Friday Favorites: Studio Ghibli & Hayao Miyazaki

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites is a post where I incorporate more of what I love into the blog. This includes films, anime, manga, music, you name it. Anything goes.  It will be an opportunity to share some of the things I love and discuss them briefly or in length, depending on my mood 😉

 ❤ Studio Ghibli ❤

It is no secret that I adore all things animation and sequential arts. I relish in the chance to savor a good story accompanied with beautiful illustration. This is something I will never outgrow, holding a deep appreciation and respect for the amount of time and work that is devoted to the amazing end results. The experience is rewarding and often magical. And as an adult and family, I find that something worth hanging onto.


This week I am sharing a list of several of my favorite works of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli because I feel they truly embody that magic I mention above. For this post, I am looking only at the films.

jiji-clipart-33   A Few FavoritesFlying_totoro



The Wind Rises
Written & Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Why: Following the life and career of Jiro Horikoshi, who designs Japanese fighter planes during WWII, The Wind Rises is a more subtle experience that still successfully tackles life, conflicts and dreams. And it does so beautifully through a perspective many of us might find hard to imagine. I cry almost every time.


Princess Mononoke
Director by Hayao Miyazaki
Written by Hayao MiyazakiNeil Gaiman (English Adaptation)

Why: On a journey to find the cure for an inflicted curse, the young warrior Ashitaka soon discovers himself in the middle of a battle being waged between man and the forest. His struggle to understand both sides and seek resolution ends up causing him to be viewed as a potential enemy to both the forest and man. This is an incredible look at the never-ending conflict between man and nature that is portrayed through stunning animation and musical score. It really sort of just touches your soul.

spiritedawaySpirited Away 
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki & Kirk Wise
Written by Hayao Miyazaki

Why: Because this is why I love fantasy! 10-year-old Chihiro finds herself on the adventure of a lifetime after her parents make a wrong turn and decide to stop at an abandoned amusement park. After they consume a meal that Chihiro refuses, she learns from a boy named Haku that they are in terrible danger. She returns to discover they have been transformed into pigs and the amusement park is actually a town inhabited by demons and strange creatures. Now she finds herself relying on Haku in an effort to save her family and return home. This one is riddled with enchantment and magic as Chihiro discovers her own strengths and faces her fears. Saying anymore would spoil the fun!

Written & Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Why: Sosuke is a 5-year-old boy who rescues a trapped goldfish and names her Ponyo. However, she is actually the daughter of a sea goddess and wizard. When she begins to fall for the young boy, she uses their powers to transform herself into a girl. But when her father sends the angry ocean after her, she embarks on an incredible adventure with Sosuke to save the world and hopefully her own dreams. Ponyo is full of heart! There is something to be said for its stunning simplicity and charm.

kikis-delivery-serviceKiki’s Delivery Service
Written & Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Why: Kiki is a young witch who has turned 13 and must now choose a new home and learn to thrive independently with her cat JiJi. She takes up residency above a bakery in a seaside village and begins her new life. This is a charming story that feels a bit more personal in comparison to others, as it follows Kiki and her daily life during her journey to discover herself.

My Neighbor Totoro 
Written & Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Why:  Satsuki and her younger sister Mei, move to the country with their father to be closer to their mother who is ill in a nearby hospital. Upon moving, they discover the local forest is inhabited by Totoro (magical spirits). Perhaps the most magical aspect of My Neighbor Totoro is the mixed elements of two very viable young girls and the incredibly imaginative, non-vocal spirits. Forgoing the traditional songs and villains, this is a truly unique film that embraces you in the best of ways and tugs at your inner child.


Howl’s Moving Castle
Written & Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Why: Because this a rewarding love story unlike any you will ever encounter. 18-year-old Sophie finds herself transformed into an old woman at the curse of a witch. She learns the her only chance of lifting the spell lies within an arrogant magician named Howl and his walking castle. Notably one of Miyazaki’s more eccentric films, it offers a captivating story of love and friendship wrapped in the utterly fantastical! I won’t spoil it for you.


About Studio Ghibli
(Taken from Wiki)

Studio Ghibli, Inc. is a Japanese animation film studiobased in Koganei, Tokyo, Japan. The studio is best known for its anime feature films, and has also produced several short films, television commercials, and one television film. It was founded on 15 June 1985, after the success of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind(1984), with funding by Tokuma Shoten.  Read more.

Older but fun article: 23 Facts About Studio Ghibli That Will Change The Way You Watch The Movies

IMDb Official Numbered List of Studio Ghibli DvDs

I plan to feature more favorite anime series/films outside of Studio Ghibli in the near feature, but for today I wanted to look specifically at this incredibly film company.

Are you a fan of Studio Ghibli or Hayao Miyazaki? What have been some of your favorites films?

Lets Chat!

Danielle ❤

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13 thoughts on “Friday Favorites: Studio Ghibli & Hayao Miyazaki

  1. Oh, I couldn’t wait to respond to this post, Danielle! I’m quite excited.

    I’ve taken an interest in Studio Ghibli of late. It’s truly a joy, a sheer joy, to watch their films. Also, I think part of their secret is the realism, despite the wonderful fantasy they have such a command of.

    Surprisingly, I just didn’t enjoy both Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke. It’s probably because, in Howl’s case, I don’t like these wizard-type settings (and I just couldn’t stand Howl himself), and for Mononoke, sadly it just didn’t strike me in that special way.

    But I loved Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Whisper of the Heart, Arrietty, and Nausicaä. I’m looking forward to seeing Only Yesterday as well. And I’ve yet to see The Wind Rises, Totoro, Ponyo, and the others; but I expect they will be excellent.

    Studio Ghibli and Mr. Miyazaki, I raise my hat to all of you! And thanks, Danielle, for this beautiful post 🙂


  2. This is awesome, Danielle!! I’ll have to watch some of these! My son has been really, really into reading manga lately, so I’ve started up watching some of the anime series to go along with them and I enjoyed it much more than I’d expected… and now I’m hooked! My favorite manga/anime is One Punch Man, but there are so many others I love!


  3. That director has never failed… Like ever. Every movie he does he seems to nail and all I hear from friends who have seen them is how good they are hahah I’m glad to see the Great Danielle also vouching at the greatness of these movies! I honestly will have to binge through them all and cross off these titles off my bucket list! 😛 Thanks for sharing Danielle!!


  4. Aah! Studio Ghibli!!! Kiki and From Up on Poppy Hill are my favorites, but I’m lately loving Whisper of the Heart a lot. Studio Ghibli films are just filled with such joy. And they have such loving people. I want to live in Miyazaki’s Japan.

    The Wind Rises is a great one, too, though I’ve found that the pacing is sometimes difficult for American audiences. We’re used to more plot-driven films.


  5. Yea!!! I’m a fan. I spent the summer of 2016, I think, visiting the theater every weekend to see as much of the Studio Ghibli Miyazaki films as I could. My favs are Ponyo, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and My Neighbor Totoro. My Neighbor Totoro is my absolute favoritest one! 🙂


  6. I need to finish watching The Wind Rises (I rarely watch anything which is why I haven’t finished). Ponyo and Kiki are new to me although I’ve not seen any. One day…. If I start watching things semi regularly…


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