I have always loved Studio Ghibli. When I was very young, I loved My Neighbour Totoro, a sweet animated movie about a forest spirit (Totoro) helping two young girls adjust to their new home in the country and cope with their mother’s ongoing illness. It contains all the best things for a movie: magic, yelling Japanese children, and a cat bus. I love Totoro so much, I got him tattooed upon my person. From there, as I got older, I watched more of Studio Ghibli’s wonders.
The next (age appropriate) movie by Ghibli that I watched was Kiki’s Delivery Service. Kiki is a witch who must go off on her own to learn more of her craft and accomplish... something. I don’t know. Kiki is like ten, so I think it’s a little crazy that her parents were totally cool with her going off to live on her own — although, she’s not truly alone. She has her talking cat, Ji-ji. I still very much enjoy Kiki, but it’s not in my top three.
Also in my youth, I watched Princess Mononoke with my dad. It was not appropriate for children. It has graphic violence and mature subject matter. That being said, I loved it. I had a weird fascination with it, despite being utterly terrified of it. The Princess in question lives in the forest, raised by a giant wolf. A heroic Prince, infected with a demon, joins her in her quest to save the forest from pollution and evil forces. It’s a wonderful comparison to the state our natural world is currently in.
Probably one of my very favourite movies of all time, let alone from Studio Ghibli is Howl’s Moving Castle. The cast works together so well, and anyone who doesn’t ship Sophie and Howl is wrong. Howl is a wizard, Sophie is a young woman who is cursed to look like she’s 80... what’s not to love. (My favourite part is Calcifer, the fire demon. He’s gonna be my next tattoo.)
Do you have a favourite Ghibli movie? Let me know!