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Home to a plethora of award-winning titles, Studio Ghibli stands tall, owning a treasure of the most revered and exalted animated films made in history.
Many of Ghibli’s masterpieces have always managed to settle in our hearts. Here’s a list of their Top-Five finest works.
NO. 5: HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE
Hayao Miyazaki’s most magnetic strength is bringing a sense of charm and wonderment into his movies. That enchanting spell he unleashes on us is perfectly depicted in Howl’s Moving Castle.
A floatingly amusing fairytale set in a mystic steampunk realm, an 18-yo girl unexpectedly befriends Howl, a flashy yet odd wizard. The Howl owns a colossal castle that defies gravity and floats over the visually artistic landscapes shown in the movie. In their budding friendship, this unconfident sweet 18-yo girl succumbs to a spiteful witch’s curse turning her into an old woman. Traveling in the castle with her new celestial friends’ help, she embarks on a mission to undo the spell.
NO.4: GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES
Outdoing classics like the Lion King and Bambi, this dramatic showpiece inflicts, not just a few tears, but total grief upon us. This heart-wrenching war tale, set at the tail end of world war 2 after Japan’s surrender, is based on Akiyuki Nosaka’s semi-autobiographical novel. Representing survival as the thematic core of the movie, the story shows two siblings, Seita and Setsuko, affected by war and abandoned by their relatives, trying hard to make ends meet. Their story of endurance profoundly touches your heart. It makes you ponder upon the realities of thousands who suffer or have suffered from conflict. Grave of The Fireflies is an excellent anti-war statement made in the animated and cinematic world that is truly disheartening and enlightening.
NO.3: MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO
A classic family fantasy made in the world we all wished we lived in, My Neighbor Totoro is a perfect portrayal of one’s will-o’-the-wisp wonderland. Free of any conflicts, fights, or villains, this wholesome film is about two little sisters settling in an unfamiliar village to live with their ailing mother. There they meet a bunch of cuddly forest spirits that only children can see and befriend. Totoro takes them on magical adventures every day and teaches them the sensibilities of life. Overloaded with innocent cuteness, this captivating movie keeps you smiling ear to ear through its entire length.
NO.2: SPIRITED AWAY
Abundant with Miyazaki’s limitless creativity, Spirited Away is filled with generosity and love to the brim. The finest among animated films, Spirited Away, laid a firm foundation for animated showpieces’ progressive future. This detail-oriented gem has been lovingly crafted, showing us some of the most vivid and amusing visuals that the world of animation has known. This dazzlingly drawn fairytale revolves around 10-year-old Chihiro, who stumbles upon an eerie amusement park and gets trapped in the world of spirits. There she must muster up the courage she never knew she had and help her parents return to the outside world, who have mysteriously transformed.
NO.1: PRINCESS MONONOKE
This marvelously accomplished gem has broken quite a lot of box office records in its native Japan. Comparatively more intense and darker than other Hayao Miyazaki films, Princess Mononoke is set in medieval Japan at the dawn of the Iron age. This pure classic shows a story of a brave young warrior stricken by a curse who must engage in a battle against the mining village and rescue the west forest. Princess Mononoke is steeped in Miyazaki’s deep humanism. Despite many battle scenes, you notice how the film doesn’t dwell violence. With many moral lessons and a beautifully scripted plot to enjoy, Princess Mononoke undoubtedly becomes the best among the best-animated films this era has ever known.