Studio Ghibli holds a very special place in my heart. Whenever I think back to my childhood, I always remember the first time I watched Howl's Moving Castle and I was blown away by the magical, enthralling story, the incredible art and the fascinating soundtracks. This began a literal obsession of watching as many of the Studio Ghibli as I possibly could, and up to today, I have seen them all.
I thought since the last list I made based on my Top 10 favourite Anime series got a fair bit of reception on Instagram, I would also like to share my favourite Studio Ghibli films of all time as well.
Now, it was incredibly hard to make this list as there are so many great Studio Ghibli films so I will leave some honourable mentions; these are pretty much the same quality as the Top 5 and must be watched too:
- My Neighbour Totoro
- Porco Rosso
- Kiki's Delivery Service
- Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
- The Tale of Princess Kaguya
- Whisper of the Heart
5. Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
This film is incredibly intriguing as it follows the mind of the enigmatic wizard Howl and the innocent, honourable Sophie in a plethora of magical stories and worlds. It would be fair to say that the plot itself is not is linear as Miyazaki's other films, as this film's tends to bounce around a lot, but I think that this fits around the personality of Howl himself where everything is impulsive. It is a film full of humour, mystery and pure charm and a definite must watch if you are entering Studio Ghibli films for the first time.
4. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Now this is a completely different prospect compared to ANY Studio Ghibli film. The best way to describe this film, which is a quote I found somewhere, is that Grave of the Fireflies is the best film that I never want to see again. The theme of the film is about two children suffering from the effects of World War 2, and you follow them through the struggles. It is an incredibly emotional film which does not hold back the punches. It is possibly the saddest film I have ever watched, period. But, that does not mean that it is bad. It is amazing. The impact this film has had on me is indescribable and has the most powerful message. The ending shots of the film and the meaning behind it will stay with me for eternity.
3. Spirited Away (2001)
This is definitely the most popular Studio Ghibli film released so far, and it is easy to see why. It is a trademark Miyazaki film full of beautiful, intoxicating visuals and storytelling. The characters are endlessly unique and engaging and the soundtrack is, as always, flawless. The dream-like quality of the world is breathtaking and I envy people who have yet to experience this film for the first time. If you want to see a powerful, moving and uplifting movie, this is one of the best options out there.
2. Castle in the Sky (1986)
Now those who are very acquainted to Studio Ghibli films may be thinking "How have you ranked Castle in the Sky above Spirited Away?!" For me, Castle in the Sky encapsulates everything that Studio Ghibli stands for: innocence and adventure, and this film delivers this in abundance. The floating castle of Laputa is an incredible place and the soundtrack on this film is personally my favourite out of all the Ghibli movies. The main protagonists, Sheeta and Pazu, are incredible charming and you find yourself rooting for them every step of the way through their adventure. Castle in the Sky is a true vision of childhood fantasy and portrays a wonderful sense of imagination.
1. Princess Mononoke (1997)
This is one of the most serious, sincere films that Studio Ghibli has put out, and also one of their more complex stories as well. But once you invest into it, you will unravel what is an absolute masterpiece of film animation. The art in this film is breathtaking, delving into the realm of gods and Japanese folklore. The theme of the movie is simple on the surface, but as you dig deep into the struggles between humans and nature, it untangles into something that has a strong message. It is a movie that you will probably need to watch more than once to fully appreciate it, but once it clicks, it is mind-shattering.
So that is my personal list of favourite Studio Ghibli films, comment down below what your favourites are and if you agree or disagree with mine!!