25 Best Adult Cartoon Movies of All Time | Animation For Grownups
Animated movies (call them cartoon movies if you like, but don’t call them “Anime” if you don’t want to offend fans of either) may be a lot of fun since they transport you to another world, one that offers tremendously stimulating emotional and intellectual experiences. However, while most animated films are aimed at children and families, many of them have been outstanding, there is a sizable body of adult animated films that tackle subjects that are far more complicated and daring than the usual ones. They contain not only intricate nudity and graphic sex, but also swear words and everything else that a PG-13, NC-17, or R rated film would contain — the only difference being that they are animated and lack flesh and bone characters.
Regardless, the MPAA has given each of these films suitable grades based on the sexual material, violence and gore, and intended profane explicitness. These are films that employ strong language and depict sensuality and violence in a way that is especially bold. As a result, the Motion Picture Association of America has given them a R or NC-17 rating (MPAA). Let’s take a look at the top adult animated films of all time — the road less traveled (or rarely traveled, given that we haven’t seen a good film since Anomalisa). Some of the best adult animated movies are available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu.
Table Of Content
- 1 $9.99 (2008)
- 2 A Scanner Darkly (2006)
- 3 Akira (1988)
- 4 American Pop (1981)
- 5 Anomalisa (2015)
- 6 Appleseed (2004)
- 7 Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (2007)
- 8 Bad Cat (2016)
- 9 Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)
- 10 Fantastic Planet (1973)
- 11 Heavy Metal (1981)
- 12 Heavy Traffic (1973)
- 13 Loving Vincent (2017)
- 14 Mutant Aliens (2001)
- 15 Paprika (2006)
- 16 Perfect Blue (1997)
- 17 Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)
- 18 Renaissance (2006)
- 19 Sausage Party (2016)
- 20 South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999)
- 21 Tekkonkinkreet (2006)
- 22 The Simpsons Movie (2007)
- 23 Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)
- 24 Waking Life (2001)
- 25 Waltz With Bashir (2008)
‘$9.99,’ a stop-motion animated sex drama, follows a jobless man named Dave and a group of other people living in the same apartment complex in Sydney as they strive to figure out what their lives are really about. The title of the film comes from an advertisement in a magazine that offers to discover out the meaning of life for only $9.99. The plot revolves around disgruntled characters, everyday oddities, a battle to maintain a way of life, and suggested humour. The MPAA gave the picture a ‘R’ rating because of sex scenes, nudity, gore, and mild profanity.
A Scanner Darkly (2006)
The narrative of an undercover cop who becomes a drug addict and begins to lose his identity is told in Richard Linklater’s overlooked animated sci-fi thriller. Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, and George Clooney are among the film’s impressive cast members. It’s a visual pleasure that’s also highly intellectually stimulating. While not as clinically brilliant as ‘Waking Life,’ the film has its moments and ultimately comes across as a daring effort from a filmmaker who is continually experimenting with cinematic structure.
‘Akira,’ a manga-based post-apocalyptic film, is set in 2019, after the Third World War of 1988, when Tokyo is replaced with a futuristic Neo-Tokyo. Tetsuo Shima, a fearsome gang member known as The Capsules, unexpectedly collides with Takashi, an escapee psychic on the run from a government research center that is researching psionics. Tetsuo develops telepathic and telekinetic talents as a result of the accident, and a slew of government agencies begin seeking for him. Tetsuo’s talents and abilities are akin to those of Akira, a once-powerful psychic who was allegedly responsible for the destruction of Tokyo. Tetsuo, unable to control his abilities and fleeing rival gangs, the government, and others, changes into a singularity that engulfs the majority of his foes. The remaining espers then decide to awaken Akira, who teleports Tetsuo to another dimension by forming an even larger mass of singularity. ‘Akira,’ one of the modern anime’s colossal giants, is brutal, violent, and incredibly dynamic, all of which will entice you to watch it. Without a doubt, one of the best animated adult films of all time.
American Pop (1981)
Ralph Bakshi is widely regarded as one of the best animators of all time. While he hasn’t always been the most consistent filmmaker, his best works have pushed the medium’s boundaries in ways that have never been seen before. One of his most complex projects is ‘American Pop,’ which follows four generations of a Russian Jewish family of musicians. While the film’s wide plot is hampered by a lack of concentration, it nonetheless comes across as a powerful experience. The film got mixed reviews at its initial release, but it is today considered one of Bakshi’s best works as well as one of the best animated musical dramas ever made.
