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Studio Ghibli

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One of the most significant animation studios in the world and probably the most famous outside of the USA, Ghibli was founded in part and largely showcased the work of Hayao Mizayaki. The studio has produced, created, and collaborated on many critical acclaimed animated films over the years.

Aside from the animation and writing, the movies are also known for their moving soundtracks.

A list of significant Ghibli films and their directors and composers:

  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki) (Joe Hisaishi)
  • Castle in the Sky (Hayao Miyazaki) (Joe Hisaishi)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki) (Joe Hisaishi)
  • Grave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata) (Michio Mamiya)
  • Kiki's Delivery Service (Hayao Miyazaki) (Joe Hisaishi)
  • Only Yesterday (Isao Takahata) (Katz Hoshi)
  • Porco Rosso (film) (Hayao Miyazaki) (Joe Hisaishi)
  • Ocean Waves (Tomomi Mochizuki) (Joe Hisaishi)
  • Pom Poko (Isao Takahata) (Shang Shang Typhoon)
  • Whisper of the Heart (Yoshifumi Kondo) (Yuji Nomi)
  • Princess Mononoke (Hayao Miyazaki) (Joe Hisaishi)
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas (Isao Takahata) (Akiko Yano)
  • Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki) (Joe Hisaishi)
  • The Cat Returns (Hiroyuki Morita) (Yuji Nomi)
  • Howl's Moving Castle (Hayao Miyazaki) (Joe Hisaishi)
  • Tales from Earthsea (Goro Miyazaki) (Tamiya Terashima)
  • Ponyo (film) (Hayao Miyazaki) (Joe Hisaishi)
  • The Secret World of Arrietty (Hiromasa Yonebayashi) (Joe Hisaishi)
  • From Up on Poppy Hill (Goro Miyazaki) (Satoshi Takebe)
  • The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki) (Joe Hisaishi)
  • The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Isao Takahata) (Joe Hisaishi)
  • When Marnie Was There (Hiromasa Yonebayashi) (Takatsugu Muramatsu)
  • The Red Turtle (Michael Dudok de Wit) (Joe Hisaishi)
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I've shown more than a few Ghibli movies to my niece and nephews. They all love Totoro and Spirited Away. Spirited Away was kind of funny because my oldest nephew was about 6 and the youngest was 4 and I told them there were bits that were weird and maybe a bit scary so if they didn't like it to just tell me and we'd watch something else.

The older boy, who was a bit uncertain going in, leaned over to me and said 'That part was a little scary but I'm okay' and they've requested the movie a few times since.

I took it on a road trip and my sister was in the back with them when they asked if they could watch it. My sister had NO IDEA what she was in for. HER comments were hilarious. She was just perplexed and confused and kept going "What the hell are we watching?!" The kids tried to explain while I cackled like mad from the front seat. Days later she was still confused. "What the hell was that?!"

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While I'm familiar with the names of most of the movies from Ghibli, I've only seen Porco Rosso, Totoro, and Grave of the Fireflies so far. All three have been exceptional.

A warning for anyone who doesn't know this already; Grave of the Fireflies is one of the most depressing movies of all time. Not for kids.

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Miyazaki announces he's coming out of retirement (again) for one last feature.


Miyazaki announced his retirement three years ago and has since been working on Kemushi no Boro (or Boro the Caterpillar), a CG short for the Ghibli Museum. It’s based on a story he’s been developing for about two decades, about a caterpillar that’s so small “it may be easily squished between your fingers.” According to the NHK television special, translated to The Man Who Is Not Done, Miyazaki was unhappy with how the short turned out and has proposed expanding it into a feature.

It should be noted that this is not the first time Miyazaki has come out of “retirement,” in fact he’s done it several times already. The latest was when he came out of retirement to work on Kemushi no Boro in 2013, although that only partially counted because it was a short film. Still, every time he does I get super excited like it’s the first time....

Miyazaki said the film could take up to five years to make, which means he’d be around 80 years old by the time it’s done. But, if he sticks to his ideal timetable, it would be finished before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which would be perfect timing.

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I found out late yesterday that Spirited Away was coming back to select theatres today and I think tomorrow and one other day this week in celebration of its 15th anniversary.  Fortunately, one of those theatres is in my town, so of course I went.  For as little promotion as I saw, it was fairly well attended.  They also showed Ghiblies 2 afterward -- a series of shorts by the studio.

In January, they're re-releasing Princess Mononoke to the big screen.  Check your local listings!  Or the Fathom Events website.

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