Water anime Top 36 “Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea”“Demon Slayer”“Spirited Away”

06/01/2023 by

Many Japanese anime depict nature, such as the sea and rain, or sporting themes, such as scuba diving and swimming, and many of them feature memorable water scenes that left a lasting impression on the audience.

So, “ANIME SAMURAI” conducted a survey of 100 Japanese people about “impressive water-based anime.” The results are presented here in a ranking format and the reason for the selections.


Water anime No. 1 “Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea”


Release Year:2008
Director:Hayao Miyazaki
Original Work: Hayao Miyazaki
Production Company:Studio Ghibli
Theme Song: “Umi no Okaasan” by Masako Hayashi, “Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea” by Fujioka Fujimaki and Nozomi Ohashi
Official Website

In 1st place is “Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea” an animated feature film produced by Studio Ghibli and written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, the master of Japanese animation who has created numerous masterpieces. Set in a town by the sea, this heartwarming fantasy depicts the interaction between a five-year-old boy, Sosuke, and a fish girl, Ponyo, who wishes to become human. The film won first place in the ranking after viewers said they could learn the joy, wonder, and fear of water through Ponyo swimming freely in the sea.

Reviews and comments

“Ponyo, the fish child, swimming and running in the sea looks fun and the depiction of water is wonderful. I chose this animation because it teaches us how wonderful and sometimes scary the sea can be, and it shows us how important it is to live in harmony with the sea.” (Yoruasagao)
“When I think of water, the only thing that comes to mind is Ponyo on the Cliff. Ponyo seems to be longing to be human, but she seemed so free and happy as she swam freely in the water that I thought we humans are more longing for the water world than she is.” (Hahame)

Water anime No. 2 “Demon Slayer”

Quote: Amazon Prime Video

Release Year: 2019
Director:Haruo Sotozaki
Original Work: “Demon Slayer” by Koyoharu Gotouge
Production Company:ufotable
Theme Song: “Gurenge” by LiSA
Official Website

In 2nd place is the anime “Demon Slayer” based on the popular manga series that has sold a total of 150 million copies. In this dark fantasy, Tanjiro Kamado, a boy whose family was killed by demons, engages in fierce battles with various demons to return his sister, who has turned into a demon, to a human. Tanjiro’s battle style is to confront the demons with a style of breathing that combines the “water breathing” body movements he has acquired through training and the “Hinokami Kagura” breathing style passed down in his birth family. The dynamic movement of the water in this style grabs the hearts of those who watch it.

Reviews and comments

“The technique of water breathing by Tanjiro Kamado was impressive, strong and cool! The dynamic water movements that unfolded from the sword were brilliant, powerful, and wonderful. The variety of expressions depicted by the different types of water breathing is also fascinating!”(Kakashi)
“The main character, Tanjiro Kamado, uses a sword technique called “water breathing” and later fights with many other characters using water breathing. The scenery and atmosphere in the work also strongly evoke the image of water, with the depiction of blue water surfaces, water droplets, and refreshing music. Water can also be seen as a symbol of coolness and purification, which matches with the story and the characters’ in Demon Slayer!” (Suu)

Water anime No. 3 “Spirited Away”


Release Year:2001
Director:Hayao Miyazaki
Original Work: Hayao Miyazaki
Production Company:Studio Ghibli
Theme Song: “Always with Me” by Youmi Kimura
Official Website

In 3rd place is “Spirited Away,” an animated feature film produced by Studio Ghibli, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, just like “Ponyo on the Cliff by the sea”.
The story is a fantasy that depicts the friendships and growth of a 10-year-old girl, Chihiro Ogino, who wanders into a world where humans are not allowed to enter. The water scenes in various scenes in the film are diverse and impressive, ranging from mysterious and beautiful to creepiness. This timeless masterpiece won the Best Animated Feature Film Academy Award at the 75th Academy Awards.

Reviews and comments

There are not many water scenes in the work, but the location with Haku at the very end is awe-inspiring. The sea also appears in the scene where Chihiro and Kaonashi are on the train, and while the water is beautiful and clear, there is something eerie about it that makes it indescribably appealing and appealing! (Kuu)
“This is my favorite of Ghibli’s works and is the first that comes to mind when I think of the many uses of water representations. The scene where Chihiro and Haku, in dragon form, sink into the water, the water Chihiro is drenched to when receiving the bitter dumplings from God, and the flooding where the God came from. The scene where Chihiro walks barefoot on the waterlogged railroad tracks and where the frog spit out from the Kaonashi swims in the crystal clear water also leaves a deep impression.” (Tsukume)

Water anime No. 4 “Free!”



