Everything Studio Ghibli touches turns to gold, and here are the 10 best films they’ve ever produced according to IMDb.
Studio Ghibli films seem to find a place in any anime fan’s heart. Founded in 1985 by Hayao Miyazaki, the studio is known for having iconic anime. In 1996, Studio Ghibli and Disney came to an agreement that allowed Disney to distribute Studio Ghibli’s work internationally.
Winning numerous awards for a plethora of titles, Studio Ghibli is known for heart-warming series and its memorable characters. This list looks at the 10 best anime Studio Ghibli have ever put out. The rankings are based off rating according to IMDb. Be sure to check out some other Studio Ghibli titles that didn’t make the top 10.
10. Kiki’s Delivery Service – 7.9/10
Kiki’s Delivery Service was the highest-grossing film of 1989 in Japan. The film follows Kiki, a 13-year-old witch, living on her own, accompanied by her black cat Jiji. Having no place to stay, Kiki is taken in by Osono. Working as a messenger, she helps Osono while she is pregnant. Kiki later starts her own delivery service via broomstick. Kiki’s Delivery Service is about a journey of finding a place in life and the experiences along the way.
9. Whisper Of The Heart – 8/10
Whisper of the Heart is the highest-grossing film of 1995 in Japan. The film follows 14-year-old Shizuku, a poet and writer. A frequent visitor to the library, Shizuku notices that a boy named Seiji is interested in the same books she is. Shizuku makes it her mission to meet him. Coming across an antique shop, she meets Seiji and they become friends. Inspired by Seiji’s ambitions, Shizuku wants to work towards her own goal.
Recalling a story she heard at the antique shop about a mysterious cat called The Baron, Shizuku must listen to the whispers of her heart to achieve her goal.
8. The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya – 8/10
Released in 2013, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya starts with Okina, a bamboo cutter living in the countryside. At work, he discovers a baby. Unsure of where the baby came from, he takes her home as a sign of the heavens convinced that she is a princess. The princess is named Kaguya.
The story follows Kaguya as she grows up in the village. She lives a normal life until Okina finds a large amount of wealth in the forest he works in. Okina uses the wealth to buy a mansion in the capital where he can treat Kaguya like an actual princess. Kaguya now lives a new life of royalty she didn’t ask for but starts to discover the reason Okina found her.
7. Castle In The Sky – 8.0/10
Castle in the Sky was released in 1986 and was the first Studio Ghibli film released. Following Sheeta, an orphan girl who is kidnapped by the government for possessing a crystal amulet, she is taken to an airship. Able to escape, she meets Pazu, a boy on the journey to find the flying castle of Laputa.
Having nowhere to go, Sheeta decides to help Pazu find Laputa. In addition, Pazu also decides to help Sheeta escape the government, who also want to find Laputa. Working together, they meet some helpful pirates along the way.
6. Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind – 8.1/10
In 1984, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind won an Oufuji Noburou Award at Mainichi Film Awards. A year later, it won Best Short Film at Fantafestival. After a nuclear war known as Seven Days of Fire, humanity must rebuild. In a world inhabited by jungle, the fate of humanity depends on one kingdom known as the Valley of the Wind.
Due to the placement of the kingdom being near the water, a toxic jungle hasn’t spread to it. In the kingdom lives princess Nausicaä. She must protect the Valley of the Wind from the Tolmekian military and the toxic jungle.
5. Boro The Caterpillar – 8.2/10
Boro the Caterpillar is a 14-minute short released in 2018. Ignored by humans, Boro is ready to take on the world and the challenges that come with it. Learning to survive from other animals and harsh climate, Boro faces many obstacles in his way. A metaphor about life, Boro starts his journey as a tiny caterpillar living in Japan.
4. Howl’s Moving Castle – 8.2/10
Howl’s Moving Castle was released in 2004 and won an Osella Award for Technical Achievement at the Venice Film Festival the same year. Additionally, it has also won Best Japanese Movie Overall at Mainichi Film Awards and an Excellence Prize, Animation at the Japan Media Arts Festival. The following year, Howl’s Moving Castle won Animation of the Year at the Tokyo International Anime Fair and an Audience Award at the Maui Film Festival.
Howl’s Moving Castle is about a walking castle belonging to the wizard Howl. Sophie lives in a small town, but her life is turned around when she is captured and rescued by Howl. However, this angers the Witch of the Waste, and she puts a curse of Sophie, turning her to an old woman. As one of the best heroines in Studio Ghibli films, Sophie embarks on a journey to reverse the curse.
3. Princess Mononoke – 8.4/10
The first animated film to gross 10 billion yen, Princess Mononoke was released in 1997. The film won Best Japanese Movie, Best Animation and a Japanese Fan’s Choice Award at the Mainichi Film Awards. A year later, Princess Mononoke won Best Picture at the Japan Academy Awards.
Princess Mononoke takes place in Emishi Village. The village is attacked by a demon boar but is defended by Prince Ashitaka. However, the boar put a curse on the prince, slowly killing him. He seeks a town known as Tatara for a cure. The people of Tatara are known for destroying the forest that Princess San is protecting. This creates a conflict between the two. Prince Ashitaka tries to resolve the conflict while battling the demon boar’s curse.
2. Grave Of The Fireflies – 8.5/10
Based on a true story, Grave of the Fireflies was released in 1988. The film won a Japan Catholic Film Award in 1988, as well as a Special Award in the 31st Blue Ribbon Awards the following year. Grave of the Fireflies also won an Animation Jury and Rights of the Child Awards at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival in 1994 and a Moscow International Children’s and Youth’s Film Festival Grand Prix in 1998.
The film follows two siblings. Seita the older brother, and Setsuko the younger sister. After losing everything in the war, including their parents, the two orphans try to find hope.
1. Spirited Away – 8.6/10
The best Studio Ghibli film, according to IMDb, is Spirited Away, released in 2001. Spirited Away has a long list of awards won as well as being the highest-grossing film in Japanese history, as well as winning an Oscar.
Spirited Away is about a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro. Mysterious events start to unfold when she explores an abandoned amusement park. Chihiro has accidentally crossed into the spirit world and is trapped there. Living a new life with the spirits and the help of a friend, Chihiro must find a way to return home.