An indispensable guide to Studio Ghibli

At a party, a friend of mine recently mentioned that she had never seen a Studio Ghibli film, prompting appropriate reactions of horror from me and a few others. I’ve decided to write down all the reasons why she should or anyone who is not familiar with Ghibli movies should immediately sit down and watch as many of the films in one go.

Japan, of course, is famous for its anime movies but Ghibli (the name means ‘desert wind’ in Libyan, chosen by Miyazaki to signify that the venture was going to blow through the existing industry) is in a league of its own, and its gorgeous painted visions set the template for many more movies that came after its initial releases.


For nearly 35 years, Studio Ghibli has been giving the world movies that could take your breath away.

Here are a handful of reasons why these movies are the best:

  • The unique Stories
  • The breathtaking animation
  • The Delicious Food
  • The Insane music
  • The plots aren’t predictable
  • Most of the Protagonists are Women
  • The central message of each of these movies

Their films have remained as some of my favorites ever since, so it is only fitting that for my first article on Anime I list all the reasons that this Studio’s works are worth watching.

But with more than 20 movies, all very different, where should you start?

Rather than outright ranking the movies, which would be a truly impossible task, I thought I’d put together a guide that would hopefully help people getting into Ghibli for the first time. This is obviously very subjective, and even then I’m not necessarily putting my favorites toward the top of the list.


Spirited Away (2001) If you want an Oscar winner


Grave of the fireflies (1988) – If you want to know the true cost of war


My Neighbour Totoro (1988) – If you want to feel unalloyed joy!


Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) – If you want a fairy tale fantasy


Princess Mononoke (1997)If you want a fantasy with a strong environmental message


Ponyo (2008) – If you want to see a magical love story


Porco Rosso (1992)If you want rousing pulp adventure


Laputa: Castle In The Sky (1986) – If you want big steampunk robots


From Up on Poppy Hill (2011) – If you want contemporary drama


The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) – If you want something slightly different

These movies have been met with widespread acclaim. Studio Ghibli is truly a gift, and I’m glad these movies are now available to a wider audience on Netflix.

I’d recommend the Japanese voice tracks if you don’t mind reading English subtitles!!

Happy Binge-watching 🙂

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