To me, Hayao Miyazaki and his studio staff from Studio Ghibli have some of the best artist/storytellers in the entertainment business to date. If you closed your eyes and pick a random movie from his library, you will not be disappointed. From Ponyo, Porco Rosso, or Spirited Away to even the films he has not directed like Nausicaä, Only Yesturday, also Arrietty. Today we will be focusing on Five of my favorite Hayao Miyazaki films and if you all like this article let me know what your top five Miyazaki films are or if you have not watch these film, go watch them and let me know your thoughts. Any lets get to the number five, (Ps, these are in no particular order.)
- Spirited Away
A young girl, Chihiro, becomes trapped in a strange new world of spirits. When her parents undergo a mysterious transformation, she must call upon the courage she never knew she had to free her family. – Letterboxd
Spirited Away released back in 2001, and it is still one of the best-animated films of all time, not just one of the best-animated movies but one of the best films in general. Spirited Away is filled with fantastic mythology, Beautiful animation, and multiple Compelling characters. ( Full Review on Letterboxd)
2. My Neighbor Totoro
Two sisters move to the country with their father in order to be closer to their hospitalized mother, and discover the surrounding trees are inhabited by Totoros, magical spirits of the forest. When the youngest runs away from home, the older sister seeks help from the spirits to find her. – Letterboxd
My Neighbor Totoro is a strong Miyazaki film that everyone should watch, especially if you are an anime fan. In every Miyazaki film, there is a specific theme that is always unique in everyone one of his movies. In My Neighbor Totoro it is the theme of pressure, which we will touch on later in this review. (Full Review on Letterbox)
3. Kiki’s Delivery Service
A young witch, on her mandatory year of independent life, finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service. – Letterboxd
The dynamic between Kiki and Tombo is electric, and it is incredible how opposite they are. Kiki is more grounded, and Tombo is more evolutionary, but near the end of the movie, they can become friends representing that nature and technology can coexist if done right. The theme of Nature vs. Technology is in every Hayao Miyazaki film, and it is executed in a way that it does not feel forced. (Full Review on Letterboxd)
4. Howl’s Movie Castle
When Sophie, a shy young woman, is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle. – Letterboxd
It is true that the premise of the movie does sound a bit cliche, and it is, but that does not stop Howl’s Moving Castle from still being a magical, the animation is fantastic the characters are enticing. From Sophie becoming more extraverted, to Howl being more courageous each character has a important part of the film and the film does not fell too rushed. Howl’s Moving Castle also has incredible music and the atmosphere to match.
5. Princess Mononoke
Ashitaka, a prince of the disappearing Emishi people, is cursed by a demonized boar god and must journey to the west to find a cure. Along the way, he encounters San, a young human woman fighting to protect the forest, and Lady Eboshi, who is trying to destroy it. Ashitaka must find a way to bring balance to this conflict. – Letterboxd
There is one thing that I forgot to mention with the all of Miyazaki film is that they all are movies that you can watch whenever, Yes they tackled strong subject matter, but no matter how you feel. You can be sad, mad, or happy any Studio Ghibli film will make you feel good inside especially with Princess Mononoke. Princess Mononoke can arguable be one of the darkest of the studio Ghibli film but it also finds away to keep hope alive and at the end of the day we all need hope.
Hayao Miyazaki is one of the greatest storytellers that I feel like more people need to watch especially if you are studying to be an animator, he is revolutionary with his art and animation but that is also with the help with his staff as well. Studio Ghibli overall is a fantastic study. Now let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below.
Studio Ghibli News
Right now they are two Studio Ghibli films in development one will be directed by Hayao Miyazaki, named How Do You Live? Which will be hand drawn animation and Goro Miyazaki, named Earwig And The Witch, which will be focused on 3D3G.