Since 1985, Studio Ghibli is the main Japanese anime exporter in the world. Although its most iconic films, Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, are brilliant examples of studio storytelling and creativity, Ghibli’s wider film contains some powerful animation. and the loveliest in 40 years.
This is an honest ranking of feature films. For any Ghibli walker out there, I want to clarify two things: Ocean Waves is a drama so it was not included in the list and Nausicca Of The Wind Of The Wind, although it was released a year before founding the studio, it was not counted because it showed more themes, animation styles and morals in Miyazaki’s vision than many “official” Ghibli sections.
21. Tales Of Earthsea (2006)
(Dr. Gorō Miyazaki)
When a great demon causes the kingdom’s balance to be shaken, Prince Arren kills his father and escapes his castle. After being rescued by the Archmage Sparrowhawk, the two roam, teaming up with an unintentional magic user named Arren and stumbling across the roots of the world imbalance: Lord Cob. The film follows the path of imaginative tired storms and does not build a world or characters worth investing.
20. From Up On Poppy Hill (2011)
(dir. Gorō Miyazaki)
Set in the early 60s, the Tokyo Olympics are coming to dispel the shame of WWII and justify the rapid modernization of Japan’s once quiet towns. The cost of this is the community center of Umi Matsuzaki, the clubhouse Latin Quartier Latin. Umi and her friend Shun Kazama, along with other cool classmates, have to plan to keep the club alive. A light and simple story about the importance of preserving history to drive a new generation towards a brighter future.
19. The Cat Returns (2002)
(dir. Hiroyuki Morita)
When high school student Haru crosses a busy street to save a cat from the upcoming traffic, she is sucked into the secret world of cats. As a reward for her bravery, Haru is set to marry the prince. With the help of the shrewd cat-allied cat, The Baron Von Gikkingen’s smooth talk, Haru must escape the ancient feudal society. The familiar story of remembering who you are and trusting yourself, The Cat Returns bites more than what it can chew from ‘Alice In Wonderland ‘.
18. My Neighbors The Yamadas (1999)
(dir. Isao Takahata)
A family-orientated comedy is a slice of life series of vignettes that resembles a newspaper comic strip more than it does a Ghibli fantasy epic. The film follows the Yamada family as they struggle and stumble through family life, going through all the hallmarks of a barely functional family. Takahata had a prodigious knack for showing how fraught and dysfunctional relationships are often built on foundations of love. My Neighbors The Yamadas, with its scribble-style animation, embodies this fully.
17. Whisper Of The Heart (1995)
(dir. Yoshifumi Kondō)
Every day Shizuki Tsukishima borrowed books from the library to read home. After each book, there was a sign of the borrower’s name and there was a name that made the girl curious: Seiji Amasawa. And from here, the cute and gentle love story of the two characters begins …
A love story between a girl who loves reading books, and a boy who has previously checked out all of the library books she chooses.
16. Ponyo (2008)
(Dir. Hayao Miyazaki)
The fisherman Brunhilde, who was fleeing her father’s kingdom, was caught in a glass jar, followed by waves on a coast in Japan. Near the coast is a beautiful small town, where 5-year-old Sousuke is living with his family.
Sousuke stumbles upon the bottle, he saves Brunhilde and calls her Ponyo. Ponyo loves Sousuke and wants to become human. Ponyo finds ways to bring her back to the sea. Ponyo is locked in her father’s castle while the other sisters try to help her become a human. Ponyo is determined to steal her father’s treasure to fulfill that dream, but she does not expect that this caused a terrible disaster. She turned into a human and escaped from the castle again.
15. The Secret World Of Arrietty (2010)
(dir. Hiromasa Yonebayashi)
The secret world of Arrietty is an animated film by the Japanese studio Ghibli based on a British work called The Borrowers born in 1952 by Mary Norton. Arrietty is the story of the elves living in a family’s cellar and calling themselves The Borrowers. These elves also have their own small house and they live on things “borrowed” from the human world. Among them, the young Arrietty, who is being trained by her father with many life skills, also instructs her to always keep her presence secret from humans or she will be in danger to her life. But when she met a real boy, Arrietty forgot his father’s advice …
14. Only Yesterday (1991)
(dir. Isao Takahata)
The scene in the film takes place in 1982. The heroine, Taeko, 27, is a girl born and raised in Tokyo. She is an ordinary official, living alone and not very interested in work. Taeko’s life passed by and remained calm until she took a vacation to go to the countryside to help her brother harvest the safflower (a safflower used to dye fabrics). During the trip, childhood memories of the final year of school filled her. These pieces of memories and things that happened in the countryside completely changed Taeko’s boring life.
13. The Wind Rises (2013)
(dir. Hayao Miyazaki)
All brilliant designer Jiro Horikoshi wants to do is create beautiful airplanes. The film follows Jiro – inspired by Italian aircraft designer Giovanni Battista Caproni – as he trains to be a prodigious aircraft designer while taking care of his sick wife and working as World War II starts to impact Japanese society. It’s a beautiful tale of hardship and realising your dreams while also portraying sensitively how Japan’s role in WWII impacted the country.
12. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)
(dir. Isao Takahata)
Movie Fairy in bamboo tube (Legend of Princess Kaguya) is an animation of Studio Ghibli, revolving around the life of the mysterious girl Kaguya. In the place of ancient painting of ancient Japan, there is a former woodcutter who specialized in cutting bamboo forests to market. One day he found a princess in bamboo shoots.
The film was nominated for “Best Cartoon” at Oscar 2015.
11. Porco Rosso (1992)
(dir. Hayao Miyazaki)
The film tells the story of Porco Rosso and the romance with Gina, who owns and operates clubs and beach hotels for pilots piloting in the Adriatic Sea. The plot revolves around the friendship between Porco and the talented apprentice plane engineer girl, Fio, in competition with a hot-tempered American pilot named Curtis. Porco suffers a curse that causes his face to turn into a pig but the source of this curse is not fully explained on the film. Even if the curse turned him into a pig never fully explained on the film, it had a hint regarding his departure from the air force as well as the will to overcome death when it was near by lover…