Ghibli studio is a well renowned Japanese animation film studio based in Koganei, Tokyo. {Hepburn: Kabushiki-gaisha Sutajio Jiburi} also known as Studio Ghibli Inc. Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, along with Toshio Suzuki, founded Studio Ghibli on 15th June 1985. It gained popularity after the rapid success of the anime film, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, in the year 1984. I am a huge admirer of the Ghibli movies. Thus, I bring to my readers a shortlist of must-watch Ghibli studio movies.

The word Ghibli is derived from a Libyan-Arabic term. It means a hot desert wind. Miyasaki introduced this name in the hopes that the studio would pave its way. Hoped it would manage to ‘blow the new wind through the anime industry’.


Miyazaki has his own way of spinning magic and captivating us in numerous ways. From the detailed animation to a gripping story along with the message that it delivers. Leaving every viewer with a tremendous impact on our hearts. I love Miyazaki and his wonderful creations. These are a few works that struck every chord in my heart, profoundly.

Grave Of The Fireflies (1988)

This animated film presented by Ghibli Studios revolves around the incidents that took place during World War II. Wherein Japan was deeply affected by the American Bombers turning the cities of Japan to flames. Grave Of The Fireflies is a story about two children. They were rendered homeless after the attacks. The first scene shows Seita, the main protagonist of the story. He lies dead in a subway station followed by the flashbacks of his life before meeting his tragic fate.

This story is about Seita,  his five-year-old sister, Setsuko, and their struggles to survive for another day. This film also throws light on the brutal realities of war. Also, how circumstances make a young teenager like Seita shoulder the responsibility. The responsibility of ensuring that they get to witness another day.

This film captures the transition of how Seita’s life completely changes in an instant after the bombing. All the way from witnessing the change in the behavior of his relatives. Who leave him to his fate by abandoning them during a difficult time. To Seita trying to make ends meet to have access to food and shelter for survival. Grave Of The Fireflies is an emotionally gripping story. Which grips your heart, leaving you teary-eyed. Making it the most impact-full war movie in the animation industry.

Spirited Away (2001)

Another masterpiece created by Miyazaki that involves a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro. She is in a car with her parents driving their way towards a house for a visit.

They keep traveling down the winding road through a forest. They discover an entrance to an enormous tunnel. Curiosity takes a front seat as they follow the winding passageways of the tunnel. Which leads to an abandoned amusement park. They explore their surroundings. Chihiro’s parents find their way to a counter overflowing with mouth-watering dishes. Without hesitating for a second, her parents begin devouring the food that is laid on the counter. As they start gobbling the food like pigs, slowly, they start turning into one. Literally.

Frightened at the situation that she is stuck in. This story is about Chihiro and her thrilling adventures that follow along the journey. Miyazaki cleverly shows the character development of Chihiro. From being stubborn and timid to transforming herself to be selfless and independent.

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Miyazaki presents a coming of age story of a young enthusiastic witch. She steps out of her comfort zone to mark her presence in the world she lived in. The witch, Kiki, wants to establish herself as an independent individual.

Kiki leaves her family behind and decides to settle in a nearby town to achieve what she desires. Nothing worth having in life comes easy. We get to witness Kiki and her struggles to settle in a new environment. She has no one to rely on, except for her sarcastic, devoted friend, Jiji.

As time passes by, she decides to open up her delivery service from the Bakery’s attic.  The story plot also unfolds around numerous emotions of friendship. It manages to soothe the missing void that any individual possesses. The inner turmoil and travesty that Kiki goes through, wondering if she is enough. The insecurities and the self-doubt that lingers within herself. Finally, the struggle that the protagonist faces to adjust and thrive in a place out of her comfort zone.

Most importantly, this film reminds us to be your own version of yourself. What really matters to ensure success, is to have faith and love yourself the way you are.

These were some favorite movies of mine from Studio Ghibli. Visit our blog on 90’s Cartoons to reminisce about the memories of your childhood.

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