The Best Films From Studio Ghibli: Full Ranking

One of the most prestigious animation studios in the world, Studio Ghibli has become a reference in telling stories that move, make viewers laugh, cry, and awaken children’s imagination.

It is no coincidence that the studio has become one of the most awarded in the history of cinema with films that go through genres such as drama, adventure, comedy, fantasy and science fiction. Check out our list with all the films already produced by Studio Ghibli, from the most acclaimed to the least popular by the public and critics.

1. Spirited Away (2001)

Themes: adventure, fantasy, maturity, mystery.

The only non-English-language film to win the Oscar for Best Animated Film, Spirited Away is, above all, a story of discoveries from childhood and maturation. In this masterpiece by Hayao Miyazaki, we follow the journey of a ten-year-old girl who is moving with her parents. Along the way, the girl will lose herself from her family members, only to discover that they have turned into pigs. With the help of young Haku, Chihiro will embark on an unprecedented adventure to save his parents, while meeting other characters beyond the macabre and eccentric.

2. My Totoro Friend (1988)

Themes: adventure, fantasy, adventure.

Mei and her sister move to a city to be closer to the hospital where her mother is hospitalized. The girls will discover a shortcut hidden in their backyard that takes them to a magical land, where they meet a forest spirit called Totoro. A beautiful friendship will emerge, as well as an epic adventure that will highlight the love between sisters and the power of children’s imagination.

3.Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

The Best Films From Studio Ghibli

Themes: war, drama.

One of Studio Ghibli’s most touching films, Tomb of Fireflies delicately and masterfully portrays the horrors after World War II Worldwide. The story is semi biographical, as both the book that was inspired and the experiences of director Isao Takahata served as inspiration for details in the story. Also considered one of the best war films of all time, the plot tells the story of two brothers who must fight against hunger and the adversities caused by the war to survive after the death of the mother and the summons of the father to the army.

4. The Castle in Heaven (1986)

Themes: romance, steampunk, fantasy, adventure, action.

This film has become a milestone in the genre of animation and also in Science fiction. Hayao Miyazaki directs this fabulous adventure through the air that accompanies the journey of two orphaned characters, Sheeta and Pazu. Joining forces, young people will try to discover the mythological floating city of Laputa, while being pursued by greedy pirates. This was the first animated film officially produced by Studio Ghibli and still lives in the hearts of fans of the studio.

5. Princess Kaguya’s Tale (2013)

Themes: adventure, fantasy, drama, maturity.

Based on Japanese folklore, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, this film directed by Isao Takahata, presents the story of a girl who is found inside a bamboo trunk. When she grows up, she becomes an aristocrat, receiving the title of Princess Kaguya. The young woman is courted by several royal men, but without showing interest in any of them, she will demand that the men carry out impossible missions to avoid a marriage. With a delicate streak and an exciting story, the film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Film at 2015.

6. The Animated Castle (2004)

Themes: romance, drama, fantasy, action.

In a world enchanted and inhabited by fantastic creatures, young Sophie will suffer a terrible curse: she will be transformed into an old lady by an evil sorceress. Your journey to break the spell will take you to the animated castle, inhabited by a mysterious sorcerer who can save you from your curse. This acclaimed film by Hayao Miyazaki, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Film and received several awards after its premiere.

7. Princess Mononoke (1997)

 

Themes : epic, war, historical fiction, fantasy, adventure.

A fearless prince will fight against a demonic monster that has invaded his village. Wounded and cursed, Ashitaka will have to go after a cure and on his journey he will meet San, a girl raised by a tribe of wolf gods. This was the film that placed Studio Ghibli not only on the map of animation aficionados, but gained a worldwide proportion of prestige.

8. Red Turtle (2016)

 

Themes: fantasy, romance, adventure.

Co-produced between Studio Ghibli and the German distributor Wild Bunch, this delicate and exciting story directed by Michaël Dudok de Wit narrates the journey of a castaway, who finds himself isolated on a desert island. His raft is constantly destroyed by a mysterious red turtle. In a fit of fury, he will kill the animal, which will magically resurrect a beautiful woman with red hair. In love, they will now build a life on this island and live with nature. Without dialogue, this film shows the power of an excellent animated story and an exciting soundtrack.

9. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

 

Themes: drama, fantasy, adventure.

The young witch Kiki completed 13 years and now you must spend a year away from home to learn to live independently. Together with her loyal talking kitten, Kiki moves to the city of Korico, where she will have to deal with many adversities, such as the fact that hotels in the region do not allow witches.

10. Yesterday’s Memories (1991)

 

Themes: romance, melodrama, maturation.

This delicate drama surrounded by the feeling of nostalgia, presents the story of Taeko Okajima . The protagonist has 27 years old and works in an office in Tokyo. She decides to travel to the interior of the country, where she will help in a season of harvesting family members. Throughout the film, she will remember several events from her childhood and adolescence, trying to understand these memories and the marks that have caused her now in her adult life.

11. Pom Poko – The Great Battle of Raccoons (1994)

 

Themes: comedy, drama, fantasy.

In this film by Isao Takahata, we follow the journey of magical beings , metamorphic raccoons that fight for the survival of the forest in which they live against the urban development that destroys vegetation. An environmental film by Studio Ghibli that was based on Japanese folklore called The Tanukis.

12. Ponyo (2008 )

 

Themes: comedy, drama, adventure, fantasy.

The delicate senses of Hayao Miyazaki’s imagination take on new proportions in Ponyo, one of his great Studio Ghibli classics. In the story, we follow the friendship between a boy who one day meets a talking goldfish called Ponyo. Coming to life, we follow the real mission and history of Ponyo, who may now end up putting his friend’s village at risk.

