Top 10 Studio Ghibli Movies (Updated)

thumbnail_IMG_20190604_113740_084Lately I’ve been in a very Ghibli mood, a mood that consists of wanting to be awed by wonder, enchantment and cuteness and a hunger that can only be satisfied by watching Studio Ghibli films.  Back in the early days of this blog I made a post listing my top 10 favourite Ghibli films (click here to see that post). After re-watching most of my old favourites and a few Ghibli films I’d never seen before, my opinion on these movies have changed quite a lot. Don’t worry I still love Ghibli films very much and they still hold a big place in my heart (I wouldn’t be in a Ghibli mood otherwise). It’s just that over time and after a huge Ghibli binge-watch (best binge-watch ever), my preference has shifted and my top ten favourites is now very different from the first post I made.

So, for that reason its about time I updated this list and brought to you an updated version of

My Top 10 Favourite Studio Ghibli Films:

Honourable Mention- Pom Poko (↓4)
A lot of people seem not to like this film, personally I found the raccoons antics in this movie really funny. It can be a little crude at times, but looking pass that it’s quite a good film with a positive eco-friendly message to look after the environment and not destroy natural habitats. (Which is a bit of a running theme in Ghibli films)

thumbnail_640EA4E8-C292-49B0-8718-B16564FB153710: My Neighbour Totoro (NE= New Entry)
This is kind of a funny sort of a film. It’s very nice to watch but it doesn’t really have much of a storyline, it’s more like a series of happenings. I’ll try explaining the plot to show you what I mean, two little girls move to the countryside with their father. The house they move into turns out to be haunted by very cute harmless spirits. You learn the girls’ mother is in hospital with TB and can’t come home which upsets the girls. Their father has to work a lot, so the girls are pretty much left to run wild in the garden and surrounding area. Which leads to them meeting a giant cute bunny-bear like spirit called Totoro. The children hang out and play with Totoro, then the youngest one goes missing. Everyone panics and thinks she’s either gone by herself to visit her mother or drowned in a pond. Then the oldest girl gets on a cat bus and finds her younger sister and the movie then ends with them both eating corn in a tree.
As you can see it’s a bit of a strange film with a very loose plot, which has led to a lot of theories being made about what actually is happening in this film. From suggesting its references toward a real-life disappearance of a school girl, to people theorising that the girls actually die at the end of the film and that’s why they’re sitting in a tree (because apparently spirit rest in trees at night). However, it’s incredibly cute and sweet, which is what makes the film so enjoyable (you could quite possibly get tooth ache from watching it).

9: The Tale of Princess Kaguya (NE)
The animation style of this film so very different from other Ghibli films, it looks more like a hand painted moving talking watercolour, than the typical Ghibli art style. It’s subtle colour scheme and intriguing storyline makes it very relaxing and beautiful to watch. It does have a lot of religious and mythological references, which some mightn’t like. But if you’re interested in mythology and don’t mind the odd religious reference, its quite a nice watch. Like most Ghibli films it also has a positive message, which is to not chase after others idea of happiness or force your idea of happiness upon others (including your children and other family members). Basically, the film’s message is about achieving true happiness.

8: The Secret World of Arrietty (↑1)
This film has moved up one place in this list mainly because of its breathtakingly beautiful scenes and animation. In the last list, I think I underappreciated how amazing and stunning the animation was (probably because now I know the level of work that goes into creating scenes like those in the film). Story wise I prefer this version of the borrowers over the 1997 borrowers films. It’s very heart-warming and lovely to watch and puts a nice wee spin on the concept of borrowers.

7: Castle in The Sky (↑3)
Castle in The Sky has moved up quite a bit in this list. In the last list I forgot about the sense of wonder this film creates and about the sky pirates. Ghibli sky pirates are a rather likable odd bunch. At first, they seem like bad news but as the film goes on, they become goofier and seem more like a big bunch of softies. Especially, Dola who is a great character and is like a kooky, really cool grandmother that takes no guff and is tough as nails but is still kind at heart. The sky pirates all add a little bit of comedy and relatability to what is already a sweet and mysterious film with beautiful animation.