‘Anomalisa’ is about a lonely customer service representative who thinks the world is the same until he meets a lovely young woman with whom he forms an intimate link that grows more complicated when they spend a night together in a hotel room. It’s a heartfelt film that, like most Charlie Kaufman films, gets under your skin. The film has a well-known sex scene between the two main characters, making it very much an adult animated film that received an R-rating.
‘Appleseed,’ a manga-based post-apocalyptic animated film, begins after a global third world war has killed out the majority of the planet’s population. Knute is a warrior who now lives in a city of biomechanical clones known as Bioroids, set in the city of Olympus. Appleseed is simply a data store in Olympus that contains information about swarming Bioroids. Aside from the ruling groups — the Prime Minister, the General, and the Council of Elders – Olympus is also beset by warring factions led by Colonel Hades. The rest of the film revolves around the fight between the governing and opposing factions, with Knute trapped in the middle of it all. Due to its complex storyline and multiple characters, ‘Appleseed’ earned mixed reviews, but it gained a lot of praise for its presentation and animation.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (2007)
A weird mix of humour and surrealism makes for a fantastic journey. ‘Aqua Teen Hunger’ is the only Adult Swim series to be turned into a feature picture. It is based on the animated series ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force.’ The film, on the other hand, garnered mixed reviews, with critics condemning the film’s general shallow approach and ridiculous storyline, while ordinary fans praised it. Because of the mature humour, graphic visuals, and strong language, it was given a R rating.
Bad Cat (2016)
To begin with, ‘Bad Cat’ is a Turkish film about a foul-mouthed cat named Shero (stylized as ero) who travels with two buddies – a seagull and a rat. ero and his gang, like any other band of outcasts, engage in all kinds of immorality, crimes, and binge drinking on the streets of Istanbul. When they come into contact with humans, such as Cizer, the owner of a cat named Pirta, ero’s love interest, their luxury comes to a halt. The antics of Ero and his ragged company are worth a look in yet another film where animals move, talk, and act like people.
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)
‘Cowboy Bebop: The Movie,’ another Japanese sci-fi film on this list, depicts a dismal future set in the year 2071 on the planet Mars. Bebop is a starship that travels to and from Mars. The government declares a $300 million bounty after a bizarre explosion in the capital city, and Bebop, which consists of legalized bounty hunters Spike, Jet, Faye, Edward, and Ein, sets out on a quest to seek and hunt the savage killer. In terms of critical response, the film was hailed as a must-see for anime fans and adequate for general audiences. When paired with near-flawless animation, the action-packed storyline, background music, and characterizations function like clockwork. All sci-fi fans will like ‘Cowboy Bebop: The Movie.’
Fantastic Planet (1973)
Draags are the ruling species of a remote world called Ygam. They have a large humanoid form and are blue in color, and they have brought humans who are considerably smaller to pet them from planet Earth. While a few humans, known on the planet as Oms, live as collared pets with Draags, the majority of the human population roams the woods, where they are trapped, slain, or heckled. Terr, an orphaned Om, is petted by Tiwa, a young Draag who obtains her education via headphones. However, because to a fault in Terr’s collar, he listens in on the classes and learns everything there is to know about the Draag species. As Tiwa becomes more conscious of her surroundings, she begins to dislike Terr, who then elopes and establishes his own group of humans, hatching a plot to flee the planet, courtesy to Tiwa’s stolen headphones, which allow him to listen in on all of the information concerning Draags. Draags and Oms agree to peacefully coexist on the Earth after sensing danger from humans’ learned knowledge and seeing their meditation statues damaged by “petty” humans. ‘Fantastic Planet’ is a mind-blowing journey that shows us surrealistic pictures of what a parallel universe can look like and the threats it poses, as well as being a visual feast.
Heavy Metal (1981)
This animated anthology film follows a brilliant green orb that scares a young girl with odd fantasy horror and sexuality stories. The story is divided into numerous parts, each of which is based on a different story from the Heavy Metal magazine. The picture appears to be old in places, but the score and atmospheric intensity make it an enjoyable experience. It has a number of scenes that are quite explicit in its portrayal of sensuality and violence, and it was worked on by a number of animation studios on separate segments of the film.
