5 Studio Ghibli Movies to Brighten Your Day

Great movies for a great day

Jan 15, 2018

(©1991 Hotaru Okamoto - Yuko Tone - GNH)

From flying ships to soot sprites, the films of Studio Ghibli take viewers on whimsical adventures with quirky creatures spanning every stretch of the imagination. People say that Disney movies touch the heart, but Studio Ghibli films touch the soul. The beloved Japanese animation studio brings to life wondrous tales that will surely brighten anyone’s day. Take your pick of the five best Studio Ghibli films to lift your spirits.

1. SPIRITED AWAY

Our favorite quote: “Once you've met someone you never really forget them. It just takes a while for your memories to return.”

The academy-award winning film also holds the title of the highest grossing Japanese film of all time. This brilliant and beautiful movie follows the story of Chihiro as she wanders the spirit world, meeting magical characters. The beautiful design and quirky characters of the bathhouse will surely lift the spirits of anyone who watches.

(© 2001 Studio Ghibli - NDDTM)

2. MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO

Our favorite quote: “It isn't the end of the world. Your old Nanny's here to help. Let's see that beautiful smile.”

My Neighbor Totoro tells the tale of two sisters who recently moved to the countryside. In their new surroundings, they discover mystical forest creatures. Totoro, the biggest of the critters, takes the girls on an adventure while also comforting them while their mother recovers from illness in the hospital. This childlike masterpiece reminds audiences of the important things in life, love and family.

(© 1988 Studio Ghibli)

3. HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE

Our favorite quote: "Sorry, I've had enough of running away, Sophie. Now I've got something I want to protect: it's you.”

With flying ships captained by the handsome Howl, this must-see Studio Ghibli movie will cheer up anyone’s afternoon. Sophie, a teenage hatter, encounters an evil witch who transforms her into a 90-year woman. Sophie must go on a journey to find the cure which leads her to set sail on a flying ship. This cherished favorite among Ghibli fans will surely let your spirits soar.

(© 2004 Studio Ghibli - NDDMT)

4. KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE

Our favorite quote: “We can fly with our spirit.”

Released in partnership with Disney, Kiki’s Delivery Service takes us on a coming-of-age adventure with Kiki, a 13-year old girl living in a charming coastal town. Kiki also happens to be a witch, and as tradition goes, she must leave home on the full moon of her 13th birthday to undertake an apprenticeship delivering goods on broomstick. Her talking black cat, Jiji, joins Kiki on her mystical and magical adventures as she makes friends and learns to make it on her own as a young witch in the world.

(© 1989 Eiko Kadono - Studio Ghibli - N)

5. PONYO

Our favorite quote: “I say we start with dessert and go backwards. It's been a backwards kind of day.”

In his ninth animated feature, Hayao Miyazaki, the founder of Studio Ghibli, brings to life the story of five year old, Sosuke, who befriends a goldfish princess named Ponyo. The special connection between the two gives Ponyo the determination to become a real girl. This whimsical movie reminds viewers of the magical moments shared between friends and how far people will go to make their dreams come true.

(© 2008 Studio Ghibli - NDHDMT)

ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN, CONTRIBUTOR
Working from her laptop as a freelance writer, Allison lives as a digital nomad, exploring the world while sharing positivity and laughter. She is a lover of language, travel, music, and creativity with a degree in Chinese language and literature.