Completing even a second of quality animation takes serious hard work, so it's no surprise that animated movies tend to run shorter than live-action films. Many of the medium's classics, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Ghost in the Shell, don't even hit 90 minutes, and animated films that surpass two hours in length are rarer. Therefore, the recent international release of Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time stands out in part because it's the rare animated film to run over two and a half hours, but it's not the longest animated film made.
The following list counts down the animated features with the longest runtimes, based on data from Letterboxd. This only covers animation specifically made for the big screen, excluding compilation films recycling footage from episodic TV and OVA series. To prevent the list from being dominated by two specific franchises, only the longest film per franchise will receive a ranked entry, though other lengthy films within those series will be noted.
10. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya - 137 minutes
Studio Ghibli is known for letting its animated films take their time, with five movies over two hours, and several others come close. The longest of the bunch is the 2014 feature The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, the final film directed by the late Isao Takahata. Also the most expensive anime of all time with a $49,300,000 budget, this adaptation of a 10th-century folk tale about a princess born from a stalk of bamboo amazed audiences with its gorgeous watercolor-like animation, earning a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination.
9. Summer Days with Coo - 138 minutes
Summer Days with Coo was Keiichi Hara's first stand-alone anime film after decades of directing episodes and films for the Doraemon and Crayon Shin-Chan franchises. Based on a duo of novels by Masao Kuroge, this film is about a family adopting a 200-year-old kappa, who is struggling to get by in the modern world. Released to critical acclaim in Japan in 2007, the film finally received an American release in 2020 thanks to animation distributor GKIDS.
8. Odin: Starlight Mutiny - 139 minutes
Odin: Starlight Mutiny, released in 1985 and also known by the title Odin: Photon Sailer Starlight, was Toei Animation's failed attempt to recapture the success of its Space Battleship Yamato franchise. Director Toshio Masuda worked in various capacities on the Yamato movies, and Odin's spacefaring storyline took clear influence from Leiji Matsumoto's classic. It was meant to be the first of a trilogy, but box office failure and terrible reviews killed sequel plans.
7. Violet Evergarden: The Movie - 140 minutes
One of two Kyoto Animation productions on this list, Violet Evergarden: The Movie concludes the story of its titular teenage soldier-turned-Auto Memory Doll. Based on the light novels by Kana Akatsuki and following up the popular 2018 anime TV series, this gorgeously animated tearjerker was released in Japanese theaters in September 2020 and was released in American theaters by Funimation this past March.
6. Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time - 155 minutes
The finale of not just the Rebuild of Evangelion series but of all things Evangelion (at least as far as creator Hideaki Anno is concerned), Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time is two hours and 35 minutes of action, fan service, technobabble, character development, psychological introspection and powerful goodbyes. Given that fans waited eight years for the film's release, it's only fitting that Anno and his three co-directors (Kazuya Tsurumaki, Katsuichi Nakayama and Mahiro Maeda) went all-out for the biggest conclusion possible.
5. Sangokushi: The Distant Land - 157 minutes
Of the three movies in the Sangokushi anime trilogy based on The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, only the first film, titled The Great Conquest in English, is available in the United States, first via a Streamline VHS tape and later on DVD from Discotek and streaming on RetroCrush. That 1992 film runs 140 minutes in its uncut form, but the two sequels are even longer: 1993's Sangokushi: The Yangtze Is Burning! is 149 minutes, and the 1994 final installment Sangokushi: The Distant Land runs a full 157 minutes.
4. The Tragedy of Man - 160 minutes
The only non-Japanese film on this list, The Tragedy of Man is the fourth and final feature film by the late Hungarian animation director Marcell Jankovics, who is best known among American cinephiles for Son of the White Mare. In production from 1988 up until its release in 2011, this epic adaptation of Imre Madách's play of the same name follows Adam, Eve and Lucifer as they travel across the entirety of human history and debate the meaning of life. Each segment is also done in a different animation style.
3. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya - 162 minutes
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya's extremely long runtime is equivalent to roughly seven TV episodes in a row. There's an easy explanation for that. This story arc was originally meant to be included in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Season 2 but got replaced by the infamous "Endless Eight" arc. Luckily, the extended production schedule and increased budget for this It's a Wonderful Life-esque alternate universe Christmas story arc allowed Kyoto Animation to produce some of its highest quality animation for this film.
2. Final Yamato - 163 minutes
The 1974 TV anime Space Battleship Yamato, localized in the US as Star Blazers, would go on to spawn a series of blockbuster films. The first Yamato film in 1977 was a recut version of the TV series, but its sequels were fully original -- and quite long. 1978's Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato was 151 minutes long, and 1980's Be Forever Yamato was a relatively shorter 145 minutes. Meanwhile, the extended 70mm cut of the 1984 series finale Final Yamato once held the world record for the longest animated film with a runtime of 163 minutes.
1. In This Corner (and Other Corners) of the World - 168 minutes
After 36 years, the extended edition of Final Yamato eventually lost the world's longest animated film record in 2019 to another anime director's cut: In This Corner (and Other Corners) of the World. This release added an additional 30 minutes of character development to In This Corner of the World, Sunao Katabuchi's 2016 film about life in the countryside outside Hiroshima in the years leading up to the dropping of the atomic bomb. This award-winning production from the animation studio MAPPA is well worth the time it takes to watch.