Ask any fan and they will tell you that anime isn’t just for kids. One of the most famous anime studios is Studio Ghibli and it’s creator Hayao Miyazaki. It’s stories and characters stay with you long after you’ve watched the movie. Here is my picks:
- Nausicaa of the Wind Valley
Released as a TV series back in the early 80s. It was released in America as a full movie. The story is set in the far future where humans struggle to survive among mutant beasts. It’s heroine Nausicaa is a princess of the Wind Valley. Her home is conquered by a rival nation sending Nausicaa on an adventure of hope and salvation.
- Whisper of the Heart
I actually prefer this one in the original japanese. A lovely coming of age story about Shizuku Tsukishima a 14 year old girl and her summer striving to follow her dreams of becoming a writer while she finds her first love. This anime is also a lead in for my next pick
- The Cat Returns
A short adventure about a girl named Haru, who saves the life of a cat who happens to be the prince of all cats. As a reward his father, the king wishes her to marry the prince.Haru seeks out the Cat Agency and meets the Baron a cat statue that comes to life to help aid in her.
- Kiki’s Delivery Service
Cute witch girl named Kiki sets off on her own to train in magic. Unlike other witches she opens a delivery service using her broom to transport goods between villages. This is one of the movies that shows Miyazaki’s love for aircraft.
- My Neighbor Totoro
Perhaps the most well known movie via its merchandise, it’s iconic Cat Bus and of course as the mascot for Studio Ghibli. My Neighbor Totoro is a tale of two sisters whose family moves into an old house to be closer to the hospital for their sick mother. The girls discover the giant creature Totoro and his other magical friends in the briar patch. When the mother falls greatly ill the sisters and their new friends embark on a grand adventure.
- Porco Rosso
Miyazaki displays his love of seaplanes and Italy on this take of the classic tale Beauty and The Beast. This movie has incredibly detailed aerial dog fighting scenes. As well as daring aerial flight stunts. Porco Rosso the main character is a daring pilot who has been cursed to look like a pig. This movie has it all, action, drama, romance, and thrills.
- Pom Poko
Another one of Miyazaki’s passions, environmentalism. Pom Poko is set in the 1960s and tells the tale of a clan of Tanuki whose home is under threat of development. They learn how to shapeshift and attempt to scare off the developers. It’s another heartfelt tale of fighting to preserve the past while striving to make a future.
- Princess Mononoke
When I first watched this movie in college it took my breath away. From its emotionally moving soundtrack, to its deep and moving characters. The world was a place I never wanted to leave. Its heroine San is an amazing warrior woman fighting to save her home and adoptive family from the evil of man. The english voice cast did an amazing job on this movie and it is one not to be missed.
- Howl’s Moving Castle
The all star cast shines in this amazing fairytale styled movie. It follows a young girl Sophie, a simple hat maker who is cursed by a witch to appear as an old woman. She travels with Howl, a legendary magician as he tries to avoid getting caught up in a war between two kingdoms and dealing with a curse himself. It is a great story of love and finding the courage to stand up for yourself and the ones you love.