6: Kiki’s Delivery Service (↑2)
I re-watched Kiki’s Delivery Service with my nephew and he was outrage at behaviour in this film, which made me realise how bananas this film actually is. My nephew was completely horrified that parents would let a 13-year-old go off by themselves and in complete shock at Kiki breaking the stranger danger rule over and over again and getting in a car with a stranger. You would have sworn he was watching a horror movie instead of a Ghibli film. His overreaction and ranting towards this film made watching it so much funnier. But in saying that he does have a point, this film is sort of messed up and the more you think about Kiki does put herself in quite a few situations that would be incredibly dangerous in the real world (even for an adult). Anyway, seeing Kiki’s Very Dangerous Delivery Service from a new point of view, made me appreciate how surreal the Ghibli universe actually is (there is so many Ghibli films where children wander of by themselves and do really dangerous things and everyone acts spookily happy about it), which is why it was given a higher place on this list. (Funniest thing is my nephew says he liked this film, but like Ponyo better. He really loves Ponyo)

thumbnail_90DDF0C2-ADBB-47CC-B77D-4C830420E57E5: Ponyo (↓1)
Ponyo is a very cute and magical Ghibli film that really has the awe factor. With its beautiful use of colour and breath-taking animation, it’s really enjoyable and hypnotic just to look at. Story wise, its incredibly sweet and just plain adorable. It’s the kind of film that would warm even the coldest of hearts. No matter how many times I see this movie I never get sick of it. The only reason it fell a spot on this list, was to make room for a film I’ve only seen for the first time recently.

4: When Marnie was There (NE)
The best way to describe this film is a mysterious ghost story that shows the beauty of friendship. There is just so much twist and turns in this film and it’s just so mysterious. It will constantly keep you guessing and glued to the screen. At one point I didn’t have a baldy (a clue) what was happening and found myself completely enthralled in the film, very eagerly wanting to know what the fudge was happening. The ending of this film is very bitter sweet, it’s lovely and warms the cockles of the heart but is also really sad and might even make you shed a tear. It has a little more of a mature feel to it than other Ghibli films, but all around it’s an amazing film and one definitely worth watching. I regret not watching it sooner.

3: Spirited Away (↓1)
Spirited Away is a film that most anime and Ghibli fans will have seen at least once in their life. It holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts and it’s not hard to see why. It’s so magical and cute and very different from anything you’ve probably ever seen. For me its where my love of anime and Ghibli began. As a child I was so innocent and naïve that I didn’t even know anime was a thing. Weird thing is I had watched quite a lot of anime before this film (Pokémon, Digimon, Beyblade, Yu-Gi-Oh! and even Princess Mononoke), but never caught on that they were anime. To me they were just cartoons the same as all the others I loved to watch. It wasn’t until my Dad put a film on the TV (which was Spirited Away) and the announcer called it an Anime film from Japan, that I know there was such thing as anime. I was so taken by Spirited Away, that I wanted to know more about what anime was and from there my love of anime blossomed. Which is why it’s in the top 3.

thumbnail_F85F8032-DCD3-4CA6-ACBF-4747982F888D

I love Turnip-head so much, that I redrew him.

2: Howl’s Moving Castle (↑1)
Glob I love the sassy old lady power in this movie. Howl’s Moving Castle is one of those Ghibli films that really deliver on that magical mysterious feel. Its story contains so much mystery that on the first watch, it’ll constantly have you guessing about so many things like Howl, the castle, the fire demon Calcifer, turnip head and what on earth is going on in this film. This mixed with its magical creatures and enchanted objects and devices, gives a real feel of awe and wonder. On top of this, it tells a heart-warming love story that teaches there is more to being loved than a pretty face. Its animation is absolutely beautiful and has so many cool little details which is why it’s my favourite film animation wise. All round Howl’s Moving Castle is a wonderful Ghibli film.

