Anime | Discover the best films of Studio Ghibli

When you talk about Studio Ghibli, for an anime fan, you are talking about a milestone, a before and after. Many of us fans grew up with movies like Chihiro’s Journey, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle. . . Be that as it may, Studio Ghibli is associated with the best-animated content Japan can offer, and the fact that its creator, Hayao Miyazaki, is considered a legend in the world of animation makes him worthy of a list of his own.

Without further ado, let’s start with our selection of the best Studio Ghibli has given us.

1. Chihiro’s Journey (2001)

Genre: Adventure, Supernatural, Drama
Premiere: July 20, 2001
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

The most successful film in the history of Japan and the only film from the studio to take home an Oscar Award, Chihiro’s Journey tells the story of an innocent and spoiled ten-year-old girl who, together with her parents, discovers a park of abandoned attractions on the way to their new home. However, not everything is as it seems, and once the sun goes down, terrifying apparitions begin and their parents are turned into pigs for eating food they shouldn’t have. Chihiro unknowingly entered the spirit world, so she must muster the courage to work and live with each other, with the help of the enigmatic Haku and the rest of the cast she meets during her journey.

2. The Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Drama, Romance
Released: November 20, 2004
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

The infamous magician Howl lives in a travelling castle that never stops walking and squeaking. Also, the magician appears to be a casanova, or so Sophie Hatter often hears. Sophie is the Hatter’s daughter, and she doesn’t expect much from her future except inheriting her father’s store. However, Sophie’s simple life changes completely when a witch curses her for attracting Howl’s attention, turning her into an old woman. To return to normal, Sophie must accompany Howl and his eccentric companions in their travelling castle on a dangerous adventure during the war that is destroying their kingdom.

3. Princess Mononoke (1994)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Release: July 12, 1994
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

The young Ashitaka’s arm is cursed by a beast, and every time he uses his powers, he loses his life. Looking for a cure, he meets the conflict of the Tatara people, where Princess San does not allow her deforestation despite the fact that it is a request from an important lady. Deforestation could have serious consequences for the creatures of the forest, and Ashitaka is in the middle of the fight of humans and nature for their own survival while dealing with the demon that is slowly devouring its existence.

4. The memory of Marnie (2014)

Genre: Mystery, Drama, Psychology
Premiere: July 19, 2014
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Anna Sasaki suffers from constant asthma attacks. Because of this, she is asocial, quiet, and isolated from her peers, which causes concern for her adoptive parents. Following a doctor’s directions, Anna is sent to the field, hoping that clean air and a more relaxed life will improve her health and help clear her mind. Giving herself up to her passion for drawing, Anna spends her summer days living with her uncles in a small town on the coast. One day, during a walk, Anna discovers an abandoned mansion known as the Marsh house. However, he soon discovers that it is not as empty as it seems, as it is achieved with a mysterious girl named Marnie. The girl’s jovial and effervescent character manages to get Anna out of her comfort zone, leaving the house every night to see her new friend.

5. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Genre: Historical drama
Premiere: April 16, 1988
Director: Isao Takahata

Animated by Hideaki Anno ( Evangelion ) tells the story of two surviving brothers from the Second World War in 1945, while Japan is destroyed by American bombs. Orphaned and homeless, Seita and Setsuko have no choice but to travel to the countryside, surviving hunger and disease. Being ignored by the apathy of the adults, they discover that desperate circumstances can turn the kindest people into cruel beings, but their hope continues to shine before their sorrows, preventing these brothers from succumbing to a destiny that seems inevitable. The story is based on Akiyuki Nosaka’s autobiography.


6. Porco Rosso (1992)

Genre: Mystery, Drama, Psychology
Premiere: July 18, 1992
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Porco Rosso is a veteran World War I fighter pilot turned bounty hunter, who has transformed into an anthropomorphic pig due to a rare curse.

7. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)

Genre: Fantasy, Historical
Premiere: November 23, 2013
Director: Isao Takahata

A bamboo cutter named Okina meets a baby inside a branch, and convinced that she is a princess sent from heaven, he takes her home. Okina and his wife are responsible for raising the little girl, whose name is now Kaguya. When Kaguya has grown up, his adoptive father finds a treasure that leads him to make the decision to move from the country to a castle, to make her a true princess.


8. The Red Turtle (2016)

Genre: Drama
Premiere: May 18, 2016
Director: Michaël Dudok de Wit

The film was co-produced by Wild Bunch and Studio Ghibli in association with Why Not Productions. An unidentified man is shipwrecked on a desert island. After being able to feed and discover a wide variety of animals, he decides he wants to leave. At the time of his journey, a mysterious creature destroys his raft and forces him to return. After a second failed escape attempt, he discovers that the animal is indeed a mysterious red turtle.

9. Ponyo (2008)

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Premiere: July 19, 2008
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Ponyo is a Japanese version of the Little Mermaid tale, where a boy meets a goldfish who turns out to be a young little fish with magical powers. After making the decision to reject his inheritance and become human, Ponyo causes a magical imbalance in the world that takes the moon out of its orbit and endangers humans. Determined to repair her mistake with the help of Sousuke, her friend, they undertake an adventure to mend it, but in such a way that Ponyo can stay as a human.

10. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Genre: Children’s, Adventure, Comedy, Supernatural
Premiere: April 16, 1988
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Satsuki, Mei and her father move to the field to accompany their mother during an illness. While learning about rural life, Mei meets a rabbit-like creature, and as she follows him, she meets Totoro, a giant forest spirit with whom she befriends. When their sister Satsuki also meets Totoro, both girls embark on a magical adventure filled with awesome creatures.

11. Nausicaä (1984)

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Premiere: March 11, 1984
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Almost all life on Earth has been destroyed by nuclear war, and humanity is struggling with nature, which wants to reclaim its land. Far from the jungle is the Valley of the Wind, an agricultural place where the young princess of the valley, Nausicaä, lives. One day, the girl discovers that in the wreckage of an aircraft that crashed in the Valley there were remains of an unknown object, and soon the Valley is invaded by an army. The military forces admit that they want to revive a dangerous weapon originated in a nuclear war, and the young Nausicaä will fight to prevent the earth from suffering an extinction again.

12. Castle in the Sky (1986)

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi
Released: August 2, 1986
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Sheeta and her friend Pazu find themselves in the middle of an anti-government confrontation when they are both interested in venturing into the mysterious castle in the sky, Laputa.

13. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Magic, Romance, Fantasy
Premiere: July 29, 1989
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Kiki is a 13-year-old witch’s apprentice, who to complete her studies in witchcraft must move away from her family and friends, but with the company of her faithful black kitten, Jiji.

14. Whisper of the Heart (1995)

Genre: Drama, Romance, Shoujo, Slice of Life
Released: July 15, 1995
Director: Yoshifumi Kondou

Shizuku Tsukishima is a reading fan and likes to write poetry. One day he discovers that a young man with the same tastes visits the same library, and decides to meet him. When they meet, there is an instant connection, and they share their dreams and aspirations for the future.

15. The Wind Rises (2013)

Genre: Drama, Romance, Historical
Premiere: July 20, 2013
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Jirou Horikoshi is nearsighted, and that truncates his dreams of becoming a pilot. However, he decides to undertake aeronautical engineering studies to design aircraft like his hero, Giovanni Battista Caproni.


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