• Fans of Makoto Shinkai will appreciate Suzume's supernatural romance elements and exceptional animation quality.
  • Viewers left craving more after Suzume can find similar emotional experiences in other well-made anime films.
  • Suzume draws inspiration from renowned films like Whisper of the Heart and Howl's Moving Castle, offering a blend of magical and romantic elements.

Those who prefer their forbidden love stories gate-kept by supernatural or metaphysical elements instead of social and cultural taboos will certainly find Suzume to be another masterpiece from director Makoto Shinkai. And in true Makoto Shinkai fashion, the animation and visual style showcased in Suzume are exceptional.

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Actually, just about everything in Suzume is exceptional. Long after the credits roll, viewers will find themselves craving for more or something similar— perhaps even an anime film about peculiar romances but with more conclusive or generous endings. So, for those still stricken with the expected Makoto Shinkai-hangover, these anime films will provide a fix.

Updated on June 6, 2024, by C.M. Edwards: Animated films all over the world tell stories that touch hearts, bring out tears, and leave a sense of wonder for those who watch them. Anime films are no different and allow studios and directors to get a chance to go all out on production and finely construct a beautiful story from top to bottom. Over the years, magical stories such as Princess Mononoke, Encanto, and others have set the standard for fantastical animated stories. Suzume is a bright example of this, as the entire production of Comix Wave Films put their all into the film and created something truly special. Anime films take viewers on magical, heart-wrenching, fantastical journeys and tell a complete story that often leaves a strong impression on those who take the time to view them. Outside the traditional episodic anime, there are thousands of films available that are just as well-made as Suzume that fans should check out.

The Tunnel To Summer, The Exit Of Goodbyes

A Great Story About The Weight The Heart Carries

  • Released: September 9, 2022
  • Director: Tomohisa Taguchi
  • Studio: CLAP

Not often does a film tackle such a complicated collection of emotions and adequately portray them in such a way as to leave a lasting impression. Kaoru is not an exceptional young teen by any standard, and his life is slowly dwindling as his family splits apart after the death of his sibling.

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Seeking an escape, Kauru travels down a tunnel that takes him to another place in time. After accidentally stumbling upon a wish-granting tunnel, Kaoiru wonders if the answer to fixing his life comes at the cost of his own. The Tunnel to Summer, The Exit of Goodbyes is a film with a polarizing story, but it is more than worth the watch for fans of Suzume's more magical elements.

Children Who Chase Lost Voices

Girls Leaping Through Different Worlds

  • Released: May 7, 2011
  • Director: Makoto Shinkai
  • Studio: CoMix Wave Films

Comix Wave Films is a prominent animation studio that has put out some of the most talked about animated films in the last decade. Children Who Chase Lost Voices is an exciting film that takes viewers on a beautiful adventure when a young girl named Asuna finds herself an overachieving middle school student one day and then follows a strange boy into another world the next.

The story tells a wonderful soul-searching story as Asuna realizes she's looking for something she didn't know she had lost. Fans of Suzume can easily step into this movie and follow the light-hearted but emotional story.

To The Forest Of Firefly Lights

Female-Lead Stories Of Adventure

  • Released: September 17, 2011
  • Director: Takahiro Omori
  • Studio: Brain's Base

To the Forest of Firefly Lights (or Hotarubi No Mori e) is a classic-animated film by the exceptional and well-known Brains animation studio, known for Blood Lad and In-Spectre. The film features an emotionally deep tone and follows young Hotaru as she has a brush with supernatural love.

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After being lost in a spirit-inhabited forest, she meets a boy who has been cursed. While the boy helps Hotaru escape the forest, years later, she returns to find that touching the boy will cause him to disappear. To the Forest of Firefly Lights is a tearjerker of a film and is a great watch for those who enjoy the sadder elements featured throughout Suzume.

Spirited Away

A Girl Faces Off Against The Supernatural

  • Released: September 12, 2003
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Studio: Studio Ghibli

The consistency of magical animation that comes out of Studio Ghibli and the mind of Hayao Miyazaki never fails to touch the hearts of fans all over the world. Spirited Away is perhaps the most celebrated Ghibli film that follows a young girl who becomes entangled in the world of spirits and magic.

