The Studio Ghibli Experience

By Amber Ilisie

Studio Ghibli has created some films that are near and dear to my heart. Here are some books and movies that will transport you to worlds similar to those created by Hayao Miyazaki.

  • The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

    2022 by Oh, Axie

    Take the plunge into the beautiful and perilous Spirit World. Fans of Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away will enjoy this fantastic spin on the classic Korean folktale of Shim Cheong. Lovely storytelling paired with charming characters makes for a compelling read.

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  • The Cat Who Saved Books

    2021 by Natsukawa, Sōsuke

    Whimsically narrated and incredibly charming, this is a love letter to books and the importance of self-discovery. Following high school student Rintaro, this light read will take you on a fantastic adventure filled with mazes and silly talking tabbies.

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  • The Bear and the Nightingale

    2017 by Arden, Katherine

    Set in 14th century Russia, Katherine Arden's incredible storytelling will transport you through an adventure brimming with magic and densely packed Russian folklore.

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  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane

    2013 by Gaiman, Neil

    This book is the essence of childhood. Endless in its examination of dreams and the powers that lie within them, this brilliantly written story reminds you that the wonders and magic of youth can be rediscovered in adult life.

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  • Mary and the Witch's Flower


    Produced by Studio Ponoc, a company founded by Studio Ghibli's former lead film producer, Mary and the Witch's Flower draws inspiration from many of Miyazaki's projects. Truly a fantastic coming-of-age story that will linger with you long after you watch it.

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  • Modest Heroes


    This delightful collection of short films highlights the lives of every day heroes. The art style is gorgeous and slightly changes each story to better suit the characters. I enjoyed how the shorts never shied away from the heavier portions of the characters' lives.

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  • The Golem and the Jinni

    2013 by Wecker, Helene

    This beautifully written title combines three different cultures to create a gentle and thought-provoking fantasy. Told from alternating perspectives, Chava and Ahmad learn what it means to be alive in a world unprepared for their existence.

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  • Okami kodomo no ame to yuki


    This film beautifully chronicles the hardships a mother would traverse to protect and care for her children. It is heartbreaking in its execution, but heartwarming in its portrayal of a family and a mother's perseverance.

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  • Mirai


    This dazzling animation explores the complexities of family relationships and the wisdom of children that is so often overlooked. Completely told from a child's perspective, Mirai emphasizes the significance of remembering your family history.

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  • Sweet Bean Paste

    2017 by Sukegawa, Durian

    Short and sweet, this story explores the beginning of an unconventional friendship. Formerly incarcerated Sentaro is unmotivated in his attempts to pay off his debt, but an encounter with a mysterious old woman completely shifts his mindset. This is a beautiful tale of self-reflection and a clear appreciation for the smaller things in life.

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