Studio Ghibli’s production of incredible standalone anime films is well known among anime fans. As streaming and theatrical screenings roll out around the world, more people are being exposed to these films.
Given Ghibli’s longstanding popularity, people still assume that most of the anime movies they watch were created by them. However, more and more studios are creating stunning films, and they deserve more attention.
10 The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: A young girl gains supernatural powers
Due to the popularity of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, many fans assumed that Studio Ghibli was behind its creation, most likely because Studio Ghibli is one of the most famous Japanese animation studios. But this was not the case. Although the story follows a young girl, as do many Ghibli stories, the film’s interpretation of time travel makes it unique. Makoto uses her limited number of jumps carelessly for small things like getting her favorite snack or dodging a confession, and is surprisingly relatable. The film teaches a good lesson about the consequences of time manipulation.
9 Her name: This movie is one of the most famous anime movies
“Your Name” shares the same problem as “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” which some viewers might assume Studio Ghibli contributed to the film’s success. The film follows Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana as they switch bodies at times.
They help each other with their lives, develop a friendship, then a romance. As the film’s major conflict is uncovered, fans can’t help but cheer for the main characters’ success. The film deserves the praise it has received and at least a watch.
8th Patema inverted: The concept of a floating girl is reminiscent of a castle in the sky
Patema Inverted immediately draws people in with her box art. It shows the protagonists being pulled by two different gravities. After an experiment to use the earth’s gravity went wrong, many people started falling off the earth. This separated humanity and created a new class system, separating earthbound humans from the reverse gravity “inverted”. A shocking revelation challenged this system in the best way. The film was created by Studio Rikka and features plenty of insightful commentary relevant outside of the film’s circumstances.
7 Wolfskinder: The film resonates with many people
Created by Studio Chizu, Wolf Children is a film that has a strong emotional connection with many fans. Wolf Children follows a mother named Hana who is forced to raise her two children alone after the untimely death of her father.
Her children’s semi-werewolf identity makes her job much more difficult. There are coming of age elements as well as what a mother feels as her children grow up and leave the nest. While Studio Ghibli has had its fair share of tearjerkers, Wolf Children is particularly relatable for some fans.
6 Ni No Kuni: A Howl’s Moving Castle-style film
Although Studio Ghibli did some animation for the Ni No Kuni games, they were not responsible for creating the film. Longtime Studio Ghibli director Yoshiyuki Momose directed this film. The art style used in Ni No Kuni is reminiscent of Howl’s Moving Castle. The protagonist Yusuke Ninomiya bears a physical resemblance to Howl. Although most fans would initially think Studio Ghibli was involved, OLM, Inc. was the animation studio behind Ni No Kunis production.
5 Summer Wars: A unique visual interpretation of Isekai
Summer Wars shares many similarities with Digimon Adventure: Our War Game!. Director Mamoru Hosoda had more freedom to make the film he envisioned. When the story focuses on the online setting, it feels less like another take on a video game isekai. The characters are in a unique fantasy world. It breathes fresh air into how other worlds can look and balances what’s happening online as well as what’s happening in the real world.
4 Metropolis: There are steampunk elements that Studio Ghibli films have used before
Like many Studio Ghibli films like Castle In The Sky, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Nausciaa Of The Valley Of The Wind, Metropolis features technology that’s both retro and futuristic, making it feel like the film could be in either the Past or past play the future. Metropolis is similar to Castle In The Sky in that the main villain plotted to use otherwise peaceful artificial life forms to seize power. Unlike Sheeta, who turned down the throne that was offered to her, Metropolis protagonist Tima sought to destroy humanity after discovering that she was an android.
3 The Boy and the Beast: A human befriends an otherworldly beast
In a large number of Studio Ghibli films, a protagonist meets and befriends a magical creature. The beast in this film, Kumatetsu, isn’t quite as cute or cuddly as most Ghibli animals. The human Ren makes the same choice as many human characters in Ghibli films: they choose not to live in a magical place, preferring to return home to spend the rest of their lives normally. However, this film was created by Studio Chizu rather than Studio Ghibli.
2 Mary and the Witch’s Flower: Most of the film’s creators worked for Studio Ghibli
The visual and narrative elements are similar to those of Studio Ghibli, but that’s no coincidence. Most of the people who worked on this project previously worked for Ghibli, including Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who founded Studio Ponoc and ran The Secret World Of Arrietty. This film follows a girl named Mary Smith who happens to come across a coveted flower called Fly-by-Night. Much like Spirited Away’s Chihiro Ogino, she comes to the conclusion that some things are just more important than living in a world of magic.
1 Panda! Go Panda!: The film was created before Studio Ghibli
This delightful film was created by Hayao Miyazaki but has no affiliation with Studio Ghibli. The film was actually released in 1972, Studio Ghibli was formed over a decade later in 1985. The animation still holds up, with a simple but cute art style. The story bears a strong resemblance to My Neighbor Totoro as both stories focus on young girls meeting fluffy magical creatures. Unlike My Neighbor Totoro, both pandas have the ability to talk. This is the level of magic that appears in the film, despite surprising all of the human characters.
NEXT: 10 Anime With The Best Background Graphics (That Aren’t Studio Ghibli)
10 Anime Villains Who Are Just Lonely
About the author
(337 published articles)
Jasmine Venegas is a writer based in Las Vegas, Nevada. She graduated from UNLV with a BA in English and has experience teaching elementary and high school students. She now writes list articles for CBR. She likes to read and draw. Feel free to email their suggestions for anime-related stories to [email protected]!
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