10 animated films not to be missed in 2021

2020 was a year of great insecurity for film and television productions, and even for 2021 it is difficult to expect much more certainties regarding theatrical releases. However, there are many interesting animated films expected for this year, also thanks to the fact that some productions have been postponed from 2020.

Many dates still remain to be confirmed or subject to postponements, and if in our country (as in many others) the cinemas remain closed for a long time, then the new animated films could also debut directly on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Disney+, as already happened at the end of 2020 for example a Soulthe latest Pixar film.

To try to put some points in this chaotic situation, we have prepared a selection of 10 animated films due out in 2021 that we believe fans (and others) shouldn’t miss, however they will be distributed. There are both Japanese and American productions, with the singular presence of a Pixar film directed by an Italian director.

Gintama: The Final


The latest feature film inspired by the manga Gintama by Hideaki Sorachi (published in Italy by Star Comics) is directed by the same anime series director Chizuru Miyawaki and adapts the final arc of the series. Set in ancient feudal Japan, it mixes science fiction and historical narrative with a deeply ironic approach.

Following the first weekend of release – which took place in Japan on January 8 – Gintama: The Final it is done note for having temporarily removed the first place at the box office in those days from Demon Slayer the movie: Infinity Train Sagathe most-watched animated film in the history of Japanese cinema.

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon A Time (or also Shin Evangelion Gekijo-ban :||) is the fourth film in the cycle Shin Evangelion directed by Hideaki Annoafter Evangelion: 1.0 You Are [Not] halo, Evangelion: 2.0 You Can [Not] Advance And Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redorespectively in 2007, 2009 and 2012.

Following a long production lasting years and after the lack of distribution in 2020, the expected release date for Japanese cinemas had been set for January 23, but for a few days it was communicated a further postponement to a date to be set, due to the state of emergency for the pandemic.

Earwig and the witch

There are many expectations around this film, as it is the first 3D computer graphics feature film produced by Studio Ghibli, the animation studio founded by Japanese directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones (published in Italy by Salani) and directed by Goro Miyazaki, son of Hayao.

The story follows the story of Earwig, a little girl raised in an orphanage who is adopted by two mysterious characters. She will find herself in a magical house, made up of invisible rooms, dark books and strange potions. The film debuted in Japan already on December 30, 2020 on the channels of the NHK television station, but the international release is scheduled for 2021.

Raya and the last dragon

Fifty-ninth Disney classic, Raya and the last dragon is directed by Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh – New Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood, Big Hero 6) and Carlos López Estrada, along with Paul Briggs and John Ripa for Disney Pictures. Originally scheduled for November 25, 2020, the film was postponed due to the pandemic to March 5, 2021, to be released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+.

The film is a fantasy set in an imaginary world called Kumandra, which is very reminiscent of the scenarios of Southeast Asian countries. In this world, dragons have been protecting humans for a long time, until the threat of extremely dangerous monsters called Druuns came.


The sixtieth animated classic produced by Disney Pictures is a CGI musical directed by Byron Howard (Rapunzel – The Tangle of the Tower, Zootopia) and Jared Bush (Zootopia) which will present the music of the actor and musician Lin-Manuel Miranda.

It tells the story of a Colombian girl who has a particular characteristic: she is the only member of her family who does not have magical powers. The US theatrical release is currently set for November 24th.

I live

animated film 2021 alive

Directed by Kirk DeMicco (Space Chimps – Space mission, The Croods) with Brandon Jeffords, will be an animated musical (the first for Sony Pictures) shot in CGI, which will feature 11 songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Oceania, Hamilton).

The film will have as its protagonist a circlet (an animal of the procyonid family) who will travel from Cuba to Miami determined to pursue his passion for music. The US release is scheduled for June 4th.



The new animated feature from Pixar will be directed by the Italian Enrico Casarosa, an animator who has been working for the production company since 2002 and for which he directed the short The moonnominated for an Academy Award in 2012.

Set in a city on the Italian Riviera, the film tells the story of a boy who experiences personal growth during the summer holidays. Beneath this layer of apparent normality lies a mystery that has to do with sea monsters from another world. Luca it will be released in US cinemas on June 18, 2021. It is also scheduled for the summer in Italy, but the precise date is not yet known.

Space Jam: A New Legacy

The sequel to the iconic Space Jam from 1996 mixes live-action and animation once again. This time the protagonist will be the basketball player LeBron James, who will take the place of Michael Jordan, always alongside the characters of the Looney Tunes.

The story will see LeBron James and his son Bronny trapped in a virtual space due to a crazy algorithm. The US release is slated for simultaneous theatrical release and HBO Max on July 16.


animation movie 2021 pinocchio

It is a particularly awaited animated film in stop motion, because it sees Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy: The Golden Army, Pacific Rim) to direct with Mark Gustafson (who previously collaborated with Wes Anderson to direct Fantastic Mr. Fox).

Inspired by the classic by Carlo Collodi, the film reinterprets the story of the wooden child in a particularly dark key, setting it in fascist Italy in the 1930s. The film will be distributed by Netflix in 2021, on a date yet to be announced.

Inu Oh

animation movie 2021 inu-oh masaaki yuasa

It is the new feature film directed by Masaaki Yuasa (Lu Over the Wall, Devilman Crybaby), with the character design by cartoonist Taiyo Matsumoto (Tekkon Kinkreet, Sunny).

Inu Oh will focus on a real historical character, a playwright and actor of the nō theater very popular in fourteenth-century Japan. Produced by Science Saru – Yuasa’s own studio – with Asmik Ace serving as co-producer and distributor, the film will be written by Akiko Nogi. The release date has not yet been announced.

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10 animated films not to be missed in 2021

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