Release Year:2014
Director:Hiroko Utsumi
Original Work: “High☆Speed!” by Kōji Ōji
Production Company:Kyoto Animation, Animation Do
Theme Song: “Rage on” by Oldcodex
Official Website

In 4th place was “Free!” based on a novel that won the Incentive Award at the Kyoto Animation Awards, sponsored by Kyoto Animation, Japan’s world-renowned animation production company. The series has been a smash hit with five movie versions and three anime seasons. The main character is Haruka Nanase, a high school sophomore, and the series depicts the struggles of high school boys who devote their adolescence to swimming and the bonds between them.

Reviews and comments

“This anime is about a passion for swimming, and the movement of the water is very dynamic. When the characters are swimming, their movements on the surface and in the water, as well as their splashing, are very realistic and dynamic. It is also fascinating to see how the water and the characters express their emotions together!” (celsior30)
“The depiction of water is beautiful. I once watched the film frame by frame out of curiosity, every frame was clean and beautiful. When the characters are swimming, the depiction of the water, including the sound, is so refreshing and realistic that I want to look back at this work every summer.” (Yahiro)

Water anime No. 5 “Nagi no Asukara: A Lull in the Sea”


Quote: Amazon Prime Video

Release Year:2013
Director:Toshiya Shinohara
Original Work: Project-118
Production Company:P.A.WORKS
Theme Song:「lull〜Soshite Bokura wa〜」 by Ray
Official Website

5th place goes to “Nagi no Asukara”, English title A Lull in the Sea. This fantasy work depicts the emotional turbulence of seven boys and girls in a world where humans once lived and breathed generally in the sea, but at some point people began to live on land, and now live separately under the sea and on land. Some viewers commented that the story centers on a village at the bottom of the sea, and that they were struck by the beautiful world of water in which the story is depicted.

Reviews and comments

“The story centers on a village at the bottom of the sea. The beauty of the images and art backgrounds still leaves an impression on me today. The shimmering surface, the light reflecting off the water’s edge, and the fish swimming around the area, the depiction of water was impressive throughout the film.” (Runa)
“This work depicts a fantastic underwater world, and the underwater depiction is beautiful. I was impressed by the meticulous attention to detail in the depiction of the shimmering surface of the water and the light reflected on the water’s surface.” (Ryokucha)

Water anime No. 6 “Violet Evergarden”


Release Year:2018
Director:Taichi Ishidate
Original Work:Kana Akatsuki
Production Company:Kyoto Animation
Theme Song:True「Sincerely」
Official Website

In 6th place is “Violet Evergarden”, an original work based on Kana Akatsuki’s light novel of the same title, creating a worldwide sensation. The anime was broadcast through its second season, followed by two movie versions. The story is an ensemble drama about a young girl, Violet, who once fought in the military, begins working as an “automatic writing doll” and comes to understand the people by being in touch with the emotions of her clients. The highlight of the work is the highly skilled depiction of scenes and delicate psychological portrayal, and the one-of-a-kind worldview is sure to capture the hearts of fans.

Reviews and comments

“I selected “Violet Evergarden” because of the beautiful expression of water (drawing). The story and atmosphere are so good that I can’t stop crying when watching it. The drawings are also beautiful, so I highly recommend you to see this work!” (Fujimatsu Aoi)
“The main character Violet, who accepts a request to write on behalf of a picture book writer, is so moved by the memory of the author’s late daughter. In the scene where Violet creates a story as a writer, she is captivated by a beautiful picture of her flying over the lake and walking on the fallen leaves on the surface of the water while spreading her umbrella like a blue sky.” (Wangure)

Water anime No. 6 “The Little Mermaid”


Quote: Amazon Prime Video

Release Year:1989 in America, 1991 in Japan
Director: John Musker, Ron Clements
Original Work:”The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Feature Animation
Theme Song:”Under the Sea” by Samuel E. Wright
Official Website

Also in 6th place is “The Little Mermaid,” a Disney animated film based on the Original Work, “The Little Mermaid,” a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. Ariel, a pure and curious mermaid, is a 16-year-old princess living in the sea kingdom of Atlantica. One day, she meets and falls in love with a human prince, Eric, while spending time with her best friend, Flounder the Bream and Sebastian the Crab, a court musician, while longing for the world of land. Ariel’s joyful appearance as she gracefully moves about in the sea is impressive in this timeless masterpiece.

