The Top Five Best Studio Ghibli Movies

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Studio Ghibli is a company that needs no introduction, but that I am going to give one anyone just for the sake of understanding. Founded in 1985, the studio has continued to make incredible animated films for over 30 years. The studio is also famous for one of its founding members, Hayao Miyazaki, who has directed many of the studios most iconic films. Today, I thought I would talk about what I see as the five best Studio Ghibli films. There will not be a particular order to these films, because, at the end of the day, all of them are incredible.

Castle in the Sky

Castle in the sky

Director: Hiyao Miyazaki

One of the oldest and still one of the most interesting, Castle in the sky tells the story of a young boy trying to discover the mysteries of a strange castle named Laputa that supposedly floats through the sky. Along the way, he meets a girl named Sheeta who helps him in his quest to find the castle. The movie arguably has a much faster pace than many of its Ghibli contemporaries, and that’s what makes it interesting. Pazu meets Sheeta, and then very quickly the story accelerates, and before you know it they have found the castle. Even though I have already seen it a few times, It is one of those films that I would never mind watching again.

Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Arguably the most famous Studio Ghibli film, aside from Spirited Away, Mononoke is a story that brings environmentalism to the forefront in one of the most awesome ways possible. Ashitaka is a warrior from a small village who, despite killing an attacking demon, gets cursed, and will die if the curse is not lifted. After a long adventure and a giant, angry forest rampaging around, all of the characters, including Ashitaka, learn just how important nature really is. Miyazaki has long been a promoter of the environment in his films, and it absolutely works. The message is always a result of a well-told story combined with great animation, and never feels forced. Princess Mononoke is a great example of this in action.

Grave of the Fireflies

Grave-of-the-Fireflies.jpg

Director: Isao Takahata

Isao Takahata, Studio Ghibli’s other directorial half, is an often overlooked director, and Grave of the Fireflies is a great example. The movie tells the story of a brother and sister trying to survive a wartorn Japan in the final months of World War 2. To say this movie is emotional would be an understatement. Seita and Setsuko, the movie’s main leads, are not especially interesting by themselves, but their strong relationship during the war makes sense in the context of the story. It is also a story that still resonates strongly with the events of today. Be it the Syrian Civil War, the War in Yemen, or the dozens of conflicts happening around the world, it is important to remember those affected by these events.

Only Yesterday

Only Yesterday

Director: Isao Takahata

Funny enough, it was Only Yesterday when I had not seen this movie whatsoever. Having not heard anything about it before watching it, I did not have any expectations going into it, and I can honestly say that I came out amazed. Only Yesterday is not a particularly complex story, or one that tries to be incredibly deep. But, it does hit on a truth that affects all people: that eventually we all have to decide what our life means, and what we really want to do with it, and in that I can find much Solace.

The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Of all the films on this list, The Wind Rises is one that I am surprised was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Being moreso a historical drama about the life of Jiro Horikoshi, who designed some of Japan’s most famous fighter planes, which does not sound like he would direct, it initially came across as being something I would not enjoy. But, in this case I was more than happy to be wrong. The Wind Rises is a wonderful film that uses its animation to express all of the different parts of Jiro’s life: His love for design, his work ethic, and his eventual relationship with Naoko. Since we know this is not going to be Miyazaki’s last film now, I won’t say much about his legacy here, but if this were his last film, that would be ok with me.


What are your Top 5 Best Studio Ghibli Films? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

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8 comments

  1. While I do think all Studio Ghibli feature films are outstanding, my personal top five (in no particular order) would have to be, Howl’s Moving Castle (the love story there is just too good for me), Princess Mononoke, Castle in the Sky (my first Ghibli film and the one that helped me come to love anime), Spirited Away, and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Maybe I just have a thing for Miyazaki’s directing and Hisaishi’s music….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh man, I’ve only seen one of these. But I did read the book for another one! *hides* Grave of the Fireflies fucked me up. I remember when our teacher announced we were going to watch it in class for discussion. I had like 2 beers before the class so I could sit through it again without losing all of my emotions.

    Liked by 1 person

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