Studio Ghibli fest brings the beautiful animations of Hayao Miyazaki’s full catalog to American theaters on select dates from March 25 - Nov. 1.
If you don't know what Studio Ghibli is, it's a Japanese animation studio that was created in 1985. One of the founders Hayao Miyazaki is the creative mastermind that created most of their biggest hits, and most of their productions in general.
Studio Ghibli animations range from themes of love, family, friendship, culture, Japanese history, and just a wide range of human emotions. These films make you laugh, cry, and simply want to watch them over and over again.
My Neighbor Totoro
This is the first film in the festival series and runs from March 25-29. The movie is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. This film follows young sisters Satsuki and Mei as they settle into their new home in the countryside with their father; they soon discover that not everything is what it seems. They find that their home and nearby forest are full of strange creatures and a gentle cuddle forest spirit Totoro, who can only be seen by children.
“My Neighbor Totoro” is one of those lovable films that anyone at any age can enjoy. It gives beautifully intranet scenes of nature, love with enjoyable themes and catchy music. Totoro is also one of the most notable Studio Ghibli characters due to his stature and cuddly appearance that will make anyone fall in love.
“Ponyo” runs from May 7-10 and is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. This film centers around five-year-old Sosuke and a magical goldfish named Ponyo. After a chance encounter between the two, Ponyo wants to become human so she can be with Sosuke. This film centers on love, humor, and the emotions of the heart and friendship.
“Ponyo” is a film that centers on childhood, but it’s perfect for anyone who loves the idea of pure imagination and wonder. This film shows the delicate balance between nature and friendship while giving you a visual phenomenon. This film also shows the yummiest dishes that will be on your mind for years to come.
Kiki’s Delivery Service
“Kiki’s Delivery Service” runs from June 11-14. This film is a coming of age story that follows a young witch on a journey to learn her craft. It’s tradition for young witches to leave their families on a night of a full moon, and Kiki embarks on that journey with her black cat Jiji, landing in a seaside village. Her unique skills make her an instant hit among some of the townspeople.
“Kiki’s Delivery Service” is a timeless story of a young girl finding her way in the world. It’s delightfully witty, stunningly beautiful and follows a great story that’ll have you rooting for Kiki from the beginning.
“Princess Mononoke” runs from Aug. 5-9. This film follows a young warrior Ashitaka who is inflicted with a deadly curse as he sets off to find a cure. He runs into a conflict between Lady Eboshi, the people of Iron Town, and Princess Monoke. Princess Monoke is a young girl who was raised by wolves who will stop at nothing to protect her home from the humans trying to destroy it.
“Princess Mononoke'' is a film with intense themes of the fight for nature and centers around humans' cause in its destruction. While it doesn't feature that happiness most of the other films center around, it shows what is in nature and the effects of what's happening to it. This film will make you cry and get angry while showing you this stunning world and what is happening to it.
Howl’s Moving Castle
“Howl’s Moving Castle” runs from Sep. 23-27. It is a film that centers around a girl named Sophie when she's taken away from her quiet job working in a hat shop by a mysterious wizard named Howl. The vengeful Witch of the Waste puts a spell on Sophie after seeing her with Howl and turns her into a 90-year-old woman. Sophie, on a quest to break the spell, climbs into Howl’s moving castle and into a new life of adventure. In this new adventure, she finds herself trying to protect everyone from a dangerous war of sorcery that threatens their world.
“Howl’s Moving Castle” is a film that centers around love and the ways it's found throughout yourself and others. It has a wonderful cast of characters that make you want to watch it all the time. Put into a land of fantasy, you have talking fire spirits and mysterious scarecrows that keep you wanting more.
“Spirited Away” runs from Oct. 28-Nov. 1. It’s a film that follows a young girl Chihiro and her family's journey to their new home. They stop on the way to explore an abandoned village, and her parents undergo a mysterious transformation while Chihiro is brought into a world of spirits ruled by the sorceress Yubaba. She is put to work in a magical bath house for spirits and demons and must use all her wits to survive this place, free her parents and return to the normal world.
“Spirited Away” is a breathtaking film that overflows with visual intrigue, wonderful storytelling and amazing characters. You’ll fall in love with the main characters along with background characters, simply because it pulls you into their world. This film gives you the entire range of emotions throughout the span of the film.
Other films in this festival include, SPIRITED AWAY: Live on Stage, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, Porco Rosso, and The Wind Rises. Times the films are shown vary from theater to theater and can be found on your local theaters website. No matter which film you decide to watch, every one will put you into the beautiful world that is Studio Ghibli and show you some of the most amazing animations and stories you'll ever see.