Why I Love Studio Ghibli, Let Me Count the Ways
Even the seemingly worst Ghibli film is pretty amazing.
The animation is unique, fresh and always beautiful.
Hiyao Miyazaki is a gem and an inspiration. And although he has retired (yet again) his influence can still be seen in recent films.
The majority of the films discuss serious issues such as death, abandonment, loneliness and self-esteem in a way that even children can understand. Yet, it is neither childish nor boring.
The plots are enthralling.
I could go on and on but I won’t.
My Favorites in Order
This film is about a young girl named Chihiro whose parents are turned into pigs after eating food from the spirit world. In order to save them she begins work at a bathhouse for spirits and various creatures. She meets Haku, a kind yet strict employee of the bathhouse, No Face, Granny Zeniba and more. A young and somewhat spoiled girl, she is not the best employee but she works hard. She is determined to free her parents before Yubaba turns them into dinner. Does she have what it takes? And can she save Haku along the way?
Whispers of the Heart
Take an aspiring writer, a violinist and perseverance even when no one else believes in you and you come out with Whispers of the Heart. This movie introduces The Baron, a gentleman cat whose story is continued in The Cat Returns. Whispers is a story about staying true to yourself and pursuing what you enjoy, no matter what. It is cute, innocent and relatable.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Howl is a wizard and you guessed it, he lives in a moving castle. A young hatter by the name of Sophie is cursed to age, only returning to her true form at night by a jealous witch She cannot return home and so begins working as a maid in Howl’s castle. She takes care of him and Calcifer, a fire spirit, as Howl goes on missions. Howl himself is plagued with an unspeakable curse, someone is after his life and Sophie is having trouble coming to terms with the fact that she will never be normal again.
Tales from Earthsea (Based on the series of novels by Ursula K. Le Guin.)
When this film was released it was believed to be the worst film Studio Ghibli ever produced. I can understand why some may say that but I still love it. There is only so much you can put into a film adaptation of any novel but you have to dwindle it down even more when you make it into a child-friendly movie. Sorcery, secrets and the power of one’s true name are what drives the plot in this movie and the animation is wonderful.
The environmentalist in me screams because of this movie. And perhaps, it is films such as these that inspired me to care about the world from an early age. Princess Mononoke, also known as San, is a young girl raised by a wolf god. Living in the forest during the industrial revolution is hard enough, with pollution and your territory slowly but what happens when you get both sides of the story? Ashitaka is a cursed young man who has the fate of his people on his shoulders. Should he side with San or the rest of humanity?
Some may wonder why My Neighbor Totoro and Laputa: Castle in the Sky aren’t on this list but don’t get me wrong, I love both of those films but I chose my five most beloved. I love Grave of the Fireflies and many, many more.
Check out Studio Ghibli films for yourself. And if you have children, let me inform you that from time to time the studio puts its films back in theaters so you and your kids can experience them on the big screen. Check out the following link to take you to GKIDS Films.
Are you familiar with Ghibli? If so, what’s your favorite movie? Your favorite character?