The anime films of Studio Ghibli are some of the best of all time for a reason. Even the romances portrayed within them are extremely well-executed.
For many years, Studio Ghibli has brought beautiful, animated pictures onto the screens of a large number of fans and audiences around the world. Their fascinating, varied plots and iconic characters have stolen the hearts of the people who have had the pleasure of experiencing these commercially and critically successful anime films.
Quite a great deal of these films are centered around a romantic plot or have given characters persisting love interests over the course of the narrative. These relationships are amazingly well-written and are considered very endearing to the hearts of many of those who have seen these movies. This list serves as a ranking of some of the most renowned Studio Ghibli romances that made viewers everywhere believe in some form of true love.
WARNING: Possible spoilers ahead.
10. Arrietty And Shawn Represent An Unlikely Pair (The Secret World Of Arrietty)
In The Secret World of Arrietty, Shawn, a young teenage boy with a heart condition, moves in with his great-aunt. There, he meets Arrietty, a “Borrower” around his age who is about four inches tall. Over the course of the film, the two develop a deep emotional connection, a bond that seems very close to romance.
However, the two are from entirely different worlds, and in the end, Arrietty must depart along with her family to find a new home. The relationship between these two is less explicit than the others in this list, but the care they have for one another may be interpreted as romantic.
9. Osono And Fukuo Are The Perfect Married Couple (Kiki’s Delivery Service)
In Kiki’s Delivery Service, the titular Kiki is a young teenage witch who leaves home to work at a bakery in the city. The owner of the bakery, Osono, and her husband, Fukuo, really only hold a lower place in this ranking because the story’s plot is not centered around these two characters, giving them little screentime.
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However, their relationship as a content married couple is one to fawn over; seeing Fukuo dote on Osono during her pregnancy culminates in an incredibly heartwarming moment for the audience.
8. Ponyo And Sosuke Display Young Love (Ponyo)
Ponyo, the main character in Ponyo, is a little fish girl who wishes to become human. The film follows her adventures in and out of the ocean, and it revolves around the sweet, innocent relationship she forms with a human boy who lives on the seashore, Sosuke.
The romance between the two children is incredibly simple, pure, and could probably be viewed as one that is more platonic, like many other Studio Ghibli relationships. Still, the connection between Ponyo and Sosuke is utterly undeniable and grows even stronger when she is allowed to remain a human above land so she can remain with him.
7. Taeko And Toshio Are Proof That Love Can Find You Anywhere (Only Yesterday)
Taeko is a 27-year-old single woman visiting her family in the countryside in Only Yesterday. As she travels there and works in the safflower harvest, Taeko has numerous flashbacks to her childhood and reflects upon the person she has grown up to be.
Through it all, there is Toshio, a relative of her brother-in-law, a near-stranger to Taeko. Toshio helps Taeko work through difficult memories, and then just as she is about to return to Tokyo, Taeko realizes that she was truly happy at the farm with Toshio. The relationship between them that love can always come to you, even when you don’t expect it.
6. Jiro And Naoko Break Our Hearts (The Wind Rises)
The Wind Rises is a film that serves as a fictionalized biography based on the life of Jiro Horikoshi. Horikoshi designed Japanese fighter jets in World War II, and the movie depicts his journey through life, as well as the relationship which develops between himself and a girl named Naoko.
The two fall in love and get married, despite the fact that Naoko is revealed to have tuberculosis, a sure sign of a sad future for the lovers. Regardless, Naoko and Jiro remain together as long as they are able to, resulting in a beautiful, emotional narrative.
5. Shizuku And Seiji Defy First Impressions (Whisper Of The Heart)
In Whisper of the Heart, Shizuku is bothered and annoyed by a random boy, Seiji, who has been checking out all her library books before she can. Seiji teases her relentlessly, but over time, they learn to respect each other a great deal, and eventually, Shizuku is even inspired by Seiji.
When he leaves for Italy to practice violin-making, she fully indulges in her love for writing and creates a book. Their relationship begins with fun banter and ultimately leads to something more. What is most important about Shizuku and Seiji is their growth from their first meeting and the fact that they serve as each other’s inspiring force.
4. Kiki And Tombo Depict A Realistic First Crush (Kiki’s Delivery Service)
A more underrated couple in the Studio Ghibli universe, Kiki and Tombo’s relationship in Kiki’s Delivery Service is full of realistic behavior in terms of their young, budding romance. When Kiki first arrives in the city to work at the bakery, she runs into Tombo while he’s with a group of his friends.
For a while, she acts standoffish, as many young girls would. Tombo, on the other hand, pesters her, kindly but constantly. The two become obliviously flustered around one another, but eventually, they work their way up to being close friends, even going on an unofficial date.
3. Chihiro And Haku Promise To Reunite (Spirited Away)
After her parents are turned into pigs, 10-year-old Chihiro is lost and alone in a world of spirits in Spirited Away. She has to work there and find a way to save her parents, and along the way, she meets Haku. He is revealed to have been the spirit of a river that Chihiro fell into as a young child, a river that saved her life, depositing her onto the shore.
Throughout the movie, Chihiro and Haku save and protect one another from the dangers and entrapments of the spirit world, and although they go their separate ways at the end, Haku swears to find Chihiro again someday, solidifying the connection between them.
2Ashitaka And San Are A Power Couple, Literally (Princess Mononoke)
In Princess Mononoke, Ashitaka and San are both fierce characters who are skilled fighters. Set in a fantasy version of early Japan, Ashitaka is the Emishi prince who protects his people and eventually resolves himself to wanting peace for everyone, including the spirits of the forest. San was adopted by wolves, so she originally attempts to kill Ashitaka, as she is raised to be wary of humans.
Eventually, San grows to trust Ashitaka and fights alongside him. In the final moment of the film, San returns to the forest, while admitting that she cares for Ashitaka, and Ashitaka tells her he will visit her whenever he can. These two strong, powerful individuals form a bond based on love and loyalty that is admired by audiences everywhere.
1. Howl And Sophie Find The Romance Everyone Longs For (Howl’s Moving Castle)
Howl Pendragon and Sophie may very well be one of the most well-known romances put forth by Studio Ghibli. Howl’s Moving Castle introduces young Sophie as a no-nonsense sort of girl who has very low self-confidence at the start of the story. Howl, on the other hand, is shown to be a rather audacious and self-important young wizard.
During their adventures, the two butt heads, but they always make up. By the end of the film, the two realize their love for one another, and they begin a relationship. The depth and significance of their relationship come from the way the two are made better in the presence of each other.