Heavy Traffic (1973)
‘Heavy Traffic’ illustrates a teenage cartoonist’s unusual, surreal fantasies, in which the most eccentric, strange personalities serve as true inspiration for his work. Ralph Bakshi’s commanding presence could be felt in every frame as he crafted something outrageously innovative, controversial, and challenging while still being profoundly personal and intimate without ever becoming self-indulgent. The MPAA gave the picture an X classification owing to its visually explicit nature at the time, yet it was a huge critical success and is considered one of Ralph Bakshi’s best works.
Loving Vincent (2017)
A one-of-a-kind biographical drama portraying the life of iconic painter Vincent Van Gogh, the film begins with his sons Armand and Theo after his suicide. A letter for Theo must be delivered by Armand, according to Joseph, a postman. As Armand returns to Paris, expecting to find his brother, he discovers that Theo, too, has passed away six months after Van Gogh. Armand is caught in the middle of a complex series of events that proves differently – Van Gogh did not commit suicide, but was murdered by marauders. ‘Loving Vincent’ is a visual marvel that is more artistic than most major animated films and is still underappreciated today.
Mutant Aliens (2001)
Bill Plympton’s unusual animated sci-fi film is a satire of B-grade monster flicks. The story follows an American astronaut as he relates his experiences on a planet inhabited by mutant aliens. The humour is oddly toned, but it has a pleasant quality to it that helps to alleviate the film’s visual hysteria. The animation in the film is pretty remarkable in that it creates a really distinct visual and emotional experience. It has a number of sequences that depict violence and sex, and the MPAA gave it a R rating, despite the fact that it was presented at several festivals.
‘Paprika,’ a Japanese animation, is set in the near future, when a technology known as the ‘DC Mini’ is produced that allows individuals to look into other people’s dreams. Because the device has not been regulated and was originally marketed as a psychotherapy device, it could end up in the wrong hands, resulting in unforeseeable outcomes. Dr. Atsuko Chiba, the project leader for the DC Mini, has an alter-ego named Paprika who uses the device to assist her patients by explaining the meaning of their dreams and bringing them to a conclusion. Following the capture of Paprika and the appearance of a weird phenomenon in which dreams and reality have mixed, Chiba decides to assassinate the project’s Chairman, who is eventually revealed to be the real villain, and free mankind from a dream vs reality limbo. ‘Paprika’ garnered great reviews for its unique plot, captivating characters, and portrayal of the evil side of technological progress.
Perfect Blue (1997)
‘Perfect Blue,’ a horror-animated film, is one of the best instances of the sub-genre. Mima, a J-Pop singer who is fed up with her humdrum career, is the protagonist of ‘Perfect Blue.’ She auditions for the lead actress role in the film Double Blind, in which she plays a rape victim. Things get extremely realistic while filming the rape scene, and she begins to believe she is being raped. To Mima’s surprise and dismay, the film’s crew members are systematically killed or discovered dead in a shocking turn of events. Mima suffers from a split personality problem, making it impossible for her to distinguish between what is real and what is imagined, as is subsequently revealed to the audience. Mima emerges unhurt from a mental facility, while her best friend Rumi has been “imprisoned” there due to Mima’s actions. The film’s core features a captivating tale, vivid sex scenes, and horrific crimes, and it was well welcomed by critics and audiences alike.
Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)
‘Pink Floyd – The Wall,’ a cult favourite among rock music lovers, follows a young rocker who loses his mind after the death of his father and tries to construct an universe for himself, protecting himself from the emotional perils of life beyond the bounds of his own psyche. It’s a frightening depiction of paranoia and self-destruction, and the film creates a wonderfully interesting, strange universe that’s incredibly cathartic to see. For its dramatic, graphic depiction of sensuality, violence, and gore, the picture was given a R rating. It is now widely regarded as one of the best animated films ever made.
One of the most thrilling animation films I’ve ever seen is ‘Renaissance.’ The film depicts a cop in an aggressive search for a kidnapped scientist who holds the key to perpetual life in a not-too-distant future Paris. The film employs a unique motion capture animation technique in which the majority of the pictures are black-and-white, which complements the film’s grim vision of a dystopian future. It’s a stunning blend of genres that creates an exhilarating experience that, despite some narrative hitches, comes across as a well-made spectacular sci-fi film.
