Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio that has been creating wonderful animated movies since 1985. Founded by Hayao Miyazaki and co., Ghibli’s movies have always stood apart for their thought-provoking themes and immensely settings. Ghibli animations have the power to transport us to an ethereal land that transcends beyond the mundanities of human life. They are usually set in a mythical of fictional landscapes which are hidden from and within the everyday realities of humans. Through these fictional characters and magical settings, Ghibli movies have a way of moving us to tears with etched emotions. Their plotlines are heart-wrenchingly beautiful and are often presented with a touching message to humanity. Another element that adds to the beauty of each movie is that they are accompanied by an assortment of soulful music. Ghibli movie magic lies in the fact that it can instantly takes us lands that reminds us of the beauty of mossy meadows, gentle rivers, sweet smell of earth after the first rain, dewdrops on a tender leaf and vast grasslands meeting a clear blue sky in its horizon.
Here’s a list of top 3 must-watch Ghibli movies:
1. Spirited Away
Spirited Away was released in 2001 and was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Spirited Away follows the story of Chiro, a 10-year-old girl who, while moving into a new neighbourhood with her family, accidentally enters the world of Kami or Japanese folk spirits. The family crosses into the threshold before sunset, not knowing that it transforms into the magical land of spirits after sun down. After her parents are turned into pigs, Chiro embarks on a journey to recover their true selves by working for the land’s wealthiest witch Yubaba. Set with beautiful animations of glittering nightscape and elegant river spirits, Spirited Away is easily a true cinematic masterpiece. It won the Academy award for ‘Best Animated Feature Film’ in 2002 and is critically acclaimed worldwide.
2. Princess Mononoke
Princess Mononoke was released in the year 1997 and was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is a thought-provoking story that questions and laments the destruction of nature sue to mankind’s greed for more. Set in the late Muromachi perios, it follows the story of a young Prince Ashitaka who encounters wild forest gods and its protectors who are caught fighting against humans who seek to destroy the forest for their purposes. With surreal mythical creatures and an abundance of emotions, Princess Mononoke moves us with its powerful message.
3. My Neighbor Totoro
My Neighbour Totoro was released in the year 1988 and was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It follows the story of two little girls named Satsuki and Mei who, while moving into their new house, discover a hoard of fantasy creatures in their backyard. The two children, especially the younger one is innocently curious. As she stumbles into a mossy hole, she discovers a couple of friendly wood spirits including the huge Totoro who keep her company until her sister arrives back from school. Set in a post-war Japan, the movie shines with the innocence of the children and explore their humorous interactions with the mysterious and cute creatures. Totoro was widely popular and has been the face of Studio Ghibli since.
There are several other notable Ghibli movies including Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky, Grave of the Fireflies and Kiki’s delivery service, etc.