Top 5 Studio Ghibli Movies That You Need To Watch

Welcome back! If I absent-mindedly end up writing “Happy *insert-whatever-day-it-is-here* again, I’ll go insane. Today’s post discusses some of my favourite films under a particular genre and creator. If you’re an anime fan who hasn’t heard of Studio Ghibli, where have you been? Even if you’re not an anime fan, the stories within these films make them endearing and enjoyable nonetheless. So the next time you need something new on your palette, give them a watch. Fun fact: they’re presented by Walt Disney. So you can rest easy in knowing that they’re appropriate for children and all others alike. I’ll link trailers in the titles of each movie point for those of you who are more than intrigued!

Spirited Away

Spirited Away (2001)

I’ve started with one that has a lot within it, so sit tight. Without giving away too much, Spirited Away adduces Chihiro and her parents taking a wrong turn on the journey to their new home. She stumbles upon a new mythical world in which everything seems to go wrong for her family. What they assume to be an abandoned amusement park is actually a rest resort for restless spirits. Chihiro discovers that she must work there in order for her parents to turn back into humans and escape. She and Haku work together in order to release her parents from their swine-ly bodies and gain their freedom. I’m in awe at the collection of events, beautiful imagery and magical creatures that Miyazaki crammed into 125 minutes. Amazing.

My Neighbour Totoro

My Neighbour Totoro (1988)

My favourite of the Studio Ghibli collection. This one starts with a family moving home in rural Japan. Upon reaching their new house, two sisters run around exploring their unfamiliar surroundings. When Satsuke starts school, Mei becomes lonely, and spots a tiny sprite in the garden. She follows it into the forest, encountering Totoro and befriending him by taking a nap on his tummy.

There’s a very gentle and imaginative air to My Neighbour Totoro. It’s teamed with many magical ventures as well as creatures. Mei is one of the cutest child characters I’ve seen to date in a film. As well as an array of other adorable entities. Such as the soot sprites, the Totoro trio, and of course, the beloved Cat Bus. Another one for children to enjoy, as well as anyone else. I don’t think it’ll ever get old for me personally, no matter how many times I watch it!

Howl's Moving Castle

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Very like the story of Snow White, this film entails a girl (Sophie) being cursed by a jealous, wicked witch. Instead of envying her beauty, she resents her for her happiness and connection with a stranger named Howl. I’ve can’t help but fall a little bit in love with certain anime characters, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Howl is so sultry and mysterious at the beginning of the film. But when he eventually reveals himself, he’s handsome and effortlessly charming. Sophie never had a chance to elude his spell, and to be perfectly honest, neither did I!

Calcifer is without a doubt my favourite character in this film. He reminds me of Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch! Readily hilarious and sarcastic, but in a really lovable way. Howl’s Moving Castle is a captivating watch. It also contains the element of the protagonist aiding the female character in order to break the curse that’s been cast upon her. Which is a similar plot-line to Spirited Away. If you’re into you’re romantic elements, this is one to add to your list!

Ponyo

Ponyo (2008)

This was the first Studio Ghibli film I’d seen, and it sucked me in for the long haul! They were introduced to me by a great friend that I used to live with in college. We used to have all-nighters during which we’d watch these and old Pokémon movies. It was the best! A goldfish washes up on the shore trapped in a bottle. She is rescued by a young boy named Sosuke, who christens her Ponyo. When she is dragged back to the ocean by her wizard father, she uses his magic to turn herself into a human. In order to return to Sosuke, who she has fallen in love with.

The magic she uses causes havoc upon the world, causing the moon moving closer to the Earth. Ponyo’s father also sends dangerous storms and waves to find his daughter and bring her back. The two children take an adventure in order to fulfil Ponyo’s dreams of becoming fully human. This movie is delightfully engaging, and I thoroughly recommend it if you’re new to the Studio Ghibli world.It’ll make you their biggest fan just like I am, trust me! Liam Neeson also voices Ponyo’s father, if that sways you at all!

Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke (1997)

This film is a lot more serious than the other’s I’ve discussed. It’s main focus is gaining control of territory by military force. This film has a completely different air to it than the others. Which I think is why I like it. The main female character, the forest princess, is completely shut off from the rest of the world. She refuses to let anyone in but her wolves. I like this change. In every other Studio Ghibli film I’ve seen, the female characters are always so open about everything. It’s nice to see that some can be private and shy.

Princess Mononoke reminds me of Howl in this sense. She comes out of her shell eventually, despite being very concealed. She helps Ashitaka and break his curse in order to save his life. It’s not really one for small children, as the material requires quite a bit of understanding. But it’s still a gripping and educating story that has a lot of heart. One of the many reasons why it’s in my top 5.

In conclusion…

What the Studio Ghibli films have in common is that they all seem to have an alternate world of sorts within them. They create an air of enchantment that sucks the viewer in, leaving them spellbound. It’s an escape from reality that everyone can understand the need for. Especially with the hustle and bustle of daily life. These films portray that supporting and helping each other is the most important thing. It’s a lovely thing to see. They feature loveable characters, a wide variety of themes, impeccable imagery and endearing messages. Studio Ghibli films make for the perfect entertainment for a child, or a fully-grown adult like myself. AKA, the best movie bonanza.

What’s your favourite from the Studio Ghibli collection?

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4 Comments

  1. July 2, 2015 / 2:51 PM

    Great post, I’ll be sure to check these out. Loved Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke 🙂

    • July 2, 2015 / 4:25 PM

      Delighted to hear that! I can’t even suggest the first one you should watch, they’re all so good! ☺️ Thank you for your feedback ????

  2. July 3, 2015 / 10:34 AM

    Spirited Away is my all time favourite. So so much feels from that movie, never cease to amaze me everytime I watch it.

    Then Howl’s Moving Castle, and obviously My Neighbour Totoro, for the childhood memories.

    So much can be learnt from these movies, thanks for writing this post.

    Helena’s Teabreak

    • July 3, 2015 / 12:18 PM

      This is the loveliest comment, thank you so much! ☺️❤️

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