating: 6.9

The Place Promised in our Early Days movie

  • Release Date: November 20, 2004
  • Stream: N/A

The movie is set in an alternate world where half of Japan is occupied by the Soviet Union. In the midst of the growing tension, three friends try to find a ray of hope. They are fascinated by a mysterious tower being built in Hokkaido.

The three promise to fly to the tower in the future, but tragedy strikes when one of them mysteriously vanishes. Distraught by the loss of their friend, the two remaining individuals decide to give up on their dream.

6 Children Who Chase Lost Voices

IMDb Rating: 7.1

Children Who Chase Lost Voices Shinkai

  • Release Date: May 7, 2011
  • Stream: N/A

Children Who Chase Lost Voices was released in 2011, and it was quite different from Shinkai’s 5 Centimeters Per Second. The movie was more energetic and adventurous in comparison to its predecessor.


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It follows a 6th grader, Asuna Watase, for whom life moved quicker in comparison to her classmates. The death of her father and her mother’s long working hours meant that Asuna had to learn things quickly. After encountering a mysterious boy, Asuna’s life changes drastically. With so many unexplained incidents taking place around her, she decides to set out to look for answers.

5 Weathering With You

IMDb Rating: 7.5

Weathering With You Rain

  • Release Date: July 19, 2019
  • Stream: HBO Max

Weathering With You came out in 2019, and it earned US$ 193.8 million, which made it the highest-grossing Japanese film of the year. Weathering With You takes the viewers to present-day Tokyo, where a runaway high school student, Hodaka Morishima, tries to experience a new way of living.

Due to his age, Hodaka faces trouble finding a job. Luckily, he finds a job as a personal assistant for a local magazine. Hodaka’s new job causes him to run into a girl named Hina, who has the power to change the weather. The two become close friends, but disaster strikes when Hina disappears without a trace.

4 Suzume

IMDb Rating: 7.7

Suzume Music Feature

  • Release Date: November 11, 2022
  • Stream: N/A

Suzume is undoubtedly one of Makoto Shinkai’s best projects to date. The story follows Suzume Iwato, a high school student living in a tranquil place. One day, as she makes her way to school, she bumps into a guy. The person is investigating an abandoned site. Initially, she pays no mind, but her curiosity gets the better of her.

Suzume decides to head to the location and finds an unusual door. After entering, she realizes that it is a gateway to another dimension. This starts the adventure of a lifetime for the young girl. Following the discovery, Suzume understands that she has a big role to play. Suzume earned a lot of praise for its visuals and music, although some were unhappy with the plot and considered it too reminiscent of his previous works.

3 Your Name

IMDb Rating: 8.4

Your Name Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu

  • Release Date: August 26, 2016
  • Stream: N/A

​​​​​​It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that ​Your Name introduced mainstream anime fans to Makoto Shinkai’s work. The movie was released in 2016, and it shattered numerous records. The film grossed over US$ 380 million in sales, making it the third-highest-grossing film of all time.

The movie is set in Japan, where two teenagers suddenly begin to swap bodies with each other. They are perplexed by the phenomenon, and it takes them quite some time to figure out what’s happening. Like every Shinkai movie, Your Name has stunning artwork and soundtracks.

2 The Garden of Words

IMDb Rating: 7.4

The Garden Of Words (2013)

  • Release Date: May 31, 2013
  • Stream: N/A

The Garden of Words was released in 2013, and it received a manga and light novel adaptation in the same year. The movie has beautiful imagery, and it makes excellent use of the theme song, “Rain,” sung by Motohiro Hata.

The Garden of Words focuses on a 15-year-old boy, Takao Akizuki, who aspires to become a shoemaker. On a rainy morning, as Takao goes to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, he comes across a woman. After a few meetings, the two start to get to know each other. The movie highlights the problems associated with loneliness and how different people deal with it.

1 5 Centimeters Per Second

IMDb Rating: 7.5

5 centimeters anime

  • Release Date: March 3, 3007
  • Stream: N/A

5 Centimeters Per Second might not have earned the same level of recognition as Your Name or the newer Shinkai movies, but its undeniable quality puts it at the top of the list. The movie was released in 2007, and it won multiple awards.

The movie follows a young boy named Takaki Tono and his relationships with various people. 5 Centimeters Per Second is divided into three segments, each covering Takaki’s different relationships. The story is set in Japan during the early 1990s, and it gradually works its way up to 2008. Each segment is filled with incredible stories that are enough to melt the coldest of hearts.


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