5 New, Critically Acclaimed (& FREE) Anime Movies to Watch on Tubi

Tubi TV has recently acquired several notable anime series and movies for its expanding lineup. Now home to a number of mainstream and forgotten gems, Tubi is quickly becoming the go-to place for free and legal anime viewing.

Joining Tubi's lineup are numerous award-winning anime movies from the past two decades, which will be available starting this month courtesy of Shout! Factory. From historical looks at Japanese cinema and Hiroshima to a town plagued by penguins, here's a look at five must-watch anime films finding a new home on Tubi TV.

Continue scrolling to keep reading Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
Whatever Happened
Start now

Millennium Actress

Millennium Actress is a 2001 film released by illustrious studio Madhouse. Though it's a work of fiction, it's loosely based on the lives of early Japanese actresses Setsuko Hara and Hideko Takamine. It tells the story of Chiyoko Fujiwara, a retired actress who previously had a long career with Ginei Studios. As she recalls her work with a pair of documentary filmmakers, the various parts of her life and the movies she had starred in begin to blur.

The film gives a unique look at Japanese history, particularly the country's storied film industry. Real-life classics such as the original Godzilla are mentioned, making Millennium Actress just as much about early Japanese cinema as it is about Chiyoko's past.

Liz and the Blue Bird

Liz And The Blue Bird

Liz and the Blue Bird is a 2018 sequel to the Sound! Euphonium anime series. The premise involves a high school wind instrument band, namely best friends Mizore and Nozomi. Their story is told alongside each fairy tale legend their musical pieces are based on. The two friends become increasingly distant, with one's insecurities and jealousies stifling the other.

Music is obviously an important part of Liz and the Blue Bird, as signified by its two composers. Kensuke Ushio handled the high school scenes, with the music being fittingly minimalist and subdued. Akito Matsuda scored the fairy tale sections where the soundtrack grows more bombastic and dramatic. The well-received picture received an Ofuji Noburo Award for animated films and was nominated for two other prestigious awards.

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms


Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms is a 2018 tragic fantasy adventure film directed by Mari Okada. The protagonist is the eponymous Maquia, a member of a special race called the Iorph. These humanoids are driven to tensions with humanity due to their longevity, allowing them to age substantially slower than humans.

After discovering a human baby who survived a dreadful attack, Maquia takes him in, names him Ariel, and raises him as her own son. Their lives become entangled in the continual conflict between Iorphs and humans. Meanwhile, the ravages of life and time age Ariel but not Maquia herself. Lauded by critics and other filmmakers, Maquia won an award for Best Animation at the Shanghai Film Festival.

Penguin Highway

Penguin Highway header

2018's Penguin Highway was the second adaptation of the popular 2010 sci-fi novel, which had also been turned into a manga series. The tale stars boy genius Aoyama, who is determined to find out why his Japanese town is suddenly flooded with penguins. Aiding him in his quest is a mysterious woman who seems to be connected to the penguins in some way.

Full of wide-eyed optimism and adventure, Penguin Highway was widely praised in the East and West, earning it a Satoshi Kon Award for Excellence in Animation at the Fantasia International Film Festival.

In This Corner of the World

Based on Fumiyo Kono's manga series, In This Corner of the World deals with the lead-up to and the fallout from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The protagonist is a woman named Suzu, whose life and marriage become increasingly strained as the gripping horrors of World War II slowly become a reality of everyday life. These events involving loss, death and tragedy are all based on real-life accounts of Hiroshima in the 1940s, adding an extra layer of depth to the poignant film.

Currently boasting a 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, In This Corner of the World is widely praised for its beautiful animation juxtaposed with a grounded, non-stylized version of one of Japan's most horrific historical events. This quality earned the film over 70 awards. It's also notable for its extended 168-minute cut, making it the longest animated movie ever. Unfortunately, viewers will have to wait until 2022 to watch this one on Tubi.