The Allure of Ghibli


Edited by Kavya Mittal 


The gradual surge of Ghibli’s animation has undoubtedly got us all hooked to its animated dreamland, especially with their presence on streaming networks like Netflix. Over the past few decades, Ghibli studios have produced few of the most visually stunning animated movies.  I was always an on-and-off anime lover, but have certainly found myself stuck to Ghibli movies. I still remember being glued to the screen in AC-02-109, where Ghibli’s award-winning Spirited Away was being screened for a course I was taking that semester. The colours, the details and the simple-yet-deep plots, all contribute to its timeless brilliance. But there is so much more that makes Ghibli movies stand out.

Over the period of lockdown, I re-watched Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and My neighbour Totoro. There is a certain warmth and cosiness that naturally ascends every time I watch a Ghibli movie, as they have a tendency to connect with the audience on a human level. The key feature of these movies is that they’re rich in colour, with keen attention to detail. But what particularly stays with the viewers is the focus on the character’s strengths and flaws, and the hundreds of emotions they go through. This makes the characters more human, and hence, more relatable. They take us back to our own childhood and show a steady growth process through the experiences of the characters. Another popular theme in Ghibli movies is exploration, which is something that was recurring in all three movies I watched recently. 

These movies invoke a sharp sense of nostalgia, especially for 90s kids, whose world kept changing rapidly as they grew up. Each movie focuses on a simple theme but plays with the character’s experiences to make the viewers feel a deep sense of attachment. Spirited Away deals with love, Kiki’s Delivery Service deals with independence and My Neighbor Totoro deals with friendship and familial intimacy. And the visual scenery in each of these movies is about as stunning as it gets. Spirited Away’s location takes inspiration from ‘Jiufen,’ a mountain town situated outside the Taiwanese capital, Taipei. Kiki’s Delivery Service’s location takes inspiration from Gotland, Sweden, and also resembles the Amalfi Coast, Italy. And My Neighbor Totoro’s location takes direct inspiration from the Sayama Hills in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Fun fact: Hayao Miyazaki, the masterful creator of these brilliant movies, actually grew up in Sayama Hills! And if anyone has spent their childhood vacations in the Indian countryside, I would 10/10 recommend watching this movie, because oh, the nostalgia!

And it is exactly these nostalgia-inducing, aesthetically cosy and warmth-exuding qualities of Ghibli movies that make them the perfect movies to watch all year long. So, I ask everyone to take my humble suggestion and take some dedicated time off every weekend to watch a Ghibli movie as winter ascends.