Fall anime preview: All the anime movies coming to theaters

There’s so much to experience and enjoy in the world of anime when it comes to theatrical releases for American audiences. With highly anticipated new releases like One Piece Film Red and the first original feature film from fan-favorite director Atsuko Ishizuka, the upcoming U.S. theatrical premiere of Hideaki Anno’s Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.01 Thrice Upon a Time, and the rerelease of anime classics like Howl’s Moving Castle and A Silent Voice, it’s a fantastic time to be an anime fan.

Here’s our list of the biggest anime releases in movie theaters this fall, including some titles in limited release you don’t want to miss out on.


Goodbye, Don Glees

Three anime boys laughing in a forest with one of them holding a camera.

Image: Madhouse/GKIDS

Director Atsuko Ishizuka follows up her beloved 2018 anime series A Place Further Than the Universe with her first original theatrical anime, Goodbye, Don Glees. The film centers on the story of Roma, Toto, and Drop, three teen misfits who are accused of starting a nearby forest fire. With no other options, they venture out into the forest in search of proof of their innocence. What they find, however, is a truth deeper than any one of them is willing to speak or admit. A tale of adolescence, adventure, and growing up inspired by 1986’s Stand by Me, Goodbye, Don Glees has all the makings of an extraordinary anime.

Goodbye, Don Glees is in select theaters on Sept. 14 and 20 (subbed) and Sept. 18 (dubbed).

Howl’s Moving Castle

The castle in Howl’s Moving Castle

Image: Studio Ghibli/GKIDS

Adapted from Diana Wynne Jones’ 1986 novel of the same name, Hayao Miyazaki’s 2004 anime film Howl’s Moving Castle tells the story of a young woman named Sophie who is turned into an elderly woman by a witch’s curse. After crossing paths with Howl, a flamboyant and mysterious wizard, Sophie comes to live with him in his giant moving house powered by a fiery spirit named Calcifer in order to devise a way to lift the witch’s curse.

Howl’s Moving Castle is in select theaters on Sept. 26 (subbed) and Sept. 25 and 28 (dubbed).

Mobile Suit Gundam Cucuruz Doan’s Island

The RX-78-2 Gundam wielding two beam sabers in Mobile Suit Gundam Cucuruz Doan’s Island.

Image: Sunrise/Sotsu, Crunchyroll

A feature-length adaptation of the 15th episode of the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam Cucuruz Doan’s Island follows Amuro Ray, pilot of the experimental RX-78-02 Gundam, and his comrades after they’re stranded on a remote island. Upon discovering a group of children in the so-called Island of No Return and coming under fire from a mysterious enemy mecha, Amuro and co. search for a way off the island, which inevitably leads them to cross paths with a strange man known as Cucuruz Doan.

Mobile Suit Gundam Cucuruz Doan’s Island is in select theaters on Sept. 27 (subbed) and Sept. 28 (dubbed).

A Silent Voice

Shoko Nishimiya and Shoya Ishida in A Silent Voice

Image: Kyoto Animation/Eleven Arts

Naoko Yamada’s 2016 anime film A Silent Voice centers on Shoya Ishida, a high school social outcast and former bully who is presented with the opportunity to reconnect and befriend Shoko Nishimiya, the deaf girl he once terrorized. Cited by many as one of the best anime dramas of the 2010s, A Silent Voice is a beautiful coming-of-age story about bullying, mental health, disability, and forgiveness that entreats those themes with level of maturity, nuance, and care otherwise unseen in most other anime.

A Silent Voice is in select theaters on Oct. 12.

Spirited Away

a young girl and a water dragon gasp at something off-screen in Spirited Away

Image: Studio Ghibli/GKIDS

Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-winning film Spirited Away is commonly lauded as not only the best movie of Miyazaki’s entire career, but one of the best anime films of all time. As accessible as it is elusive, whimsical as it is terrifying, and harrowing as it is inspiring, Spirited Away tells the story of a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro who is whisked away to a world for spirits and forced to work in the bathhouse of a malevolent witch when her parents are inadvertently transformed into pigs. There she crosses paths with Haku, a mysterious spirit with a deep connection to her past, who endeavors to help her break the curse on her parents and escape back to the mortal realm.

Spirited Away is in select theaters on Nov. 1 (subbed) and Oct. 30 and Nov. 2 (dubbed).

One Piece Film Red

A muscular man with red hair and a cape points at the camera

Image: Toei Animation/Crunchyroll

Executive produced by One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda, directed by Goro Taniguchi (One Piece Defeat Him! The Pirate Ganzack!) and written by Tsutomu Kuroiwa (One Piece Film Gold), One Piece Film Red follows Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates as they join thousands of others to witness Uta — the most beloved (and mysterious) singer in the world — give an otherworldly performance. Things take a turn, however, when the Navy intervenes and Luffy discovers that Uta is in fact the daughter of Shanks, his childhood mentor and pirate role model.

One Piece Film Red is in select theaters on Nov. 4.

Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.01 Thrice Upon a Time

A distorted, eyepatch-wearing Asuka screams in Evangelion 1.0+3.0: Thrice Upon a Time

Image: Studio Khara/GKIDS

The highly anticipated fourth and final installment of the theatrical “Rebuild” incarnations of the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise, Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.01 Thrice Upon a Time follows Shinji, Asuka, Rei, and the crew of the anti-Nerv flagship Wunder as they regroup after their defeat at the end of Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo and rally once again to prevent Shinji’s father, Gendo, from instigating the Third Impact. An exact date has not been announced, but a theatrical run is expected later this year.

Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.01 Thrice Upon a Time will be in theaters in late 2022.

Leave a Comment