Non-Book Stuff #1: Must-watch Studio Ghibli Films

Hey guys! Like many of you here in the book blogosphere, I’m a bookworm and my mouth can go for eternity talking about books and books and books. While this is true, I also have a lot of interests other than that. Yes, I’m a geek in many platforms and I’d like to share that here in this media. So, I thought about making a new shtick to this blog and start a non-book related posts which I’d call… NON-BOOK STUFF. Yeah, I know that’s the most crappy and dullest title ever. I’m a self-confessed un-creative person when it comes to inventing names so if you have any suggestions, I’ll greatly appreciate it.  

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My first entry is about must-watch Studio Ghibli films. Some of you might be scratching your heads wondering what this thing is. Well, Studio Ghibli is the universe’s marvelous present to the world of animation. Some may say it is the Oriental counterpart of Disney. Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation film that brought watchers to a different dimension of fantasy and Japanese culture. Most of the films were directed by two astounding, extremely talented beings named Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takaoka.

Before you outgrow your love for anything juvenile, I recommend you to watch these films.

Spirited Away (2001)

This is, by far, the best and most famous Studio Ghibli film production. It  grabbed both an Academy and Golden Bear award as well as many other prestigious recognition. This is about a lass whose parents had been transformed into a pig and went into an adventure in a bathhouse. I liked how, for such a movie blatantly for kids, there were lots of adult symbologies concealed in various corners.


Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

This one tugs at the heartstrings at a very very extreme point. We see the lowest of the low junctures of a Japanese life during the Second World War. Siblings, Seita and Setsuko, struggled to survive after being separated from their parents and upon being hit by a series of unfortunate events. If you’re in for some adventure about history, family and moral values, then this is right for you. One of my favorites, actually!  

Princess Mononoke (1997)

This film mainly tackles the issue about humans’ excessive consumption of forest resources. Ashitaka embarked on a quest to find a cure to his arm which was cursed by a boar god. On his journey, he got involved in a fight between Irontown and the Forest Gods. Princess Mononoke is one of the films that best awakens humans to becoming a full-fledged environmentalists.


Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Again, you’ll be seeing another cursed person here. Sophie was jinxed by the witches who transformed him into an old hag. She sought cure to this and was eventually led to a powerful magician, Howl, and went to stay with him in his moving castle. Oh, that moving castle is just amazing! It moves to different places (duh!), opens doors to various worlds, and magically transforms itself if a situation calls for it. Ahh, my dream house!  

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

This is a story about two girls, Mei and Satsuki, and their dad who transferred to a house in the countryside where their ailing mother is gaining recovery.  By following dust bunnies roving around their house and yard, the girls found that they had a neighbor which they named Totoro. If you think Baymax is cute, then I’m sure you’ll find Totoro adorable as well!

The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)

Remember, the 90’s film The Borrowers? Arrietty and her family are palm-sized people who live below the house of regular-sized people. They lived a hermit’s life until they were discovered by the owner of the house. This is a simple, fantasy story slightly addressing topics about friendship between different worlds. 

Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

How would you like to be in a floating city? Well, that’s Laputa. A girl from that city, Sheeta, fell to the ground and was rescued by a lad, Pazu. They both wanted to go to Laputa but they had different intentions. I like this because despite of it being a film of the 80s, the action-packed-ness is something of the future. 

Ponyo (2008)

Another cute characters, anyone? Ponyo/ Brunhilde is a fish who chanced upon a life out of the sea where she met Sosuke. She was summoned back to the sea by her father but being the stubborn that she was, she looked for ways to make herself grow feet and be human. If this reminds you of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, you’re right. Except Ponyo’s voice was intact and there’s a flick of fantasy here and there.  

The list of amazing Studio Ghibli animation films goes on! Recently, The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) has been making a ruckus on different media. If I get to have a chance to see it, I’m pretty sure that will be a good addition to this list.

Have you watched any Studio Ghibli film? What do you think of them? What titles do you recommend?


