What You Need to Know About Studio Ghibli Films

September 4, 2022

If you have never heard of Studio Ghibli and its films, now is the time to get familiar with it. It is an absolute must to watch Ghibli’s films because it would be as if you were missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity without it. With their famous and unique stories, they never fail to capture the watcher’s attention.

Of the 25 highest-grossing films in Japan, Studio Ghibli was able to have 5 of their movie productions on the list. The masterpieces Ghibli produced were Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and The Wind Rises. Moreover, Ghibli has already been nominated multiple times and has won the Prestigious Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Studio Ghibli


Directors, Hayao Miyazaki, and Isao Takahata founded Studio Ghibli in 1985. Miyazaki and Takahata first worked together in 1964, the start of their collaboration slowly carving their paths to successful careers. The two of them both were involved in the Japanese film industry until 1984. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind became the first original feature film that Hayao Miyazaki officially directed.

Hayao Miyazaki chose the word ‘Ghibli’ with the meaning ‘Hot Sahara Wind’ in hopes of blowing new wind for the Anime Industry.

Studio Ghibli First Few Films

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was not an actual production from Ghibli, though Miyazaki still displayed some of the features that defined his styles. Conveying a strong message that had a heroine as the principal character of the story. These are the attributes that Miyazaki was known for. These styles were brought to his future films as well, like Princes Mononoke and Spirited Away.

Some of the first few official films were Laputa: Castle in the sky (1986), My Neighbour Totoro (1988), and Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989).


Castle in the Sky was Studio Ghibli’s first official film released in 1986. Immediately became Japan’s highest-grossing anime film that year. Although Miyazaki was not famous and everyone looked down on the film, they continued making more.

Real success and breakthrough for Ghibli were around 1989 for Kiki’s Delivery Service, it was mainly promoted with advertisements on TV. In any case, the film gained attention and many viewers became attracted to becoming one of Japan’s highest-grossing films as well. 

It started in 1997 when the Studio went to make an international brand for anime films. We can say assuredly Studio Ghibli got to where it is today because of Nippon TV anime. They promoted and advertised the anime well hence, audiences can see the beauty of every film.

Miyazaki is now an amazing director who created countless influential films under Studio Ghibli. In addition to that, The Ghibli Theme Park recently opened and the Ghibli Museum is still up.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

During these times Miyazaki was obsessed with the idea and mechanics of flight. making the film into a magic-realism-like concept. His father was also the director of Miyazaki Airplane which builds parts for Zero Fighter Planes. 

Laputa is the name of the Castle in the Sky as seen in the picture above; the film surrounds a boy named Pazu. Pazu’s father passed away while trying to prove the concept of Laputa, whereas he is determined to get proof using the photograph his father left him.

Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away is the Studio’s most successful film that remained on Top 1 of Japan’s highest-grossing films for many years before Mugen Train took over. The only hand-drawn feature that won Best Animated Feature. Before making the film, Miyazaki gathered girls and held a training seminar as he was not familiar with creating a film that involved 10-year-olds. Evidently, Miyazaki wanted the film to be as accurate as possible.

10-year-old girl, Chihiro is the main character of Spirited Away, she lived in a world that had Gods and Spirits. Yubaba turned her parents into pigs and owned the bathhouse she struggled to work in. It was the only way she can stay alive while trying to redeem her parents.

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

This is Miyazaki’s 14th fantasy-animated film produced based on The Wizard’s Howl and the Devil of Fire (1986). It is also one of Japan’s most financially successful films, with a gross of ¥23.2 billion.

Sophie is a hard-working girl working at her Family’s shop when she came across Howl, a mysterious wizard. An evil witch found out that the human and Howl met, therefore, she cursed Sophie turning her from an 18-year-old girl into an old woman. She became the castle’s new maid and was forced to lie that Calcifer hired her to clean the castle.

Ponyo (2008)

This was known to be a parody of The Little Mermaid with Ariel wanting to become human. The film was released in Japan as Ponyo on The Cliff and is currently the Top 5 highest-grossing in Japan.

Ponyo centers around a goldfish who struggled in desperation just to become human. Sosuke found her washed ashore, later than realizing she could speak. Ponyo’s family strived to find her, successfully bringing her back leaving Sosuke heartbroken. Without a doubt, Ponyo still yearned to become a girl, wanting to spend time with Sosuke

What do you think about Studio Ghibli’s succession?

How many Ghibli films have you watched? Let us know in the comments!

Sources: 1, 2, 3