1: Princess Mononoke
Although everything else in this list has changed, my no. 1 favourite Ghibli film has stayed the same. It was the first Ghibli film I had ever seen (even though I didn’t know it was at the time), so it’s kind of special to me. But I think that’s the same with everyone’s first Ghibli film. Your first Ghibli film is usually the one that makes you fall in love with Ghibli and opens the door to the wonderful world of Ghibli. So, it’s not hard to see why most people’s first Ghibli film is their favourite.
First time I watched Princess Mononoke, I was completely dumbfounded, in a state of pure astonishment and amazement. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. I instantly fell in love with its beautiful animation style and was really taking by it. I remember the first time watching this film, trying to slowly edge closer and closer to the TV, to really take in its beautiful scenery. Then having sofa cushions flung at me by my siblings and having the snot beat out of me with one for blocking their view. Though I didn’t fully understand the films plot or symbolism as a child, I still loved it and enjoyed every minute of it. As an adult, I continue to love this film and have re-watched it so many times. It’s just so amazing and unique, it really is a great Ghibli film.

Hope you enjoyed this Ghibli top 10 update. The first time I posted a Ghibli top 10, I made a top 10 Non-Ghibli anime film list, to link in with that post. I haven’t decided yet whether to update that list too, but if people are interested in seeing that update, I’ll update it too.

As always Thanks for reading and if you have a favourite Ghibli film, don’t be afraid to tell me about it in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it.

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No! Ghibli. No!

thumbnail_d4bdefa1-cd12-47f5-89d4-457357c6c909Someone mentioned, I should create a top 9 non-Ghibli anime films, from the movies I didn’t use, in my last list post. So, I did. It was an awesome idea and I thank that person for sharing, just a great idea.

However, my number paranoia, made a list of 9, seem very weird, uneven and slightly stressful, so I throw one more movie into the mix, to make a nice round even 10. (A far better number. I really dislike the number 9.)

This turned out to be, a real mix bag of styles and genres, but I think I’ve done a pretty decent job of ordering them. So, without rambling on further, I give you: My Top 10 Favourite Non-Ghibli Anime Films:

10.Night on the Galactic Railroad- A little cat and his best friend, go on a journey through the stars, in a mysterious night train. This film seems really innocent at first, but keep watching and you realise it’s quite dark. I don’t want to spoil this film, so I can’t say much more.
If you ignore the sudden religious turn near the end, it’s a rather interesting watch. It’s very slow pace, but is incredibly relaxing and so easy to watch. However, the ending is really sad and may bring a tear to your eye.

9. Origin: Spirits of the Past- A girl (Toola) is awoken from her 300 year slumber and finds herself in a post-apocalyptic world. Having the key to restore the world, to how it was in her time, she must decide whether to accept the world, as it is now or destroy this world, to bring back hers. This movie has quite an interesting concept and will have you wondering, what you would do if you were Toola. It gives a fascinating view of how civilisation, would look and cope after an apocalyptic event. There’s also some really beautiful scenes of the forest, making it really nice to watch.

thumbnail_19aa90b7-1c91-4704-9cda-7cd6c5b275508. Angel’s Egg- Okay, I can see a bit of a trend forming here. Another post-apocalyptic film. I’ve never realised, but I must have some weird fascination, with what the world would be like, after it is gets destroyed. I’m not sure, how I should feel about that, but we’ll put it down to my curious nature.
Angel’s egg is about a little girl, left alone in a post-apocalyptic world, with no memory. She finds an egg and believes if she keeps it warm, a bird will hatch from it. She wanders around this empty dark world with her egg, in search of food and water. While wandering, she runs into a mysterious stranger, that shows an unusual interest in her egg. The stranger then begins to stalk the girl.
This film has a bit of a weird feel, but I really like it. There’s very little vocal dialogue and is more observational, but is very captivating. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea and will leave a lot of people thinking “what the hell am I watching”, but if you like shows, that throw you into deep thought, then you’ll probably enjoy this film. The art style is very dark and unusual, but sets the film’s tone very well. It also gets weirdly religious at one point, but this just adds to the films mystery.

