Skip to main content

The Best Ten Studio Ghibli Movies

Studio Ghibli has painted our childhood. They have not only produced movies, but they have also produced culture, friendship, love and humanity. I believe that Studio Ghibli is an expensive treasure that we should keep and appreciate.


10) The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her, but ultimately, she must confront her fate.

This movie is so gorgeous when it comes to animation. The animation is like a painting. It shows the pressure of being a princess and the beauty standards she should follow.

My favourite scene is when Kaguya is running through the forest, breaking free from the stressed world she is living in. It is also a representation of Japanese culture and the beauty standards of women at that time. The movie shows a feminist critique on Japanese traditional culture with a complex themes that need to be deeply analysed. It also shows how parents sometimes do what they believe is best for their children without considering that this might not be what they want.

Fun fact: This movie took five years of production. This shows you that this movie is a piece of art that you should appreciate.


9) My Neighbor Totoro

When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live nearby.

Everyone is probably shocked now because My Neighbour Totoro is number nine. Listen, this movie is good and cute, but I believe other Studio Ghibli movies are a little better, especially with the plot. This movie does not have a plot or a villain. This movie is funny, simple and cute, especially Totoro. We follow the children`s world where they play and laugh. If you are upset or want to refresh your childhood memories again, then this is the movie for you.


8) Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

As a warrior and a pacifist, Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.

If you want an epic and adventure movie, then this movie is for you. It has cool science fiction elements like a jet-glider and other amazing elements. It also has diverse characters like samurai, pirates and hobos. We see the disagreements between these forces that reflects the division of our world today. It is an action-packed movie that will keep you engaged. The animation will totally capture your eyes with its vibrant visuals. The film questions how we handle and treat nature. Should we kill nature to survive? Should we put human lives at risk for nature? The movie asks all these questions, but also offers us answers and gives us the choice to accept or refuse these answers. And if we refuse, do we have different answers?


7) Grave of Fireflies

A young boy and his little sister struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.

This movie is so heartbreaking and sad that I could watch it only once. But it is still in my heart. It is so realistic and painful at the same time. Even though you know the ending before you start, the narrative is still very compelling.

I could not believe it when I found out that this movie was animated in 1988. It is on point and the animation is perfect. This film does not create a magical world with witches or wizards, it shows you the real world which you wish was a fantasy. And that is why no one can forget it, because we know it is real.

Sad fact: This movie is based on a true story. Akiyuki Nosaka, who wrote the source material, lost his little sister during the war.


6) Kiki`s Delivery Service

A young witch, on her mandatory year of independent life, finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service.

This movie follows Kiki, the young girl who moves from her town to go independent. Kiki is a lesson on how to be responsible and independent, but in a cute way. She delivers orders to customers on her broom and she is taking that job more seriously than adults. She takes the signature of her customers after they receive their orders. Isn`t that amazing? She goes on helping people while she is happy and determined.

Scroll to Continue

The movie is realistic by presenting the hard part of living alone with rent, food, shopping and other things. I like that it is not easy for Kiki to settle because it is hard in our world to find a job, rent, food and other things we must work for as adults. With all her problems, Kiki is still hopeful and happy, which sends a great message to young girls. Kiki comes as an outsider but becomes an insider after serving her new city in the best way. The movie shows depression in a different way. I won`t spoil it for you. However, Kiki uses depression as a source to give her power to gain her inspiration back.


5) When Marnie Was There

A 12-year-old girl is sent to the country for health reasons, where she meets an unlikely friend in the form of Marnie, a young girl with long, flowing blonde hair. As the friendship unravels, it is possible that Marnie has closer ties to the protagonist than we might expect.

This movie is so beautiful and very deep. It deals with mental illness and the difficulty some people have in making friends. It follows a journey of Anna who tries to find herself in the new place by forming a friendship with Marnie. She discovers herself, her past and her passion. It shows the darkest emotions we go through as kids that other kids movies don`t show.

The mystery side of the movie that makes everyone guess until the end is an amazing job by Studio Ghibli. The ending surprised me. Yeah, a children`s movie played me. The ending and the whole journey in the movie gave many different feelings like happiness and sadness. Yeah, I was happy and sad at the same time. The movie is like a half glass of water; it fills you but leaves the other side of you empty. If you want to cry, watch it. If you want to feel happy, watch it. If you feel down and can`t make friends easily, watch it. Okay, just watch it.


4) Howl`s Moving Castle

When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle.

This movie is a favourite by many fans around the world. The dreaming world of Miyazaki is one of the most captivating worlds ever. You feel that everything is breathing in that movie, including the castle itself. Howl is one of the most handsome characters ever, he is very beautiful. The movie is also emotional in a simple way, but don`t worry, it is not tragic. You will cry from happiness.

Fun fact: Miyazaki didn`t know how to make the castle move, so he used chicken legs.


3) Whisper of the Heart

A love story between a girl who loves reading books and a boy who had previously checked out all the library books she chooses.

Oh, that movie! What a movie! This movie is so realistic and heartwarming that it will make your heart flutter. It will make you reflect on your childhood, first love, growing up and finding a dream to chase. Even though it tells a simple love story, it conveys a realistic and sweet relationship at the same time. Unfortunately, we live in a society that puts pressure on us to achieve something in our lives or to be good at something like a hobby. The movie balances two sides, the realism part contains the love story and the magical realism part covers Shizuku writing her short story that has the baron as the main character.

Whisper of the Heart is a favourite movie by many fans and they always go back to it when they need an inspiration or if they feel pressured. It is a coming of age love story. You should wait and listen to the ending song, Country Roads (Japanese version). It perfectly fits with the movie. I love that song.

Sad fact: The director of the movie, Yoshifumi Kondo, died within three years of making this movie. He died from an aortic aneurysm caused by overwork.


2) Princess Mononoke

On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest, he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.

This is an interesting movie for adults. Miyazaki used sharp animation to present universal morals and manners about our world. Mononoke is a complex heroine who you don`t find in Disney. She is the one who fights, defends and protects the forest. However, she is hungry for revenge, which makes her a balanced character. The characters are not evil, they have good and bad sides in them which makes the movie realistic. Lady Eboshi, who Mononoke fights, wants to bring modernity to the forest, but at the same time, she frees slaves.

The landscapes in the movie are amazing to look at. Miyazaki presents the message of never losing faith in nature and the spiritual world. You will leave the movie with wisdom and the knowledge that you watched an important piece of art.


1) Spirited Away

Spirited Away tells the story of a sullen 10-year-old girl who wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts trying to save her parents.

I guess you are saying to yourself that I have seen many movies with a similar story. Well, this movie is the highest grossing movie in Japan. Now there must be a reason why this movie is so popular. This movie is rich in terms of the plot, characters and animation. You can sense magic in every corner in the movie and development in every character. The animation is so beautiful that it makes the food look magical. The names of the characters describe their own personalities, this shows how detailed this movie is. I describe Spirited Away as a whole world where you set your eyes on the screen and sink in it. You don`t know what is waiting for you and every time you will be surprised by its world and how diverse it is.

Here are the top ten movies by Studio Ghibli. Please do not hesitate to share your opinions about it. I am looking forward to hearing it.

© 2019 Yasminmoh

Related Articles