I’ve always had a deep fascination with the themes of childhood, the shattering of innocence, growing up, and even death. When I was younger, it was hard for me to name or even shape my thoughts about any of these concepts, but I knew one thing very clearly back then—that I enjoyed seeing art that tackled these very subjects.
It came to me as a surprise when I discovered Studio Ghibli and their films. What was amazing about their work was that everything I ever wanted to express had already been done in these films and in the most beautiful ways. And even more surprising than that was I did not feel the slightest bit of disappointment or sadness that someone had managed to do, long before I was born (in the ’70s, to be precise), something I always wanted to do.
Studio Ghibli was like a kindred spirit. Watching these films inspired my creativity and encouraged my need to explore the themes that fascinated me as a child.
These films are appropriate for all ages—not in a PG rating kind of way but more on an emotive and intellectual level. They respect their audience, no matter what age they might be, and have something to offer to everybody who’s watching them. I would say the reason for that is because the creators of these films take their viewers seriously, so they choose to portray human nature in their characters as sincerely and authentically as they can. Something very interesting to note about these films is that you will rarely find a true villain in them; characters who seem good will do bad things and characters who seem bad do good acts to the point where figuring out who is good or bad is not important anymore. By giving the characters central importance in their storylines, they are able to present us with a remarkable three-dimensionality of characters.
Studio Ghibli films have that fine balance between realism and fantasy where they do not shy away from creating imperfect and complex characters in imaginatively evocative settings, which in turn provides us with a subtle insight into our own human condition. Check them out!