Finally Starting Your Studio Ghibli Journey? Watch These Movies First

Photo: Ntv/Studio Ghibli/Tokuma Shoten/Kobal/Shutterstock.
When you think of animated movies your mind might immediately go to the Disney Princess movies of your childhood or maybe the slightly more mature offerings of Pixar. But since the '80s, Studio Ghibli has been crafting intricate, thoughtful, and radical animated films. 
These are contemporary fables where young women don't need crowns or princes to be happy. Rimagined folklore tales filled with magic, mythical creatures, and powerful ecological messaging. There's something for every kind of film fan in the world of Ghibli. With their newest film Earwig and the Witch now streaming on HBO Max, it's a great time to get familiar with their soothing, moving, and generally wonderful catalog. 
Every single Studio Ghibli movie is currently available on HBO Max, but see this piece as a curated primer to their expansive catalog. We've crafted a cinematic journey from the most accessible and easy to enjoy Ghibli flicks to some of their most emotive, complex, and impactful movies. 
This isn't just a list, it's a viewing guide you can follow to find your own favorite Studio Ghibli film. We begin with the famed young women leads of the studio before heading into the more esoteric environmental narratives. From there we take a sweet, restful break with two of the studio's most gorgeous and slow-paced fairytales before heading into their more bittersweet, ruminative, and heartbreaking stories. So grab your favorite snacks, wrap up in your warmest blanket, and get ready to lose yourself in the wonderful world of Studio Ghibli.

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