Studio Ghibli Movie order and Ranked

04/20/2023 by

Studio Ghibli’s films have never faded away and have always captured the hearts of viewers.

Therefore, ANIME SAMURAI surveyed 100 people to find out their favorite Ghibli films. The reasons for their choice are also introduced, along with information on the films in a ranking format.

Studio Ghibli movie order

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Castle in the Sky (1986)
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Only Yesterday (1991)
Porco Rosso (1992)
Ocean Waves (1993)
Pom Poko (1994)
Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Princess Mononoke (1997)
My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)
Spirited Away (2001)
The Cat Returns (2002)
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
Tales from Earthsea (2006)
Ponyo (2008)
The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)
From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)
The Wind Rises (2013)
When Marnie Was There (2014)

Ranking of the most popular and recommended Studio Ghibli Movie: No.1 My Neighbor Totoro

Release year: 1988
Voice cast: Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesato Itoi, Sumi Shimamoto, Hitoshi Takagi
Original work, script and direction: Hayao Miyazaki

No.1 is My Neighbour Totoro. Hayao Miyazaki’s hit fantasy animation depicts the interaction between Totoro, a supernatural being who looks like a raccoon dog or an owl, and young sisters. The setting is the countryside in the late 1950s. Sixth-grader Satsuki and four-year-old Mei meet Totoro, a creature that can only be seen by those with a pure heart. It depicts the magical encounters and adventures that take place in a nostalgic rural landscape full of nature.

Reviews and comments

The interaction between Satsuki and Mei, the main characters in this work, and the scenes overlap with my childhood memories and make me feel nostalgic no matter how many times I watch this film. Satsuki’s patience as an older sister and Mei’s carefreeness like a yonder sister is depicted realistically and is very touching. The world of Totoro, which I could only see as a child, reminds me of important things I had almost forgotten as an adult. (Kirin)

I like Totoro because its cute design makes me feel relaxed just by looking at it, and seeing Mei and Satsuki playing around in the lush countryside makes me feel like a kid again. There are many mysteries about Totoro’s true identity, and I wonder if it might have been Mei and Satsuki’s imagination. In this way, various points can be considered and I like that. (rui)

The characters that appear in this film are all attractive, and the interaction between Totoro and Satsuki and Mei is very adorable. The Catbus does a great job when Satsuki and Totoro go looking for Mei, who got lost while trying to visit her mother in the hospital, and it makes me feel warm and happy no matter how many times I watch it. (Yuu)

A masterpiece that has not faded away more than 30 years after its release. It is an animation that adults can enjoy too, as it is very thought-provoking.

Ranking of the most popular and recommended Studio Ghibli Movie: No.2 Princess Mononoke

Release year: 1997
Voice cast: Yoji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yuko Tanaka, Kaoru Kobayashi, Masahiko Nishimura, Tsunehiko Kamijo, Akihiro Miwa, Mitsuko Mori, Hisaya Morishige
Original work, script and direction: Hayao Miyazaki

Reviews and comments

I like Ashitaka’s strong belief in the importance of both the villagers and San because he is so cool. The scene where Ashitaka and San return the head to the Deer God was very exciting. I like the beautiful scene afterward when the greenery is revived. The part where Ashitaka and San choose to live in different places is sad, but I like the part where they say they will live together and part ways. (tokiko)

When I saw the film in the cinema, I was impressed by the beauty of the images and the detail of the descriptions. The story is interesting and you can learn about the importance of nature. The characters are fascinating and there are no mere villains. Everyone has their reasons and you can sympathize with every character. I’ve also seen the English dubbed version overseas, so I have a strong personal attachment to the film. (o-chan)

The main reason I choose this film is its visuals. The fur-clad San’s style is cute, dignified and attractive. I am also attracted by the depiction of the austere forest and the realistic expressions of the animals. The Eboshi of the Irontown is an enemy from the side of the natural world, but they have the kindness to reach out to the sick villagers, and the work made me think about many things, wondering what is right. (eiko)

There are many highlights, from the cool heroine San, voiced by Yuriko Ishida, to the subtlety of the animation drawings!

