Film, Venue

Lockdown Viewing: Studio Ghibli

With the return of lockdown and sunsets starting at 4pm, spirits are understandably quite low. Studio Ghibli films have been a place of security and comfort for viewers over the years, with something there for everyone. 

Founded in 1985, Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio, forefronted by our lord and saviour Hayao Miyazaki. Although its content is aimed at children, Studio Ghibli films have become something of a cult-classic among groups of adults too. They are easy to consume, but by no means simple. 

Covering topics such as grief, war, family, childhood, and the environment, the studio offers a film for any mood. Feeling whimsical? Watch Kiki’s Delivery Service. Feeling childlike? Go for Ponyo. Ready for adventure? Try Laputa: Castle in the Sky. If you’re in the mood to feel numbingly, horribly sad, watch Grave of the Fireflies, although perhaps this is one to avoid in the current climate.

Studio Ghibli is famed for its beautiful animation style. Most of its repertoire features a mix of hand-drawn animation and expansive watercolour backgrounds, and the care and attention given to detail culminates in a stellar viewing experience. There is an immersive quality to the scenery in these films that is almost hypnotising. Likewise, the scores are also a huge part of the enjoyable experience, with distinctive and emotional melodies present in every watch.

Very few of the films feature names of places that exist in the ‘real world’. We are offered a certain degree of escapism, wherein the locations give us an immense sense of wanderlust, but there is little connection to a specific place. While most of the films are set somewhere in Japan, the fantasy comes from the ambiguity of their locations, in pockets of worlds we wouldn’t expect to see otherwise. 

Studio Ghibli offers us magic in a way that is organic, creative, and heartfelt. It tells stories rooted in love, whether that be for people, for the environment, or for raccoon dogs (thanks, Pom Poko). They offer an excellent escape, and with so many films in the Ghibli canon, there’s an endless set of worlds to dive into.


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Ally Fowler

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September 2021
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