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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Studio Ghibli films: An indispensable guide

bbc.com

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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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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Studio Ghibli's central pull

Studio Ghibli films are beloved for it's life-affirming, humanist sensibility and is the foundation from which all its other great cinematic qualities flows.

The main attraction of the 'Ghiblian' film is the stories of human tribulation and challenge, self-exploration, and triumph.

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Studio Ghibli: a cinema of humanism

acmi.net.au

5 Ghibli lessons to life
  • Cooking and cleaning can be fun! The way these films artfully portray everyday tasks encourages us to work hard even at dusting.
  • A human relationship is more than just romance. The relationship develops from knowing the other person, having a common goal, and wanting that other person to succeed and be protected.
  • We all feel overwhelmed sometimes, but we must keep going. It will lead to a positive transformation if we choose to act. 
  • We have a lasting impact on nature, and we must be conscientious of it. "Princess Mononoke" taught us that the war humanity wages with nature is a losing one. 

  • Hardship, while difficult, can improve your outlook on life in the end.

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Five Life Lessons We Learned From Studio Ghibli

theodysseyonline.com

Studio Ghibli Films

From the breathtaking magic of Spirited Away to the light-hearted nature of My Neighbor Totoro, Studio Ghibli is renowned for its beautiful, artistic films.

Each film carries its own message and the audience can easily relate to each of the characters in their own way. 

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Essential Life Lessons I Learned From Studio Ghibli Films

theodysseyonline.com