Reviews and comments&lt

“The scene of Ariel, who grew up in the sea, singing and dancing with her sea friends is awe-inspiring. It looks fun to see her moving around gracefully in the sea, in a different world!”(liyco)
“This work allows you to imagine what life must be like under the sea. Ariel and Flounder are cute and the songs are good. It is my favorite Disney film. A masterpiece I want to show to my children.” (tmtm)

Water anime No. 6 “Weathering with You”

Quote: Amazon Prime Video

Release Year:2019
Director:Makoto Shinkai
Original Work:Makoto Shinkai
Production Company:CoMix Wave Films
Theme Song: “Is There Still Anything That Love Can Do?” by RADWIMPS, “Ground Escape (Movie Edit) feat.Toko Miura”, “Voice of Wind (Movie Edit)”by RADWIMPS, “Celebration (Movie Edit) “feat.Toko Miura, “We’ll Be Alright (Movie Edit)” by RADWIMPS
Official Website

Also in 6th place is the film ” Weathering with You,” directed and written by animation director Makoto Shinkai, who gained worldwide attention with the movie “Kimi no na wa.”
In an age when the weather is losing its harmony, a boy, Hodaka Morishima, who ran away from home on a remote island to Tokyo, and a girl, Hina Amano, who has the mysterious power to clear the weather just by praying, meet and “choose” their own way of life while being tossed around by fate. The “Shinkai World,” with its many water scenes, beautiful colors and delicate words will capture the hearts of fans.

Reviews and comments

“There are so many scenes of water bodies floating in the air, whether it is sunny or raining. They are so beautiful that the eye is drawn to them, so they have a strong image of water. The director of this work also loves water and the sky, so it evokes the image of water.” (dxt********)
“As impressive as the rain scenes are, the power of nature and water depicted in the work is overwhelming. Raindrops are lovely things, but when they become a mass of enormous energy, they become an astonishingly destructive force, which is also frightening.” (mamiiin)

Water anime No. 9 “ARIA The ANIMATION”


Quote: Amazon Prime Video

Release Year:2005
Director:Junichi Sato
Original Work: “ARIA” by Kozue Amano
Production Company:Hal Film Maker
Theme Song: “Undine” by Yui Makino
Official Website

No. 9 is “ARIA The ANIMATION,” based on the popular comic “AQUA” by Kozue Amano. Set on the terraformed water planet of the future Mars, Aqua, this healing story depicts the daily life of Akari Mizunashi, a girl who aspires to become a full-fledged tourist pilot “Undine” in the tourist city of Aqua, Neo Venezia, and the people around her. In addition to three seasons of the animated version, the two seasons of the OVA version and two movie versions have been released.

Reviews and comments

“The western cityscape is immersed in water. The main characters are rowers who paddle gondolas on the surface of that water. I am glad that the animation has a very soothing content in portraying the submerged city as an elegant landscape rather than a tragic one!” (Yonchi)
“The story takes place on a future Mars (Aqua) in the year 2300 A.D., which has been terraformed and has become a water planet, and if any work has a water theme, it is this one!”(yuru)

Water anime No. 9 “ONE PIECE”

Quote: Amazon Prime Video

Release Year:1999
Series composition:Yonemura Shoji
Original Work: “ONE PIECE” Eiichiro Oda
Production Company: Fuji TV, Toei Animation
Theme Song: “We are!” by Hiroshi Kitadani
Official Website

Also ranked in 9th place is “ONE PIECE,” based on the popular manga series that has sold more than 510 million copies worldwide. The story is an adventure battle in which the main character, Luffy, a boy who yearns to become the pirate king, goes on a great adventure in pursuit of One Piece, the Greatest Treasure of All. Luffy, the captain of the “Straw Hat Pirates”, and others, the “devil’s fruit” they eat is weak against water, and people say “One Piece” is associated with water, not the sea.

Reviews and comments

“One Piece is probably the most popular anime when it comes to water. First of all, the story is set in the sea, and the endless expanse of the ocean is very impressive and tickles my adventurous spirit. The fact that people who eat the devil’s fruit cannot swim is also related to water, and One Piece is all about the sea and water!” (Ruru)
“The main character is a pirate, and the sea always makes an appearance. Some of them are underwater islands called Fisherman’s Island. The main character is not a fan of seawater, but the work and the water are inseparable, so it is impressive!” (ANZI)

Water anime No. 9 “Amanchu!”


