Skip to content

Best animated movies to watch while social distancing

Time Burton's "The Corpse Bride" is an example of an animated movie that can be a good distraction during a global pandemic. 
Photo by TwitterTime Burton's "The Corpse Bride" is an example of an animated movie that can be a good distraction during a global pandemic. 

As we enter day "???" of quarantine, it might be fair to say that we’ve all come down with a serious case of cabin fever. Movies and TV shows allow a temporary escape from the monotony and mundanity of lockdown, but animated media in particular provides an even more engaging experience because, unlike their live-action counterparts, suspension of disbelief is much easier to achieve, and I think we could all use some disbelief in our current state. 

Wolf Children (2012)

For those that enjoy the characteristic fantasy and idyllic scenery of Studio Ghibli films but have already exhausted its works and are seeking something new, Mamoru Hosoda’s “Wolf Children” would satisfy whimsical anime lovers’ appetite.

The slice-of-life film starts with a young college student who falls in love with a man who reveals himself to be a werewolf. The couple has two part-wolf part-human children, but tragedy strikes when the father is killed in an accident. Following his death, the family moves to the countryside.

The rest of the movie sees the mother struggling to raise two children on her own while attempting to hide their wolflike nature from neighbors, while the children navigate their lives with a pressing question constantly weighing over their heads: Are they more human or more wolf? The movie addresses themes of loss and identity which are delicately balanced by frequent moments of comedic relief, and, what’s more, it’s furry-friendly! 

Hosoda has also directed the sci-fi romance “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” (2006) and, more recently, the Oscar-nominated “Mirai” (2018). 

Corpse Bride (2005)

Victor, a young man with a nervous disposition, grows increasingly anxious about marrying his wife-to-be Victoria. After fumbling the wedding rehearsal, he flees town and begins reciting his wedding vows in a forest. He places Victoria’s ring on what he believes to be a root, which turns out to be the finger of a zombie donned in a wedding dress named Elizabeth. Despite Victor insisting this was just practice for his real wedding, Elizabeth says that by giving her the ring, she is now his rightful wife. 

Dismissing his protests, she takes him to the Land of the Dead, the home of the dead and departed souls. The Land of the Dead, ironically, is more lively than the drabby Victorian town that Victor and his betrothed had lived in all their lives (if viewers were lost as to what era this movie is set in, one need only to pay attention to their names): In stark contrast to The Land of the Living, the Land of the Dead is a vibrant landscape of constant activity, music and dance that Victor becomes increasingly enchanted with.

Perhaps more at home on a Halloween movie list, it is the Land of the Dead that makes "Corpse Bride" such a good quarantine movie because it transports the viewer to a charmingly creepy world of song and dance ... although one could argue that TikTok offers the same opportunity, actually. 

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

As World War II draws to an end, siblings Seita and Setsuko are left to fend for themselves in the chaos of wartime Japan after their mother is killed in a firebombing strike. The movie demonstrates the harrowing effects of war on an individual and intimate level, as the two characters struggle to survive in the face of death, starvation and housing insecurity. Seita’s devotion to protecting and caring for his sister, who is fixated with fireflies and enjoys catching them, seems to be the only constant against the backdrop of wartime instability. 

Silent Voice (2016)

If I hadn’t put this movie on the list, I’m genuinely convinced that a lot of my friends would have cut ties with me. In "Silent Voice," a girl with impaired hearing is almost driven to suicide as a result of unyielding torment by her peers. After she transfers schools, one of her former bullies reaches out to her and seeks to make amends, addressing themes of friendship and forgiveness.