n 1985, two friends and longtime collaborators — Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, fresh off the success of their recent project Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind — founded a company that would change animation as we know it. For the next three decades, Studio Ghibli went on to produce some of the most critically acclaimed and financially successful films in its home country of Japan, many of them the highest-grossing films in the country for the years they were released.
Their reach would extend far beyond Japan: Studio Ghibli influenced animators and live-action filmmakers around the world. The work by Miyazaki, Takahata, and their team to blend fantasy and reality can be seen in the films of people as different as Guillermo del Toro, a vocal fan who blends fantasy and reality in his works, and Wes Anderson, who praised Miyazaki when talking about Isle of Dogs: “With Miyazaki, you get nature and you get moments of peace, a kind of rhythm that is not in the American animation tradition so much.”
There’s no arguing that Studio Ghibli’s commitment to artistry and empathetic storytelling has transformed modern filmmaking. It makes films that appeal to a wide demographic by refusing to talk down to children and allowing adults to explore their own feelings in unexpected ways. In just under four decades, Studio Ghibli has made arguably a dozen films that could legitimately be called masterpieces.