Studio Ghibli’s iconic movies are finally coming to Netflix! Here’s a little (read: big) flex: I have completed Studio Ghibli’s entire catalogue. This is the perfect time for me to reflect on and rank these movies, as some of you might be discovering these wonderful films for the first time and need recommendations on what to watch. I cannot stress enough that ranking these movies was hard. Honestly, apart from 2 movies, I think Ghibli’s films are all enjoyable.
By the way, all of these movies have incredible animation. That quality is guaranteed with any movie under their name, so I won’t even mention it.
Like I said – only 2 movies are in this category. I feel these movies aren’t really worth the watch. Hey, everyone makes duds once in a while.
22. Tales from Earthsea
There’s just something incredibly off about this movie. The plot doesn’t quite flow and things don’t really make any sense. It has that familiar Ghibli music and style but just doesn’t pull it off, which is all the more unsettling.
21. Pom Poko
I honestly can’t remember anything that happens in this movie, besides the raccoons shape-shifting using their ball sacks. The story is a bit unfocused and drags out. A disclaimer though – I got bored and stopped watching about 2/3s of the way, so perhaps it picks up later. I heard the ending is good, but I haven’t got the motivation for a re-watch.
Alright I guess. Enjoyable films that have their strengths but just aren’t that appealing to me. There are some cult classics in here, don’t hate me.
20. My Neighbours the Yamadas
Truly random, My Neighbour the Yamadas takes a light-hearted look at a middle class family in the 90s. A bit dated but still intensely relatable, this is a pleasant movie that would have greatly benefited from being a mini series instead.
19. Ocean Waves
I actually really enjoyed watching this film with my sister, but only because it was really fun to hate on the main girl. I passionately hate her and her guts. I also really did not like the ending of this one. I actually have a full breakdown of my feelings towards this film.
18. Whisper of the Heart
A nice coming-of-age tale about a boy and a girl who support each other’s dreams for the future despite cynical naysayers. Not much else happens and now country roads is stuck in my head for the next week.
17. When Marnie was There
Liked it more when I first saw it, am more lukewarm to it now. I was confused during most of it, because things didn’t quite make sense. All was sorted at the end though, so overall, nice. Could have been handled better, though.
16. Grave of the fireflies
Terribly depressing. A movie about naive kids trying to survive war. I was so worn out by the end of this one I couldn’t even cry. Good movie, will never watch again.
15. My Neighbour Totoro
Oh shit. Not the My Neighbour Totoro. How dare I put it so low. Well, this movie is unapologetically for kids, and I think that’s great. Not everything has to be made for adults. So the movie is cute to me, that’s about it. No strong feelings either way. Totoro is friggin adorable, though.
Definitely enjoyed these films, which are generally very good. Not quite top tier Ghibli movies though.
14. Kiki’s Delivery Service
Yeah yeah I know it’s too low. A great coming-of-age tale with a great cast of characters. Kiki’s journey is painfully relatable to anyone finding their place in the world. Just a bit slow at times. +1 for amazing music.
13. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
The ‘protect our environment or our environment will kill us’ film. Technically, Nausicaa is not a Ghibli movie, but it really does carry the heart of the studio as its “first” film. Mad respect, but there’s another movie on this list that is this movie, but better.
12. From up on Poppy Hill
I loved this movie, right until a really bizzare twist happens and I spent the rest of the movie worrying if Ghibli was actually going there. It was still really enjoyable, just a bit uncomfortable at times. LOVE THE BREAKFAST SONG.
11. the secret world of arriety
A thoroughly fun and entertaining film that had an abysmal ending. I love the theme song of this film. It’s unfortunate that it ends on a rather unsatisfactory note, because it’s pretty thrilling otherwise.
10. The Wind Rises
A great movie about the dissonance between doing what you love and the legacy you leave behind, surely fueled by Miyazaki’s own feelings towards his art. Not his best, but still, very good.
9. Porco Rosso
Imo, Porco Rosso is a top tier Ghibli movie with an ending that made me mad, so I like it less. This movie about a pilot that turns into a pig could easily be a classic, but its ending though. Still highly recommend it, but why do they have to play me like that?
Best of the best, top tier Ghibli movies that are all must-watch films, imo. Subjective opinions are a thing, but I still think you’ll love a good number of these films.
Some people dislike this movie, I have no idea why. Sweet, fun and incredibly cute, this movie is like The Little Mermaid, but better (don’t @ me), especially when it comes to portraying love.
7. The Tale of Princess Kaguya
This movie can only be described as beautiful. I know I said all Ghibli movies have amazing animation, but this one is on a different realm. It tells the legendary folktale of the moon princess, Kaguya. Like all folktales, it meanders in weird ways, and I think that’s great.
6. The Cat Returns
UNDERRATED. A highly underrated, fun and cute movie about a girl that is transported into the cat world. This movie is based on the fictional novel the protagonist of ‘Whisper of the Heart’ writes, so thank god her dreams came true. She’s a talented writer.
5. Princess Mononoke
The spiritual successor of Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke is a thrilling, morally complex film about man vs nature. It boasts the best soundtrack of all of Ghibli’s films (imo), and that is really high praise. Some people even consider this to be the best Ghibli has to offer and I can’t really disagree.
4. Only Yesterday
A woman’s journey of self-discovery that begins from a trip to the countryside which brings back her childhood memories, both good and bad. Grossly underrated, this quiet film is grounded, personal and introspective.
3. Laputa: Castle in the Sky
A boy and girl set out to find the legendary castle in the sky with a gang of good sky pirates. Such a great movie that really covers all bases in terms of enjoyability: the characters, plot and soundtrack are all amazing.
2. Spirited Away
The quintessential Ghibli film. Everything about this movie screams masterpiece. An exhilarating yet melancholy film about a girl lost in the spirit world, this movie is what animation was made for. Iconic, with fantastic music to boot, what’s not to love?
1. Howl’s Moving Castle
My all time, undoubtedly biased, favourite Ghibli film that is about a woman cursed to become an old lady. To be fair, this movie is definitely a top tier Ghibli movie (most agree it’s at least top 5). Great characters, story, music and Howl. What can I say, 10/10.
Well, that’s my list! What’s your favourite Ghibli film? All images are used for commentary purpose.