Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind was the first anime I had ever seen as a kid in the 80s. It was called Warriors of the Wind at the time, an Americanized version with drastic edits and terrible dubbing that they played on HBO when the channel was shiny and new. Of course, I've seen the full film since. Many times, possibly more than Star Wars.
And it enthralled me. It still has that same power to keep my attention now that I'm in my 40s. It is not only my favorite Miyazaki, it's my favorite animated film ever made.
From the Miyazaki catalog, a very close second is Porco Rosso. It's not quite as visually stunning as some of the later stuff, but for me Ghibli is best when Ghibli is flying, and the aerial scenes, plus some excellent characters in a more grown-up setting and story make that one a classic that I'll rewatch many times.
I should also make special mention of Kiki's Delivery Service, because that is the first anime I ever showed my son, some years ago. He loved it then. He's 17 now and still loves it. That one holds a special meaning for me because of that. I'll probably give him a DVD copy as part of his graduation present.
DLDonovanFeatured By OwnerDec 15, 2017Hobbyist Digital Artist
Kiki's Delivery Service. To me it showcases all of Miyazaki's Strong Points while avoiding his weaker ones as a storyteller. It has a mellow yet adventurous feel to it that I argue makes it one of the greatest films ever made. I'm surprised no one picked this one yet.
For me it's also 'Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind', because I really like the postapocalyptic and fantastic environment and animals/designs living therein. I really enjoy science fiction setting like this.
It was the first one I watched in the cinema. I think it was his first one after quite a while (and after his first 'retirement' announcement). It's so beautiful. The backgrounds/environments, the food...
Plus I really like japanese (or really any asian) themed/fusion music.
I also really liked that he put a lot of Japan post-war elements in it which added more depth to it. Well, he always puts something negative about war in most of his movies, but I liked how it visually turned out and how he did it so subtly in this.
And there was just so much symbolism in it and subtle messages in it. I really really loved that. It was like I'd find something new every time I watched it.
Laputa - Castle in the Sky. Absolutely loved it the first time I saw it. Here's my review of it:
"Hayao Miyazaki struck gold when his imaginative environmentalist fantasy "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" proved to be a huge financial success, ushering in his credentials as both writer and director of significant note in the world of animation. In conjunction, this also allowed him to carry out a long time dream of his in finally being able to start his own studio in which he could carry out personal projects his way without needing to bend to the demands of studio execs of little understanding. Thus, along with long time collaborator Isao Takahata and producer Toshio Suzuki, Studio Ghibli was born, with their first project coming to wonderfully encapsulate that sense of exuberant freedom of pure creation its makers were now completely free to express.
A young girl named Sheeta (Keiko Yokozawa) possesses a special amulet with levitation abilities that is a remnant of a long-lost technological civilization who once built large flying fortresses that have since all but disappeared… outside of one. Now she and the amulet are pursued by a shady government official (Minori Terada), as well as a band of sky pirates, who want to find that only surviving castle of Laputa, supposedly hidden inside a thundercloud, for their own greedy ends. However, Sheeta manages to escape them both and meets with a young boy named Pazu (Mayumi Tanaka), who also has dreams of discovering the castle to redeem his father's claims of having once seen it, leading the two on an adventure of personal growth and self discovery. Immensely enjoyable and very fun to watch, not many movies in the Ghibli canon have ever quite matched the pure exhilaration present in this first of the studio's many landmark films.
Mixing together high-spirited action, a roaring sense of adventure, and even a few moments of poignant pathos and genuine emotional resonance, this movie manages to offer a journey in which the whole family can easily indulge in without ever feeling as if the film is leaning too much toward one or the other age group's demographic. It is this fine line Miyazaki traverses that gives it such crossover appeal and, while the plot itself can come across as somewhat loose in structure as it breathlessly hops from one situation to the next, the director keeps things well in control that helps make the entire film come across as wonderfully effortless and always engaging.
In addition, the proceedings are helped infinitely by its appealing cast of characters that were to become a Miyazaki hallmark, first-rate animation that still looks gorgeous, and the emotionally stirring music of Joe Hisaishi, all of which make the movie such peerless entertainment that packages everything it wants to be into such a grandly superb piece of animated joy. Exceptional in every way."
Close second is Princess Mononoke. Also the Nausicaa manga is a masterpiece; makes the movie pale in comparison.
Laputa Castle In the Sky. Completely overlooked movie, very violent and dark, still filled with hope. Laputa is a utopia abandonded by humans to never return it as it also contain the key to Earth's destruction(as it destroyed cities that wasn't faithful to Laputa in ancient times), corrupted forces wants to get the power and riches in the Laputa itself. It is most classic story of them all, the characters are classic too, the most important female character Sheeta is not a classic miyazaki one, she is very passive young innocent girl, the main character is adventureous boy and finally a miyazaki classic a kickass grandmother and a kickass miner's wife.
Well, it wasn't hyped up as the other movies(I was lucky to see in a local cinema, most cinemas didn't even show it), no great advertisering campaign. No wonder it is not as welknown. Even it was break through-movie in Japan and the robots became the logo of Studio Ghibli.
I feel like I've notice so many Miyazaki fans on this site since I joined, it's kind of weird in a way because before I came here I knew just one person who knew who that was, and a handful of people who had heard of/seen a movie or two of his.
as for me, I honestly don't think I could really pick any one Miyazaki film to be my favorite. Some are more fun than others like Kiki's Delivery Service but other get a lot more heavy like Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and each are equally terrific in their own ways.
I have to pick one?...I might have to see all of them to make a new decision. So far my favorites are Totoro, Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. The story lines are solid and fleshed out, and there's a definite sense of magic (but this could be applied to any of them).
Have you read the Nausicäa manga? It was done by Miyazaki himself, and the movie feels like a Cliff-note compared to the comic.
My favourite from Miyazaki is Howls Moving Castle. Theres jist something about it that made me really attached to it. My other favourite Ghibli movie is Arrietty, but I dont think Miyazaki worked on that one (i might be wrong), it just felt so magical.
I think "Spirited Away" is my favorite, but "Howl's Moving Castle" and "Princess Mononoke" are right up there too. I love the odd characters and how they develop through the stories. Nausicaa used to be one of my favorites. We watched it so often, my siblings will still randomly start humming the tune she sings as a little girl, even though it's been awhile since any of us last watched the movie.