Quote: Amazon Prime Video

Release Year:2016
Director:Kenichi Kasai
Original Work: “Amanchu!” by Kozue Amano
Production Company:J.C.STAFF
Theme Song: “Million Clouds” by Maaya Sakamoto
Official Website

Also in 9th place is “Amanchu!” based on the popular comic by Kozue Amano, the original creator of the aforementioned “ARIA The ANIMATION”. Amanchu! Set in Izu, a seaside town in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, this coming-of-age story follows Hikari Kohinata, a girl who loves the sea and diving, and Futaba Ooki, a shy girl who moves to Izu from Tokyo, and they join the diving club at their high school. The film was well received by viewers who said they could enjoy the beautiful world of the sea.

Reviews and comments

“The theme of this anime is scuba diving, and the ocean world is really beautiful. Teko is a beginner scuba diver, so it was wonderful to see the excitement of being in the ocean for the first time from Teko’s point of view!” (Nasshi)
“Since this is a story about trying scuba diving, the relationship with the water is carefully depicted in this anime, and this anime can be watched in a calm and relaxed mood. Although there is a fear of water and the ocean, it makes us believe that we can receive much more enjoyable things from the water and the ocean!” (fu)

Water anime No. 9 “The Garden of Words”

Quote: Amazon Prime Video

Release Year:2013
Director:Makoto Shinkai
Original Work:Makoto Shinkai
Production Company:Shinkai Creative, Comics Wave Film
Theme Song:”Kotonoha” by Motohiro Hata
Official Website

In 10th place is “The Garden of Words,” an anime film by Director Makoto Shinkai, similar to the previously introduced “Weathering with you”. Set in Tokyo, it is a love story about a mature 15-year-old boy, Takao, and a mysterious 27-year-old woman, Yukino, who meet by chance during the rainy season and begin to have feelings for each other. The film attracts fans with its depiction of two people who can only meet on rainy days, its depiction of various types of rain, such as a downpour, an evening showers, and a torrential storms, and its beautiful visuals that evoke emotions.

Reviews and comments

It is a good anime film! The drawings were very beautiful and you could see very beautiful expressions of water, such as rain and polka dots on the greenery. I think this is an animation with sparkling images that keep you glued to the screen.” (Brooklyn bum)
“The scene where the story begins with two people meeting on a rainy day is very impressive. It is also an anime that makes me feel somewhat lonely and sad, so I like to watch it on rainy, watery, dreary days!” (Nyantan)

Ranking of Water anime

No 13:Wolf Children
No 13:Ride Your Wave
No 13:KonoSuba
No 13:Is the Order a Rabbit?
No 13:The House of Small Cubes
No 13:My Neighbor Totoro
No 13:Doraemon: Nobita and the Castle of the Undersea Devil
No 13:Finding Nimo
No 13:Penguin Highway
No 13:Pocket Monster
No 13:Made in Abyss
No 13:Moana
No 13:Ranma½
No 13:Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro
No 13:Drifting Home
No 13:Bakemonogatari
No 13:Reborn!
No 13:Summer Days with Coo
No 13:Kingdom of Gold, Kingdom of Water
No 13:Your name (Kimi no Na wa)
No 13:When Marnie Was There
No 13:5 Centimeters per Second
No 13:Detective Conan Case Closed: Captured in Her Eyes
No 13:After the Rain

Water-themed anime Q&A

Q1 What are the top 3 water-themed anime?

Based on the survey, here is the ranking of water-themed anime.
1. Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea
2. Demon Slayer
3 .Spirited Away
For more information, click here.

Q2 What water-themed anime I should watch?

Here is the list of what you should watch.
Free!/ Nagi no Asukara: A Lull in the Sea/Violet Evergarden/Weathering with You/ARIA The ANIMATION.
For more information, click here.

Q3 What is the most impressive water-themed anime?

According to a survey conducted on 100 Japanese people, Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea is selected as the most impressive water-themed anime. For more information, click here.

In this article, we introduced “Impressive water based anime”. We hope you will find this ranking useful.

※ This information is for 06/01/2023. Please check the latest delivery status on each site.

#Demon Slayer #Violet Evergarden #ONE PIECE #Spirited Away #Weathering with You #The Garden of Words #Free! #Ponyo #Nagi no Asukara: A Lull in the Sea #The Little Mermaid #ARIA The ANIMATION #Amanchu!
Editorial Board

AMIME SAMURAI brings you information about Japanese Anime which makes you “Waku-waku” which means so excited in Japanese and makes your life more enjoyable. We write a wide variety of articles such as the ranking of anime, the ranking of animation films and the characters of the anime based on the questionnaire.

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