Ranking of the most popular and recommended Studio Ghibli Movie: No.2 Spirited Away

Release year: 2001
Voice cast: Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Takeshi Naito, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Tsunehiro Kamijo, Takehiro Ono, Bunta Sugawara
Original work, script and direction: Hayao Miyazaki

Also in second place is Spirited Away. A 10-year-old girl, Chihiro wanders into another world and is deprived of her name, which is now called ‘Sen’ on her way to the house she is moving to. The story depicts her encounters with various people and her growth as she works for Yubaba, the witch who rules the town. The film won the Best Film Award at the 25th Japan Academy Awards in 2002 and was the only Japanese film to be selected for Empire magazine’s 100 Best Films of the Century in 2020, and its popularity remains strong.

Reviews and comments

First of all, it’s a story that children and adults of all ages can enjoy watching. I think the film successfully matches the real world with the other dimension. Although there are many characters, the more you watch the film, the more you get absorbed in the world. I like the uniqueness of Chihiro’s parents and the mysteriousness of Haku. Yubaba hates Chihiro, but in the end, she returns to her original world, which makes me think that she is really a good person. (aki)

Of all the Ghibli films, this movie is the best in depicting the world beautifully. I like the atmosphere of the hot-spring house where Yubaba lives. I also like the flapping hot-spring house, the upper room used by Chihiro, and the pigsty where her parents, who have been turned into pigs, are kept. I feel as if I am there myself. (Reina)

The main character Chihiro and her parents somehow wander into a mysterious town, and it’s very interesting to see her grow mentally as she is put through various trials. The story is easy to understand and the characters are full of personality, so I never get tired of watching it. I saw this film for the first time when it was released. At that time, I was in primary school, but because the main character is a 10-year-old girl, it was easy for me to get emotionally involved in the film, and I still want to see it now. (ikuko)

Chihiro’s growth through the trials she is given is inspiring. It is also heartbreaking to see the strict but kind characters watching over her.

Ranking of the most popular and recommended Studio Ghibli Movie: No.2 Castle in the Sky

Release year: 1986
Voice cast: Mayumi Tanaka, Keiko Yokozawa, Kotoe Hatsui, Minori Terada, Ichiro Nagai, Fujio Tokita
Original work, script and direction: Hayao Miyazaki

Also in second place is Castle in the Sky. This adventure fantasy begins when Pazu, an apprentice mechanic, meets Sheeta, a girl who falls from the sky. The story follows Pazu’s journey to the legendary island of Laputa in the sky with Sheeta, the heir to the throne of Laputa, who possesses a “flying stone” with the power to float in the sky. The work is so popular that every time it is broadcast on TV, there is a “Balsu Festival”, where viewers simultaneously transmit the word for doom, “Balsu”, to each other on social networking services.

Reviews and comments

This is the most fantastical and adventurous of all the many Ghibli films. It is also linked to the Laputa in Gulliver’s Travels, which is very exciting for me because I am a sucker for such legends. It’s been more than 30 years since it was released and many fascinating films have been released to the world since then, but it will always be my favorite film of all time. (OCO)

It’s my favorite film that I’ve watched so many times that I can almost speak the lines. The whole film is full of excitement and there is not a single wasted scene. I think it is the origin and the best of all the stories about a boy and a girl meeting and having adventures. It hasn’t faded over the years, and although I’m getting older and older as I watch it, I can watch it with a fresh feeling every time. (Kuu)

The grand adventure of Sheeta and Pazu is very fascinating. I like the way Pazu is portrayed in the first half as a pure child, and in the second half as a strong-willed character who struggles for Sheeta and his father. I am also drawn to the gap between the fragile girl Sheeta being a strong person and the bandit Dora being a warm-hearted person. (popo)

Boy meets girl story that remains highly popular more than 30 years after its release.

Ranking of the most popular and recommended Studio Ghibli Movie: No.5 Whisper of the heart

Release year: 1995
Voice cast: Yoko Honna, Issei Takahashi, Takashi Tachibana, Shigeru Muroi, Shugeru Tsuyuguchi, Keiju Kobayashi
Production Producer, script, storyboard: Hayao Miyazaki
Director: Yoshiyuki Kondo
Original work: Aoi Hiiragi

Fifth place goes to Whisper of the heart. It is an animated adaptation of the comic written by Aoi Hiiragi and produced by Studio Ghibli. This is a coming-of-age story that depicts the faint love between third-year junior high school students Shizuku Tsukishima and Seiji Amasawa. It shows the struggles with career paths, anxiety about the future and complexes unique to adolescence. While incorporating fantasy, the film realistically depicts the emotions of boys and girls living in contemporary Japan. It is a work that shows a different charm of Ghibli.

