Studio Ghibli is respected the world over for its lush animation, attention to detail, and the way its movies can soak its audiences in a mood without any effort at all — a trait many find lacking in most American cartoons. Ghibli’s stories take viewers of all ages seriously, never let commercial concerns get in the way of imagination, and more often than not incorporate female characters in a way that puts the rest of the film industry to shame, animated or live action.
The Garden of Words (2013)
This full length feature anime film tells the intimate, dramatic story of a 15 year old boy named Takao Azizuki, whose dreams of becoming a shoemaker are understood by seemingly no one, until he meets a special but distant girl in the park, who may be the only one to believe in him, if she can overcome the troubles within herself that keep her from getting close.
A Letter to Momo (2011)
Clinging to an unfinished letter written by her recently deceased father, young Momo moves with her mother from bustling Tokyo to the remote Japanese island of Shio. Upon their arrival, she begins to explore her new habitat, meeting local children and learning their routines and customs. However, it’s not long before several bizarre occurrences crop up around the previously tranquil island.
Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011)
A coming of age story involving young love and a mysterious music, coming from a crystal radio left as a memento by an absent father, that leads a young heroine deep into a hidden world.
Sinbad: The Flying Princess and the Secret Island (2015)
A hardworking and curious boy named Sinbad dreams of becoming a sailor and traveling around the world. One day, a necklace falls out of the sky, followed by a mysterious girl! Sinbad is embroiled in a melee of the girl and a group of man who chases her on flying carpets.
Wolf Children (2012)
College student Hana falls in love with another student who turns out to be a werewolf, who dies in an accident after their second child. The sudden death of her lover devastates Hana’s life, leaving her to raise a peculiar family completely on her own. The stress of raising her wild-natured children in a densely populated city, all while keeping their identity a secret, culminates in a decision to move to the countryside.
Summer Wars (2009)
The story centers on high school student Kenji Koiso, a wiz in mathematics but ill-adept socially, who spends his time in OZ, a massive computer-simulated virtual reality world, as a part-time low-end moderator. At the beginning of summer vacation, he is asked by Natsuki, one of the most popular girls in his school, to help in celebrating her great-grandmother’s 90th birthday. Although Kenji does not know the details of the plan, he agrees and goes with Natsuki to her grandmother’s estate in Ueda, Nagano Prefecture. Much to Kenji’s surprise, he is introduced at the Shinohara family house as Natsuki’s fiancé.
The Boy and the Beast (2015)
Kyuta stumbles into a forbidden world inhabited by spirits and monsters. Kumatetsu, a rowdy bearlike monster adopts the boy as his apprentice, teaching him the wild ways of a world forbidden to most humans.
Giovanni’s Island (2014)
In the aftermath of the most devastating conflict mankind had ever experienced, the tiny island of Shikotan became part of the Sakhalin Oblast – and on the unhealed border in this remote corner of the world, friendship among children from two different countries timidly blossomed, striving to overcome language barriers and the waves of history.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)
The power to travel through time… It can be used for the good of humanity, or just selfishly abused. While many may fantasize about obtaining such a power, it has become nothing less than reality for otherwise-normal schoolgirl Konno Makoto. After a fated event, her life takes a turn for the extraordinary. Though she initially uses her power to literally “leap” into the past and change little things in order to make her life easier, she soon has to face the fact that changing the past can have drastic consequences.
5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)
Told in three interconnected segments, we follow a young man named Takaki through his life as cruel winters, cold technology, and finally, adult obligations and responsibility converge to test the delicate petals of love.
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