On 19 January 2020, Netflix made a pretty big announcement. Studio Ghibli, the Award Winning Japanese anime studio, agreed to have almost all its movies available to stream on Netflix. This is a pretty big deal.


studio ghibli top 12 movies


Because it previously wasn’t possible for people like me to watch these movies anywhere, unless you saw it in the theatre when it came out, or you physically bought a DVD from a store, or you know which sitesπŸ˜†πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰. I’m going to rank them from worst to best, ok. That’s what this blog is about. This is based on my own opinion, and my word is not the law. I’m happy for you to take my word as gospel, but I’m pretty sure you have your own opinions too, so leave your rankings in the comments and we can have a nice discussion about it,

So without further ado, I’d like to start ranking these movies:

12. Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea: 

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
Image source: Devianart
This film was considered to be drawn in a simpler, brighter animation style that appealed more to children, an attempt at innovation by the film’s legendary director, Hayao Miyazaki. Of all Studio Ghibli’s characters, the two that are most iconic are arguably Totoro as well as Ponyo.

11. Whisper of the Heart:

Whisper of the Heart
Image source: Devianart
This is going to be controversial straight away.My next studio ghibli movie is Whisper of the heart. This is a movie about young love and coming out of one’s shell to do what you want to do in the world. If you want to sing, sing. And if you want to be an artist, then be brave and just create. Now I found this movie quite boring, really because nothing I care about is happening to the main characters.

10. Howl’s Moving Castle:

Howl’s Moving Castle
Anime: Howls moving castle
Is a film that I wish could be higher on this list, but it’s not. It’s Howl’s Moving Castle. The film was directed by Hayao Miyazaki and adapted from the Diana Wynne Jones novel. This film is about a young woman who is cursed by a witch to look like an old woman and must travel across the land in search of the mysterious wizard Howl, and a great adventure follows. I was disappointed with the ending.

9. Only Yesterday:

Only Yesterday
Image source: The guardian
A film directed by Isao Takahata, which tells the story of a woman who reminisces about her childhood as she travels to the countryside for a well-needed break.
My next studio ghibli movie is Only yesterday, I think it’s wonderfully animated with its use of color and fidelity to distinguish between past and present. It’s a very slow-paced, slice-of-life story that is part coming-of-age, part soul-searching. And I think it’s worth a watch if you can handle a slow burn.

8. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind:

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Image source: IFC
My next studio ghibli movie is Nausicaa of the valley of the wind This film was a great Launchpad for Studio Ghibli in the 80s and tells the story of a young princess leading her people in a post-apocalyptic world of environmental toxicity. This was the first in a collection of Studio Ghibli movies that touch on the beautiful and sacred nature of the environment.

7. Kiki’s Delivery Service:

Kiki’s Delivery Service
Image source: imdb
My next studio ghibli movie is Kiki’s Delivery Service, Many people have fond memories of this movie, another Miyazaki film. This film is about a witch-in-training named Kiki, who has to find a new town to live in on her own for the first time.

6. Castle in the Sky:

Castle in the Sky
Image source: imdb
If Nausicaa didn’t do it, then this movie solidified Studio Ghibli’s reputation for creating fantasy worlds. As the second Ghibli movie in 1986, Castle in the Sky tells the story of a miner boy, who finds a mysterious girl on the run from sky pirates as well as the military. What comes after is a far-flung adventure that was ambitious, thrilling, and ultimately pretty poignant.

5. Ocean Waves:

Ocean Waves movie
Image source: Common sense media
This movie is extremely underrated, Ocean Waves is a movie that is pretty much hell-bent on creating a sense of nostalgia and melancholy, with its short story of teenage romance, and the memory of simpler times in our lives.

4. Princess Mononoke:

Princess Mononoke
Image source: Dazed
Yeah, I know. One of the most beloved Studio Ghibli movies, Princess Mononoke is what effectively revitalized Studio Ghibli in the late 90s, with its spectacular animation, deep, well-balanced characters, and a score that is as epic as it gets in a fantasy movie. The film tells the story of a young Prince who is cursed one day, and travels across the land to find a cure, only to get caught in a war between nature and industry.

3. My Neighbour Totoro:

My Neighbour Totoro
Image source: Denofgeek
I’m willing to bet that most people have this movie in their Top 3 as well, and for good reason.
My next studio ghibli movie is My neighbour totoro.This movie is so light and happy, and cute, and hopeful. The story is about two girls and their father who move to a village and encounter some strange happenings around their new house.

2. The Wind Rises:

The Wind Rises
Image source: Thenewyorktimes
One of Hayao Miyazaki’s most personal films, this movie is The wind rises, about a young boy who dreams of building airplanes, and his experiences throughout his life. I thought this movie was flat-out astounding for not only the way it captured the beauty of the landscape, and the ruggedness of towns, but also the way it deals with the central character, a man who, you might learn, is known in our history for some not-so-nice things.

1. Spirited Away:

Spirited Away
Image source: wikipedia
No film showcases the joy of unbridled creativity, the unpredictability of adventure, and the satisfaction of atmospheric calm better than Spirited Away. The only Studio Ghibli movie to have won the Oscar for Best Animated Film, Spirited Away is not just the best Studio Ghibli movie, it’s also one of the best animated movies, period. It’s certainly the highest-ranked animated film on IMDb, higher than Toy Story, the Lion King, and pretty much every Disney movie. I think the best part is that you might not even love it the first time you see it, but it sparks a curiosity like few movies can, so rewatching it is almost a necessity.

So there you have it, Top 12 Studio Ghibli movies ranked according to me. If you’ve made it this far, then seriously, you deserve a medal.

Thanks so much for reading.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so comment below and share them with me.

As always, I’ll be back with a new blog soon.

Do you agree with our picks??????

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Studio Ghibli Inc. is a Japanese animation film studio headquartered in Koganei, Tokyo. 



  1. This was a really interesting post. Thank you for sharing your post.

    Lauren - bournemouthgirl


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