It might be a bit of shocker but…before this month, I have never watched a Studio Ghibli movie. I didn’t even really know much about them until last year because a couple of my friends are huge fans.
Since being in a stage 4 lockdown and after beginning a weekly routine of painting my nails and watching a movie; I decided, let’s finally watch these movies that my friends have been raving on about for so long.
I wasn’t sure what to start with at first, but a few booktubers I watch consistently talked about Kiki’s Delivery Service so I thought I’d start there. I did some research, scouted out some ranking articles on Google about which Studio Ghibli movies I should watch and then continued to put together a short watchlist.
A huge thank you to all the friends who recommended one for me to watch! Let’s get into my thoughts on all the films I got around to in the last month or so.
Kiki’s Delivery Service
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of this movie is ‘magical’. It was such a simple, heartwarming coming of age story that was super relaxing to watch. I can definitely see why everybody loves this movie. The world was so beautiful, the characters so friendly – it was honestly a little jarring that no characters had ulterior ‘bad’ motives I kept anticipating and that everything was so lovely. After a while, I just enjoyed the rest and hoped nothing back would happen!
My Neighbour, Totoro
This film, was a bit slower; I’m not a huge fan of kids screaming a lot but this movie had quite a lot of screaming but at the end, it was also a film that explored some complex themes in a simple and cute way. The magical realism within the story was beautiful and I wish I had a massive Totoro to cuddle. It made me even more optimistic about the style of these films and their happy endings.
A lot of my friends have said this is their favourite and I went in blind. I’m so glad I did because it was the most shocking plot and most action-packed Studio Ghibli movie I had watched so far. The animation of some of the characters were downright weird but I loved how it explored some of the Japanese folklore and we could see some really great character development from Chihiro (the protagonist). Definitely the most whacky film so far on my watchlist.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Just when I thought things couldn’t get whackier, my partner and I watched this film. We were both very intrigued but utterly confused for most of the time. It took a little while for me to digest the plot and what exactly was happening as I watched, but after, I could really understand the complex themes of war and the protagonist’s experience of being cursed to be an old woman. The highlight of this film would have to be the satisfying spring clean and the friendly scarecrow.
Currently Watching: Princess Mononoke
I recently started watching this film and so far it is action-packed and filmed with more intriguing mythology that follows the lines of Spirited Away. I’m keen to finish this soon and I’ll let you know my thoughts in my September Wrap-Up. I think I’ll also be watching Castle In The Sky next, an older Studio Ghibli film but a beloved one nonetheless.
Ranking What I’ve Watched So Far
It was pretty tricky to choose which I’d enjoyed the most because although it was a very different film experience each time, I did really love them all. After thinking about it a bit, I’d have to say this order:
- Kiki’s Delivery Service
- Spirited Away
- Howl’s Moving Castle
- My Neighbor, Totoro
Kiki’s came out on top because although it wasn’t as action-packed as Spirited Away, it was so heartwarming and calming. Spirited Away next because of the solid plot and the unexpectedness that came from it. Howl’s was close to Spirited Away but didn’t quite measure up because of it was more confusing, and Totoro last because it was quite a bit slower and didn’t develop at the same pace as the former films.
Overall, I really enjoyed watching these movies and I’m really keen to keep watching Princess Mononoke and continue onto The Castle In The Sky and beyond! It’s very reassuring to know that all the Studio Ghibli movies are now on Netflix so I always know I have something fun and unexpected to watch during my nail painting sessions.
This was definitely an experience and I really wish I had watched these as a kid cause I think I would’ve really enjoyed them. They all carry such magical and whimsical elements that make you want to immerse yourself in each beautiful world.
Are you a fan of Studio Ghibli movies? What’s your favourite?
Until next time,