To celebrate 30 years of animation magic, here are the trailers for all 20 Studio Ghibli films from 1986 through to their last movie in 2014, listed in chronological order. The studio's name came from the italian noun "ghibli" meaning sirocco, or Mediterranean wind, the idea being the studio would "blow a new wind through the anime industry. They certainly did that as you can see from these wonderful trailers.
Some of the trailers are in the original Japanese and some are in English, although almost all of the full length movies are now available dubbed in English.
1. Castle in the Sky (1986)
Pazu, an engineer's apprentice finds a young girl, Sheeta floating down from the sky wearing a glowing pendant. Together they discover both are searching for the legendary floating castle Laputa and vow to unravel the mystery of the luminous crystal around her neck. Their quest won't be easy however. There are air pirates, secret agents and astounding obstacles to keep them from the truth - and from each other. Below is the Castle in the Sky trailer:
2. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
In the aftermath of a World War II bombing, two orphaned children struggle to survive in the Japanese countryside. To Seita and his four-year-old sister, the helplessness and indifference of their countrymen is even more painful than the enemy raids. Through desperation, hunger and grief, these children's lives are as heartbreakingly fragile as their spirit and love is inspiring. Below is Studio Ghibli's Grave of the Fireflies trailer:
3. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
The first Studio Ghibli film that I watched. It tells the story of two young girls, Satsuki and Mei, have moved with their father into a new home in the country, while their mother recovers from illness in a nearby hospital. To their surprise, they soon discover that they share this home with some rather unusual creatures and even stranger neighbours - forest guardians that the girls dub Totoro. When trouble occurs, their new friends will help them rediscover hope.
Here is the trailer for My Neigbour Totoro:
4. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
It is tradition for all young witches to leave their families on the night of a full moon to learn their craft. That night comes for Kiki, who follows her dream and embarks on the experience of a lifetime. With her chatty black cat, Jiji, she flies off to find the perfect spot in a faraway city. There, a bakery owner befriends Kiki and helps her start her own business: A high-flying delivery service.
This is the original Japanese trailer for Kiki's Delivery Service:
5. Only Yesterday (1991)
In 1982, Taeko is 27 years old, unmarried, has lived her whole life in Tokyo and now works at a company there. She decides to take another trip to visit the family of the elder brother of her brother-in-law in the rural countryside to help with the safflower harvest and get away from city life. While traveling at night on a sleeper train to Yamagata, she begins to recall memories of herself as a schoolgirl in 1966, and her intense desire to go on holiday like her classmates, all of whom have family outside of the big city. Probably the most adult of the Ghibli movies, here is the trailer for Only Yesterday:
6. Porco Rosso (1992)
When "Porco" - whose face has been transformed into that of a pig by a mysterious spell - infuriates a band of sky pirates with his aerial heroics, the pirates hire Curtis, a comical rival pilot, to "get rid" of him. On the ground, the two pilots compete over the affections of Gina, a beautiful cabaret singer. But it is in the air, with Fio, a young and talented airplane engineer/designer, where Porco's true battles are waged. Here is the English trailer for Porco Rosso:
7. Pom Poko (1994)
POM POKO is a tale of the clash between modern civilization and the natural world. The Raccoons of the Tama Hills are being forced from their homes by rapid urbanisation. As it becomes harder to find food and shelter, they decide to band together and fight back. Once they perfect the ancient art of transformation, they use their power, often in hilarious ways, to try to scare off the advancement of civilization. Will it be enough?
Here is the original trailer for Pom Poko in Japanese:
8. Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Shizuku Tsukishima is a bit of a book-worm, spending her last summer vacation in junior high school reading and translating popular foreign music into Japanese. With aspirations to one day become a writer, Shizuku can't help but notice that the name Seiji Amasawa appears on every one of the books she borrows from the library. Through a series of curious and magical incidents, she comes to meet Seiji and discovers he has dreams of becoming a famous violin maker in Italy. While their life-long goals pull them in two different directions, Shizuku and Seiji are determined to remain true to their strong feelings for one another.
Here is a US trailer for Whisper of the Heart:
9. Princess Mononoke (1997)
While protecting his village from a rampaging boar-god, the young warrior Ashitaka becomes afflicted with a deadly curse. To find the cure that will save his life, he journeys deep into sacred depths of the Great Forest Spirit's realm where he meets San (Princess Mononoke), a girl raised by wolves. It's not long before Ashitaka is caught in the middle of a battle between iron-ore prospecting humans and the forest dwellers. He must summon the spirit-powers and all his courage to stop man and nature from destroying each other.
One of the best loved of Studio Ghibli's films, here is the English trailer for Princess Mononoke:
10. My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)
Join in the adventures of the quirky Yamada family - from the hilarious to the touching - brilliantly presented in a unique, visually striking comic strip style. Takashi Yamada and his wacky wife Matsuko, who has no talent for housework, navigate their way through the ups and downs of work, marriage, and family life with a sharp-tongued grandmother who lives with them, a teenage son who wishes he had cooler parents, and a pesty daughter whose loud voice is unusual for someone so small. Even the family dog has issues! Experience the little victories in life, featuring the voice talents of Jim Belushi and Molly Shannon.
Here is an original Japanese trailer for the movie:
11. Spirited Away (2001)
The most successful of all the Studio Ghibli movies and my personal favourite, Spirited Away is a fabulous fantasy about a young girl named Chihiro who discovers a secret world of strange spirits, creatures and sorcery. When her parents are mysteriously transformed, she must call upon the courage she never knew she had to free herself and return her family to the outside world.
