Studio Ghibli Movies Are Helping Me Through This Crisis

Now that we’re all stuck at home for a while, what do we do besides work and school? Lots of people are using their free time in quarantine to better themselves. From learning how to cook, establishing an at-home fitness routine, writing books, playing musical instruments, etc. The list goes on. If you’re a person that is able to be productive during this time, congrats! I will admit, I am one of these people, and it does feel good, but that isn’t the case for everyone.

If you are one of those people who isn’t finding the motivation to do things “productive” outside of work or school, it’s okay. Bingeing The Simpsons or re-watching the Avengers movies are great options too. Remember, this quarantine free time isn’t a competition. Whatever you need to do to find some happiness in your life right now is enough.

That being said, when I have those days where I just want to sit on my couch and do nothing, Studio Ghibli has been there for me.

For a little bit of background, Studio Ghibli is a Japanese film studio most famous for its animated feature films. Some notable films include, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Kiki’s Delivery Service. So, why these movies in particular? The reason these movies are so important to me right now is because a lot of them focus on the importance of the individual. 

For instance, Kiki in Kiki’s Delivery Service is a witch who has to leave her parents at the age of 13 and travel somewhere to live to start her witch’s training. Although she does get some help along the way, Kiki ultimately has to complete her training by herself and learn how to make her own way in a new town by herself. Throughout the film, Kiki goes through many trials and tribulations, even losing her witch’s powers at one point, but by the end, she has even a stronger grasp on who she is and what she is capable of. 

It might be a stretch, but I think this relates to what we all are going through right now. We are suddenly faced with the fact that we are forced to hang out with ourselves more than we would like to (and whoever we’re quarantining with). We have to start believing in ourselves and what we’re capable of as individuals to get through this.

Not only are these movies all about the importance of individualism, but they romanticize daily life. They provoke you to think about and appreciate the quiet simplicity of the world around you. Don’t get me wrong, it can be stressful and lonely not being able to hang out with your friends, go out to restaurants, or partake in group activities, but in the meantime, we have to find alternatives to these joys. 

For example, the entire plot of The Secret World of Arrietty takes place in a house and right outside in the backyard. A young boy, Shawn, has heart surgery in a few weeks and retreats to his aunt’s house in the country to rest beforehand. He discovers a family of 'borrowers,' tiny people who live beneath the floorboards of the house, and thus the quest to keep them hidden from the nosy housekeeper begins! While the story is adorable, the scenes in this film are breathtaking. The garden right outside the house, where Shawn lays on the grass and reads is absolutely beautiful. It makes me want to take my books outside on the grass and read, let alone plant an entire garden for me to enjoy. 

Basically, what I hope people can take away from this is to find the beauty in daily life and ourselves, even when the world around us seems to be crumbling. Indulge in something that makes you happy. Whether that be laying in the grass outside or on the couch inside, finding beauty in the ordinary can help.