Updated: Mar 19, 2022
As of the end of my 9th grade school year in 2021, I had never seen a Studio Ghibli movie. I know, I was a disgrace to society. But don't worry, because over the summer, I watched all of them. Please remember these are only my opinions, and you can disagree if you want. There are basically no spoilers in this list, but when I do want to talk about a movie in more detail, I'll let you know so you can skip to the next one.
23. Earwig and the Witch:
A girl who's been living in an orphanage her whole life is adopted by a woman whose house is filled with magic and mystery.
Earwig and the Witch is Studio Ghibli's most recent movie. In my opinion, the animation is horrendous. At times, it looks like a bad video game cutscene or a Powtoon project that was made in forty seconds. The movie lacks the charm and weirdness that all of the other ones have. The plot is pretty generic and sort of reminds me of fantasy books I used to read as a kid, except for the fact that it's not good. The ending doesn't feel like an ending, but rather, it feels more like the pilot for a TV show or the first movie in a series.
22. Tales From Earthsea:
A fantasy adventure very loosely based on Ursula K. Le Guin's book series Earthsea.
The first 20 minutes or so are pretty good; I liked the world and characters fine. After that it started to get a bit confusing, and by the second half I had no idea what was going on. This movie feels like it tries to do what Hayao Miyazaki* does without understanding why he does it. Everything that happened felt random, and when I did know what was going on, it was extremely predictable. It tries to have deep themes about death and existence, but fails to execute them in a way that doesn't feel forced.
*Hayao Miyazaki is the creator of many of the films of this studio. Most of his movies are more high-concept and less like slice-of-life movies, which are the other main things this studio makes.
21. The Cat Returns:
A girl encounters a group of talking cats in her neighborhood that take her to a magical world filled with cats.
I liked the beginning parts when she was trying to deal with the strangeness of the cats that she encountered, but then they added some weird magic stuff that felt like it came out of nowhere. It seemed like it was trying to be like Miyazaki's high-concept stuff, but would've been a lot better if it had been a more slice-of-lifey film about talking cats in a normal human neighborhood. The second half was so bizarre, and not in the charming way like the other movies. I wrote half of this review in the middle of the movie because I needed to take a break from it. The reason this is higher than the previous two is because it has the most amount of not bad parts.
20. Only Yesterday:
A 27-year-old woman, who works and lives in Tokyo, takes a trip to the countryside while reminiscing about her childhood.
For what it was, this was pretty well done. I'm sure it's more enjoyable to people that can relate more to the main character, but I was still able to get enough out of it to consider it worth watching. Compared to the other slice-of-life movies though, it had less emotional moments and fun characters and places, which is why I didn't like it as much. The next 3 or so movies have basically the same problems, so their descriptions will be brief.
19. From Up On Poppy Hill: