Studio Ghibli films: An indispensable guide - Deepstash

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Studio Ghibli movies

Studio Ghibli movies

Japan is famous for its animated movies. Ghibli, meaning "desert wind" in Libyan, is one of a kind, and its beautiful painted visions set the stage for many more subsequent movies.

Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and have produced 21 movies to date. Those who have seen the films love them with all their heart.

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Spirited Away (2001)

This movie has often introduced people to Ghibli. It won the best-animated feature trophy at the 2003 Academy Awards.

The story is of a 10-year-old girl, Chihiro, who moves with her parents to a new home. When her father takes a shortcut, she ends up lost and alone in the spirit world and has to navigate a landscape to save her parents.

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My Neighbour Totoro, and Pom Poko

  • My Neighbour Totoro (1988) is the tale of two young girls and their father who move to a new country home near the hospital where their mother is recovering. They meet Totoro and his friends.
  • Pom Poko (1994) has a strong environmental message. A tribe of raccoons have to deal with their differences to stop developers from destroying their wooded hillside.

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WWI and WWII settings

  • Porco Rosso (1992) is an Italian WWI flying expert who by a curse changed into a humanoid pig. Now he is working as a bounty hunter battling sky pirates over the Adriatic.
  • Grave of the Fireflies (1988) tells of Seita and his younger sister fighting to survive in Japan at the end of WWII. Their mother died in a bombing raid, and their father is fighting in the Japanese Navy, leaving the children to fend for themselves.
  • The Wind Rises (2013) tells a fictionalised life story of Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Mitsubishi Zero that formed the basis of Japan's aerial might in WWII.

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Contemporary drama

  • Whisper of the Heart (1995) is a story about a bookish girl, Shizuku, who finds that all the books she borrows from the library have been checked out by a boy, and she sets out to find him.
  • Only Yesterday (1991) is about a 27-year-old woman recollecting her life and the choices she's made.
  • From up on Poppy Hill (2011) is the recurring Ghibli theme of supposed progress replacing tradition. Two young people fight to save a school clubhouse from demolition.

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Adaptations of treasured books

  • When Marnie was There (2014) is based on Joan G Robinson's 1967 novel about a 12-year-old girl who starts a friendship with Marnie, who is not all she seems.
  • Arrietty (2010) is based on Mary Norton's The Borrowers (1952).
  • Tales from Earthsea (2006) is loosely based on Ursula K Le Guin's quartet of novels.
  • Howl's Moving Castle (2004) is loosely based on the 1986 Diana Wynne Jones novel and features a strong anti-war message.

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Princess stories

  • Princess Monoke (1997) was Ghibli's most successful movie before Spirited Away. A young prince is caught between the ecologically greedy inhabitants of an industrial town intent on clearing a huge forest to mine for iron, and the diverse spirits who live in the threatened woods.
  • The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) is about a poor couple who find a tiny girl growing inside a bamboo shoot.

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Animal stories

  • The Cat Returns (2002) is a fantasy story about a young girl who can talk to cats. After she saves an apparent street cat, she gets inducted into the world of the Cat Kingdom.
  • Ponyo (2008) is the name of a goldfish found by a young boy, but in reality, she is one of many shape-shifting siblings who live in an underwater community.

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Futuristic stories

  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) takes place in a post-apocalyptic future with gigantic marauding insects. A young woman hopes to find a way for humans to co-exist with mutated insect creatures in the jungle.
  • Laputa: Castle In The Sky (1986) is an adventure with an aerial city, sky pirates, airships, giant old steampunk robots, and a quest by two young heroes to protect a magic crystal.

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My Neighbours the Yamadas, and Kiki's delivery service

  • My Neighbours the Yamadas (1999) is a tale that starts as a family comedy but then turns into surreal territory.
  • Kiki's Delivery Service (2003) A 13-year-old witch, Kiki, hops on her broomstick with her cat to offer her witchy services to the citizens of a town. Things don't go as planned, and Kiki learns from her mistakes.

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