The 5 best anime to stream on Max

Photo: Spirited Away.. Image Courtesy Studio Ghibli, Fathom Events
Photo: Spirited Away.. Image Courtesy Studio Ghibli, Fathom Events /

From television shows to feature films, anime (animation originating from Japan) has told some of the most compelling, imaginative, and downright incredible stories. For years audiences have been entertained and transformed by such works as Dragon Ball Z, Rurouni Kenshin, Princess Mononoke, One Piece and Kiki's Delivery Service.

Although HBO Max does not offer every anime television show or film, it does have an impressive collection worth mentioning. Today we'll be choosing 5 of the best to stream from HBO Max just in time for summer vacation!

Housing Complex C

For the horror fans, we got you covered! Housing Complex C is full of thrills, chills, and an ever-growing list of questions.

Rated TV-MA, this mini series has an interesting cast and an equally interesting premise. What could possibly go wrong in a low-income housing complex during the summer?

Well, a lot actually. But we won't spoil it for you.

Be prepared for violence, gore, and some disturbing imagery.

The Boondocks

Chances are you've seen The Boondocks suggested or recommended on some streaming platform. The four-season anime based on the manga of the same name might be unlike other anime television shows you've seen before.

The story follows the Freemans, a Black American family who live in a white suburb. Brothers Huey and Riley Freeman, alongside Robert Jebediah "Granddad" Freeman make up the main cast with voice talents by Regina King, John Witherspoon, Samuel L. Jackson, DeRay Davis and Ed Asner.

But be warned, this is not a TV show for kids with a TV-MA rating.

Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle - Studio Ghibli /

From television shows to full-length films. The first film to make our list is Howl's Moving Castle, released in 2004 and starring the dubbed voice cast of Christian Bale, Emily Mortimer, Billy Crystal, Josh Hutcherson, and Blythe Danner.

Based on the book of the same name, the story follows plain and often ignored Sophie as she accidentally crosses paths with the wizard Howl and becomes cursed by a jealous witch. As Sophie proceeds to find a way to remove the curse, she befriends a plethora of unique characters, falls in love, and learns that she is capable of so much more than she ever thought possible.

Charming, imaginative, with a touch of suspense, surprises, and a happy ending to boot, you simply cannot go wrong with Howl's Moving Castle.


HAAAM!!! C'mon, if you've seen Ponyo, you know that is the first thing you think of too!

Released in 2008 with a dubbed voice cast including Liam Neeson, Cate Blanchett, Noah Cyrus, Frankie Jonas, and Tina Fey, Ponyo follows the adventurous tale of Ponyo, a goldish princess who escapes the sea and meets little boy Sosuke. On land, she is transformed into a little girl who becomes obsessed with ham.

But her father, a human tasked with being the Guardian of Sea Life, sets off to find her before dangerous consequences occur. Ponyo is a clever and fun family film, filled with friendship and heartwarming moments.

Gather the kiddos on a rainy day indoors and enjoy!

Spirited Away

Photo: Spirited Away.. Image Courtesy Studio Ghibli, Fathom Events /

We simply could not finish this list without including one of the most popular anime films of all time, Spirited Away. Daveigh Chase, Susan Egan, Jason Marsden, Suzanne Pleshette, and John Ratzenberger comprise the 2001 dubbed cast.

Chihiro is less than thrilled about moving and leaving her world and friends behind. But what makes the move less than spectacular is when she finds herself trapped in the spirit world with her parents, now turned into pigs, as punishment for eating food not intended for them.

Forced to work in the bathhouse for the spirits under a new name, she must find a way to save her parents, forcing herself to become brave and help her friends, including Haku. For those unfamiliar with Japanese culture, the film could be a little jarring and bizarre.

However, all the components of the film make it one you absolutely must watch at least once in your lifetime. Metaphors and theming abound in this coming-of-age tale that embodies the strength of hope, the significance of friendship, and the rewards of perseverance.

You will laugh, cry, and possibly get a little scared but Spirited Away will be a movie experience you won't soon forget.

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You can find and stream everything mentioned in our list on HBO Max.