Reviews and comments

It was like a royal shoujo manga, and I was very excited when I watched it. I think I had a longing to be liked that much by a cool boy, such as in the library loan record scene and the proposal scene at the end of the film. Also, the cat gentleman named The Baron in the main character Shizuku’s creation was cool. The theme song Country Road also has an easy-to-remember, and I used to hum it a lot at the time. (rena)

The natural atmosphere of the anime is soothing. The love between Shizuku and Seiji is wonderful. The cat that appears in the middle of the story is also an important point in the story and you can’t take your eyes off it. The lyrics that Shizuku comes up with are accompanied by a simple melody, and eventually, harmonies are added by the bass and lute, making the music thick and complex. This is my favorite Ghibli film. The setting of the film is also good. The songs in the film are also good. And Shizuku’s emotional transitions are also pleasant to watch. (nami)

The triangular relationships between the students, their impetuous love lives, their worries about their future, and their career paths are interesting to watch. I also really like the song Country Road that appears in the work. The novel that Shizuku writes was also very exciting to watch. The scene in last scene where the two of them ride their bicycles together at dawn is so impressive that it makes me embarrassed to watch it. (miyuki)

The work is packed with longed-for coming-of-age moments, such as awkward exchanges in the library and riding bicycles together.

Ranking of the most popular and recommended Studio Ghibli Movie: No.5 Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Release year: 1984
Voice cast: Sumi Shimamoto, Goro Naya, Yoji Matsuda, Ichiro Nagai, Yoshiko Sakakibara, Iemasa Kayumi
Original work, script and direction: Hayao Miyazaki

Also in fifth place is Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. This spectacular and romantic feature-length animation. It is set in the near future after the destruction caused by the Final War known as the Seven Days of Fire. The protagonist is Nausicaä, a young girl who tries to unravel the mysteries of the “Sea of Rot”, a forest of miasma-emitting fungi. The story depicts Nausicaä as she communicates with giant bugs and stands up to them to stop the conflict between humans. Nausicaä, the peace-loving, conflict-free princess of bugs, is still popular more than 30 years after the film’s release.

Reviews and comments

The high quality of Ghibli’s works began with Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. It is still number one in my opinion, partly because of the huge impact it had. I have seen other Ghibli films since then, but this one is the best in terms of the scale of the story. Also, because only voice actors do the voices, it has a good sense of animation, and I love this film in many ways.

I think this is the starting point of Hayao Miyazaki’s work. I am attracted to the heroine Nausicaä’s beauty, nobility, strength of conviction, and kindness. I am convinced that everyone involved, friend or foe, is captivated by her. The opening of the film, in which we are instantly transported to another dimension, a world engulfed in a sea of decay, is also superb. I sincerely hope that an anime version of the original work, which would also be a sequel to the film, will be made.

The biggest reason is that it was the first Ghibli film I saw in my life. Not only that, but I was shocked when I read the original manga. I can recommend it to others because reading the original work changes the way you see everything in the film, such as the king bugs, the rotting sea forest and the giants, and makes it more interesting. And even if I watch it again now as an adult, more than 20 years later, I feel that the development and depiction are amazing, making me nervous and concentrating on watching the film.

A masterpiece and a milestone in Ghibli’s oeuvre; a Kabuki version was staged in 2020.

Ranking of the most popular and recommended Studio Ghibli Movie: No.7 Howl’s Moving Castle

Release year: 2004
Voice cast: Chieko Baisho, Takuya Kimura, Akihiro Miwa, Tatsuya Gashuin, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Yo Oizumi, Daijiro Harada
Script, director: Hayao Miyazaki
Original work: Diana Wynne Jones

In seventh place is Howl’s Moving Castle. This is a magical fantasy film adaptation of British children’s author D.W. Jones’ novel. The film tells the story of Sophie, a young girl who has been transformed into a 90-year-old woman by a witch, and Howl, a wizard, who begin a strange life together in a “moving castle”. The handsome wizard Howl, played by Takuya Kimura, who is a member of the Japanese male group SMAP, is by far the most popular Ghibli character.

