Christmas has almost arrived and many people like to reward themselves during the festive season by settling down to marathon Netflix sessions of beloved Christmas themed films, but if you are here then it seems likely that you would rather watch Studio Ghibli ones. Fortunately, there are some Ghibli classics that work brilliantly for the festive season, like these five.
Hayao Miyazaki is a living legend in the world of Studio Ghibli and Spirited Away is one of the movies that earned him that reputation. This 2001 movie is a perfect festive family treat, introducing the Shinto folklore of Japan in a way that kids will respond to through its tale of 10-year-old Chihiro Ogino who slips into the world of the Kami spirits. It is a great family ghost story as well as a coming of age movie that is ideal for relaxing in front of the fire with on a cold winter’s night.
Kiki’s Delivery Service
This is another coming of age tale from Studio Ghibli and another masterwork from Japanese Walt Disney Hayao Miyazaki. The story focuses on Kiki, a youthful witch who manages to make a living for herself in a new town by using a magical flying broomstick to operate her very own delivery company. It is relatively light-hearted and has a strong female main character, making it one of the best Miyazaki movies for families to watch together during the holiday
My Neighbour Totoro
This film dates back to 1988, but remains a favourite among fans of Studio Ghibli and it is a comfort blanket of a movie – which is exactly what most of us want over Christmas. Telling the story of two little girls, Mei and Satsuki, who encounter a spirit called Totoro, it also deals with the relationship between sisters, family illness and childhood imagination in a subtle way that people of all ages can embrace.
If you want something a bit darker and more action-oriented over the holiday, then this 1992 comedy will be just the ticket. It is set after World War One and centres on a former pilot in the Italian air force who is now a bounty hunter – oh, and he is also stuck in the body of a pig due to a curse. It is a very funny film, but also features gun violence and fascism, so it is most appropriate for adults and older children.
Howl’s Moving Castle
The last on our list of best Ghibli films for the holidays is this story of Sophie, a young woman who encounters a wizard named Howl, who does not want to go to war for his king. It has lots of adventure and magic to delight younger viewers, while also carrying an anti-war message that older ones will pick up on.
These are five great Ghibli movies for the holiday and there is one to suit all tastes.