If Disney is to the USA, then Studio Ghibli is to Japan 🙂
I’ve always dreamt to become part of the great animators of all time. When I was in high school I tried auditioning for Marvel comics when they were searching for their next batch of artists. Sadly, when they knew my age, I was discouraged by them at that time (which I’m sure my mother was very glad to hear because she accompanied me that day with a heavy heart). But you know what, the moment I was about to walk away, the lady on the other end of the table whispered, “Finish your studies and come back again. I’m sure you’ll have a place here.”
My heart wants to jump all over the room full of artists with their huge portfolios as I hear those words. Imagine a stranger who actually believes in you. That is something you will treasure for the rest of your life. But I can’t brag that on to my mother’s face and I will be found dead on the streets at that time. LOL.
But as I become so busy in my lifeless life, I wasn’t able to master my craft only until today. Then, when I came across with Hayao Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli online, he ignited my passion once more. While Jed, kept the fire burning. (Jed is like the little cute fire gif on this article).
HERE ARE MY TOP STUDIO GHIBLI FAVORITES
I actually have watched only a few of them, that is why it’s only my top favorites, hopefully, someone out there, let’s just hide him under the name “Jed”, would one day surprise me with all the Studio Ghibli collection for a movie marathon. Just in case you see him, kindly tell him that for me please 🙂 Thanks in advance!
Credits to www.studioghibli.com.au for the images and introduction.
1. Spirited Away – 2011
SPIRITED AWAY is a wondrous fantasy about a young girl named Chihiro who discovers a secret world of strange spirits, creatures and sorcery. When her parents are mysteriously transformed, she must call upon the courage she never knew she had to free herself and return her family to the outside world.
I love this because I like the story plot and it draws me close to each characters. Not to mention, I believe in the spirit world.
2. Princess Mononoke – 1997
While protecting his village from a rampaging boar-god, the young warrior Ashitaka becomes afflicted with a deadly curse. To find the cure that will save his life, he journeys deep into sacred depths of the Great Forest Spirit’s realm where he meets San (Princess Mononoke), a girl raised by wolves. It’s not long before Ashitaka is caught in the middle of a battle between iron-ore prospecting humans and the forest dwellers. He must summon the spirit-powers and all his courage to stop man and nature from destroying each other.
I love this because I’m always fond of wolves and mother nature. She is like Pocahontas in some way and their love story is quite cute.
3. Howl’s Moving Castle – 2004
Sophie, an average teenage girl working in a hat shop, finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl. After this chance meeting she is turned into a 90-year old woman by the vain and conniving Witch of the Waste. Embarking on an incredible adventure to lift the curse, she finds refuge in Howl’s magical moving castle where she becomes acquainted with Markl, Howl’s apprentice, and a hot-headed fire demon named Calcifer. As the true power of Howl’s wizardry is revealed, and his relationship with Sophie deepens, our young grey heroine finds herself fighting to protect them both from a dangerous war of sorcery that threatens their world.
I love this because of the main characters Sophie, Howl and the little fire demon. This is what true love and adventure looks like in anime.
4. My Neighbor Totoro – 1988
Two young girls, Satsuki and Mei, have moved with their father into a new home in the country, while their mother recovers from illness in a nearby hospital. To their surprise, they soon discover that they share this home with some rather unusual creatures and even stranger neighbours – forest guardians that the girls dub Totoro. When trouble occurs, their new friends will help them rediscover hope.
Oh I LOVE THIS MOVIE so much. I just feel that when I was young, I also have a Totoro once.
5. Laputa: Castle in the Sky – 1986
Pazu, an engineer’s apprentice finds a young girl, Sheeta floating down from the sky wearing a glowing pendant. Together they discover both are searching for the legendary floating castle Laputa and vow to unravel the mystery of the luminous crystal around her neck. Their quest won’t be easy however. There are air pirates, secret agents and astounding obstacles to keep them from the truth – and from each other.
I love this because it’s my type of science-fiction with royalty lineage involved. I hope if we humans do invent this floating city, it is for the greater good.
6. Ponyo – 2008
In a small town by the sea lives five year old Sosuke, high on a cliff overlooking the Inland Sea. One morning while playing on the rocky beach below his house, he discovers a goldfish he names Ponyo, her head stuck in a jam jar. Sosuke rescues Ponyo and keeps her in a green plastic bucket.
Both Ponyo and Sosuke are fascinated by each other and promise to stay firm friends until Ponyo’s father, a sorcerer who lives deep under the sea, forces her to return with him to the ocean depths. What follows is an amazing underwater adventure for all ages…
I love this movie because it’s so cute!!! This is little mermaid’s cute version in Japan.