Here's the US trailer for Spirited Away:
12. The Cat Returns (2002)
A young girl rescues a mysterious cat from traffic and soon finds herself the unwelcome recipient of gifts and favors from the King of the Cats, who also wants her to marry his son, Prince Lune. With the assistance of a fat, grouchy real cat and a an elegant cat statuette come to life (both characters featured in Studio Ghibli's earlier anime "Whisper of the Heart"), the girl visits the Cat Kingdom and narrowly escapes again.
The Japanese trailer for The Cat Returns is below:
13. Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Based on the book by Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's moving castle stars a young woman named Sophie who is cursed by the Witch of the Waste, turns into an old woman, and is unable to tell anyone of her plight. Unable to continue her job at her mother's hat shop, she goes to the moving castle of the notorious wizard Howl and inserts herself into his household. Sophie befriends Calcifer, the fire demon who powers the castle and who is bound to Howl by a contract, the terms of which Calcifer cannot reveal. They promise to help each other with their problems. Like Calcifer, Howl can also see through the Witch's spell, and he and Sophie fall in love. Sophie helps Howl confront his former teacher, and the Witch of the Waste.
Here is the English version of Howl's Moving Castle trailer:
14. Tales from Earthsea (2006)
Based on a combination of plots and characters from the first four books of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series, Tales from Earthsea is based in the land of Earthsea, where crops are failing and livestock dying. Two dragons appear from the storm clouds and devour each other - an omen of impending disaster. The balance of the world is in peril of tearing apart. In his search for the cause of this encroaching catastrophe, the Archmage Ged, the greatest of wizards, meets Arren, exiled Prince of Enlad, in flight from a nameless Shadow. They journey through ruined landscapes to Hort Town - a city where blank citizens deal only in fake goods, slaves are traded and addicts wander the dangerous streets - and cross paths with Therru, an orphan girl with a fire-scarred face. Ged learns that the wizard Cob, in his search for eternal life, is preparing to open the door between the realms of the living and the dead. An old and defeated adversary, Cob has sworn to take terrible revenge on Ged.
The trailer for Tales from Earthsea was made by Keiichi Itagaki, who made all the Studio Ghibli movies up to this one:
15. Ponyo (2009)
Initially titled in English as "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea", Ponyo was loosely based upon the Hans Christian Andersen story "The Little Mermaid". It is set in a small town by the sea where five year old Sosuke lives, high on a cliff overlooking the Inland Sea. One morning while playing on the rocky beach below his house, he discovers a goldfish he names Ponyo, her head stuck in a jam jar. Sosuke rescues Ponyo and keeps her in a green plastic bucket. Both Ponyo and Sosuke are fascinated by each other and promise to stay firm friends until Ponyo's father, a sorcerer who lives deep under the sea, forces her to return with him to the ocean depths.
Below is the Disney trailer for Ponyo:
Based on the book "The Borrowers" by Mary Norton, tiny 14-year-old Arrietty lives under the floorboards of a sprawling mansion set in a magical, overgrown garden with her father and mother. Arrietty and her family live by borrowing. Everything they have, they borrow or make from the things they have borrowed from the old lady who lives in the mansion. Their peaceful life is dramatically changed when the ever-curious Arrietty accidentally allows herself to be seen by Sho, a lonely 12-year-old human boy. The two begin to confide in each other and, before long, a friendship begins to blossom...
The Arrietty trailer, featured below, won the best Best Foreign Animation/Family Trailer at the Golden Trailer Awards:
17. From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
Set in Yokohama in 1963, as Japan is picking itself up from the devastation of World War II and preparing to host the 1964 Olympics, the story centers on Umi and Shun, two high school kids caught up in the changing times. But a buried secret from their past emerges to cast a shadow on the future and pull them apart. With its rich color palette, stunning exteriors, sun-drenched gardens, bustling cityscapes and painterly detail, From Up on Poppy Hill provides a pure, sincere, and nuanced evocation of the past, and marks yet another creative triumph for Studio Ghibli.
Here is the trailer for Goro Miyazaki's From Up on Poppy Hill:
18. The Wind Rises (2013)
This was the last Studio Ghibli film directed by the animation master, Hayao Miyazaki, who was responsible for the most reknown Ghibli films including Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and Princess Mononoke. The film takes a look at the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II.
The Wind Rises was the highest grossing film in Japan in 2013, and the trailer for it follows:
19. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)
Based on the classic Japanese folktale, "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter", a tiny Princess Kaguya is found inside a shining stalk of bamboo and grows into an exquisite young lady, raised by an old bamboo cutter and his wife. From the countryside to the grand capital city, even unseen she enthralls all who encounter her, including five noble suitors. Ultimately she must face her fate, punishment for her crime.
The film was beautifully directed by Isao Takahata, a Studio Ghibli co-founder who was also responsible for directing "Grave of The Fireflies":
20. When Marnie Was There (2014)
When shy, artistic Anna moves to the seaside to live with her aunt and uncle, she stumbles upon an old mansion surrounded by marshes, and the mysterious young girl, Marnie, who lives there. The two girls instantly form a unique connection and friendship that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. As the days go by, a nearly magnetic pull draws Anna back to the Marsh House again and again, and she begins to piece together the truth surrounding her strange new friend. Based on the young adult novel by Joan G. Robinson and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arrietty), When Marnie Was There has been described as “Ghibli Gothic,” with its moonlit seascapes, glowing orchestral score, and powerful dramatic portrayals that build to a stormy climax.
When Marnie Was There was regrettably the last film created by Studio Ghibli and was nominated for an Academy Award for the best animated feature in 2014. Here is the trailer for the film: