Canne’s Top 10 Studio Ghibli Works (part 2)

Before you start reading this post, please make sure you’ve read, or at least skimmed through, part 1 of Canne’s top 10 Studio Ghibli works. Now we have reached the top 5 of Ghibli works that I love most. Let’s begin!

5) Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

I often find myself thinking about this masterpiece when I come across many sci-fi/fantasy anime. Strong female lead, environmentalism, dystopia, ancient monsters and flying machines. It’s as if Nausicaa is the inspiration for every anime that comes after.

4) Spirited Away

This is the anime with exceptional detail. It’s a whole new world full of wonders and mystery. Watching Spirited Away, I could feel the love and childish dream behind every scene of the show.

3) Ocean Waves

Most anime tells the story about something extraordinary. This anime tells something completely the opposite. There is absolutely nothing even remotely extraordinary in this anime. Yet for some crazy reason, I just can’t get it out of my mind.

2) My Neighbor Totoro

Totoro is probably the most adorable forest guardian spirit ever! He represents what I cannot see in reality with naked eyes. Through him, I see nature as a friend and somehow I know that I’m part of it.

1) Whisper of the Heart

There were more than once that I falsely believed this anime was made especially for me. It was like watching my own life replayed on screen; playing violin, writing my first crappy science fiction in junior high, day dreaming about the world that didn’t exist, reading tons of fantasy novels and meeting a fat cat. My current cat is named ‘Moon’ after the cat in this anime. So you see that the top spot simply belongs to this anime.

I feel like I’ve committed the worst crime by omitting many universally praised anime like Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle of Cagliostro and especially Grave of the Fireflies. But, as I’ve mentioned before, there are too many great films to choose from and my ranking is based on my preference. Thus, getting ranked lower does not mean that the anime is inferior in quality or in any other way. Additionally, in Grave of the Fireflies’ case, I always get a sudden surge of depression every time I think about it so despite its greatness, I’m not really fond of it.

This list may need an update soon after the new Ghibli film arrives later this year but I really doubt that. What about your choice in this matter? I bet you all have your own lists that are completely different from mine.

34 responses to “Canne’s Top 10 Studio Ghibli Works (part 2)

  1. super glad to see Whisper of the Heart at the top! ^__^

    Ocean Waves is one step above Only Yesterday in being my worst XD

    • I’m happy I’m not alone in this. Ocean Waves, like Only Yesterday, is very different from other Ghibli films and it is almost too plain. So it all comes down to personal taste, I suppose :)

  2. Oh God. You too??

    I don’t think anyone will complain if you think Whisper of the Heart was made for you. I sure love it, and Country Road.

    • Critically speaking, Whisper of the Heart won’t even make it into top 5. That’s why I make this list of my personal picks. I just want to see it included in some list ^_^

  3. No Kikis delivery service!
    i have to say that one is one of my fav.
    but ye hard to choose from only 10 series, but ye that would definetly be in mine. =)

    I havent seen ocean waves. gonna have to check it out! ^^

    • I was fully aware of some prominent exclusion of some great films, I like Kiki a lot as well. Maybe if I re-watch it, things would be different?

  4. Grave of the Fireflies and Kiki’s Delivery Service are not on the list… :(
    But agreed that there are just too many good ones.

    I really love Totoro, Spirited Away, and Nausicaa too.
    And I should really watch Whisper of the Heart.

    • Seems like everyone was expecting Kiki to be ranked somewhere high. It’s no doubt a classic but I may have to watch it again and reevaluate my impression on it -_-

  5. Interesting choices :)

    I was worried that Nausicaa wouldn’t make it, in part because Mononoke Hime was so low in the list, but I am glad that it is in your top five :)

    I am somewhat surprised that Kiki is not in your list at all. Also such a high rank of Ocean Waves is somewhat surprising, but it sounds like the film managed to make a strong personal connection to you.

    Whisper of the Heart is one of my favorite films as well :)

    Thank you for sharing your preferences :) Your posts inspired me to make my own list of top 10 Ghibli works! :) I’ll post it soon, once I finish one film that I’ve been neglecting for a long time :)

    • I’m happy beyond words that I inspired you (Though I was also inspire by someone else too…say, Cello). If you do the list, you might be able to cause a chain reaction because you are much more popular than I am :)
      I’ll look forward to your list!

  6. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind = My least favorite Ghibli Film ever. I still don’t understand why people think it’s awesome. If it was the only Ghibli movie I ever saw, it still wouldn’t crack my top ten.

    Howl’s Moving Castle!

    What’s more important than anything, I still REALLY NEED TO SEE Whisper of the Heart. I’ve been meaning to see it for ages.

    • Actually, Nausicaa is very similar to other Ghibli films like Mononoke Hime and, in parts, Laputa. Maybe it’s because it’s the oldest…I don’t really know +_+

      As for Howl’s, I think it lacks the emotional ‘peak’, though it’s as magical as other Miyazaki’s films.

  7. kudos for making this list. Something that I can never do (or can I? Hmm) because I can’t decide which one to choose from

    • Yeah, it was hard…if you really can’t decide, you can always arrange them in alphabetical order and avoid ranking them completely. Just a thought :)

  8. I had a feeling Whisper of the Heart would take your top spot – if Princess Mononoke was my number one, Whisper of the heart would probably be my number two. As you said in the part one, the whole catalogue is so good that any list just comes down to personal preference. It’s a win/win for everyone!

