A Beginner’s Guide to Studio Ghibli Movies on Netflix

It was a long time coming but finally, all 21 Studio Ghibli movies are available to stream on Netflix Internationally. For those who are new to Studio Ghibli and have never watched one of the studio’s incredible feature films, we’ve prepared a beginner’s guide. See below for background on the studio’s history, along with our suggestions on where to start with the new additions.

Please note: The Studio Ghibli movies are not currently available to stream on Netflix in the US & Canada.

Who is Studio Ghibli?

A household name in the anime industry, Studio Ghibli is a world-renowned animation studio that was founded in 1985 by Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki, and the late Isao Takahata and Yasuyoshi Tokuma.

The studio is responsible for the creation of some of the most iconic anime in history, in particular, the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away and the beloved classic My Neighbor Totoro.

In its 35-year history, Studio Ghibli has been responsible for the production of 21 films, bringing in over $1 billion at the box office, and making billions more in-home video and merchandising.

Of the top 10 highest-grossing anime films of all time, six are Studio Ghibli titles. Until Your Name was released in 2016, the top three highest-grossing anime movies were all from Studio Ghibli.

Hayao Miyazaki the co-founder of Studio Ghibli

Why has it taken so long for Studio Ghibli movies to be available to stream?

The short answer is licensing, and which companies were responsible for the streaming distribution rights.

Up until 2017, Disney held the license for Studio Ghibli’s home distribution (DVD, Blu Ray), eventually selling the rights to GKIDS for North America.

Is Studio Ghibli suitable for my children?

Any concerned parent out there will be delighted to learn that Studio Ghibli movies are perfectly suitable for children. All of the movies are rated PG and under.

Studio Ghibli movies are the perfect selection of anime films to be watched by the family.

The most popular Studio Ghibli titles

If you’re looking to get started with Studio Ghibli, you’re best starting with the most popular movies the animation studio has to offer.

To begin with, we would start with My Neighbor Totoro. Over three decades after its release, and My Neighbor Totoro is still one of the most beloved anime of all time, and not just under the Studio Ghibli banner. The wholesome tale of Satsuki and her younger sister moving to the countryside and playing with the magical creatures of the forest can be enjoyed by all and is especially great with the family.

My Neighbor Totoro – Copyright. Studio Ghibli

For higher stakes and adventure, the best titles to look at next would be Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle or Princess Mononoke.

Spirited Away, arguably the most successful movie of the Studio Ghibli library, is held in incredibly high regard as one of the greatest anime movies ever made. The most financially successful, Spirited Away is the second highest-grossing anime of all time and even earned the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film at the 75th Academy Awards.

An unmissable feature from the studio’s incredible collection. It is undoubtedly a must-watch.

Join Chihiro on her adventure to remember her own name, escaping from the contract with the witch Yubaba, and restoring her parents to humans after their transformation to pigs.

Spirited Away – Copyright. Studio Ghibli

Next up is Howl’s Moving Castle, the second most successful film at the box office for Studio Ghibli. The inspiration for the film came from director Hayao Miyazaki’s anger at the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The theme’s throughout are very much anti-war, but that doesn’t stop Howl’s Moving Castle being a fun adventure for everyone to enjoy.

After the young and beautiful Sophie is turned into an old woman by a jealous witch, Sophie must turn to her friend, the wizard Howl, to return her youth. At the same time, Howl must contend with two warring nations, and bring peace to the troubled times.

Howl’s Moving Castle – Copyright. Studio Ghibli

Last, but certainly not least is the 90s classic, Princess Mononoke. The fifth out of the nine films directed by Hayao Miyazaki, the legendary director came up with early concepts of the film in the 70s, drawing sketches of a princess living in the woods with a beast.

Outside of Japan, the film didn’t perform as well as predicted but years later when Princess Mononoke was available to buy on DVD, millions of households around the world bought the film, experiencing the magic of Studio Ghibli for the first time. It could be argued that the successful home video release of Princess Mononoke paved the way for the theatrical success of Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.

In the 14th century Japan, a Prince, cursed by a demon’s corruption, finds himself caught up in the conflict between the Wolf God Moro and his companion Princess Mononoke, fighting the atrocities committed by humanity.

Princess Mononoke – copyright. Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibli movies by director

Hayao Miyazaki

  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
  • Castle in the Sky (1986)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
  • Porco Rosso (1992)
  • Princess Mononoke (1997)
  • Spirited Away (2001)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
  • Ponyo (2008)
  • The Wind Rises (2013)

Hiromasa Yonebayashi

  • Arrietty (2010)
  • When Marnia Was There (2014)

Isao Takahata

  • Only Yesterday (1991)
  • Pom Poko (1994)
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)

Gorō Miyazaki

  • Tales from Earthsea (2006)
  • From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)

Hiroyuki Morita

  • The Cat Returns (2002)

Isao Takahata

  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)

Tomomi Mochizuki

  • Ocean Waves (1993)

Yoshifumi Kondō

  • Whisper of the Heart (1995)

Where can I stream the Studio Ghibli movies in the US and Canada?

At the time of writing, the Studio Ghibli movies are unavailable to stream in the US and Canada.

Avid fans won’t have to wait long as it has already been announced that the Studio Ghibli movies will be available to stream on HBO Max upon its release in May 2020.

HBO Max won’t be available in Canada, but Bell Media has a new agreement in place which will see HBO Max content make its way over to the streaming service Crave.

Which Studio Ghibli movies are you going to be watching on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below!

Jacob Robinson

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Jacob joined What's on Netflix in 2018 and serves as one of the lead writers here on What's on Netflix. Jacob covers all things Netflix movies and TV shows but specializes in covering anime and K-dramas. Resides in the United Kingdom.