The emergence of Studio Ghibli movies marked a before and after in the Japanese animation industry. With a unique and artisan concept, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata founded in 1985 one of the most prestigious factories that exist in the world. Its cornerstone was the magnificent ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’, released in 1984 and considered part of the studio, but it was ‘The castle in the sky’ the authentic letter of introduction, with which Miyazaki demonstrated that his vision of the seventh art was different. Since then, Ghibli has become synonymous with quality, prestige, dedication, passion, and idealism.
Despite the great popularity of the Studio Ghibli movies, many people have not yet seen them. It may be your case and you have always wanted to give it a try, however, you don’t even know where to start. Well, you don’t need to say more: today we are going to tell you which titles from the Japanese animation studio’s extensive offer are most worthwhile
Threatened by plans to build urbanization in their forest, the Tanuki – a kind of rogue and mocking Japanese raccoon dog capable of transforming their appearance – will go to war with humans to prevent it using their powers and even resorting to eco-terrorism. . The message is once again about environmentalism and deforestation but also about passive resistance movements, all seasoned with abundant references to Japanese tradition and mythology.
9- My Neighbors the Yamadas
The film is a series of vignettes following the daily lives of the Yamada family: Takashi and Matsuko (the father and mother), Shige (Matsuko’s mother), Noboru (aged approximately 13, the son), Nonoko (aged approximately 5, the daughter), and Pochi (the family dog).
Each of the vignettes is preceded by a title such as “Father as Role Model”, “A Family Torn Apart” or “Patriarchal Supremacy Restored”. These vignettes cover such issues as losing a child in a department store, the relationships between father and son, or husband and wife, the wisdom of age, getting one’s first girlfriend and many more. Each is presented with humour, presenting a very believable picture of family life which crosses cultural boundaries. The relationships between Matsuko, Takashi and Shige are particularly well observed, with Shige giving advice and proverbs to all the family members, and having a great strength of character. Takashi and Matsuko’s relationship is often the focus of the episodes, their rivalries, such as arguing about who has control of the television, their frustrations and their difficulties, but the overriding theme is their love for one another despite their flaws, and their desire to be the best parents possible for their children
8- The Tale of Princess Kaguya
A bamboo cutter one day discovers a tiny princess inside a bamboo stick. He brings her home, thinking it is a gift from heaven and presents it to his wife. The little being then turns into a baby that the peasant couple raise in the mountains. The children of the region nickname it “Bamboo shoot” because like bamboo it grows visibly. But the peasant finds a mountain of gold coins by cutting a bamboo and persuades himself that it is his duty to make his daughter a princess. So he snatched the young child from his mountain and his friends to impose a noble education in the capital. Melancholic, the girl dreams of her lost friends and is not interested in the aristocracy. During the changeover ceremony as an adult, she is called “Princess Kaguya of graceful bamboos” because of her flexibility and her “luminous” beauty. Her beauty becomes incredibly famous although no one has ever seen her face. The five great princes of the capital ask for his hand. She refused their offers and that of the emperor. Subsequently, she understands that she comes from the Moon and that she was sent to Earth to punish her for having wanted to discover this forbidden Planet
7- Porco Rosso (1992)
Porco Rosso is a veteran WWI fighter pilot turned bounty hunter, who has been transformed into an anthropomorphic pig through a rare curse. He was once known as Marco Pagot while still in his human form, but took up a new alias which suits his current image better, “Red Pig.”
At the beginning of Kurenai no Buta, Porco is reunited with his long-time friend Gina at a hotel, and unexpectedly falls in love with her. Despite his strange form, Gina shows him all the affection that she can muster. But Porco has a love rival to deal with. An American ace fighter named Curtis is also after Gina’s heart, and although she rejects his proposals, he is not about to let her go so easily. During his return flight to Milan, Curtis sneaks up behind Porco’s plane and shoots him down. The plane is completely destroyed and Porco is proclaimed dead, but due to a stroke of luck, he barely managed to survive the crash, unbeknownst to others.
Porco must now continue his journey back by train, and suddenly discovers that there has been a warrant issued for his arrest in Italy. Not only does he need to find Gina, but he must also get his revenge and also deal with the oncoming war that threatens the whole of Europe.
Source : MAL
6- When Marnie Was There
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 a rural area, 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- Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
In this unconventional love story, The infamous magician Howl lives in a traveling castle that never stops walking and squeaking. he 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 drawing Howl’s attention, turning her into an old woman. To return to normal, Sophie must accompany Howl and his eccentric companions in their traveling castle on a dangerous adventure during the war that is destroying their kingdom.
Based on the novel of the same name by British writer Diana Wynne Jones, and influenced by Miyazaki’s strong opposition to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, it covers topics such as war, pacifism, and feminism. Witches, scarecrows and other fun characters populate an eccentric film with a steampunk aesthetic that is the favorite of the Japanese director.
4- My neighbor Totoro (1988)
Set in post-war Japan, this tale of a family and a giant cat-like forest spirit called Totoro has become a cultural icon. Satsuki and Mei are two girls who move with their father to a new home while their mother recovers from illness at a nearby hospital. There they will meet the furry protagonist, the Gatobús and the rest of the forest creatures that only they can see due to their pure heart. Despite the inevitable sad moments, it is an endearing and fun title in equal parts, with a vision of child wonderment available to very few films.
3-The Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
This may be the best movie from Studio Ghibli … that nobody wants to see. Why? Because it is as beautiful as it is extremely sad. This story of the struggle for survival of two orphans in World War II is arguably the most disturbing on this list. Seita and Setsuko are homeless and 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 and it surely will break your heart.
2- Princess Mononoke (1997)
Miyazaki’s longest movie and also his most epic, dark and complex adventure with a powerful call to balance with nature, focuses on the fight between the supernatural guardians of a forest and the humans who desecrate its resources. The film, which would mark a before and after in Miyazaki’s career, was a hit at the box office.
It tells the story of a young man, cursed by a demon, who will travel to an area at war between humans and nature to save his life. More than ever, Miyazaki faces his most environmentally friendly side, reviving the forest gods of Japanese myths and mixing them with one of his most charismatic heroines, the wolf girl who gives the film its name . But no less fascinating is the village of iron makers, ruled by a matriarchy of former prostitutes.and with technology manufactured by lepers. Everything is rich, imaginative and surprising in Miyazaki’s most violent story. But if something shines above all it is the ability of the Japanese to reflect the darkness of the world while always maintaining a passion for life. This is reflected in one of the best-known phrases in the film: “Life is suffering and difficulties, the world and man are cursed, but we still insist on living .”
1- Spirited Away
The most acclaimed film by Studio Ghibli and the only one that won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. it tells the story of Chihiro, a young and innocent girl who, during a move, is trapped in a supernatural world in which she must save her parents – who’ve been transformed, once again, into pigs for eating food they shouldn’t have after the sun goes down. The girl’s mission is to 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 in order to return to the real wold. The animation is wonderful. The music is fantastic. The characters are delicious. The argument is phenomenal. It’s fun, cute, inspiring, and even scary at times. In short: a masterpiece of animation that you must see yes or yes.