Grave of the Fireflies – Hotaru no haka – 火 垂 る の 墓
The film tells the story of two brothers, Seita and Setsuko, during the World War II in Japan. Their father works in the Japanese Navy, and their mother died after being burned during a bombing raid. Since then, the two have to learn to survive in the middle of chaos that the country is facing.
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya– Kaguya-hime no Monogatari – か ぐ や 姫 の 物語
Sanuki in Miyatsuko, a bamboo cutter, meets a little girl in a glowing bamboo shoot. Believing her to be a divine presence, he takes her home; he and his wife, Ona, decide to raise her as their daughter, and call her “Princess”. The girl grows quickly and her friends nicknamed her “Takenoko” (Little Bamboo). She lives a happy life in the countryside, but her adoptive parents decided to make her a princess moving her to the capital. As an adult, Kaguya becomes a beautiful woman and attracts dozens of admirers.
My Neighbor Totoro – Tonari no Totoro – と な り の ト ト ロ
The sisters Mei and Satsuki Kusakabe move with their father to a haunted house in a rural village of Japan, to stay close to their mother, who is convalescing in a hospital. Satsuki is ten years old, and her sister, six. Exploring the new house and the woods around, the two meet magical creatures, and they gradually become friends with Totoro.
Whisper of the Heart – Mimi wo sumaseba – 耳 を す ま せ ば
Based on the manga by Aoi Hiiragi, Whisper of the Heart tells the story of Shizuku Tsukishima, a 14 years old student who loves to read books. One day she notices that the same name appears in the checkout cards: Seiji Amasawa. In the following days, while dealing with the pressures of a teenager life, she dreams with the person who have read all those books and discovers that the name in the card is not a coincidence.
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness – Yume to Kyouki in Oukoku – 夢 と 狂 気 の 王国
The last film I am recommending today is not from the Studio Gibli, but about the Studio. It’s a documentary about the studio’s daily routine and its main figure: Hayao Miyazaki.