Chihiro and her parents become trapped in the spirit world while on vacation, and Chihiro must work to survive until she finds a way to escape. Spirited Away provides viewers with a deeply rich world full of charming magical elements. Though it features more moving parts than Suzume, it is arguably one of the best anime movies to check out for those who enjoyed Suzume Iwato's slightly more straightforward adventure.

Weathering With You

Features A Girl Who Can Change The Weather In A Flooding World

  • Released: July 19, 2019
  • Director: Makoto Shinkai
  • Studio: CoMix Wave Films

Weathering With You shares supernatural similarities with Suzume and tells a story where a mysterious downpour of rain plagues Tokyo and washes out the inhabitants with nearly no end in sight.

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Hodaka is a struggling young man trying to make ends meet when he saves a young girl who has the ability to summon the sun into the sky. Weathering With You is an emotional tale about how all that glitters is not gold, and it's certain to tug at the tear ducts of viewers. For those who enjoyed the high stakes of Suzume, Weathering With You is a must-watch.

Drifting Home

A Stunningly Animated Tale That Examines Grief

  • Released: September 9, 2022
  • Director: Hiroyasu Ishida
  • Studio: Studio Colorido

In this heavy-hearted tale, a group of young children who used to be friends find themselves lost in the sea after a strong current drags their old apartment complex into the ocean. The story focuses mainly on Yasuji and Natsume, who have come at odds after both suffered grave losses.

With no one but each other to depend on, Natsume and Yasuji must try and look past their inner feelings and find a way home. Drifting Home is a movie that debuted on Netflix and features a strong visual narrative with stunning animation to keep viewers engaged.

Your Name

A Compelling Love Story That Features Body Swap And Time Travel Elements

  • Released: November 16, 2016
  • Director: Makoto Shinkai
  • Studio: CoMix Wave Films

Of course, as far as Makoto Shinka films go, Your Name is still his magnum opus (at least according to critics). Your Name was a bit more endearing for the typical target demographics of anime and had more clever twists to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

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Recommending Your Name after a showing of a Makoto Shinkai film is also common practice, just so fans can compare them and discover which one fiddled with their heartstrings more. Just as Suzume is a forbidden romance revolving around alternate dimensions, Your Name walls off its two star-crossed lovers using time, and there's a splash of the time travel trope sprinkled in, too, making it partly sci-fi.

Howl's Moving Castle

The Inspiration Behind The Story Of Suzume

  • Released: November 20, 2016
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Studio: Studio Ghibli

Those who have seen Suzume will surely have noticed that one of the film's primary inspirations was Ghibli's Howl's Moving Castle. It's Hayao Miyazaki's film about a cursed hatter who gets entangled with a handsome sorcerer (and his multiple layers of issues).

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Heck, even the male protagonist of Suzume bears a striking resemblance to Howl, the aforementioned sorcerer. Moreover, there are obvious Howl's Moving Castle Easter eggs in Suzume, such as the main character's home locale being called Miyazaki Island. It's as if Makoto Shinkai was subconsciously telling viewers to re-watch Howl's Moving Castle after Suzume.

Whisper Of The Heart

Features Similar Character Dynamics

  • Released: July 15, 1995
  • Director: Yoshifumi Kondo
  • Studio: Studio Ghibli

Whisper of the Heart lays out a simple premise — it's a coming-of-age story where a young girl must determine her self-worth and future, featuring a constructive friendship with a young boy and a weird anthropomorphic and bipedal cat who calls himself the Baron.

It's not as high stakes as Suzume or some of Makoto Shinkai's feature-length films since it's a Ghibli film as well, but there's plenty of refreshing countryside romance to be found here, along with two innocent young people and their heartwarming hangouts (which is usually just a front for existential crisis themes).

Patema Inverted

Shares The "Across Different Worlds" Trope

  • Release year: November 9, 2013
  • Director: Yasuhiro Yoshiura
  • Studio: Studio Rikka

Anime fans who love their juvenile lovers held back by their opposite worlds will also adore the story of Patema Inverted. The two main characters were literally on both sides of two different worlds, where they could only meet in an inverted manner.

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It's not clear who has gravity on their side, but the titular main girl was part of an underground civilization whose members would literally "fall" into the sky if they came to the surface. It's quite possibly one of the most dazzling takes on a Romeo and Juliet plot, and fans of Suzume's more romantic elements are sure to enjoy what's on offer.

