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Warmth and Comfort: The Magical World of Studio Ghibli Movies

When it comes to movies, I usually find solace in the art of escapism; the ability to completely immerse myself in a different world, even if it is just for a few hours, is a blissful experience. However, I also appreciate when films go beyond escapism and confront real problems, carrying powerful messages at their core. I think Studio Ghibli, manages to seamlessly blend both these elements in a unique way as the base reality of their movies usually mirrors our own; living in the cold, punitive real world with trust and compassion can present several challenges. With their incredibly complex storytelling and extraordinary art style Ghibli movies also create a cinematic experience that is profoundly comforting.

For those of you who aren't familiar, Studio Ghibli is a renowned Japanese animation studio founded by directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. Some of my most favourite films by them include "Howl's Moving Castle", “Spirited Away”, “My Neighbor Totoro”, “Grave of the fireflies”, “Princess Mononoke”, and "Ponyo" Maybe you recall watching some of these during childhood (even if you don’t, I highly recommend them as comfort films)


Ghibli movies are also famous for their distinctive hand-drawn animation style. I think this style plays a key role in incorporating the "feel-good" element that these movies encapsulate, immersing me in a world that always feels warm and inviting. For instance, nature plays a vital role in Studio Ghibli films, serving as a character itself. The meticulous attention to detail is evident in the lush green ancient forests inhabited by mythical creatures and serene bodies of water.

Joy in the Mundane

I also appreciate how often they tend to find happiness in the most mundane aspects of life, because this also reflects that there is always beauty to be found, even in the ordinary.

Complex Female Protagonists

Instead of traditional superheroes, we encounter complex characters. Lead roles are often occupied by strong girls who embrace their femininity without compromising on strength. For instance, when Miyazaki includes princesses in his films they are portrayed as brave leaders or warriors (like in valley of the wind). Another example is the Oscar winning movie Spirited Away, in which the usual story of a damsel in distress waiting for a guy to rescue her is reversed. Instead, we follow 10 year old Chihiro as she embarks on a mission to save the boy who had initially helped her in the spirit world. This role reversal may seem unique to most of us who grew up watching Disney princess movies but in the world of Ghibli, girls are portrayed as capable individuals who can rely on their friends for support but don’t need to be rescued by men all the time.


Love is also showcased in its various forms; it's not limited to romantic love only. Some depict platonic love and the beauty of real friendships for instance the bond between Chihiro and Haku in Spirited Away. Others portray unconditional familial love, like Seita and his younger sister Setsuko as they navigate the hardships of war in Grave of the Fireflies.

Rich Storytelling

Ghibli movies often incorporate elements of Japanese mythology. For instance, in Spirited Away we encounter many creatures from Japanese folklore, while Princess Mononoke explores the conflict between humans and forest spirits. In this way, these movies also manage to transport viewers to mystical worlds by blending elements of fantasy and folklore.

So, if you have yet to discover the magic of Studio Ghibli and you’re looking for a comfort watch, I strongly recommend giving their movies a chance. I think there are a lot of emotionally charged messages laced with comfort that are worth exploring if you’re seeking solace and strength in the midst of adversity. As each frame holds a glimpse into the extraordinary and touches the soul, I also believe it manages to capture the very essence of the human experience; which is to embrace the simple joys of life, seek solace in nature, and cherish the bonds we forge with others.

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