7. The House of Small Cubes- This is a short film, about a little old man who lives by himself, in a world engulfed, in ever rising water. I can’t say much more, without giving away the whole film, but it’s essentially about, the wee cute old man reminiscing, about his life. It’s not your stereotypical style of anime, but is still very cute and enjoyable. I love short films and this is a very sweet, but slightly sad, one. There’s no talking at all, but is very simple to follow. Great for those days, when you’re sick of hearing, the sound of people squawking and just want to relax and watch something quiet. It’s only around 12 minutes long and is available on Netflix, so is worth clicking out. I like it so much, I had to give the old man a name (not sure, if he already has a name). I named him, Frank the little old cute man.

6. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind- I was kind of reluctant, to include this in my list. This anime is usually gets grouped into studio Ghibli collections, but from my understanding, it’s not truly studio Ghibli. If I’m correct, it was made before studio Ghibli.
Another post-apocalyptic anime, about a jungle filled with plants, that produce toxic spores, capable of killing any nearby human, without some type of breathing mask. This leaves the remaining humans, living on pockets of land, where the spores don’t reach. But then, giant bugs come to kill everyone and Nausicaä must stop them.
There’s a lot going on in this movie and that was as simple as I could explain it, without spoiling the film. This definitely is not a movie for anyone with bug phobias. There’s a lot of giant creepy looking bugs, that will act as nightmare fuel, for anyone scared of bugs. This film is nice to watch. It has very nice art work and some bizarre methods of transport. Its storyline is hard to explain, but is interesting and very sweet at times.

thumbnail_075b9343-0e2f-4d49-8993-d9a1417a86315. Children who Chase Lost Voices- A young girl travels to a mysterious land, where it is said you can bring back the dead. This is a very sweet movie. It explores death and grief, in an interesting and magical way, without being too heavy or sad. For a movie based around death and loneliness, it should be a lot gloomier. Weirdly it’s not, its more magical and sweet. Its story is very interesting and based on mythology and creatures from the underworld. There’s also few wise words, throughout this film, that are very thought-provoking. My favourite being: “Everyone set out, on each of their journeys, as a cry for help. If only someone was able to stop them.”

4. The Garden of Words- A high school boy, meets a lady in the park and spends every rainy day, skipping school and talking to this interesting stranger, in the park. I know, that sound very dodgy, but it’s a really beautiful film. The storyline is a little bit sad, but very lovely to watch unfold. The animation and art work in this film is amazing. It’s so beautiful. It makes rain look like something truly wonderful, instead of wet, cold and miserable. It kind of rekindled my love, of going for walks in the rain. Really makes you view rain, in another light.

3. Perfect Blue- A pop idol becomes an actress, but the stresses of acting life, take their toll and she seemingly has a mental break. Meanwhile, a creepy guy, that’s obsessed with her, becomes her stalker. This film is a little crazy and sort of hard to keep up with, at times. I had to watch it a few times, to fully grasp its twistedness, but oh my glob, this is one hell of a movies. It’s a fantastic psychological anime, that will have you questioning everything you see. It will shock, amaze and confuse you, all at the same time. Being a lover of anything, involving wonder and confusion, this is right up my alley.
The animation is creepy as hell, which really suits the story and craziness of this anime. The stalker guy, looks terrifying and I surely hope, there is no one on this earth, that looks like him. Being of a nervous disposition, if there is and I was left alone in a room with him, I think one of two things would happen. I’d either freeze on the spot or cry on the inside (possible the outside too). He could be the nicest person, to grace this earth, but I still wouldn’t want to be left alone with him. However, I find most people scary looking, so you should probably check this guy out for yourself.

