The Films Of Studio Ghibli Ranked From Worst To Best

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The latest Studio Ghibli film, The Tale Of Princess Kaguya, hits DVD and blu ray in the United Kingdom on 13th July. The film is the first release from the Japanese animation company since its founder Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement, and is also one of the studio’s final films as it fizzles out after almost thirty years in business. To mark its home entertainment release and celebrate three decades of creative, imaginative and groundbreaking animation, we have ranked our favourite Studio Ghibli movies from worst to best.

20. Tales From Earthsea

Director: Goro Miyazaki | Year: 2006 | Running Time: 115 mins

Tales From Earthsea is so ploddingly paced and poorly told that it’s tedious to watch. Only the rich and detailed animation comes close to rescuing this Ghibli misfire. (★★☆☆☆)

19. The Cat Returns

Director: Hiroyuki Morita | Year: 2002 | Running Time: 75 mins

It’s hard to appreciate how great Studio Ghibli usually are at world-building, using their enormous imaginations and beautiful visuals to establish settings both natural and fantastical, until you see it go spectacularly wrong in The Cat Returns. Buying into the concept is almost impossible in this lesser Ghibli entry. (★★☆☆☆)

18. Howl’s Moving Castle

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Year: 2004 | Running Time: 119 mins

There’s not a fault to be had with the visuals of Howl’s Moving Castle but Miyazaki’s lush, dreamlike drawings are pretty much the only thing it has going for it. The narrative that underpins the movie is wildly inconsistent, completely void of sense and packed with threadbare characterisations despite how uniquely Miyazaki presents them on the surface. (★★☆☆☆)

17. Pom Poko

Director: Isao Takahata | Year: 1994 | Running Time: 119 mins

Pom Poko, the story of shape-shifting raccoons facing extinction, makes for a worthy entry into the Ghibli canon as it explores the studio’s popular concerns – magic, the natural world, society and the environment. It is far from its top-tier work though, the two hour length resulting in some moments of repetition and tedium. (★★★☆☆)

16. Ocean Waves

Director: Tomomi Mochizuki | Year: 1993 | Running Time: 72 mins

Short, sweet, simple. Ghibli don’t push any boundaries with this slight story of teenage romance but, as always, it comes with a bucket load of emotion. (★★★☆☆)

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