Lovers of Studio Ghibli will undoubtedly find joy in exploring many of these iconic films, which stand as masterpieces in the world of animation.
These have been designed especially for devotees of animated movies; these films present not just stunning visuals but also explore complex narratives, establishing them as essential viewing for anyone passionate about animation.
Anime Like Studio Ghibli Movies
While these movies carry significant acclaim, they aren’t the sole films that honor the art of animation and challenge established norms.
These films undoubtedly merit attention with their unpredictable narratives and distinct visual flair. Fans who relish the creative genius of Studio Ghibli will surely appreciate other lesser-known animated gems.
5 Centimeters per Second
If you’re searching for movies to watch like Studio Ghibli films, consider “5 Centimeters per Second.” This 2007 Japanese animated romantic drama is the brainchild of Makoto Shinkai, who both wrote and directed the film.
Premiering in theaters on March 3, 2007, the narrative unfolds in three separate segments, each diving deep into a particular phase of the protagonist, Takaki Tōno’s life, and his relationships with various females.
The cinematic artistry of this film was recognized at the 2007 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, where it bagged the award for Best Animated Feature Film. Additionally, fans of the movie can explore its story further with a novel adaptation released in November 2007 and a manga interpretation by Seike Yukiko, which came out in 2010.
The first Japanese animated feature to secure an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature, outside of the realm of Studio Ghibli, revolves around a 4-year-old boy. He grapples with the challenges brought by introducing a new sister to his family. However, a twist of magic alters his journey.
A secretive garden at his residence unveils a portal, letting the young boy traverse time. He meets his mother when she was a mere child and encounters his great-grandfather in his youth. Through these enchanting journeys, the boy’s perspective shifts, guiding him to embrace his role as the protective older sibling he was destined to be.
A Letter to Momo
In “A Letter to Momo,” young Momo Miyaura, aged 11, relocates to a quaint island village with her mother following her father’s passing. Upon her arrival, she stumbles upon three mystical goblins, invisible to others, who assist her in navigating the grief of her father’s demise and adapting to the newfound changes in her life.
At first glance, one might mistake the movie as a masterpiece hailing from Studio Ghibli, the renowned house of Miyazaki.
However, this gem is a creation of Bandai, known predominantly for their anime series on television. I was unaware that they ventured into crafting full-length films, but given the impeccable quality of this one, I’m eager to explore more of their cinematic offerings.
The Garden Of Words
This film offers a visual treat for those searching for movies like Ghibli Studio’s masterpieces. The story revolves around Takao Akizuki, a 15-year-old aspiring shoemaker, and Yukari Yukino, a mysterious 27-year-old woman. Their paths frequently cross at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden during rainy mornings.
From the outset, viewers will immediately recognize the film’s dedication to exquisite animation. The detailed environments are reminiscent of Ghibli Studio’s intricate artistry, making it an absolute delight to watch.
While the characters adhere to conventional anime styles, the surroundings burst with intricate details that showcase the sheer craftsmanship behind the animation. This film stands out as one of the finest in terms of environmental animation in the genre.
In This Corner of the World
Suzu resides in a tranquil seaside town in Japan, which turns out to be Hiroshima before the war. Her family cultivates seaweed. At 18, an unfamiliar but sincere young man from Kure, smitten with her instantly, proposes. She accepts and relocates to his family’s home.
Kure thrives as a Navy base with most locals employed there. Amidst rationed food, Suzu innovates to get by. She pursues her passion for drawing and is cherished by her niece, Harumi. However, the growing tensions of war make everyday life increasingly challenging.
Children Who Chase Lost Voices
Titled “Journey to Agartha” in the UK, “Children Who Chase Lost Voices” is Makoto Shinkai’s successor to his well-received “5 Centimeters per Second.” This film, Shinkai’s lengthiest creation, chronicles the maturation journey of a young girl, Asuna Watase, as she stumbles upon and explores a enigmatic realm of the deceased.
Packed with thrilling adventures, dynamic action, and a touch of romance, the central themes tackle the profound notions of bidding “goodbye” and the sacrifices to come to terms with it.