Sausage Party (2016)
‘Sausage Party,’ a dark comedy at first, is one of the few American adult comedies on this list. Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Kristen Wigg, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, and others star in the film, which revolves around the anthropomorphic shapes of groceries in a grocery shop called Shopwell’s. Apparently, all types of foodstuffs believe that they are in some kind of comfort zone when in the store, and that they must prepare themselves for the “great beyond” once they accompany the humans. A relationship between Frank, a sausage, and Brenda, a hot dog bun. Honey Mustard warns them about the lies of the big beyond and that there is no such thing as the great beyond as they prepare for it. In an unusual turn of events, a brutal conflict breaks out between the foodstuffs and the humans, with the human customers and store employees being poisoned and slain in the process. The film was acclaimed for its language, which is appropriate for an adult film, as well as its gag comedy moments. Before the party finishes, take a look at it!
South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999)
The film ‘South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut,’ based on the iconic animated TV series ‘South Park,’ is about four boys who are caught watching an R-rated film starring Canadian actors Terrance and Philip, as their mothers pressurize the country to fight a war against Canada for corrupting their children. tIt is the only South Park feature film to date, and it had to battle the MPAA over censoring issues until receiving a R rating around 15 days before its debut.
‘Tekkonkinkreet,’ another Japanese manga story on our list, chronicles the lives of two orphans named Kuro and Shiro (meaning “Black” and “White” in English), who rule Takaramachi, a once-thriving metropolis that is now a decaying slum. Shiro is more reclusive and inventive than Kuro, who is revealed to be street smart. They’re up against Snake, a rival gang that sends a trio of super-assassins – Dragon, Tiger, and Butterfly – to kill Kuro so that Yakuza (the Snake’s boss) may rebuild Takaramachi as a theme park. Kuro becomes depressed as Shiro is apprehended by the police, symbolizing Yin and Yang. Kuro and Shiro reunite at the end of the film. ‘Tekkonkinkreet’ is an engaging and comforting viewing, despite being a little cliched.
The Simpsons Movie (2007)
The picture contains plenty of sex, violence, and language, as is typical of the Simpsons franchise, prompting the MPAA to give it a PG-13 rating. The Simpsons Movie begins with an environmental concern after Green Day’s performance on a barge in a lake sinks along with the barge. Despite Grampa’s prediction of the town’s downfall, Marge believes it is critical that they address the environmental issue. Meanwhile, Homer throws pig feces into the lake, inviting further disaster. After a mutated squirrel appears, US President Arnold Schwarzenegger is given five alternatives for dealing with the excessive pollution, one of which is to cover Springfield in a dome. When people realize that it was Homer’s fault for the town’s pollution, they plot to assassinate him, so the Simpson family flees to Alaska, only to return to liberate the people from the big dome’s shackles. The film gained critical accolades for its straightforward depictions, genuine satire, and unexpected appearances.
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)
‘Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust,’ set 12000 years in the future, is possibly one of the most far-fetched films in cinema today. D is a half-breed vampire hunter who was born to a human mother and a vampire father. The vampire population has been steadily declining over the years, with only a few bounty hunters remaining, and D is one of them. After a human girl is kidnapped by a notorious vampire, the girl’s wealthy father engages D and a group of D’s rivals to track down the kidnappers and free his daughter. Later on, it is revealed that the girl may have accompanied the vampire on her own. The film was dubbed a “beautiful affair with superb animation” by American critics, and they were completely correct.
Waking Life (2001)
Life, Dreams, Reality, Consciousness, and the Purpose of Existence is Richard Linklater’s undisputed masterpiece. It follows a man as he wanders from one dream to the next, searching for answers to life’s big questions. The film creates a weird, dreamlike environment that draws you into its universe, hypnotizes you, and paints such beautiful images one after another that linger long after the credits have rolled. It was Fox Searchlight Pictures’ debut animated picture, and it was classified R for its strong profanity.
Waltz With Bashir (2008)
‘Waltz With Bashir,’ one of the best documentary films ever made, portrays filmmaker Ari Folman’s experiences of the 1982 Lebanon conflict, when he was an adolescent soldier. It’s a harrowing depiction of one of humanity’s worst battles, delving deeply into the harsh truths of war. Its examination of ideas is highly provocative and psychologically harmful, making for a very painful viewing experience. The picture contains very unpleasant graphic images with one nuance, as well as strong sexual and violent content, earning it a R rating.