Ranking Every Studio Ghibli Movie From 22 to 1

courtesy of GKIDS

2. Spirited Away

Miyazaki has retired and unretired several times—when did so following Princess Mononoke, he returned with what is often considered his magnum opus, Spirited Away. At once deeply Japanese and completely accessible, the movie takes viewers on one of the most remarkable visual journeys ever put to film, a feast that never relents through its entire run time. Perhaps underrated is Miyazaki’s decision to move the action away from the bathhouse for much of the final act, a quiet last leg that is key to Chihiro’s journey, as well as for many of Spirited Away’s supporting characters. Absolutely deserving of all love and acclaim.

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5 thoughts on “Ranking Every Studio Ghibli Movie From 22 to 1

  1. Nice to see the contrasting opinions on some entries. Would’ve loved to see more, but I can get why that isn’t the case.
    It does kinda hurt to see two of my top three so low (those three being The Cat Returns, Yamadas, and Ocean Waves as 3rd, 2nd and 1st respectively.) I can get on board with the implied gap between Earthsea and every other entry on the list though. It’s definitely the low point.

    I don’t think I ever felt that Pom Poko was any more obvious or overbearing with its message than say… Nausicaa or Mononoke. I suppose those two movies handled it more elegantly than Pom Poko however; I’ve always felt that Pom Poko is structurally very similar to The Cat Returns, having that fairly typical kids movie progression of conflict and resolution… Maybe that’s where the difference in perception comes from.

    I suppose Iblard Jikan isn’t quite long enough to classify as a movie. Quite a shame really; I always love seeing what people think about that one.

  2. This was a really good list, and even though (relative to how many of these I’ve seen, I didn’t get around to many after Arrietty) a lot of my opinions differ, you did a really good job of explaining your preferences. Even though From Up on Poppy Hill lacked supernatural elements, for instance, I adored its grounded nature and its tremendously beautiful art aesthetic even as its unorthodox and rather taboo plot driver might turn away some audiences (from an extraordinarily wonderful movie) and may have been why Disney didn’t distribute this film in the States. I also think Princess Mononoke is the best introduction for someone who’s new to Ghibli movies, because even though Spirited Away probably has more prestige, a lot of Miyazaki’s movies tend to get really weird (especially Howl), with Spirited Away being the foremost of those for me. I didn’t have this issue with Princess Mononoke. As for the “overrated” second opinion, I can see that logic, but I was so tremendously blown away by the hugely complicated story seamlessly weaving together its six factions (Ashitaka + San, Lady Eboshi, the ronin, the wolves, the boars, and the apes) that it never really occurred to me that the plot had or needed much room for improvement. I place Poppy Hill and Kiki’s Delivery Service at the top of my list. Particularly as a fan of aviation, I really liked Porco Rosso’s unique concept, even as (SPOILER) it’s basically Beauty and the Beast in World War I (SPOILER) with less elegant storytelling and a very challenging-to-like protagonist. Oh, and one more thing …

    ♫ PONYO, Ponyo, Ponyo, FISHIE IN THE SEA ♪

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