Unlike in the western world, where there are only a couple of studios that are really known for creating animated films, Anime is one of the leading styles of filmmaking in Japan. There are literally hundreds of animation studios all over the country that are dedicated to making movies. However, not all Anime is for children – unlike the vast majority of animated films that come out of Hollywood.
The good news is, there are enough studios out there making Anime movies for younger audiences, and they are wonderful. These films tend to be incredibly thoughtful and full of wonder and mystery. There is one studio, however, that truly stands out from the rest – Studio Ghibli – often considered the Disney of the East. Here are our top 5 picks from them that you and your kids should definitely watch:
This beautiful film took the world by storm and introduced a whole new generation of children across the globe to Anime. The story follows 10-year-old Chihiro as she navigates the spirit world. She was moving to a new town with her parents when they get stranded on a detour and accidentally enter the spirit world. Chihiro must work to rescue herself and her parents. This film really cemented the reputation of the studio and writer-director Miyazaki Hayao in the world of international Anime.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Hayao Miyazaki followed up his critical and financial success of Spirited Away with another big hit. This film has another young heroine, Sophie, who is transformed into an old woman. She must find a way to break the curse, and in the process, she meets up with a series of weird and wonderful characters. She also manages to help end the war between her home kingdom and the neighboring kingdom.
This film is inspired by the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale of The Little Mermaid. There is no big villain or terrible battle threatening to disrupt the lives of the characters in this movie. It is simply a story that’s as intriguing as Canadian mobile casino sites about love between a small boy, Sousuke, and the strange fish girl he found by the sea, Ponyo. Sadly, she must return to the sea because the world is out of balance when she lives on land with her new friend.
The Cat Returns
This lovely film follows the life of an unusual high school student, Haru Yoshioka. This teenaged girl has the ability to talk to cats but has been suppressing it until she one day saves the life of the Prince of Cat Kingdom. This film is a spin-off of Whisper of the Heart, but you don’t need to have seen the first to follow this one.
My Neighbor Totoro
This is by far the oldest offering on the list, first released back in 1988, but it has stood the test of time. In fact, Disney has re-dubbed it into English a number of times and re-released it. The story follows two young sisters and their adventures with a large wood spirit, Tortoro. It’s set in post-World War 2 Japan.