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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