thumbnail_f034783d-3511-4819-93e4-2fa0391881d72. 5 Centimetres per Second- This follows the life of a boy, from sometime in middle school, until early adulthood. Its split into 3 parts and directly and indirectly, follows the boy’s story. This is one of the most realistic anime films, I’ve ever seen and I’m not talking about the animation. The storyline is really sad and kind of depressing, but fring do they capture the struggles and harsh realities of life, very accurately. Especially, the early adulthood stage and the depression many fall into. To be honest, the whole film is about depression and how its manifests in different forms. It captures these emotions and mindsets beautifully. Despite being based on just a sad and difficult subject, its story and art work is very beautiful. It is sort of depressing, but is still a very enjoyable emotive film.

1. Hal– To help cope with the death of her beloved Hal, Kurumi is given a robot, that looks identical to Hal, to take care of her. The two, start to fall in love with each other, but things are, not as they seem.
I usually don’t like love stories, but this is one of my few exceptions. It has a real mystery to it and the answer to this mystery, pretty much, hits you in the face, at the end of the film (unless you’re, super observant). Throughout the movie, you’re left in suspense, waiting to find out, what truly happened between Kurumi and Hal, in the run up to the plane crash (Also, about what’s on those Rubik’s cube). You’re left wondering, if Kurumi blames herself for Hal’s death and about Hal’s character and childhood. Your heart really feels, for both of them. I love this movie. It’s one of the very few films, that does death, love and mystery well. On paper, this film should have you crying like a baby, but strangely it manages to remain, somewhat positive and hopeful. It’s actually kind of heart-warming. However, the story is still very bitter-sweet, so I can’t guarantee you won’t cry.

Studio Ghibli

thumbnail_c162f3fd-75f4-446a-9cf7-fdb17cfc46ffI was going to review, my favourite anime film this week, but I didn’t know where to start. It was just so difficult, to choose only one. So, I decided to write a list of my favourite anime films and try to, choose a favourite from it. I had a pretty nice list, until I realised, most of these movies on my list, were Studio Ghibli films.

Out of a list of 20, 11 were Studio Ghibli, so I thought to myself “Screw it, this is an impossible task. There is no way I could choose just one and be completely satisfied, with my choice. Most of these are Studio Ghibli, so we can actually make something, rather nice from this list”.

I think at this point, most of us have seen a Studio Ghibli film (or two… or three… or more) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m pretty sure, you’ll also have your own favourite, that you absolutely love. So, I bring to you: My Top 10 Favourite Studio Ghibli Films.

10. Castle in the Sky– Pretty self-explanatory. It’s about a castle in the sky and the adventure of two children’s, searching for this castle and its secrets. I know, this is sort of an old one and is actually older than myself. I still really like this film and its age, hasn’t affected my enjoyment. What made me fall in love with it, was the idea of a mysterious magical castle hidden among the clouds. It amazed me. It has a really magical and very sweet story, that touches your heart and give you that warm feeling inside.

9. The secret world of Arrietty- This is like an anime take on the borrowers story. However, instead of being set in the city, it’s set in the countryside and Peagreen is missing from the story. I like this version better, then the 1997 borrowers films. It has a much better storyline and is a lot easier to watch. It’s an exciting, but heart-warming film, that gives you a much better view and understanding of life as a borrower, then the 1997 film did. There’s some really beautiful art work in the film.

thumbnail_ca65bb06-b218-4cf9-b3e1-2e030b653f96_18. Kiki’s Delivery Service– As part of her training as a witch, 13-year-old Kiki is made spend a year alone, fending for herself, in a seaside town. It is there, she setup a delivery service. Kiki being a complete disaster, reminded me of myself and I think that’s why, I enjoy this film so much. I can really relate to Kiki and her plight. A lot of people, didn’t seem it like this film and it got quite a lot of negative reviews. I really didn’t think it was that bad. It doesn’t have the same feel, as other Studio Ghibli film, but I still thought it was good and was quite a nice little story.

