Discover more about Studio Ghibli from Japan. This Japanese animation studio is famous worldwide for its feature films, and in Japan, they own 6 of the 10 top spots for highest-grossing films from Japan.
Every year Ghibli Fest is enjoyed by fans all over the world. Stay up to date with the latest festivities.
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Studio Ghibli Movies List
- How Do You Live?
- Earwig and the Witch
- When Marnie Was There
- The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
- The Wind Rises
- From Up on Poppy Hill
- Tales from Eathsea
- Howl’s Moving Castle
- The Cat Returns
- Spirited Away
- My Neighbors the Yamadas
- Princess Mononoke
- Whisper of the Heart
- Pom Poko
- Ocean Waves
- Porco Rosso
- Only Yesterday
- Kiki’s Delivery Service
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Castle in the Sky
Studio Ghibli History
Studio Ghibli is a famous Japanese animation studio founded in 1985 in Tokyo, Japan. The creators of the studio included the directors and animators Takahata Isao, Hayao Miyazaki, and producer Suzuki Toshio.
The studio is well known today for its impactful and empowering animated films and adorable characters that have captured people’s hearts from all over the globe.
The most famous films are Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, The Wind Rises, and Howl’s Moving Castle. Through its animation, Studio Ghibli changed the Japanese culture and created a following across the globe unlike any other.
The name of the studio comes from the Arabic name for the hot wind of the Sahara, and it is very symbolic: the creators wanted the studio to blow a new wind through the whole industry of anime.
The studio’s name also pays tribute to the Italian war jet named Caproni Ca. 309 with the nickname Ghibli, which represents Miyazaki’s love of both planes and Italy.
The interesting thing about the studio is that in Japanese the word “Ghibli” is pronounced “jiburi” whilst in English and other foreign languages it sounds more like “giblee” or “geeblee”.
The first movie was released in 1986 and was called Castle in The Sky. It was written and directed by one of the studio’s creators and Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. The film is a timeless story of friendship and courage, reminding us of many space sagas and adventure films full of battles and fast-paced sequences.
At that time, anime genres were still not taken seriously in the film industry, and Miyazaki was not well recognized.
Two years later, the studio released two more films – My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies that were not very successful at that time. Success did not come to the studio until 1989 when Kiki’s Delivery Service was created, which helped Ghibli to start making an impact on the film industry due to commercial advertisements on TV.
Kiki’s Delivery Service became the highest-grossing film of 1989. In the years 1991, 1992, and 1994 the Studio released other the highest-grossing films in Japan: Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, and Porco Rosso.
Hayao Miyazaki did not achieve real success until 2001 when the highest-grossing animated film in Japan named Spirited Away was released. The story was about a 10-year-old girl, who joins the world of spirits and has to work for them in order to save her parents.
The film touches on numerous post-industry societal and globalization topics. There is also a heavy focus on nature and nature’s beauty in that it all possesses spirits.
Throughout the film, Miyazaki is constantly showing examples of people and society completely disrespecting and destroying the natural world they live in, and drawing attention to such environmental issues as pollution and damming rivers. This film became a financial and critical success for both Miyazaki and the studio.
John Lasseter, a director, and animator from the studio Pixar a huge Miyazaki fan became a creative consultant for Ghibli in the United States, which helped Hayao Miyazaki to gain even more popularity at the international level and win an Oscar for Best Animated Feature.
This film was the first one that grossed over $200 million before even opening in the United States. It also became the only movie in the history of anime and the only non-English language film that won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
The release of Spirited Away introduced the world to the imagination and mind of Hayao Miyazaki with his unique and unusual look at the world that allows him to translate it so easily into films.
Miyazaki has a unique ability to take the idea of respecting and taking care of the natural world and transform it into a family-friendly animated film, by connecting people all over the world. With the help of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, the world of anime was introduced to a wide audience both in Japan and the United States.
For the next 13 years, Studio Ghibli was a front-runner in the animation industry until 2014 when Hayao Miyazaki decided to retire. It was decided that the studio would take a temporary hiatus in order to figure out what to do without its co-founder.
In 2017, Hayao Miyazaki decided to come out of his retirement to work on the next animated film for the studio scheduled for release in 2020 with very few details about it.
Studio Ghibli was formed based on the idea that it should produce anime films with its own unique idea of the genre. At first, it did not look like they were going anywhere.
However, with the help of the United States promotion campaign and the use of television to promote the films, along with the creation of truly unique characters, the Studio was able to gain the exposure needed in order to be successful and internationally recognized. It has been still gaining fans in different parts of the world, by introducing them to the new and exciting world of Japanese anime and culture.
Miyazaki and the team of the studio brought to the anime world a new medium for filmmakers in order to work at the forefront of Japan’s culture. Though Japanese pop culture is constantly changing, there is one part of it that has been consistent for nearly 30 years – anime.
Anime is considered a global phenomenon that has shattered the thought that animated films are only for kids. This belief is associated with Western animation, where only very few animated movies touch upon adult topics.
Under the leadership of Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli was able to have a significant impact on Japanese culture and the whole anime industry through the standard of excellence and global recognition worldwide.
It is believed that there are three reasons behind Studio Ghibli’s success: the casting of popular celebrities as voice actors, music created by famous composers, and a successful and active promotional campaign on TV.
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Brandon is an animation enthusiast and animated film critic. He has been writing about animation since 2013 to celebrate animated movies, characters, and songs. His favorite animated movies include Finding Nemo, Aladdin, and The Lion King.