Reviews and comments

I personally love Howl because his voice, face and behavior are so cool, and I feel like I am traveling with him when I watch this film. I also like teamwork and the fact that everyone loves their friends. (Kurumi)

I choose this because I like Howl’s visuals and personality. When I was young, I watched the film without any idea what it was about, but when I watch it as an adult, I am amazed at Sophie’s strength under the curse. I thought I wouldn’t be able to act like this because I would be worried about my old appearance. I also like the supporting characters, such as the cheerful Calcifer and the Witch of the Waste who has become a kind grandmother, because they have their personalities and the story itself is interesting. (P)

I sympathized with the setting, which is unusual for a Ghibli film, where the main character has a dark side. The theme is also a bit dark, and I liked the strong dark fantasy color. The voice actors were also chosen for their quirks and matched my sensibilities very well. I particularly like the villain, the Witch of the Waste, dubbed by Akihiro Miwa, who, despite being a villain, is somehow an endearing character and remains my favorite character in Ghibli films. (saki)

It may be an anime for adults that grows in depth and interest with each viewing.

Ranking of the most popular and recommended Studio Ghibli Movie: No.8 Kiki’s Delivery Service

Release year: 1989
Voice cast:
Producer, script, director: Hayao Miyazaki
Original work: Eiko Kadono

In eighth place is Kiki’s Delivery Service. A witch must go through a year’s training at the age of 13, and Kiki takes Jiji, a black cat, to work as a delivery person at Osono’s bakery in a seaside town. The story follows Kiki as she grows up using the magic of flying on a broomstick and interacting with the people of the town. A live-action film adaptation was also made, with Fuka Koshiba playing Kiki and Machiko Ono playing Mrs. Osono.

Reviews and comments

The story is about people who are trying their best to do something while still being cute, and their dedication is so wonderful that it makes me feel cheerful when I watch it. Kiki is very cute and sometimes has a bit of a strong temper, but it’s wonderful to see her surrounded by nice people, working hard at something, and the people around her supporting her. (Nana)

The story depicts the emotions and struggles of a young girl in the process of growing up, and in the past, I saw myself in Kiki, and now that I have a daughter, I see Kiki as my daughter. The scene where she flies in the sky on a broomstick is very exciting. The interaction with people you meet in strange lands warms your heart, and you can feel how nice it is to be connected with people in this anime. The songs used in the anime are all great. (mari)

I remember watching it at school when I was in junior high school. It was the first Ghibli film I ever saw in my life, so it left a very strong impression on me. I think that the main character Kiki’s dedication makes everyone want to cheer her on. The support of the people around her is also very warm, and you can get courage from the way Kiki grows up. I think it’s wonderful that the work touches the heart in this way. (sarina)

A musical version has also been performed since 1993; in the 2017 version, Kiki was played by Moka Kamishiraishi, who is one of the most famous actors nowadays.

Ranking of the most popular and recommended Studio Ghibli Movie: No.9 Grave of the Fireflies

Release year: 1988
Voice cast: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi
Script, director: Isao Takahata
Original work: Akiyuki Nosaka

In ninth place is Grave of the Fireflies. Isao Takahata of Studio Ghibli adapted the Naoki Prize-winning novel of the same title by Akiyuki Nosaka. It is set in Kobe in 1945. The film is a moving portrayal of two young siblings, 14-year-old Seita and 4-year-old Setsuko, who have lost their mother and are trying their best to survive without any help. The film was shown at the same time as My Neighbour Totoro.

