5 | Kiki’s delivery service (1989)
Kiki’s delivery service will ignite your imagination prompting you to believe things you never thought possible. It is the tale of a young witch who moves to the big city with her very talkative black cat to make a name for herself. Lots of cuteness, beautiful animation, and a very nice soundtrack.
4 | Howl’s moving castle (2004)
This beautifully imagined film with magnificent visuals is based on the fantasy novel by author Diana Wynne Jones. It follows the story of the mousy hat maker “Sophie” who is cursed with an old body by a jealous witch and finds herself aboard Howl’s moving castle on a quest, with the mysterious young wizard, to break the spell. This fantastical animation is exquisitely illustrated and will have you swoon.
3 | My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Taking place in the countryside, it’s the story of two little girls becoming friends with a huge forest cat. The most endearing of Miyazaki’s films. This animation is full of amusing animals but Totoro indeed stands out. An extremely friendly yet mysterious character, Totoro is now found everywhere. Ghibli studios even made him a part of their logo.
2 | Spirited away (2001)
This was a difficult choice as both Spirited away and Princess Mononoke are my top favorites. Spirited away won the best animated feature at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003, well deserved as this film is simply a masterpiece. Set in Japan in a land of fantasy, Chihiro and her parents take a wrong turn and unknowingly enter a magical world. Amazing visuals, details, and colors. It’s no surprise The New York Times included Spirited Away in their Top 25 films of the 21st century.
1 | Princess Mononoke (1997)
Princess Mononoke became the highest-grossing film ever in Japan and was the first anime to win the Japanese Academy Award for Best Picture. This doesn’t come as a surprise, watching the film you will come to see why. Set in Japan, we follow prince Ashitaka’s journey who is cursed to die after fighting a demon in his village. Impressive soundtrack and astonishing animation this film has a lot to say about war, nature, and humanity. I consider it to be the best Miyazaki film ever.