13. Porco Rosso: The Last Romantic Hero (1992)

 

Themes: romance, comedy, adventure, fantasy.

Set in Italy between the two Great World Wars, Porco Rosso is based on the manga by the famous director Hayao Miyazaki and directed by himself. In the story, we follow the adventures of a former pilot of the Italian air force who now, with a pig’s head, fights against the air pirates who rob tourists in the Italian region.

14. My Neighbors, the Yamadas (1999)

 

Themes: comedy.

Studio Ghibli’s first digital film, My Neighbors, The Yamadas was directed by Isao Takahata, who wanted a style of watercolor art to the film. This makes the film one of the most peculiar artistic productions of this house of animation studios. It tells the story of a traditional Japanese family, consisting of a patriarch, a mother, a grandmother, a pre-teen son, a younger daughter and the family’s puppy. Everyone goes through small situations that also bring a great lesson.

15. Whispers of the Heart (1995)

 

Themes: romance, musical, adventure, maturation.

An enigmatic romantic comedy about maturation and the impacts of first love . In Whispers of the Heart, directed by Yoshifumi Kondo, we follow the story of Shizuku, who begins to realize that the books he picks up in the library are usually also loaned to a boy named Seiji. An unexpected love between two very different people will be born from there.

16. Lives in the Wind (2013)

 

Themes: war, drama, romance.

This poetic film by Hayao Miyazaki tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, whose childhood dream is to become a pilot of plane. In fact, flying on a bird-shaped plane. Along his journey, he will meet the beautiful Naoko, with whom he will fall in love. Your destinations will be mapped more than once. However, the woman in his life will develop a serious illness and Jiro will have to split between his childhood dream and his beloved.

17. The World of Little Ones (2010)

 

Themes: adventure, fantasy.

The little ones Uenins are part of a tiny family that lives hidden on the floor of a house in the suburbs of Tokyo. The family has strict rules for not being discovered by people, stealing items essential to their survival. However, the young Arrietty will end up meeting a normal-sized boy and trying to maintain a friendly relationship, despite jeopardizing the existence of her small family.

18. Marnie’s Memories (2014)

 

Themes: drama, mystery.

Oscar nominated for Best Animated Film, Marnie’s Memories presents the journey of Anna, a girl from 12 years old, daughter of foster parents, who is quite lonely and introverted. As a medical recommendation, she will spend the summer in a seaside home, where she will enter an abandoned mansion and meet a blonde girl named Marnie. Marnie’s secrets, however, go deeper than Anna could understand and that friendship will transform her life forever.

19. From Kokuriko Hill (2011 )

 

Themes: romance, drama.

Directed by Goro Miyazaki, son of Studio Ghibli patriarch Hayao Miyazaki, Da Colina Kokuriko tells a story of love that suffers from various influences and complications due to the past. In the film, we follow the journey of Umi, who lives on the top of a hill and usually hoists flags in honor of the port’s sailors. This act will attract the attention of young Shun, who will eventually fall in love with her. However, a photograph of the past will make them get closer and investigate a mysterious past about the two.

20. Ocean Waves (1993)

 

Themes: romance, drama.

Based on the novel by Japanese writer Saeko Himuro, Ocean Waves is a television film animated by Studio Ghibli that tells a delicate story of nostalgia, maturity and past loves. In the film, we get to know the story of Taku Morisaki, who returns to his hometown during college vacation. Strolling around the city, he will remember his high school years and his old loves.

21. The Kingdom of the Cats (2002)

 

Themes: romance, comedy, adventure, fantasy.

Hiroyuki Morita’s directorial debut film for Studio Ghibli it is a delight for the eyes and presents a fantastic story that involves any fan of animation comedies. In the story, we follow the journey of Haru, a girl from 17 years, which one day ends up saving the life of a kitten. She just did not expect that the cat she saved was actually a noble talking cat, who invites her to visit the kingdom of cats, where she will have the opportunity to live like the animals and become a feline royalty.

22. Tales from Terramar (2006)

 

Themes: drama, adventure, fantasy.

Directed by Goro Miyazaki, son of Studio Ghibli patriarch Hayao Miyazaki, Tales from Terramar is an adaptation of a popular Japanese romance franchise by author Ursula K. Le Guin. In the story, a magical land begins to show imbalance, when dragons from distant lands go to war. The powerful magician Ged goes to investigate this imbalance and in his adventure he will meet Prince Arren, with whom he will join forces.

References

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  8. ^ Camp, Brian; Davis, Julie (September 15, 2007). Anime Classics Zettai. Berkeley California: Stone Bridge Press. p. 292ISBN 978-1-933330-22-8. Retrieved February 14,2014.
  9. ^ “The Animerica Interview: Takahata and Nosaka: Two Grave Voices in Animation.” Animerica. Volume 2, No. 11. Page 11. Translated by Animerica from: Takahata, Isao. Eiga o Tsukurinagara, Kangaeta Koto (“Things I Thought While Making Movies”) Tokuma Shoten, 1991. Originally published in Animage, June 1987. This is a translation of a 1987 conversation between Takahata and Akiyuki Nosaka. “Kichijoji is the Tokyo area where “Studio Ghibli,” frequent Takahata collaborator Hayao Miyazaki’s studio, is located.
  10. Jump up to:a b Pollack, Andrew (July 24, 1996). “Disney in Pact for Films of the Top Animator in Japan”. The New York Times. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
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