7. The Cat Returns – 2004
Haru, a schoolgirl bored by her ordinary routine, saves the life of an unusual cat, and suddenly her world is transformed beyond anything she’s ever imagined. Her good deed is rewarded with a flurry of presents, including gift-wrapped mice, and one very shocking proposal of marriage – to the Cat’s King’s son! Haru embarks on an unexpected journey to the Kingdom of Cats where her eyes are opened to a whole other world and her destiny is uncertain. To change her fate she’ll need to learn to believe in herself, and in the process she will learn to appreciate her everyday life. THE CAT RETURNS is a magical animated adventure that will delight and inspire everyone.
I love this because I love cats! No-brainier. As much as I like Luna in Sailormoon. I always have this gut feeling that cats are my guardians.
8. Arrietty – 2010
This is a story of a family of “little” people.
In this whimsical adventure, tiny 14-year-old Arrietty lives under the floorboards of a sprawling mansion set in a magical, overgrown garden with her father and mother. Arrietty and her family live by borrowing. Everything they have, they borrow or make from the things they have borrowed from the old lady who lives in the mansion.
Their peaceful life is dramatically changed when the ever-curious Arrietty accidentally allows herself to be seen by Sho, a lonely 12-year-old human boy. The two begin to confide in each other and, before long, a friendship begins to blossom…
I love this because of the adventurous spirit of the main character. Did I mentioned I like playing Polly Pockets? You get the picture already.
9. When Marnie Was There – 2014
Twelve-year-old Anna believes she sits outside the invisible magic circle to which most people belong, and shuts herself off from everyone around her. Concerned for her health, Anna’s foster mother decides to send her to rural Hokkaido to stay in a sleepy town by the sea. As she dreams her days away amongst the marshes, Anna finds herself strangely drawn to the enigmatic house which sits upon the edge there. This is where she meets Marnie, an energetic young girl who seems to appear from nowhere. The pair quickly becomes inseparable. One evening, Marnie makes a heartfelt request of Anna: “Promise me something – that we’ll remain a secret, forever.” Anna begins to wonder about her newfound friend and is compelled to investigate the truth about her. As she is drawn deeper into Marnie’s world, she begins to learn about family, friendship and kindness.
I love this because it has the full package. I can’t give you more details since I might spoil this for you. Better watch this instead.
10. Grave of the Fireflies – 1988
In the aftermath of a World War II bombing, two orphaned children struggle to survive in the Japanese countryside. To Seita and his four-year-old sister, Setsuko, the helplessness and indifference of their countrymen is even more painful than the enemy raids. Through desperation, hunger and grief, these children’s lives are as heartbreakingly fragile as their spirit and love is inspiring.
I love this because it gives me a good cry. Don’t watch this if your suffering from any kind illness. The reality of war in full colors.
11. Tales From Earthsea – 2006
In the land of Earthsea, crops are failing and livestock dying. Two dragons appear from the storm clouds and devour each other – an omen of impending disaster. The balance of the world is in peril of tearing apart. In his search for the cause of this encroaching catastrophe, the Archmage Ged, the greatest of wizards, meets Arren, exiled Prince of Enlad, in flight from a nameless Shadow. They journey through ruined landscapes to Hort Town – a city where blank citizens deal only in fake goods, slaves are traded and addicts wander the dangerous streets – and cross paths with Therru, an orphan girl with a fire-scarred face. Ged learns that the wizard Cob, in his search for eternal life, is preparing to open the door between the realms of the living and the dead. An old and defeated adversary, Cob has sworn to take terrible revenge on Ged.
I love this because of the moral lesson about life and death.
12. Kiki’s Delivery Service – 1989
It is tradition for all young witches to leave their families on the night of a full moon to learn their craft. That night comes for Kiki, who follows her dream and embarks on the experience of a lifetime. With her chatty black cat, Jiji, she flies off to find the perfect spot in a faraway city. There, a bakery owner befriends Kiki and helps her start her own business: A high-flying delivery service.
I love this because it’s simple yet deep. For people who are passionate about their dreams, this is a must watch movie.
13. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind- 1984
A thousand years after a great war, a seaside kingdom known as the Valley of the Wind is one of the only areas that remains populated. Led by the courageous Princess Nausicaä, the people of the Valley are engaged in a constant struggle with powerful insects called ohmu, who guard a poisonous jungle that is spreading across the Earth. Nausicaä and her brave companions, together with the people of the Valley, strive to restore the bond between humanity and the earth.
I love this because it tackles environmental awareness in a creative manner which took place 31 years ago.
I still have yet to watch the rest though (The Tale of Princess Kaguya, The Wind Rises, From Up On Poppy Hill, My Neighbors the Yamadas, Pom Poko, Ocean Waves, Porco Rosso, and Only Yesterday).
I just hope someone would really give me a link or a copy of the other Studio Ghibli movies. These are great animations with a lot of lessons you can learn and teach your children and yourself.
Hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to contribute to Philippine animation industry and let Pinoy artist be known all over the world like Studio Ghibli and Disney.
What’s your favorite Studio Ghibli films? Let me know through the comment below. Don’t forget to subscribe, follow, like and share.