For those of us who had the pleasure of growing up with Studio Ghibli films, we know that every film has its own special charm. From the depths of an unknown spiritual world to the wide plains of the countryside, Studio Ghibli films take us on an unforgettable journey every time.

If you’re feeling a certain way and want to de-stress with Studio Ghibli films, check out our list to see which film best fits your mood.

If you’re feeling nostalgic

Set in 1963 Japan, From Up On Poppy Hill indulges viewers with vibrant colors and gentle scenes of a time long, long ago. The plot treads through the push and pull struggle between tradition and modernity, as protagonist Umi desires to uncover her family past and help a fellow schoolmate save the school’s crumbling clubhouse.

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Photo from NPR

The bold endeavors taken on by the schoolchildren effectively remind us of innocent youth and plunge us into a peaceful memory that we didn’t know we had.

If you want to go on an unexpected adventure

Prepare to be swept away to another world, because Spirited Away promises to deliver the most bizarre yet entertaining adventure of a lifetime.  In the film, we follow Chihiro through the seemingly abstract spirit world and become equally amazed at all the quirky beings she meets along the way.

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Photo from Polygon

The sheer brilliance and intricacy of the animation is enough for any person to get pulled into the strange dimension that is Spirited Away. With a genuine plot and wholehearted characters, this one’s a film for all.

If you want to remember the sweetness of first love

A whimsical take on the workings of first love, Whisper of the Heart shows viewers how ambition, hard work, and creativity work hand in hand when trying to achieve your goals. These values surround our main characters as they navigate through their passions and first encounter with love.

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Photo from Cinema Escapist

Like all Ghibli films, there’s a sense of awkward excitement and naiveté in our young protagonists, which is a feeling that translates to our early days of “liking” and “loving” someone.

If you want to reignite the child in you

Take a seat back into your childhood with My Neighbor Totoro; it’s a classic Ghibli film that throws you back into the enchanting forests of the Japanese countryside. Famous creatures like the raccoon-like Totoro and eccentric Catbus will evoke the feelings of mysteriousness and wonder that every child experiences when embarking on their first expedition into the world.

Photo from The Spool

If you want to feel magical

Howl’s Moving Castle, an extraordinary fantasy tale, tells the story of a cursed young girl named Sophie and her unusual introduction into Howl’s (literal) moving castle. The film dips into worldly themes like the resistance to war, feminism, and the problem of old age with charisma and finesse, allowing the audience to think deeper through the convention of magic.

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Photo from Linndashi

The film is a Studio Ghibli gem that never fails to amaze first-time viewers. We, as viewers, get to marvel at all the things that make the film magical, like Howl’s labyrinth of a castle and the complexity of the two kingdoms at war.


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