    • I was quite surprised by the number of people who are not surprised by Whisper of the Heart’s ranking at number 1. So I’m not weird after all O_O

  9. I need to watch Whisper of the Heart. I haven’t seen much Ghibli, but as it stands now Spirited Away is #1 for me. Howl’s Moving Castle is #2, BUT I want to read the book. I’ve heard the book is better, so we’ll see.

    “Additionally, in Grave of the Fireflies’ case, I always get a sudden surge of depression every time I think about it so despite its greatness, I’m not really fond of it.”


    • Howl’s Moving Castle the book is utterly different especially the ending. Nevertheless, Miyazaki always does thing his own way in his anime which is not bad, actually :)

  10. But of course, first I’ll have to pick the balls off the floor and watch Grave of the Fireflies. Keep saying I’ll do that, but I never do.

    At some point I used to be a little against lists, because it made the emotions for something a statistic, but I see why people would want to sequence their likes. It’s a way of sharing their opinions with clarity. I’ve had my urges to do lists as well.

  11. Totoro is definitely my number 1 ! I was sooo charmed by this big guardian lol, i want a pet like this to play with :D
    What’s shocking me totally is that i never heard of “Whisper of the Heart” before !!!!!
    How could that be ? I’ll check on it to see it especially if it’s like your life lol :D

    • The fact that Whisper of the Heart is always overshadowed by other Ghibli’s classics is one of the reason I put this list into a post ^_^

  12. This was a great post, I am actually currently working a series entitled A Salute To Hayao Miyazaki in which I am going to take a look at all of the Studio Ghibli films. Great job and keep up the great work.

    • ‘a series entitled A Salute To Hayao Miyazaki’
      Did you mean you are making an anime series?!
      If so, that’s amazing!!!
      If not, it’d still be great! a lot more people need to see these Ghibli Works. :)

  13. aquabluesweater

    Glad to see Whisper of the Heart on top! When I started plowing through the Ghibli films, Whisper of the Heart was amongst the top of the ones I most want to watch and it did not disappoint. The impromptu Country Road rendition is the middle of the film is just an amazing scene. I really echo your sentiment. More people should see this film!

    Just like you said, your list is a ‘favourite’ list, not the ‘best’ list. I agree that Grave of the Fireflies is an amazing film that everyone should see at least once but it will also be my least favourite film if only because i hate depressing film. Have you ever thought of doing a list based on which one you feel is a better film overall?

    As for me, my top two favouites and Spirited Away and Whisper of the Heart. The second tiers for me are Nausicaa, Laputa, Mononoke, Totoro and Kiki. Third are Howl, Cat Returns, Porco Rosso, Only Yesterday. Putting them in a rank order is too difficult so I will leave that arduous task for later:)

    On the sidenote, have you actually read Nausicaa graphic novel? You should check it out if you have not. It is one of my favourite manga around and really expands so much more on the anime.

    • No, I haven’t read Nausicaa the graphic novel. I don’t read much magna to begin with.

      I didn’t do ‘The best list’ because I thought it would just overlap with other people’s lists. Plus, there won’t be much surprise since we all know which is the most critically acclaimed titles. :)

      • aquabluesweater

        I guess what I mean is that the list that you would generically recommend to people to watch if they want to start exploring GHibli. For example, Whisper of the Heart is my top 2 favourite but I probably put Grave and Totoro as probably a ‘better’ film:) Regardless it is always going to be an unenviable task ranking the best Ghibli films!

  14. Jordan Richardson

    Brilliant stuff and good list. I’m hard pressed to argue with your placements, even if mine differs ever-so-slightly. Really adore these films, each of them is so unique, colourful and brave.

    • Really great to share the same favorites with you and thank you for your kind words. I ranked these titles based on my own preference thinking that the list would contradict with other people’s choices but it turned out quite the opposite :)

  15. Pingback: Ghibli Movies Ranking and Analysis « Blue Sweater Story

  16. Sorry for Necroposting, but I want to say that I like your list and the fact that “On Your Mark” is on it very much.

    I am extremely happy that “Whisper of the Heart” is your most favorite Ghibli movie because it’s my all-time favorite, too. This movie and “Honey and Clover” were among the first Animé movies and showes that I watched and they straightway made me convinced that ‘slice of life’ stories can induce feelings and make one think more than any action-orientated plot. It is incredibly sad that Yoshifumi Kondō has gone and will never have the chance to direct another movie…

    Although I think that “Kiki’s Delivery Service” is a 10/10 as well, movie-wise, I also think that there is at least one valid argument for ranking other Ghibli movies higher: “Kiki’s Delivery Service” has such an open end with so many untied bonds that it feels more like a pilot episode to a series (she does not get back to her parents by the end of the movie etc) than a stand alone movie. You could say that about other Ghibli movies as well, e.g. “Porco Rosso”, which I also like a lot and even “Arrietty”… but one has to admit that this factor can be considerd a “flaw” and maybe that’s why these other Ghibli movies with more open ends did not enter this list (well, Arrietty was released when this blog entry was made, would be interesting to know where you would rank it, but I think I spotted another blog entry of yours about “Arrietty” which I opened in another tab but did not read so far :))

  17. … this should have been: “[…] Arrietty was *not* released when this blog entry was made.”
    Sorry, for the typos, I was maybe a bit over-enthusiastic about your “Whisper of the Heart” ranking :) Best regards from Germany!

    • LOL, I never use the word ‘necroposting’ before XP
      Um, Arrietty would probably rank somewhere out of the top five. I still think Arrietty remained under the shadow of other entries of Ghibli.

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