- Kiki's Delivery Service - Kiki's is an absolute masterpiece. A thirteen-year-old leaves home and finds a place for herself somewhere else. Along the way, she learns about the value of hard work and friendship. Kiki, and almost every other character, are utterly endearing. Perhaps my favourite thing about Ghibli movies is how they present morals in ways that don't come off as OTT or sappy. The entire town is beautifully animated, looking like a real chocolate-box town.
- The Secret World of Arrietty - I love the detail in this one. Keep an eye out for all the little things in Arrietty's house. Of course, since they are small, the extra attention to detail in their house makes sense. The way the perspective on the larger house changes really helps to show the difference between the residents and Arrietty's family. It also has one of my favourite songs of theirs. (Also - see if you can find the British dub! It uses some famous British actors, and as it's based on a British series, it feels like the correct way, to me)
- From Up On Poppy Hill - one thing I notice is that I tend to like the movies with less supernatural aspects. I like My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away, but I'm sure a lot of Ghibli fans would find their omission from my list interesting. Poppy Hill has some of the nicest food shots in the whole Ghibli library, and a great message - you don't have to forget the past to move onto the future. I also like the romance aspect, and the idea of all the students coming together to save the Latin Quarter.
- When Marnie Was There - This recent one is a real gem, and deserves to be spoken in the same way as Studio Ghibli's most beloved classics IMO. The viewer will end up growing attached to both Anna and Marnie, even as they start to realise that things may be more complicated then they appear. It also contains such a nice message for adopted children, and another of my favourite Studio Ghibli songs!
- Whisper of the Heart - unlike a lot of Ghibli movies, the romance here is front and centre. As someone who writes for fun, I liked seeing Shizuku finding joy in her writing, but learning, of course, that she has to keep practising and improving. Many Ghibli protagonists have some kind of talent they are working on, something which I love. And I really like the idea that you don't have to go to school to perfect yours! It can certainly help in some cases, of course, but it's so rare in fiction for it to not treat school as the be-all-end-all, that it's nice to see.
That's my list! What's yours? I'll finish this off with links to the two songs I mentioned as some of my favourites above.
Fine on the Outside: