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YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogGhibli Fest: The Classic Anime to Enjoy!

Ghibli Fest: The Classic Anime to Enjoy!

By Thalia Harris
October 26, 2023
Chihiro (girl in a green striped shirt) nuzzling Haku (in white dragon form). from the movie "Spirited Away", which would be great for any Ghibli fest.

Studio Ghibli has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide with its stunning visuals, memorable characters, and enchanting stories. From Totoro’s whimsical adventures to Princess Mononoke’s epic journeys, Ghibli films continue to resonate with viewers of all ages. Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to anime, a Ghibli Fest is the perfect opportunity to dive into these amazing movies!

What makes a good Ghibli story?

At the core of every Ghibli film is a captivating story. What sets these films apart is their ability to transport viewers to fantastical worlds while simultaneously exploring deep and meaningful themes.

Not to mention, a good Ghibli story is often driven by characters who undergo personal growth and transformation throughout the film. From the young witch Kiki discovering her true strength to the gentle spirits in Spirited Away learning to find their voice, Ghibli films offer powerful narratives that leave a lasting impact.

Chihiro in the rain. She is part of what makes a good story in a Ghibli film.
Many Studio Ghibli movies have compelling stories! Image via Heroscreen

Good Ghibli stories excel at transporting viewers to a familiar yet fantastical world. Think of Kiki’s Delivery Service‘s Koriko or the magical bathhouse in Spirited Away. Ghibli’s strength is crafting immersive settings that feel like a home away from home. These worlds teem with intricate details, making them believable and lived-in.

In addition to their captivating narratives, Ghibli films are famous for their memorable and relatable characters. From the determined and independent Princess Nausicaä to the brave and compassionate Sophie in Howl’s Moving Castle, Ghibli protagonists often serve as role models for viewers of all ages.

A shot from "Grave of the Fireflies" which is an example of what makes a good story in a Ghibli movie.
Grave of the Fireflies is one of the hardest-hitting stories in Studio Ghibli’s history. Image via Zerochan

A good Ghibli story transports viewers to fantastical worlds. It delves into deep and meaningful themes and introduces memorable characters. Ghibli films hold timeless appeal, captivating generations and becoming cinematic treasures.

What are some common themes in Ghibli films?

Ghibli films tackle many themes, but some recurring motifs can be found throughout their extensive catalog. One prevalent theme is the harmony between humans and nature. Films like Princess Mononoke emphasize respecting and coexisting with the natural world. At the same time, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind explores the consequences of humanity’s mistreatment of the environment.

A scene from Studio Ghibli's Kiki's Delivery Service. Kiki is resting in the grass, starting at the clouds.
Which of these common themes resonate with you the most? Image via Rare Gallery

Another common theme is the celebration of courage and resilience. Furthermore, Ghibli films frequently delve into the concept of love in various forms. Whether it’s the unbreakable bond between sisters in My Neighbor Totoro or the enduring love story in Howl’s Moving Castle, love is portrayed as a force that can transcend boundaries and unite individuals.

What are some underrated Studio Ghibli films?

While Ghibli’s more famous films may steal the spotlight, several hidden gems in the studio’s repertoire deserve recognition. One such film is Whisper of the Heart, a charming coming-of-age story that explores the aspirations and dreams of a young girl. Its heartfelt narrative and relatable characters make it a must-watch for any Ghibli enthusiast.

Kiki, a young with in a dark blue dress, short black hair and a red ribbon in her hair, flies on a broomstick over her hometown.
“Kiki’s Delivery Service” revived Studio Ghibli’s legacy in the late 1980s. Image via Cube Cinema

Another often overlooked film is Pom Poko, which delves into the struggle between the tanuki, shape-shifting raccoon dogs, and human development. With its unique blend of comedy and environmental commentary, Pom Poko offers a thought-provoking and entertaining experience.

Lastly, Ocean Waves, a lesser-known Ghibli film, tells a simple yet touching slice-of-life story about friendships and first love. Its realistic portrayal of adolescence and nuanced character development make it a hidden gem within Studio Ghibli’s filmography.

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Which Studio Ghibli creatures are the cutest?

Before discussing Ghibli films, one must mention the adorable creatures that inhabit this magical world. Totoro, the lovable forest spirit, has become an iconic symbol of Studio Ghibli and is undoubtedly one of the cutest creatures ever to grace the screen. From his fluffy appearance to his heartwarming interactions with Mei and Satsuki, Totoro has captured the hearts of millions!

A painting of the kodama from "Princess Mononoke".
These cute kodama are from “Princess Mononoke”! Image via Wallhaven

Another adorable creature is Jiji, the talking cat from Kiki’s Delivery Service. With his sassy attitude and unwavering loyalty, Jiji adds a touch of whimsy to the film and has become a beloved character among fans. And who could forget the kodama from Princess Mononoke? These mischievous forest spirits with white, mask-like faces are irresistibly cute yet possess an otherworldly charm!

Who are some great supporting characters in these movies?

While the main characters often take center stage, Ghibli films boast a rich cast of supporting characters that add depth and charm to the stories. In Howl’s Moving Castle, Calcifer, the fire demon who powers the castle, provides comic relief and plays a crucial role in the plot.

Lady Eboshi from "Princess Mononoke" standing with a bunch of village women in a vallry.
Lady Eboshi is a notable character from “Princess Mononoke”. Image via Character Design References

In Castle in the Sky, Dola and her quirky gang of pirates bring a sense of adventure and lightheartedness to the film. Their memorable personalities and hilarious antics make them fan favorites.

Additionally, Haku, the enigmatic spirit from Spirited Away, serves as a mentor and guide to Chihiro. His mysterious nature and unwavering support make him an intriguing and endearing character. These supporting characters, along with many others, contribute to the richness and depth of Ghibli films, making them truly unforgettable.

Why should I watch these films at a Ghibli Fest?

A Ghibli Fest presents an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the imaginative and enchanting world of Studio Ghibli. From the captivating storytelling to the breathtaking animation, Ghibli films have left an indelible mark on the anime world and continue inspiring and entertaining audiences. What movies would you watch in your Ghibli fest? Let us know in the comment below!

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