23 Best Studio Ghibli Movies To Watch

Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio that has produced some of the greatest films of all time. It’s known for its unique visual style, which is calming. The studio’s aesthetic is a mix of fantasy and realism. The characters are whimsical and beautiful, but they also have a sense of humor and depth to them. Ghibli movies are relaxing to watch.

23 Best Studio Ghibli Movies To Watch

1. The cat returns

‘ The cat returns’ is a 2002 Japanese animated fantasy film directed by Hiroyuki Morita, written by Reiko Yoshida, based on the manga ‘The Cat Returns’ by Aoi Hiiragi. The story is about a shy girl named Haru Yoshioka who has the ability to talk to cats. She saves a cat from a truck and turns out the cat, Lune is the prince of the cat kingdom. To save the prince she was offered the Prince’s hand in marriage. This is a story of Haru escaping this sudden situation.

2. Earwig and the Witch

‘Erwig and the Witch’ is a 2020 Japanese computer-animated fantasy film directed by Gorō Miyazaki. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones. the story is about a young girl named Erica Wigg. Upon being adopted unwillingly, Erica discovers that her new parents practice magic. However, their unkind treatment stimulates the mischievous girl to teach them a lesson.

3. The Red Turtle

‘The Red Turtle’ is a 2016 animated fantasy drama film co-written and directed by Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit and produced by Toshio Suzuki from Japan. This film is a co-production. the storyline is about a man, who gets shipwrecked off the coast of a deserted island, home to countless turtles, crabs and birds. Later, he encounters a red turtle, which leaves an impact on his life.

4. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’ is a 1984 Japanese post-apocalyptic anime film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, based on his 1982 manga. Although this movie was made before Studio Ghibli was founded, it is still considered as a Ghibli movie. The story takes place 1,000 years after the “Seven Days of Fire”, an event that destroyed human civilization and most of the Earth’s original ecosystem. The story is about finding a way to cure the toxic forest which was the result of the apocalypse.

5. Whisper of the Heart

‘Whisper of the Heart’ is a 1995 Japanese animated romantic drama film directed by Yoshifumi Kondō and written by Hayao Miyazaki based on the 1989 manga of the same name by Aoi Hiiragi. Whisper of the Heart is about how young people make sense of the world. the story is about Shizuku and Seiji and their passion for the things they love.

6. The Wind Rises

‘The Wind Rises’ is a 2013 Japanese animated historical drama film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The story is about Jiro, who wanted to be pilot but his dreams are often dragged to the ground by the corruption of real life but he starts designing airplans instead. The Wind Rises is about what happens when people forsake what really matters when pursuing their goals.

7. When Marnie Was There

‘When Marnie Was There’ is a 2014 Japanese animated psychological drama film co-written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. The story is about a young girl is sent to the country for health reasons, where she meets an unlikely friend in the form of Marnie, a young girl with flowing blonde hair. As the friendship unravels Marnie has closer ties to the girl and she tries to figure it out.

8. Tales from Earthsea

‘Tales from Earthsea’ is a 2006 Japanese anime epic fantasy[2] film co-written and directed by Gorō Miyazaki. In the land of Earthsea, a mysterious force threatens to plunge humanity into destruction and chaos. A powerful wizard named Sparrowhawk seeks the source of his world’s imbalance, and along the way rescues a runaway prince named Arren. When Sparrowhawk’s powers begin to weaken, he and Arren must join forces with a former priestess and her daughter to defeat an evil foe whose quest for immortality will destroy Earthsea. ‘Tales From Earthsea ‘mainly explores how human arrogance leads to larger consequences in the world.

9. Kiki’s delivery service

‘ Kiki’s delivery service’ is a 1989 Japanese animated fantasy film written, produced, and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, adapted from the 1985 novel by Eiko Kadono. The story is about a thirteen year old witch who is still in training, leaving home with her talking black cat Jiji in her flying broom. She flies to the port city of Koriko where she starts a business delivering goods on her broomstick.

10. Ocean Waves

‘Ocean Waves’ is a 1993 Japanese anime television film directed by Tomomi Mochizuki and written by Kaori Nakamura based on the 1990–1992 novel of the same name by Saeko Himuro. The story is about Taku Morisaki as he journeys back from Tokyo to his high school for a reunion, where he recounts his memories of his school days, focussing in particular on a love triangle that developed between him and two of his friends.

11. Only Yesterday

‘Only Yesterday’ is a 1991 Japanese animated drama film written and directed by Isao Takahata, based on the 1982 manga of the same title by Hotaru Okamoto and Yuko Tone. The story is about Twenty-seven-year-old Taeko Okajima who travels to her relative’s house in the countryside to get away from city life. Reaching there, she reminisces about her childhood days.

