The Essential Studio Ghibli Movies Every Anime Fan Should Watch

Over the last four decades, Studio Ghibli has managed to deliver some of the highest-praised, most entertaining animated films in recent memory, winning top prizes from numerous countries across the world and establishing a far-reaching community of die-hard fans. 

We thought we'd take a look back at some of Studio Ghibli movies that every lover of anime should see at least once in their lifetime. 

Porco Rosso

Despite that heavy-sounding plot, Porco Rosso makes for a light-hearted action film, lacking any overwhelming depiction of the rise of a fascist state or brutal depiction of war that you might find in Howl’s Moving Castle or Grave of the Fireflies. 

My Neighbor Totoro

The film that features the most recognizable character in any Studio Ghibli film, the eponymous Totoro of My Neighbor Totoro can alongside Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse within the annals of Japanese pop culture. 


Though Ponyo aims at a younger audience demographic, the film features dozens of recurring Studio Ghibli themes, including pro-environmental messages and the idea of finding one's place in the world. 

Kiki's Delivery Service

A coming-of-age story in every sense, Kiki's Delivery Service features the main character growing up into maturity, relying less on the adults around her and more on herself. 

Grave of The Fireflies

It's a movie impossible not to tear up while watching, but it's one everyone should make an effort to see, not just as an anime fan but as a human being as well. 

Spirited Away

A film that explores far-ranging topics like environmentalism, spiritualism, fantasy, and consumerism, Spirited Away feels like a modern retelling of Alice of Wonderland crossed with the fantastic work of Neil Gaiman. 

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