Advertising
Advertising

10 Miyazaki Films You Should Watch At Least Once In Your Life

10 Miyazaki Films You Should Watch At Least Once In Your Life

Nippon’s Studio Ghibli is beloved the world over for producing extraordinary animated films. They have captivated tens of millions of people, inspired imaginations, won Oscars, and yet at the heart of the majority of their catalogue is one man – the legendary Hayao Miyazaki.

Miyazaki films are special as he wrote, directed, and even helped animate many of them during a career spanning over 30 years. As a result, they have his distinctive touch throughout; his merger of compelling plots, endearing characters, breathtaking animation, and a sense of imagination places him on a creative genius level. He has now, unfortunately, retired (although he’s currently designing a nature park for children) and Studio Ghibli will forge on without him, but his legacy will ensure the animation specialists continue to thrive.

For fans of the films, people who haven’t heard of Studio Ghibli, or parents looking to inspire their children, the following are 10 of Miyazaki’s finest feature films. If beautifully hand drawn, fantastical, and dramatic stories are your thing, then Miyazaki has provided works which will leave an impression on you for years to come.

1. Princess Mononoke to Get Started

Princess Mononoke

    This is arguably Miyazaki’s outright masterpiece, so it’s a great place to start! Released in 1997, Princess Mononoke is a a beautiful and sweeping classic. During its complex plot, protagonist Ashitaka becomes fatally cursed, and ventures into the wider world to find help. Ultimately, he gets drawn into something far more dramatic in a sprawling adventure. Miyazaki plays on Japanese folklore throughout, with several memorable scenes involving kodama (tree spirits).

    2. Spirited Away  to Focus on Themes of Love and Loss

    Spirited Away

      This Oscar winner really woke Western moviegoers up to the spectacular nature of Miyazaki’s films. Written and directed by the great man, it centres around schoolgirl Chihiro Ogini as she’s transported to a bathhouse in the spirit world. An astonishing work of the imagination, its themes of love, loss, solitude, and maturity make it vital viewing for all ages.

      Advertising

      3. Howl’s Moving Castle for Its Masterful Writing

      Howl's Moving Castle

        Adapted from Dianna Wynne Jones’ novel, Miyazaki displayed his mastery again by writing the screenplay, and directing, this epic. When young Sophie is transformed into an old woman by the Witch of the Waste, she is left to search for a possible solution to her dilemma. This leads her to a spectacular castle owned by the enigmatic Howl, and her adventure begins. It’s a wonderfully animated and, as always, charming film crammed full of imagination, humour, and drama.

        4. Ponyo for Children

        Ponyo

          Arguably Miyazaki’s most environmentally conscious film. Ponyo centres on the life of the eponymous central character, a goldfish princess, finds herself taking on human characteristics as she strikes up an unusual friendship with a young boy. Ponyo boasts some of Miyazaki’s most vivid and exhilarating scenes, and is particularly well suited for children.

          5. Porco Rosso for Being a Classic

          Advertising

          Porco Rosso

            This unusually titled, often forgotten classic from 1992 may be hidden behind Miyazaki’s grander efforts, but it’s still a fantastic film. The eponymous character, who has somehow been mysteriously turned into a pig during World War I, is a flying ace who dares to challenge sky pirates who are besieging a local community. Once more, Miyazaki’s fascination with flight takes center stage.

            6. Castle in the Sky for Being the First Studio Ghibli Film

            Laputa Castle in the Sky

              This is, officially, Studio Ghibli’s first film – Miyazaki put his abilities to the test with a spectacular start for the company! Castle in the Sky is about two orphans searching for treasure in Laputa, a legendary floating city. Released in 1986, and in typical style written and directed by Miyazaki, it set the scene for what was to come.

              7. My Neighbour Totoro for All Ages

              My Neighbour Totoro

                Another fine example of how Miyazaki could craft a film to be accessible for all ages. My Neighbour Totoro was written and directed by Miyazaki, and launched in 1988. It’s essentially a simple tale of two schoolgirls in rural Nippon who interact with local friendly woodland spirits. The now iconic Totoro (a large, lethargic cat creature) adorns Studio Ghibli’s logo, and has been something of a cultural phenomenon.

                Advertising

                8. The Wind Rises for Adventure

                The Wind Rises

                  Hayao Miyazaki’s final film. The Wind Rises (2013) focuses heavily on his fascination with flying, and is one of the more poignant stories from his catalog. It features many of his familiar tropes (love, life, aviation, youth, ageing, the environment) but is typically crammed full of humor and is an absolute joy to watch.

                  9. Kiki’s Delivery Service for a Cool Cat

                  Kiki's Delivery Service

                    One of the lesser known Miyazaki films as it has been dwarfed by his more dramatic efforts. Adapted from Eiko Kadono’s novel, it follows the exploits of a young witch called Kiki. She essentially comes of age after moving to a new town, accompanied by Jiji the talking cat (who is, quite possibly, the coolest cat in movie history). It’s for all ages, but children should particularly love it.

                    10. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind for Its Polish

                    Advertising

                    Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

                      Based on Miyazaki’s manga from 1982, he adapted the plot for the big screen and directed it for a 1984 release. Studio Ghibli hadn’t been founded by this point, but the film can be considered canon. Even in 1984 his work was highly polished, and this sprawling tale about Nausicaä, a young princess, who battles to restore order to her land, is riveting.

                      And Finally…

                      The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki

                        Whilst he may have retired, the special edition Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki gathers together his work (obviously!) into one fantastic set. If you’re a Studio Ghibli super fan, this fitting tribute to Miyazaki’s creative input is a must.

                        Featured photo credit: Studio Ghibli via ghibli.jp

                        More by this author

                        Alex Morris

                        Content Manager, Copywriter, & Blogger

                        10 Relaxing Games to Play Online to Help Chill You Out 53 Fun Things You Can Do This Weekend 35 Inspirational Movies That Will Change Your Life 21 Inspirational Documentaries That Will Change Your Life 16 Educational and Inspirational Classical Music Compositions

                        Trending in Leisure

                        1 5 Best Free Websites To Learn Photography Skills Easily 2 World’s 30 Coolest And Most Unusual Hostels You Definitely Need To Visit 3 Beauty Hacks: 25 Smooth Shaving Tips for Women 4 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are 5 30 Inspirational Songs that Keep You Motivated for Life

                        Read Next

                        Advertising
                        Advertising
                        Advertising

                        Last Updated on August 12, 2019

                        12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

                        12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

                        Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

                        But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

                        I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

                        Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

                        1. Nuts

                        The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

                        Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

                        Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

                        Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

                        Advertising

                        2. Blueberries

                        Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

                        When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

                        3. Tomatoes

                        Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

                        4. Broccoli

                        While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

                        Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

                        Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

                        5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

                        Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

                        The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

                        Advertising

                        Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

                        6. Soy

                        Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

                        Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

                        Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

                        7. Dark Chocolate

                        When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

                        Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

                        8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

                        Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

                        B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

                        Advertising

                        Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

                        Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

                        To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

                        9. Foods Rich in Zinc

                        Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

                        Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

                        Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

                        10. Gingko Biloba

                        This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

                        It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

                        Advertising

                        However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

                        11. Green and Black Tea

                        Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

                        Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

                        Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

                        12. Sage and Rosemary

                        Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

                        Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

                        When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

                        More About Boosting Brain Power

                        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                        Reference

                        Read Next