Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite Studio Ghibli Movies

So, stuff can I first off say…god, I’m sorry about being the most awful blogger in the entire world lately. I mean, I’ve just been rubbish (I’ve also been saying rubbish a lot lately, I blame the Doctor Who convention for that). I haven’t posted a Tuesday Top Ten in weeks and there have been NO book reviews, because frankly I haven’t read any books.

But I am trying SO hard to get back to it all. I promise I will work as hard as possible.

Moving on, this week’s topic is brought up because in the past week, Jon and I have been sort of working our way through the Studio Ghibli movies…at least the ones that myself and my sister own! So that is the inspiration of this week’s countdown!

Can I also add that, in making this list, I realized there are a TON of Studio Ghibli films that I have not yet seen? I need to get on that. I feel like such a fake Ghibli fan…I mean, I couldn’t even get TEN movies. I only ranked the 8 I’ve seen. I think I’ve seen more but I haven’t seen ones like The Cat Returns or Pom Poko in years so its hard to rank them. Sigh.

Anyhow, here is my list:

8. Princess Mononoke 

princess mononoke

People are always, like, aghast at the fact that this is my least favorite of the Ghibli movies that I’ve seen. This is not to say that I don’t like it because I do. And I know so many people who are absolutely obsessed by it, my sister included. I think its beautifully animated and an incredible story but its also a bit…weird, even for me. Sometimes I have a hard time paying attention to it, because of its weirdness. The story also sort of bounces around a bit and the main character, Ashitaka, is kind of wishy washy and the ending is so abrupt and not really what I look for in an ending. But again, it is beautifully done and I do enjoy watching it.

7. Ponyo 


Now this one is based off of Hans Christian Anderson’s story, The Little Mermaid. And it honestly baffles me because they don’t seem similar in the slightest. Well, the Disney version wasn’t either so there we go. That being said, its a CUTE, weird little movie and I love it. The animation of this movie is so stunning and its just kind of a light, fun story with adventure and mischief and agh, I just love it. Its one of the more younger stories of the Ghibli collection but I think that’s why I love it so much. Its fun watching a children’s movie, especially when you watch it with children. There is so much to giggle about it. And the story of friendship and love and family is all so wonderful too.

6. Spirited Away 

Spirited Away

Okay, I’ve decided that Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki are fully capable of weirdness. I definitely think this one is weird as well but the story is just so incredible that you forgot the weirdness and just get absolutely lost in the story. While it is not my favorite of the films (see? number six?), I definitely think its one of the BEST of his. Everyone always talks about this one when talking of Miyazaki and there’s a reason for it. Its a great story, its visually appealing and there are so many iconic moments in the film. I see pictures and I can spot it from a mile away. Its just such an incredible movie.

5. Kiki’s Delivery Service 


I love this one because its fun! Its probably one of the most fun of the movies. The music is beautiful and fun, and its an adventurous story. Kiki and her little cat, whose name completely escapes me at the moment, go on their little adventure, and I think its a fun sort of coming-of-age story. Kiki starts her delivery service, learns and grows with her powers and really finds out who she is and who she can be. Its such a fun growing up story, and I love to show it to little kids because they can laugh and have a fun time (especially with that silly cat) but then they can also learn from it too. Okay, its been awhile since I watched this and talking about it makes me want to watch it. Big time. Let’s make this happen soon..

4. The Secret World of Arrietty 


I have ALWAYS loved the book, The Borrowers, and to see it translated onto the big screen, from the amazing minds behind Studio Ghibli was so exciting. I mean, no offense to the movie with Tom Felton in it haha, but this one was just so absolutely beautiful. The animation of these movies just getting better and better and the characters and stories are always so compelling and addicting and familiar. This is so true of this one as well. I think I love this one as much as I do because of the book. I think they do a pretty good job of adapting it while also giving it that Studio Ghibli feel. Its adventurous and beautiful and I laugh and I get choked up at bits, and I will never stop getting over the fact that Will Arnett is the father in the movie haha.

3. Castle in the Sky 

Castle in the Sky

When I first saw this movie, I thought it was the sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle. Howl’s is a book and the sequel to Howl’s is called Castle in the Air. Yeah, definitely not the sequel but definitely an amazing amazing amazing movie. The story is amazing. I absolutely love it. Its so fantasy. I think it would make an excellent book but alas, it was written as a movie and I still love it anyway. I love that there is a sort of lost legend/myth quality about it, and that there is family and love and friendship. Ghibli and Miyazaki are so good at that. They are so good at human emotions and I think this movie is really one of the best at it. There are so many characters and there’s laughter, and there are times when I’m clutching my seat, wondering what is going to happen next. Plus its little baby Anna Paquin and James van der Beek and can you can wrong with that? I don’t think so.

