Have you ever wished you could live a fantasy life where magic was all around?
Well, to find the answer to those wishes, you have to look no further than the magnificent Studio Ghibli!
Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation film studio that is critically acclaimed around the world for its amazing movies. Side note - "Ghibli" is an Italian word, and it’s pronounced jee-blee (or ji-bu-ri in Japanese).
Back to the topic, Studio Ghibli movies range from joyous childhood whimsicals to an hour and a half of children dying (Thank you for the traumatizing memories). However, as an adult I came to discover that there are many more movies other than the infamous “Grave of the Fireflies” and the sweet “My Neighbor Totoro”.
While the contrast between the two doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re both wonderful movies with heartfelt messages and solid stories, there are many more Studio Ghibli movies that contain amazing characters and various fantastical worlds just waiting to be explored.
So here, in no particular order, is a list of Studio Ghibli movies that will transport you to those dreamlike worlds!
1) Spirited Away
This is one of the most famous Studio Ghibli movies of all time. An Oscar winner, this movie follows the adventures of a young girl, Chihiro, growing up and finding her own way in an impossible world. It's absolutely gorgeous with masterful animation, this part other-world fantasy, part coming-of-age story is entirely inventive. The film’s magnificent visuals and unpredictable story will leave you breathless. You'll just wish you could pay a visit to the supernatural bathhouse, but beware!
2) Howl’s Moving Castle
The core of the story is fighting your darkness and insecurities and coming out a winner. You'll find bits of yourself in the main characters, like Sophie as she goes through a journey of self discovery. You'll even relate a little to Howl's dramatic nature.
You'll be on the lookout for the moving castle, a towering steampunk beast with its own tricks inside, waiting for a mysterious wizard to sweep you off your feet. Like many others from Studio Ghibli, this movie offers that one side character that you'll just love, the fire spirit, Calcifer.
3) Princess Mononoke
This one is an epic fantasy about the constant war between humans and nature. With its gory carnage and disturbing creatures, Princess Mononoke rejects the misconception that animated movies are just for kids. The warrior Princess Mononoke spitting out blood with a smirk is an image that will stick with you. She is a perfect example of the powerful female characters that are a pattern you see in all Studio Ghibli movies.
4) Kiki's Delivery Service
This is a sweet coming of age story that follows young witch Kiki as she leaves home, as it is customary for witches like her to go away for training when they turn 13. On a journey to find adventure, she ends up starting a flying delivery service! This story is nice and warm, perfect for all ages. And you just won't get enough of the sassy black cat Jiji.
5) My Neighbor Totoro
Although I already mentioned it in the introduction, it would just be plain criminal not to include it in the list.
It's a wholly warm-hearted film with laughter, sadness, and the gentleness of life beautifully personified. There are no big conflicts here or evil threats to be overcome; this is a simple story about sisters and the creatures they befriend. It will touch everyone, especially those of us who have a sister for a best friend.
The fantastical creatures of My Neighbor Totoro are probably the first things that come to mind when we think Studio Ghibli—there's the lovable Totoro, the cat bus, the dust sprites, the beautiful scenery and the cat bus... Did I mention the cat bus? I think we all need one.
“These Movies are about humanity, no matter its context or form.” -Hayao Miyazaki
What's wonderful about these movies is that Miyazaki refuses to speak down to his young audience, knowing that they are perfectly capable of keeping up with his tales. So how you see Studio Ghibli movies and how you interpret them depends on each individual. Whether you understand them the way the creator intended or in a different way, or even if you don’t understand them at all and just enjoy the visuals.
There’s a Studio Ghibli movie for each one of us. Even if you have never heard of them, it’s never too late for you to enter a world where magic and everyday life co-exist. And if anyone ever tried to tell you that they’re anime movies and they’re for children only, I have one thing to tell them: “MAY ALL YOUR BACON BURN!”
What do you think of the list?
Are you a permanent client of the supernatural bathhouse or are you waiting for your very own handsome wizard? Let us know your favorites in the comments below!