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5 cult films from Studio Ghibli that you absolutely must see

© Studio Ghibli

Founded in 1985 by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, Studio Ghibli is today a true monument in the cinematographic landscape and more particularly in that of animation. We can no longer count the feature films that Studio Ghibli has offered us for almost 40 years.

Precisely, the studio's animated films are numerous. While The Boy and the Heronis added to this long list from November 1st, now is the perfect time to take a few moments to look at the best films from Studio Ghibli. We have therefore selected 5 must-see films. But if it had been possible, we would have made a top 10. Or 15. In short, this article on Studio Ghibli films not to be missed was complicated to write.

Since we have already made a selection of the best Hayao Miyazaki films, we have tried to highlight other feature films from the studio that are worth seeing. But we deeply love Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke, believe us. Here we go.

Also read – 5 cult films by Hayao Miyazaki that you absolutely must see

Take out the tissues, make yourself comfortable and prepare to take a monumental slap. The Tomb of the Firefliestakes us to the heart of the summer of 1945 in Japan as the Second World War rages. While their father is at war, Seita and Setsuko's mother dies after a terrible bombing. Now orphans, the two children are placed with their aunt. But the latter is far from welcoming and does not hesitate to make them understand the burden they represent for her.

Seita, 14 years old, and Setsuko, 4 years old, decide to leave their aunt and take refuge in an abandoned bunker. But surviving is far from easy for these two children left to their own devices.

Looking at the synopsis, Tomb of the Firefliesis not aimed at children, but rather at adolescents and adults. Consequently, Isao Takahata's film was not really a commercial success. But spectators are full of praise for the feature film, which has made it a cult film over the years. Grave of the Fireflies can be seen on Netflix.

At the same time as Grave of the Fireflies, studio Ghibli spell My Neighbor Totoroin cinemas. Much more accessible to a young audience, this film helps keep the studio afloat. The success of Miyazaki's feature film is considerable, with the character of Totoro becoming the mascot of Studio Ghibli. It's hard to get more cult.

Soft and light, My Neighbor Totoropresents Mei and Satsuki as they have just moved to the countryside with their father in order to be closer to the hospital where their mother is. The two young girls often go on adventures to discover their new village and will meet wonderful creatures like the Great Totoro.

Less dark than The Tomb of the Fireflies but still as well, My Neighbor Totoro is one of the great classics of Studio Ghibli. The feature film is available on Netflix.

The Tale of Princess Kaguyastands out a little from the crowd. Far from the graphic style specific to Studio Ghibli, this animated feature film is no less excellent. It was Isao Takahata who directed it with a budget of almost 50 million dollars, which makes this Japanese film the most expensive ever made.

Visual marvel, The Tale of the Princess Kaguyapleased the spectators thanks to his poetry. Taken from a traditional Japanese tale, the feature film takes us to meet an old farmer who discovers a small being in the stem of a bamboo tree. The farmer and his wife raise this tiny being, convinced that it is a gift from heaven. She quickly becomes an adorable little girl and then a magnificent and coveted young woman. But sooner or later young Kaguya will have to face her destiny.

The Tale of Princess Kaguyamanaged to reach spectators, who seem unanimous on the quality of the feature film on sites like AlloCine and Rotten Tomatoes. The film was screened as part of the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2014 edition of the Cannes Film Festival and although it did not win the Oscar for best animated film in 2015, it was one of the candidates. That says a lot!

If you haven't yet seen The Tale of Princess Kaguya, don't delay: this masterpiece awaits you on Netflix now.

Yoshifumi Kondō was tipped to take over from Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata as head of Studio Ghibli. But the director, victim of a ruptured aneurysm in 1998, was never able to reveal the full extent of his talent. After having worked on numerous works from Studio Ghibli, notably The Tomb of the Fireflies, Kiki the Little Witch or even Porco Rosso, he gave us gratified by the excellent If you listen before his death.

If you have seen The Kingdom of Cats, we can consider If you listen carefullylike its prequel, since we find Baron Humbert von Gikkingen and Muta (also called Moon). In If you listen, Shizuku is a teenager who is passionate about reading and has dreams in her head. She crosses paths with Seiji, a boy who systematically borrows the same books as her from the library. But far from the mysterious teenager she imagined, Seiji is initially rather exasperating.

But the two protagonists get to know each other. As a tentative romance grows, Shizuku and Seiji find their way. Inspired by Seiji's ambition to become a professional violin maker, Shizuku will work on her first novel.

Although it is far from being the best-known Studio Ghibli feature film, If you listenis worth a look. Skillfully raising relevant themes, the film stands out as a rare gem to watch urgently on Netflix.

Concluding this selection was quite complicated. Studio Ghibli has given us so many excellent films… We were very hesitant to talk about Pompoko, Ponyo on the Cliff or even Our Neighbors the Yamadas em> but impossible to ignore The Castle in the Sky.

Technically, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is not a film from Studio Ghibli since the feature film was released before its creation. But its success allowed Studio Ghibli to see the light of day, so its importance is paramount. Thus, The Castle in the Sky is the first film officially released under the banner of Studio Ghibli in 1986.

A real gem, The Castle in the Sky invites us to take part in the adventures of Sheeta, a mysterious young girl who holds a “flying stone” and the young miner Pazu. Together, these two characters set off in search of Laputa, a legendary island floating in the sky renowned for its great riches. But they are not the only ones who want to go to this strange fantasy island. It's available on Netflix.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116