I Want To Eat Your Pancreas

A Heartbreaking Tale That Prioritizes The Journey Over The Destination

  • Released: September 1, 2018
  • Director: Shinichiro Ushijima
  • Studio: VOLN

Back to something more grounded (no pun intended), I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is a certified tear-jerker, because what's keeping the two lovers from each other is a debilitating pancreatic cancer. Most people will already know where this is going based on that premise alone.

Still, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas isn't about what's waiting on the other side of that mountain - it's the climb. Despite the opposing personalities of the two potential lovers, they teach one another to value life despite how limited it can be. Though it's arguably a much bleaker story than what Suzume offers, its heartfelt themes are sure to impress those looking for something similar.


A Disaster Film With A Lot Of Heart

  • Released: May 13, 2022
  • Director: Tetsuro Araki
  • Studio: Wit

Bubble, like Suzume, is a disaster movie where a cataclysmic event renders a large area of Tokyo submerged, and everything is getting sucked down by a mysterious tiny black hole at the center.

Still, that doesn't stop some wayward inhabitants from setting up camp in the place and turning it into a parkour contest arena. The main guy, Hibiki, comes across a girl named Uta who, apparently, can defy gravity and is lighter than air. Together, they emerge as victors in the Tokyo ground zero while also uncovering the secrets of the calamity and Uta's origins.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Both Movies Feature Similar Main Characters

  • Released: July 15, 2006
  • Director: Mamoru Hosoda
  • Studio: Madhouse

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is quite self-explanatory with its premise. The main girl's life changes when she suddenly receives the ability to move backward through time and affect the lives of her friends in the past, thus changing the future.

To that end, it's quite similar to Suzume, where the main girl happens upon spiritual powers that allow her to prevent disasters from happening all over Japan. More than that, the film's smooth animation and detailed expressions are sure to impress those who enjoyed Suzume's visuals.

Ride Your Wave

Both Movies Share A Coming Of Age Theme

  • Released: June 21, 2019
  • Director: Masaaki Yuasa
  • Studio: Science Saru

Ride Your Wave is another tearjerker of a romance anime where a surfer girl, Hinako, suddenly loses her loving and dreamy boyfriend in a surfing accident. But it seems the sea had another plan for him, and it appears he now lives as a water spirit — or maybe it's Hinako's grief-induced hallucinations that cause her to believe this.

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Whichever the case, this film is a heartbreaking yet hopeful coming-of-age story about how to move on from loss. It's a rollercoaster of emotions where the vibrant and cheerful moments are accentuated by gray and moody mishaps. It's a perfect watch for those used to Makoto Shinkai's emotional cues.

Josee, The Tiger, And The Fish

An Emotional Rollercoaster That Follows Two Differing Protagonists

  • Released: December 25, 2020
  • Director: Kotaro Tamura
  • Studio: Bones

What could have easily been a cliched manic pixie dream girl story was thankfully transformed into something more beautiful and positive in Josee, the Tiger, and the Fish. The wheelchair-bound titular main girl's life was turned upside down after meeting a budding marine biologist named Tsuneo who accepted a one-time gig to help her.

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Or perhaps it was the other way around, and it was Tsueno's life that changed upon a chance meeting with Josee. Either way, it was the start of their wholesome love story, which is filled with ups and downs as they try to juggle the external impediments of their relationship and their lives. For fans of Suzume's more romantic elements, Josee, the Tiger, and the Fish is a must-watch.

A Whisker Away

A Different Kind Of Supernatural Romance

  • Released: June 18, 2020
  • Director: Tomotaka Shibayama
  • Studio: Studio Colorido

A Whisker Away starts off with an adorable premise. A socially awkward girl named Miyo kept failing to catch her crush's attention, but she finally succeeded after transforming into a cat and earning Kento's caring arms. Unfortunately, Kento doesn't know that the new stray he adopted is Miyo.

So, it was a Catch-22 situation for Miyo. Does she keep being a cat to stay close to Kento, or does she reveal her true self to help Kento with his problems? Regardless, the transformation elements and the cats featured in A Whisker Away are sure to be a welcome sight for anyone still hung up on Suzume.

Release DateMarch 5, 2023
DirectorMakoto Shinkai
Studio(s)Story Inc., CoMix Wave Films

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