Studio Ghibli is an award-winning animation studio that has wowed audiences with its awe-inspiring artwork since the 1980s. Known for its magical tales, lovable characters, serene soundtracks, and cutting-edge visuals, Studio Ghibli has produced over 20 anime classics unlike anything the world has ever seen. Their sleek, realistic art style quickly immerses you in magical worlds of curiosity and wonder, making you feel like a kid venturing into the Japanese countryside. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing a Studio Ghibli movie for yourself, here are five of the best titles to get you started.
- Taken away as if by magic
Taken away as if by magic is a timeless masterpiece and is considered by many to be one of the greatest animated films of all time. Not only did it top many “best” lists among critics, it was the first anime to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature: not bad for a film that began production without a script.
Follow 10-year-old Chihiro’s magical journey into the spirit world as she fights to save her parents from the clutches of the conniving witch Yubaba while overcoming the challenges of personal growth, discipline, greed and of discrimination. As you travel through Hayao Miyazaki’s fantasy world where babies are giants and spirits relax in bathhouses, you’ll see Chihiro transform before your eyes from a scared and insecure kid to a young woman. bold and courageous. With its stunning visuals, dazzling adventure, and sweet soundtrack, Taken away as if by magic has stuck with viewers for more than two decades while teaching us valuable lessons about humility and perseverance.
- My Neighbor Totoro
When we think of the Studio Ghibli catalog, My Neighbor Totoro is probably the first title that comes to mind. After all, not only is it one of the studio’s most iconic films, but the adorable King Totoro is used as the company’s mascot.
My Neighbor Totoro is an anime full of wholesome family fun with lovable characters and a lush green aesthetic that will inspire you to visit the Japanese countryside via Catbus. Discover the adventures of 10-year-old Satsuki and her little sister Mei, who move to a small village with their father to be closer to their hospitalized mother. As the sisters adjust to their humble new lifestyle, they befriend Totoro, a giant magical creature who watches over the forest. Whether My Neighbor Totoro won’t win you over with its beautiful scenes of nature-rich landscapes, it will captivate you with its heartwarming innocence and purity, making us all wish we had a neighbor like Totoro.
- Princess Mononoke
Princess Mononoke is a cinematic classic whose themes of war and violence make it one of Studio Ghibli’s most mature titles. It tells the tragic story of humans versus nature as several tribes fight for the rights to a sacred forest. Perhaps the most shocking detail of all is that, despite the presence of several animal tribes (including wild boars and monkeys), humans are by far the most savage species in history and are originally of most of the film’s problems.
In Princess Mononokea cursed prince finds himself caught between an ongoing battle between the animals who have sworn to protect the sacred forbidden forest and the humans of
Irontown who insist on mutilating the forest and its inhabitants in the name of industrialization. What unfolds is a constant battle of morals, greed and territory as the prince is forced to choose between protecting the citizens of Irontown and helping the savage Princess Mononoke defend the forest from human destruction. Princess Mononoke shows us the consequences of being consumed by hatred and selfishness and unveils the ugly side of human nature as we watch humans bring constant turmoil and destruction in pursuit of their own personal gain. Although this film was made in the 1990s, many of its themes of war, hatred, and the preservation of the earth are concepts that are unfortunately still relevant to this day.