Ah, Studio Ghibli – sometimes heralded as the Disney of Japan. With the semi-recent retirement of Hayao Miyazaki in 2013, I thought I would take this time to look back on (in my opinion) some of the best films of all time. With elements of fantasy, drama, and coming-of-age stories, these five moves have become some of my favorite films of all time.
5. Whisper Of The Heart
This film follows the story of Shizuku, an aspiring writer, through her final year of high school. It is a great film with elements of drama and romance thrown in to give it that distinctly Studio Ghibli feel. It is an excellent coming-of-age story and features a rendition of John Denver's song 'Country Roads' that is a personal favorite of mine. While it is one of the slower Ghibli films it is an excellent piece of animation and one of my favorite movies to just sit down and watch If i have been having a really busy day.
4. My Neighbor Totoro
Ah, My Neighbor Totoro, even before I started watching anime I knew of Totoro. Totoro himself has been the face of Ghibli since before I can remember. The film follows Tatsuo Kusakabe and his two daughters Satsuki and Mei as they move into a new home in the country to be closer to their mother who is in the hospital. As Mei explores the woods around their house, she stumbles upon Totoro. It is an excellent adventure and has parts that will make you laugh and parts that will make you cry. If you have never seen My neighbor Totoro, I would highly suggest seeing it.
3. Castle In The Sky
Castle in the Sky is an amazing adventure featuring pirates, robots, a crazy military and the ever-so-talented voice of Mark Hamill as the main antagonist. The film follows Pazu and Sheeta as they go on an adventure to find the lost city of Laputa. Filled with amazing story telling really only found in Ghibli films, coupled with amazing animation and an excellent film score, this film is nothing short of amazing.
2. Spirited Away
One of the better-known films in the United States, this film was the winner of the Best Animated Film at 75th Academy Awards and rightly so might I add. Between its amazing art style and story, this film leaves you with a sense of wonder. It follows the story of Chihiro who, as the title says, is spirited away on an adventure to a world filled with spirits, large babies, river gods and angry frogs. This film is a treat for the eyes and a pleasure for the ears. What's really amazing is while the film was still in production it had no story board. As it was made, no one knew how it would end until they were finished. In short this is one of the best films ever made.
1. Princess Mononoke
This was the first Ghibli film I ever saw. I credit this film as the entire reason I started watching anime. With its more mature tone and amazing message, this film is a true masterpiece. This film follows the adventures of Prince Ashitaka as he goes on a journey to find a cure for a supernatural affliction that has blighted him. On his journey he encounters a land on the brink of war. He also encounters old Gods that are struggling to find a place in the world, as their homes are being destroyed by human encroachment. With epic battles and an intriguing story filled with romance and drama, this film is by far my favorite film of all time.
So there you have it my opinion on the Top 5 Studio Ghibli films of all time! Don't agree with my list? Let me know what you think are the best Ghibli films of all time down in the comments!