An introduction to the world of Studio Ghibli

Ask anyone walking down the street if they’ve ever heard of Disney, and chances are, you’ll find yourself on the receiving end on a “are you serious?” look. It’s no surprise, really; you’ll sooner find someone who has no idea who the current President of the United States is than someone who has never heard of the animation giant.

Ask anyone if they’ve heard of Studio Ghibli, however, and the average person will probably ask, “What’s that?” This is also not surprising. While Studio Ghibli is renowned in its home country of Japan, it’s far from being a household name in countries like the United States. While it’s a bit of a tall order, I hope to help rectify that.

Studio Ghibli is to Japan what Walt Disney Animation Studios is to the United States. While it was founded fairly recently compared to Disney (Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 by five men, including renowned animators Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata), it has made quite a splash in the world of animation. In fact, Studio Ghibli’s 2001 film, Spirited Away, was the first and, so far, the only anime film to win an Academy Award, beating out titles like Lilo and Stitch and Ice Age.

Film critics and seasoned moviegoers alike praise Studio Ghibli for their rich, hand-drawn, traditionally animated films, but it remains, as a whole, quite unknown to the general American public.

A common misconception people have about Studio Ghibli is that you have to like anime in order to enjoy their films. What a lot of people who aren’t familiar with Studio Ghibli don’t realize, however, is that its films have something to offer for everyone. Studio Ghibli films are a far cry from the stereotypical big eyed, round-faced anime characters people tend to think of when you mention the word “anime”.

These films are heartwarming and full of charm, filled with quirky characters that are also relatable. While many children’s cartoons may seem formulaic after a while, Studio Ghibli films are quite varied in content, subject matter, and storylines. There’s always something new to see whenever you watch a Studio Ghibli film, and I highly recommend these films to anyone.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “An introduction to the world of Studio Ghibli

  1. I had not heard of Studio Ghibli either, and I’m looking forward to hearing more! I took a foreign film class recently and was able to watch ‘Spirited Away’, which I absolutely loved.

  2. This is so cool, because I had no idea that this existed! You were right in saying that not a lot of people have heard of this! I am excited to read your blog and find out more!

  3. I haven’t ever heard of Studio Ghibli but I am excited to learn more. I tried to find some of these movies on Netflix and Hulu but had no luck. I was able to watch some clips on youtube and really admired the work. I grew up on Disney films and didn’t have the opportunity to experience films like this. That is why I am excited to follow you, it gives me a window into what I would have grown up with if I was born into another culture. But where can I find these films??

    • Thank you, I’m glad my blog has sparked your interest in these films! They’re all truly wonderful works. I admit they’re a bit hard to find in the States; I know Netflix had a couple of these films available for streaming last year, but they must have taken them down since then.

      If you have Amazon Prime, they have a streaming service I recently found out about. They may have a few of these films available for instant streaming. If not, the easiest way would be to look for them online. Personally, I don’t recommend this, as it’s best to support Studio Ghibli by watching these films through legit means, but it can be a good way to get a taste for these films without having to dish out $20 (or more) for a DVD, especially if you’ve never watched these movies before.

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