Studio Ghibli, an animation studio primarily associated with the work of writer-director Hayao Miyazaki, is one of the biggest names in anime. Its films have won Oscars, made enormous amounts of money, and continue to be beloved by critics and audiences alike. Ghibli even has its own museum in Tokyo, a pilgrimage site for superfans. Like many popular studios, Ghibli also has its own mythology, encompassing incidents like the studio’s infamous rejection of Harvey Weinstein’s suggestion that they might pare down Princess Mononoke for international release: a sword with the message “no cuts.”
In October of last year, WarnerMedia announced that it had acquired the streaming rights to the Ghibli catalogue, which will appear on HBO Max upon the service’s launch, currently scheduled for May. Internationally, these same titles will be available on Netflix. (The one exception: Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata’s 1988 World War II film Grave of the Fireflies, which has slightly different publishing rights situation than the other Ghibli movies.) And if you just can’t wait to watch My Neighbor Totoro, many Ghibli films are currently available for purchase on a variety of digital platforms.
Ghibli films fully embrace the plasticity of animation: any given film might include a nature spirit, an underwater wizard, or a bus shaped like a cat. For the characters in a Ghibli movie—and for the audience—the world is an exciting, wonderful place to be, albeit one that has a bottomless capacity for cruelty and terror. Ghibli films have a tender, firm relationship to humanity, and the world, and it’s incredibly exciting that they’ll be more widely available. Here are a few of the Studio Ghibli films we’re most thrilled to have available at the click of a mouse.