  1. Oh. My. Goodness. I totally was going to make a Studio Ghibi appreciation post as well! Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takaoka are marvelous beings. And Joe Hisaishi remains my favorite modern composer to date. I absolutely loved this post, Trisha!

    I’ve seen almost all of these and loved them. Have you seen Whispers of the Heart (1995)? That was my most recent Studio Ghibli film, which was recommended to me by Chooi at Read, Think Ponder. I adored that film, it was really cute. I also recently saw Nausicaa of the Valley. The soundtrack for that one is mesmerizing. It has a really weird sci-fi feel that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Summer! I’m excited to see your post and your other recommendations 🙂 Well, I forgot to mention Joe Hisaishi but yes, he’s awesome too! I saw film clips of Whispers of the Heart on YouTube before and I like it. I’m still looking for a copy of the entire film though. And since you mentioned it, I’ll add Nausica of the Valley on my to-be-watched list too 🙂 Thanks for these! Have you seen The Tale of Princess Kaguya? The rave on that one is insane too

      Liked by 1 person

      • Honestly, an author that reached out to me recommended Nausicaa in one of our conversations (because what better way to make friends than to converse about Studio Ghibli films, hehe) and it wasn’t as great as I was expecting. But the overall message is still deep. I hope you enjoy it, Trisha!

        And I saw your reply to Chooi below. I haven’t seen The Tale of Princess Kaguya either. But I’ve heard great things about it as well. I’ll have to check it out! Thanks for the reminder. ^.^


      • One thing I like about Studio Ghibli films is their deep message 🙂 I’ll try watching Nausicaa without putting so much expectations. Thanks for this! 🙂

        Yeah, looks like she really really really did enjoy The Tale of Princess Kaguya. Let’s watch it and share our views soon 🙂

        Liked by 1 person


    I think I’ve seen all Ghiblis except for Porco Rosso, From Up on Poppy Hill, and When Marnie Was There.

    Have you seen The Tale of Princess Kaguya? That movie was so beautiful; beautifully drawn and the storytelling is so good. I was a blubbering mess by the end; I have no idea what feelings came over me. I was just so overwhelmed!


    • I heard from Summer (xingsings) that you like Studio Ghibli movies too so yeah, feel free to post something about it 🙂 Wow, you’ve watched a lot! I really really want to watch The Tale of Princess Kaguya because everyone seemed to love it so much. Is it like Grave of the Fireflies? That film got me too emotional..

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hehe yes, she’s right, I love them! C:

        I went through a phase where I just binge-watched all of them. I’ll bring myself to watch the remaining three… soon.

        Kaguya is stunningly beautiful. I wouldn’t compare it to Grave of the Fireflies… it’s very different to the other movies! It’s not sad, but it is very heartfelt and subtle. Not sure how to describe it. I just couldn’t stop crying at the end – I still have no idea why til this day! But I think, and hope, you’ll enjoy it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Studio Ghibli movie marathon is just the best! The way you describe Kaguya makes me want to watch it even more! Even my sister said I’d cry buckets. I’m excited for the fantasy and the plot and everything! Thanks for sharing this, CW and Shingie! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG!!! Studio Ghibli was my childhood… and adolescence. Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke are my personal favorites, but I can never decide which one I like best. Kiki’s Delivery Service isn’t on here, but that was my fav when I was little.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh cool! I started just after college and I regret not watching them earlier 😦 Kiki’s Delivery Service, I heard, is good too but I have yet to watch it. It’s on other people’s top list. Thanks for mentioning it though 😀


      • Kiki’s Delivery Service was one of my favorite movies when I was in elementary school!


  4. Oh wow Trish! What a great list! I’ve only seen Howl’s Moving Castle which I adored but I have a few of the others on my watch list. I didn’t even know anything about who the makers were or what else to look for so this list is gold!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Aurelia! Before, I thought these were Disney productions bc the movie airs on their channel but I realized from the animation style and drawing that it had to be a Japanese original. So I looked it up and saw that the producers were from Studio Ghibli while the distributors were from Disney. I hope you’ll like the other films 😀


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