Weathering With You
During an unusually prolonged spell of rain, Hodaka Morishima, a high-schooler, escapes his turbulent rural life for Tokyo. There, he encounters an orphaned girl with the unique ability to control the weather.
“Weathering With You” was the cinematic experience I had been yearning for. Its visual splendor, showcased through meticulously detailed characters, landscapes, and natural elements, was nothing short of mesmerizing.
The narrative was both refreshing and immersive, transporting the viewer to a realm of fantasy. As someone who has relished movies like “Kimi no Na Wa” and “Garden of Words,” this film did not let me down. Rather, I found myself drawn to its more straightforward storytelling.
The film weaves in consistent nods to Kenji Miyazawa’s esteemed work, “Night on the Galactic Railroad,” even adopting its title from the book’s central character.
Set in the immediate aftermath of World War II, the narrative centers on two blood brothers, Junpei and Kanta, residing on the Shikotan island. Their lives take a dramatic turn in August 1945 when Soviet soldiers claim the island, pushing Junpei, Kanta, their family, and fellow villagers to seek shelter in the stables.
Meanwhile, the opulent main house becomes the abode for the Russian commander’s family. This change not only shifts their living arrangements but profoundly alters the dynamics and relationships on the island, setting the stage for a tale of resilience, adaptability, and human connection.
Exiting the cinema, I felt a deep connection to Marjane Satrapi, almost like I had delved into her personal life. The storytelling approach is stellar – it mirrors the intimate experience of flipping through her diary pages.
As the narrative progresses from childhood to adulthood, each phase of her life is depicted with an apt maturity level, spotlighting intensely personal moments.
The tales from her younger days are portrayed in stark contrasts, but as she matures, the layers and intricacies unfold, mirroring the natural evolution of perspective as one grows.
The Boy and the Beast
Following the loss of his mother, nine-year-old Ren finds himself adrift. With his father’s whereabouts unknown and a reluctance to stay with his official guardians, he escapes into the labyrinthine streets of Shibuya.
While on the streets, Ren resorts to stealing food and finds refuge in a dim alley, his mind frequently drifting back to the days immediately after his mother’s funeral.
Meanwhile, the revered grandmaster reveals his intention to step down and reincarnate into divinity in the Beast Kingdom. He presents two possible successors: the widely admired Iōzen, a father of two, and the formidable yet solitary and indolent Kumatetsu. The grandmaster advises him to take on a disciple to motivate Kumatetsu and potentially prepare him for leadership.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a Japanese-animated film from 2006. It falls under the science fiction romance genre. Madhouse produced the film. Mamoru Hosoda directed it, and Satoko Okudera wrote the screenplay. Kadokawa Herald Pictures distributed it.
The film draws inspiration from the 1967 novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui with the same title. While it shares the core idea of a teen girl time-traveling and reliving a day in a loop, its story and characters differ from the novel.
This anime ranks among the best I’ve recently watched. From the creative mind behind ‘The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,’ we’re presented with this captivating fantasy-drama. There are shades of Miyazaki’s ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ in terms of the setting and some character elements. However, this film stands out with its unique and refreshing narrative, to the best of my awareness.
The central trio, consisting of a mother and her two children, are instantly endearing. Aoi Miyazaki, playing the mother, continues to astonish me with every role she takes on.
Her dynamic portrayals across various films consistently surprise and show an upward trajectory in terms of her performances. She truly shines in every appearance.
It’s been some time since I ventured outside Studio Ghibli, with “When Marnie Was There” being my last foray.
While I hadn’t previously engaged with Makoto Shinkai’s creations, this film has piqued my interest in exploring his entire repertoire. I stumbled upon this movie just a day before watching it, drawn immediately by its captivating poster and the brief description of two high school teens from disparate parts of the country who find themselves swapping lives in their dreams.
The movie garnered extensive praise from critics, being lauded for its storyline, animation, soundtrack, visuals, and depth of emotion. Earning over US$382 million globally, it became the third top-grossing Japanese movie ever, setting multiple box office milestones without accounting for inflation.