2. My Neighbor Totoro 


I LOVE THIS MOVIE. I seriously go around all the time and sing “Totoro, To-toro, Totoro, To-toro!” Its silly and fun, and short but that’s why I like it. There’s a very light, adventurous, fun feeling to it. You can watch that, and giggle and sing along and have fun without really having to think. You know that, in the end, everything is going to work out and everyone is going to be fine and I just love it. Plus I want a Totoro friend, who will take me adventures, and a cat bus to ride in. Who wouldn’t want that? Crazy people, I tell you. Every time I see something that is Totoro, I just want to grab all my money and buy it all. Its so cute.

1. Howl’s Moving Castle 


This is my favorite by far, and there are several reasons for that. One, it was really the first time I had watched a Ghibli movie and fallen in love with it. It is what sparked me to go home and watch the rest. So it holds a special place in my heart because of that. But I also just love the story. I’m cheesy and its a love story. The love story between the two totally messed up characters, Howl and Sophie, and how they save each other, and make each other better…come on, its beautiful. But its more than that, too, its a story of family. Sophie finds a family that accepts her for herself and gives her so much strength in Howl, Calcifer, and Markl. Howl is able to recognize the family that he has, and what it means to feel and love. Its a story of coming-of-age for both Howl and Sophie. And it also has magic and humor and so much more. I will never get enough of this story. It also led me to the books by Diana Wynne Jones, so there’s that too!

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So what did you think of the list, everyone? I hope you liked it and I hope I’ll be able to be back on top of this again. I sincerely do.

Are you a Miyazaki fan? What are some of your favorites? Share them in the comments! 

7 thoughts on “Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite Studio Ghibli Movies

  1. Chloe says:

    I’ve only ever seen Howl’s Moving Castle, which I love! Have you read the book? It’s quite different in detail to the book, but delightful in a different way. I got my sister to read aloud from it on our recent road trip, it was so adorable.

    • Sara says:

      I love the novel! I read it after watching the movie, and even though they are so different, I enjoy them both so much. I am actually doing Howl’s Moving Castle as my final exam for my young adult literature class!

  2. Jon Turner says:

    CASTLE IN THE SKY is one of my favorite movies of all time, as are TOTORO, MONONOKE, KIKI, and WHIPSER OF THE HEART. All five are thrilling, excellent movies and are brilliantly dubbed by the folks at Disney. I gotta admit that I wouldn’t have necessarily cast James as Pazu and Paquin did have the occasional missed line as Sheeta, but having said that I thought both did a fairly good job nonetheless. Everyone else in the film sounded amazing, though, especially Dola and Muska. Interestingly, one of the actors in CASTLE is Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya from tHE PRINCESS BRIDE) who voices one of Dola’s many pirate sons, the whiskered Louie who says funny lines such as “The mercury is dropping REALLY fast, Mom!” and “I get to lick the spatula!”, is also going to be in Miyazaki’s swan song, THE WIND RISES. That’s a movie I’m really looking forward to.

    • Sara says:

      Thanks for sharing. I absolutely love Castle in the Sky. There are so many talented actors in that cast.

      I can’t WAIT for The Wind Rises, I actually think I’m going to go see it for my birthday next week :)

      • Jon Turner says:

        Same here. CASTLE is awesome and it’s one of my favorite dubs to listen to. Granted I liked the Japanse version too, but I prefer the dub because of its great cast and its gorgeous, richly reorchestrated score. Oddly, a lot of purists seem to detest the dubs of these movies for whatever reason and I’ve never really understood it. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing wrong with any of the dubs of these movies. This is no exception. I love a lot of the other Ghiblis for different reasons as well.

        TOTORO reminds me of a cuddly guinea pig I used to have when I was young; the scene where Mei rests on Totoro’s belly always brings back memories of how my guinea pig always snuggled on me. (He didn’t do any roaring, umbrella wielding, top balancing, tree-running stunts though.)

        KIKI was my first introduction to Miyazaki. And it’s also unfortuante that Phil Hartman died after Jiji; he was pricelessly funny. But I also liked KIKI’s message about believing in one’s inner worth and finding the right inspiration.

        MONONOKE was arguably the first “Mature” Anime I ever loved. Prior to MONONOKE, I had unpleasant experiences with “classic” Anime that is popular with an adult audience. AKIRA, WICKED CITY, NINJA SCROLL… all three of these movies left me with sick stomachs because they were too gory for my tastes. MONONOKE, IMO, did an excellent job of showing how an “adult” movie can be entertaining without being so excessively gory. Which isn’t to say there aren’t any shocking moments of violence in this movie. But the reason I liked it was for its messages: hatred can be dangerous and destructive. Respect nature. People are not necessarily black and white. See with unclouded judgment.

        WHISPER I could absolutely relate to the main character’s past. I have gone through many of the same struggles Shizuku goes through. I HAVE had crushes on people who only considered me a friend. I HAVE been on the other side of the fence of that situation as well. I too have moments when I feel down and hard on myself. I too can be very self-critical of my talents. All of those things really spoke to me as a viewer.

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