12. Pom Poko

‘Pom Poko’ is a 1994 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Isao Takahata. ‘Pom poko’ is about a secret society consisting of shape-shifting raccoon dogs get together and try their best to save their city after humans encroach their space with development plans.

13. Arrietty

‘Arrietty’ is a 2010 Japanese animated fantasy film directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. the story of a family of “borrowers” a tiny race of people. Arrietty, a tiny teenager, lives with her parents in the recesses of a suburban home, unbeknown to the homeowner and housekeeper. Like others of her kind, Arrietty remains hidden from her human hosts, but occasionally ventures forth from beneath the floorboards to borrow sugar cubes and other supplies. A secret friendship forms when 12-year-old Shawn meets Arrietty, but their relationship could spell danger for Arrietty’s family.

14. The tale of the Princess Kaguya

‘The Tale of the Princess Kaguya’ is based on the 10th-century Japanese literary tale ‘The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter’. It is a historical fantasy anime movie. The movie is about a woodcutter finding a miniature baby in a glowing bamboo shoot. The woodcutter and his wife convinced that the baby is a heaven-send princess, dedicate their lives to raising the child. ‘ The Tale of the Princess Kaguya was released on 23rd November 2013 in Japan.

15. Porco Rosso

‘Porco Rosso’ is another masterpiece by Hayao Miyazaki released in Japan on July 18, 1992. This movie is somewhat based on Miyazaki’s manga. The movie is about a World War 1 fighter in Italy who mysteriously turned into a pig by some curse.

16. Ponyo

‘Ponyo’ is a film about a wizard’s daughter she is a goldfish running away from her father. Her dream is to become a human. she meets a 5-year-old boy named Sousuke and they become good friends. The movie was released on 19th July 2008.

17. Princess Mononoke

‘Princess Mononoke’ is a fantasy action movie based in Japan’s Muromachi period. The story is about a prince named Ashitaka becoming cursed after fighting a demon bore and he goes to the mysterious forest where the forest spirit reigns to lift the curse where he meets Princess Mononoke. The movie is about man vs nature although the theme is not uncommon the way Hayao Miyazaki portrayed the movie makes it special. The movie was released on 12 July 1997 in Japan.

18. My neighbor Totoro

Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ is a fantasy anime film. Tatsuo Kusakabe and his two daughters moved to a house near a hospital where his wife was recovering from a long-time illness. The story is about the younger daughter Mei befriending a creature who is a spirit. The movie was released on 16 April 1988 in Japan

19. From up on Poppy Hills

Set in 1963 Yokohama, Japan ‘From up on Poppy Hills’ is the story of Umi Matsuzaki a high-school girl meeting Shun Kazama and together they try to save the school’s clubhouse from getting demolished. It was released in Japan on July 16, 2011.

20. Castle in the sky

‘Castle in the Sky’ is a 1986 Japanese animated film directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki. It was released on August 2, 1986, in Japan. The Castle in the Sky is a beautiful, relaxing film about friendship and love. The film is about a boy and girl trying to hide a powerful crystal from the army, a group of secret agents, and a family of pirates while searching for a floating Castle.

21. Grave of the fireflies

‘Grave of the Fireflies’ is a war tragedy movie based on World War II. The movie is about a brother and sister being separated from their mother because of the bombing. They try to survive the cruel reality. The movie is a tragedy but it portrays a realistic view of how war affects people and how war is futile. This anime film was released in Japan on 16 April 1988.

22. Howl’s Moving Castle

A story of true love mixed with fantasy and great music ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ is a masterpiece directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki and loosely based on Diana Wynne Jones’ novel of the same name. A spiteful witch turns Sophie into an old lady because the witch thought Sophie was a wizard named Howl’s accomplice. the way to break the curse lies within her overcoming her self-consciousness and loving herself. After turning old she escapes from her home and runs into a moving castle that belongs to Howl. The movie was released in Japan on 20th November 2004.

23. Spirited away

Hayao Miyazaki’s greatest work is ‘Spirited Away’ by Studio Ghibli. The story is about a young girl named Chihiro. Her parents mysteriously turned into pigs after eating in an abandoned amusement park. Chihiro had the realization that they are in a world of ‘yokai’ or spirits. She meets a boy named Haku and he suggests working in the yokai world until they find a way to escape. At the 75th Academy Award, Miyazaki won the best animated feature award. The movie was released in Japan on 20 July 2001.

Studio Ghibli undoubtedly produced so many masterpieces. Ghibli’s films touch on the harsh reality in between the fantasy.

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