The Beginner’s Guide to Ghibli Films

The Beginner's Guide to Ghibli Films: finding the right Japanese animated films to enjoy as an American viewer

Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio. Their work is expressive, evocative, and immersive. The influence of Ghibli storytelling and animation style has spread globally, raising the bar and making us rethink the limitations of the 2D medium.

I can’t recommend Ghibli movies strongly enough if you’re wanting deep storytelling and beautiful—often hand-drawn—cinematography. But I’m also quick to warn: they’re not for everyone.

We’re used to animated films being specifically targeted to younger audiences, but this isn’t true of all Ghibli movies. Several of them are, indeed, quite violent. Others, too quiet and contemplative for viewers expecting that over-the-top energy that we so often see in American animated films.

The Beginner's Guide to Ghibli Films: finding the right Japanese animated films to enjoy as an American viewer

If you’re excited to dip a toe into a different style of animated film, here are a few films I’d recommend for the new and uninitiated viewer.

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