Whether you have always loved anime, or you are interested in watching one for the very first time, the Studio Ghibli films are the most tender, fun, and beloved animes of all time. They are truly art in such a pure form, and these films are amazing watches for anybody who has an appreciation of that art.
Spirited Away follows the tale of a young girl named Chihiro and her parents as they are travelling to their new home. Along the way, the family ends up in an abandoned village, which they begin to explore. Chihiro, off on her own, encounters a boy named Haku, who warns her that she must leave the village and cross the riverbed before the sun sets. Chihiro rushes to find her parents, who have been off indulging in copious amounts of food, have turned into pigs, leaving Chihiro alone in this strange land. Chihiro, Haku, and many other helpers along the way attempt to lift the curse and get Chihiro and her parents out, as this land has many tricks the longer they stay, and they must return to their reality before it is too late. Spirited Away is a wonderful story of friendship, adventure, spirits, and love. It is truly magical and enchanting and will sweep you up into the chaos along with all of the characters, and it is so beautifully animated, you will feel like you’ve entered another world. And, you kind of have, so that is extra fun.
My Neighbor Totoro
My Neighbor Totoro is a charming and wonderfully magical story that follows an old professor, his two young daughters, and his sick wife as they move to a new home. Their new home is not ordinary, as it is also the home to various fairies and soot spirits, who eventually leave once the family is settled. The girls become friends with one of these spirits, who they call Totoro, and as they become closer, they are welcomed into the world of spirits and fairies, and they go on wonderful and magical adventures. This story is so comforting and is beautifully drawn and written, and truly is the best form of escapism, as you will feel like you are along for the friendship and the adventures and the magic and the fun. Plus, look at Totoro! He is so funny and big and adorable and squishy. You will wish you could make friends with fairies, too.
Princess Mononoke is one of the best films of all time. It has an amazing score, and tells an empowering and exciting story. Princess Mononoke follows the story of the village Emishi, as it is invaded and attacked by a demon, which their Prince is able to kill, but it leaves him with a curse that will eventually kill him. The Prince must figure out a way to stop the curse. On his journey, he encounters many different people, including a girl named San, who is totally cool and was raised by wolves. The two of them have to navigate various wars, political conflicts, evil spirits, the curse, and hardest of all, the confusing relationship they have. This is an exciting and adventure filled movie, and will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Plus, the music is absolutely iconic. It will make you feel like you are a warrior princess who was raised by wolves, too. And what more could you want from a movie, really?
Ponyo tells the story of a magical little goldish who, after getting separated from her father and siblings, happens upon a little boy named Souske, who names her Ponyo. Ponyo and Souske become best friends, and Ponyo begins to turn into a human, against her father’s wishes. The two of them go on many adventures, including trying to reunite Sousuke with his mother after she has disappeared after a great sea storm, and trying to prove to Ponyo’s father that she should remain human, and not return to sea foam as he has threatened. This film is one of the most sweet and tender stories of love and friendship of all time, and little tiny fish Ponyo is absolutely the cutest thing ever and it is worth the watch just to see her cute face.
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Kiki’s Delivery Service is a fun and beautiful anime, and tells the story of thirteen year old Kiki, who is a witch in training, who flies around her city on her broom until she captures the attention of a young boy who becomes infatuated with her and her ability to fly. Kiki goes on a journey of opening a food delivery service, of course, provided by broomstick. As time goes on, and various sad things happen to Kiki, she loses her ability to fly due to falling into a kind of depression, leading her to want to find a new life’s purpose, hoping this will restore her powers. The story follows Kiki along on her journey, her training, her success and failures, and is a beautiful story about friendship and never giving up. Plus, it is super witchy and fun and exciting and the story is very wholesome. It will make you want to eat a copious amount of baked goods, just a fair warning.