Studio Ghibli is one of the most pivotal and important Japanese animation studio in the world. From Koganei, Tokyo, Japan, they make anime and cartoons — feature film length and short films alike — to delight and capture the imaginations and more importantly, our inner child. Ever since 1985, Studio Ghibli has been telling story after story, full of heartbreak and whimsy and sincerity and awe, their stories are a message and example of peace in a world that rarely cares enough to stop the violence, just to listen.
Studio Ghibli films are must watches, like a good cup of piping hot coffee, they will awaken something that stirs deep within us all, our innocence and our inner child, the one that sought to play, share, and laugh with just about everyone we met. Studio Ghibli sometimes make some dark films about the real cost of war, not measured in dollars but in restless spirits, families broken apart, and lives full of hope, dashed.
My Neighbor Totoro is a film that depicts that pure feeling of being a child again. There is Castle In The Sky or Howl’s Moving Castle. There’s Grave Of The Fireflies and Spirited Away for the depiction of war and death. There’s Princess Mononoke for the environmentalists. There’s Kiki’s Delivery Service and The Wind Rises for films that explore growth, whether it’s the growth at the beginning of a life or growth over the span of a life. Doesn’t matter, you can't pick the wrong film when it comes to Studio Ghibli. Their stories aren’t the kind where you bury your head in the sand and call it peace. This is the kind of art where all that humanity is done is confronted but beauty and compassion are still acknowledged. Instead of value being placed like pros and cons or humanity facing a judgement, warmth is extended from the artist to the viewer, acknowledging our shared humanity.