The 10 Best Animated Movies Of 2021, According To Letterboxd

The 10 Best Animated Movies Of 2021, According To Letterboxd

Anyone who writes off animated films as being purely for children is missing out on some true greatness. There are things that can be achieved in an animated format that could never happen in live-action, which helps make them so special. 2021 saw the release of some truly fantastic animated pictures.

RELATED: The 10 Best Directorial Debuts Of 2021, According To Letterboxd

Looking at the ratings on Letterboxd, you can pick out which were the best of the year. However, many animated films on the site don’t have many reviews, so it’s tough to gauge how well those actually did. To make up for that, this is only looking at movies to score enough ratings on the site.

10 Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 2 – 3.51

Not Available To Stream

There’s no doubt that Sailor Moon is one of the most popular franchises anywhere in the world. They can just keep pumping out stories set in that world and loyal fans will make sure to gravitate towards it, which was the case once again in 2021.

Based on the Dream arc from the manga, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie is a two-part saga that is meant to be a direct continuation of the Sailor Moon Crystal anime series. The first entry received a slightly lower score on Letterboxd but this adventure was considered better and culminates the story in a satisfying way.

9 Raya And The Last Dragon – 3.53

Stream On Disney+

Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina in Raya and the Last Dragon

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Raya and the Last Dragon wasn’t the commercial hit that it could’ve been, though it did fare better once it arrived on Disney+. The Walt Disney Animation Studios film gave the company a Southeast Asian heroine that audiences could get behind.

The plot focuses on Raya (Kelly Marie Tran), a warrior out to find the last dragon, Sisu (Awkwafina), so she can restore peace and bring back those who had been petrified, including her father. The animation was gorgeous, the characters were well-received, the action worked, and the voice cast (also including Gemma Chan and Benedict Wong, among others) was brilliant.


8 Sing 2 – 3.55

Rent On Apple TV

Ash singing in Sing 2.

In 2016, Sing became a pretty huge hit as children everywhere fell in love with the adorable animal characters and the barrage of well-known pop songs. A sequel made a ton of sense and Sing 2 continues what worked in the first film while adding some really fun aspects to it.

This time around, Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) attempts to make it even bigger by having his theatre crew put on an original sci-fi epic show though there are many obstacles to overcome along the way. The addition of Pharrell, Bono, and especially Halsey only added to a loaded cast and made this a blast.

7 Belle – 3.60

Not Available To Stream


One of the prettiest films that you’ll ever discover, Belle is a Japanese movie inspired by the iconic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. The premiere at the Cannes Film Festival was said to have gone so well that it received a 14-minute standing ovation once it was over.

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Suzu is the protagonist, a high school student who loses herself when she goes online as her avatar, Belle. While in the online world, she gets entangled with a massive dragon-like beast. It received universal acclaim for the story and animation style, while the voice cast is filled with great Japanese stars. Even the English dub features Hunter Schafer, Manny Jacinto, and other rising stars.

6 Encanto – 3.75

Stream On Disney+

Mirabel and Dolores dancing in Encanto

It’s hard to find a movie that is more popular these days than Encanto. Another release from Walt Disney Animation Studios, the biggest reason for its success is the beloved soundtrack, which has surpassed the likes of Frozen and reached the top spot on the Billboard charts.

While the music by the incredible Lin-Manuel Miranda is obviously great, it’s the colorful animation, layered characters, and tremendous voice cast that really shine in Encanto. The story about a family with powers being brought together by the one member seemingly without any is also heartwarming. Encanto has already scored a Best Animated Feature Golden Globe victory.

5 Luca – 3.92

Stream On Disney+

luca giulia luca alberto jacob tremblay jack dylan grazer

It’s almost a given that anytime the best animated movies of a given year are being discussed, Pixar will be involved. The legendary studio only put out one film in 2021 after delivering two strong outings in 2020 and Luca took Disney+ by storm as soon as it was made available.

The story of Luca follows a sea monster who can turn into a human on land as he looks to find happiness there even though it’s not where he technically belongs. As usual, Pixar brings beautiful visuals and more emotion than you’d typically expect, helping to make this yet another standout from them.

4 The Mitchells Vs. The Machines – 3.93

Stream On Netflix

The Mitchells vs The Machines

The history of Sony Pictures Animation was a mixed bag but that changed with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Since then, they’ve started putting out stronger movies and The Mitchells vs. The Machines is easily one of their best.

RELATED: Top 10 Sony Pictures Animation Movies, Ranked (According to Rotten Tomatoes)

For starters, it was praised for being the rare animated film from a major studio to feature LGBTQ+ representation. The movie follows a dysfunctional family who becomes unlikely heroes when the world is overtaken by robots. There are genuinely hilarious scenes, exciting action, and most importantly, a father/daughter relationship at the center that hits you emotionally.

3 Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter To Los Angeles – 4.04

Stream On Disney+

An animated version of Billie Eilish

The only movie among the best to not be a traditional feature-length film is Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles. In fact, it’s also unique in that it’s not totally animated, with a good chunk of the runtime being dedicated to actual concert footage.

There is plenty of the animated version of Billie Eilish to go around though. Directed by Robert Rodriguez and Patrick Osborne, this concert film features some incredible visuals and makes you feel like you’re watching Eilish live. The setlist of tracks from her latest album is the cherry on top.

2 Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time – 4.24

Stream On Amazon Prime

Shinji In Evangelion 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon A Time

At this point, it doesn’t seem to matter when animated films are being discussed because Neon Genesis Evangelion is bound to be included. The long-running franchise is as strong as ever, with this 2021 installment becoming the highest-grossing to date.

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time focuses on Shinji, Rei, and Asuka as they hunt for refuge following the loss of their Evangelions. Almost every aspect of the film was praised from the voice work to the music to the action.

1 Gintama: The Very Final – 4.33

Rent On Vudu

The poster for Gintama: The Very Final

Another Japanese movie based on a popular manga, Gintama: The Very Final is actually an action-comedy tale. Interestingly, Gintama started out as something of a gag series, featuring odd jokes, parodies, and spoofs but has grown into something that is so much more.

Gintama: The Very Final is meant to work as a bridge between the end of the anime series and the movie and it succeeds in that way. Fans were happy that it continued the franchise’s streak of consistently being entertaining though oddly, critics seemed a little less favorable towards it.

NEXT: The 10 Most Anticipated Movies Of 2022, According To Letterboxd

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