9 Studio Ghibli Moments That Give You The Feels

Photo of Studio Ghibli
ECG colorist, Jenn Lee, is an anime fan's anime fan. Her top nine list of Studio Ghibli moments will leave you ready for a Miyazaki marathon. And a box of tissues.

When I’m not working on a project, or honing my skills as a colorist, I love watching anime. If you’ve seen the office I share with Mary, it’s not hard to figure out that Studio Ghibli is my Japanese animation studio of choice. So, in honor of Michiyo Yasuda, Studio Ghibli’s Colorist, who died October 5th this year I thought it would be fun to share with all of you the nine Studio Ghibli Moments that give me the feels.

There is nothing better than curling up with a big bowl of ramen and a Studio Ghibli Film. Miyazaki, Takahata, and Kondō are all true artists. Alongside their creative team, these three men have had a profound effect on my life. Many of the lead roles in Ghibli films are women, and not just any women, but women who are intelligent, adventurous, and compassionate. These characters made me want to be more like them, and that is what makes Ghibli films so great. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen all of Studio Ghibli’s films. These are nine Ghibli moments that give you the feels.

9. Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki’s Delivery Service 2

Starting out easy with the moment that Kiki loses her ability to fly and subsequently her magic. She loses her confidence in herself and also her magic. Self doubt, depression, and anxiety affect so many people that in this moment it is easy to sympathize.

8. Spirited Away

Spirited Away

Early in the movie, Chihiro pushes on to see Kamaji even though she is afraid and in shock. She perseveres through the rest of the movie, by asking for a job and traveling on the train, however, her bravery in the boiler room is moving.

7. Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle

The scene when Sophie is being harassed by the guards in the beginning of the movie and Howl comes to help, even though he is being followed. The swell of the music and the careless beauty of this scene always give me the warm fuzzies.

6. The Wind Rises

Jiro falls in love only to have Naoko fall deathly ill a few scenes later. Then again at the end when we find out that all of Jiro’s hard work creates the very thing he hates the most, the Mitsubishi Zero used for Kamikaze attacks.

5. Pom Poko

Pom Poko

Although Pom Poko begins somewhat lighthearted the moment at the end after the Tanuki change the city back to a forest, the narrator talks a little about how this showed some humans that nature should be preserved, and protected. After this Ponkichi turns straight to the camera and asks the viewer to be more considerate of other animals and their loss of habitat. This gets me every time.


4. Whisper of the Heart

Whisper of the Heart

When Shizuku thinks that the whole idea for her book is not good. Then she finishes and takes it to her mentor Mr. Nishi and she is so nervous that she waits outside until he is finished reading, this moment is so relatable. In this moment I’m uncomfortable for her, waiting for feedback is often the hardest part of any creative project.



3. The Tale of Princess Kaguya

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

The scene when the princess runs all the way back to her home looking for something hard to define. In this moment you feel her loss, she no longer feels at home, and she longs for a time when she was happy.  

2. Grave of Fireflies

Grave of Fireflies

The opening of the movie, when you realize this whole movie will be spent watching two children starve to death. Takahata wants to show everyone the true cost of war, in hopes that later generations will instead choose peace.

1. Nausicaa


When Nausicaa dies trying to stop the enraged Ohmu. This scene shows her dedication to her people and the balance between humans and the toxic jungle. For just a moment it looks as if her sacrifice was for nothing until the Ohmu start to change. The best part is that everyone told her there was no hope, that she couldn’t save her home and, of course she didn’t listen.

Think I left a great moment out? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

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