7. Pom Poko– A group of shape-shifting raccoons, fight to save their home from the developers. This film is hilarious. Those raccoons, really got up to some amount of mischief, stopping the developers. I haven’t watched this film in years, but if memory serves me right, it has a really sad ending and some of the raccoons, end up dead. However, its sure comical value, has elevated it to spot 7 on my list.

6. The Cat Returns- Haru saves the life of a cat and as a reward, is taken to the Cat Kingdom, where nothing is as it seems. She quickly runs into trouble and begins turning into a cat, herself. This film gets very weird at times. I think the weirdest point has to be, when the overweight cat gets murdered, in a giant vase of jelly. Even his death pose was bizarre. In saying that, it’s quirkiness, is why I enjoyed it so much. I also loved the secret evil plots and the nothing is, as it first seems, aspect of this film. It’s very exciting and leave you in suspense.

5. Tales From Earthsea– There’s a lot going on, with this movies storyline. It’s very hard to explain in just a sentence or two, so I’ll describe it as, a magical mysterious tales about restoring the balance between good and evil. I find this movie so beautiful. It does have that disturbing, no eyes scene near the end, that creeps the hell out of me, but is still a very beautiful story. It has that mysterious factor, that leaves you in wonder and draws you in. It really keeps you questioning, what’s going on and this makes it, a rather interesting watch. It does feel a bit prolonged at times, but stick with it and its worth it. The ending is quite amazing.

4. Ponyo- A little magic fish girl (Ponyo), escapes her home in the ocean, and befriends a little human boy. This leads to a huge storm, that floods the boy’s hometown and separates him from his mother. The boy, with the help of Ponyo, goes in search of his mother. This is a very cute film, but has a bit of a dark side, that goes over the head of younger viewers. I love that little fish girl. She reminds of my niece, because she looks and acts like her. The cuteness and hidden meaning, behind some of the films themes and art work, is why I love this film so much.

thumbnail_184c3d23-de8a-4bb6-8ce0-9aa381315ed8_13. Howl’s Moving Castle– A young girl (Sophie), is turned into an old lady, by an envious witch. Sophie then goes on a journey, to regain her youth and finds herself, taking shelter inside Howl’s moving castle. She ends up becoming Howl’s house keeper, which leads to her magical adventure with the mysterious Howl, in his magic castle. Writing that, makes me want to go, watch it again. This is one of those love story’s, that really touches your heart. It teaches, there’s more to love than, just a person’s outwards appearance. I fell in love with this film and its scarecrow, after the first 30-45 minutes. If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend watching it. It’s one of my favourites.

2. Spirited Away– I think at this point, we have all seen this movie, so I’ll save you the torture of reading my description. This was the first anime I watch, that I actually knew was an anime. I had seen Princess Mononoke before Spirited away, but I didn’t have a clue, it was anime. I was 9 or 10 years old and really naïve, so I think I could be forgiven for that. I was never told about anime, before this point, so I had no way of knowing, otherwise. You can’t know, what you’ve never learnt. This is where my anime journey became. It’s pretty easy to see why, this film is rated so high in my list. What I loved about this film, was that there was no other movie like it, when I first seen it. It left me in wonder and awe. It was truly a magical experience.

1. Princess Mononoke– The first anime film I ever seen. I really had no clue, this was anime. I just thought, it was an amazingly draw cartoon film, with a really unusual story. Despite this, I instantly fell in love with it. The art work in this film, left me breathless. I literally, sat as close to the tv as I could get, trying to take it all in, before someone would get irate with me, for blocking their view and beat me away from the tv (my older siblings were lovely to me). I was completely dazzled by this film. I remember thinking “this is the weirdest thing I’ve even seen, but it’s so awesome”. As a child, I didn’t really understand, half of things in this film or what they represented (amusingly, I thought the little forest spirits, were wobbly head babies). Now, as an adult I have a complete different perspective and understand of this film, which has added to my love of this film.

If anyone wondering, which Studio Ghibli film didn’t make it into my list. It was, From up on Poppy Hill.