If you recently acquired a penchant for Japanese animation films, you should be familiar with Studio Ghibli. The studio is based in Tokyo, Japan and it is considered one of the best anime studios. Directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata founded studio Ghibli on June 15, 1985, together with producer Toshio Suzuki.
The studio received many accolades for its works. Aside from winning the Animage Anime Grand Prix award and Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the year, the studio also received Academy Award nominations. If you want to get started, here are some works of Studio Ghibli that took the world by storm:
Spirited Away was released in 2001 directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It was first released on VHS and DVD format. That time, it sold 5.5 million home videos in Japan making it the home video with the most sold copies – of all time. After releasing in Japan, North America and UK followed. Following the release, many praises and accolades were given. To many, this is by far Miyazaki’s most mesmerising film.
The film is about a 10-year-old girl named Chichiro Ogino and her adventures in the spirit world filled with monsters, creatures, and witches. There’s a witch that transformed her parents into pigs. While she finds a way to free herself and her parents, Chichiro takes a job in a bathhouse.
Princess Mononoke was released in 1997. It is a historical fantasy war film also written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The film is set in the Japan Muromachi period. It follows the young prince Ashitaka and his dealings with the humans and the gods of a forest. This film became the highest-grossing film in 1997 until the release of the Spirited Away.
My Neighbor Totoro
Another Ghibli classic, My Neighbor Totoro also took the world by storm. It was released in 1988, which was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The film amassed worldwide fame following its release. In fact, Totoro became a cultural icon. Totoro made many cameo appearances in many Studio Ghibli films and video games. Now, Totoro is the mascot for the studio.
The story follows the adventures of two sisters – Satsuki and Mei. It started when the family moved into an old house to be closer to the hospital where the mother is recovering. The sisters overcome their fears and met new friends like catbus and Totoro. Many love the film for its simple and childlike approach. It shows the joys and terrors of childhood – everyone can relate to it.
Laputa: Castle in the Sky
If you want to see the beginning of the studio, you should not miss Laputa: Castle in the Sky. This film was released in 1986 making it the first official movie of the studio. It is written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The story revolves around the adventures of a young boy and girl while searching for a floating castle. They are attempting to keep a magic crystal from airborne pirates and government officials.
There are more Studio Ghibli films you should watch but for now, these will keep you busy. You will surely be transported to a different world and you will ask for more.