Reviews and comments

I cry no matter how many times I watch it. Setsuko and Seita are both very young, but they are doing their best to live, and the feeling that they are doing their best to live in a world where life in war is difficult and life is hard is very healthy. Setsuko is just so innocent and cute, and you can feel how much she loves her brother. Even though her mother has passed away, the way she tries her best to live is really moving. I like how the older brother tries his best to make Setsuko happy even though he’s not that big. (rii-chan)

No matter how many times I watch Grave of the Fireflies, I still feel pain in my heart. Even Setsuko’s fragile, pampered look for her brother cannot be seen without tears. During the war, separated from their parents and estranged from relatives, Seita’s older brother still strongly tried to protect Setsuko and survive, and I was impressed by his tremendous sense of responsibility and pride. I thought the work gave me a lot to think about and wonder how it is conveyed to today’s children. (Hana)

It’s a very painful film, and once I’ve seen it, I’m already full, but I still watch it every year during the Bon Festival because I’m interested in that tragic final scene. It is not just a story about the war being wrong, but a valuable source of information about the unfortunate conditions children were forced into at the time, and I think it is also a masterpiece as a teaching tool to educate the children of today who have seen this film to avoid war when they become adults. (tanaka)

It has been adapted for the stage, made into a live-action film and a drama, and has reached many people in various forms.

Ranking of the most popular and recommended Studio Ghibli Movie: No.9 Porco Rosso

Release year: 1992
Voice cast: Syuichiro Moriyama, Tokiko Kato, Saishi Katsura, Tsunehiko Kamijo, Akemi Okamura, Akio Otsuka
Original work, script, director: Hayao Miyazaki

Also in ninth place is Porco Rosso. The setting is the Adriatic Sea in Italy at the end of the 1920s. This is a major aerial action film about the exploits of Porco Rosso, a bounty hunter in the form of a pig who loves the skies. He is an ace pilot in the Italian Air Force, but refuses to become a national hero and casts a spell on himself to take the form of a pig. This is the story of Porco’s fight for his life, pride, money and women. The coolness of the adults is present throughout the film.

Reviews and comments

I think this is a rare Ghibli film for adults. The way adults are living their lives in their way in these difficult times encourages us and gives us a sense of fun. The climactic confrontation is always exciting as if it’s a silly frolic for grown-ups, performed by grown-ups in all seriousness. It’s also great that the main characters, such as Porco and Gina, are really cool. (Sana)

The main character Porco’s way of life is cool. He looks lonely, but he has a lot of people around him and they all approve of him. He has a style that he sticks to, but he is also flexible and manly. Also, all the characters, including his enemies, are charming and warm to watch. The happy ending, in which no one is the bad guy, allows you to bask in the afterglow. (eriko)

The dogfight scenes with propeller-driven fighter planes are very dynamic and I like them very much. And the humorous behavior of the air pirates, who are the antagonists of the main character, from start to finish. I think the personalities of all the air pirates, not just one in particular, are charmingly expressed. This is the biggest reason for choosing this film is that I think that this film has the most scenes that make me laugh out loud among Ghibli films. Incidentally, the scene that made me laugh the most was the commemorative photo scene between the heroine and the air pirates. (Taro)

Porco, a flying boat pilot who is still popular even when he is in pig form, is a very cool piece of work.

Ranking of the most popular and recommended Studio Ghibli Movie No.11-No.15

No.11: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
No.11: From Up on Poppy Hill
No.11: My Neighbors the Yamadas
No.11: When Marnie Was There
No.15: Pom Poko

Studio Ghibli Movie Q&A

Q1 What are the top 3 Ghibli films?

Based on the survey, here is the ranking of the most popular and recommended Ghibli films.
1 . My Neighbor Totoro
2 . Princess Mononoke
3 . Spirited Away
For more information, click here.

Q2 What is the most popular and recommended Ghibli film?

According to a survey conducted on 100 Japanese people, My Neighbor Totoro is selected as the most popular and recommended Ghibli film. For more information, click here.

Q3 What are the most popular and recommended Ghibli films I should watch?

Here is the list of what you should watch.
My Neighbor Totoro/Princess Mononoke/Spirited Away/Castle in the Sky/Whisper of the Heart. For more information, click here.

※ This information is for 04/20/2023. Please check the latest delivery status on each site.

#Spirited Away #My Neighbor Totoro #Castle in the Sky #Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind #Princess Mononoke #Kiki’s Delivery Service #Whisper of the heart
Editorial Board

AMIME SAMURAI brings you information about Japanese Anime which makes you “Waku-waku” which means so excited in Japanese and makes your life more enjoyable. We write a wide variety of articles such as the ranking of anime, the ranking of animation films and the characters of the anime based on the questionnaire.

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