Hayao Miyazaki may be retired from making films, but my family is beginning to discover his work. We’ve watched Ponyo, a spin on The Little Mermaid, two days in a row. We’ve also watched Castle in the Sky this week. The Secret World of Arrietty is one of my daughter’s favorite films. It’s been years since I was freaked out by Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke.

I’m enjoying watching films from the Ghibli Studios as much as the kids. The stories are always magical, bizarre, and thoughtful. The art is created with mostly hand drawn animation. These aren’t slick Pixar movies made for the masses. Miyazaki films have their own rough and beautiful style.


Totoro in Toy Story 3.

I want my kids to love all kinds of film. Kids are moved by the kindness in these imaginary worlds. Yesterday my kids were raptured by what was going to happen to Ponyo and figuring out how she was created. Today’s viewing allowed them to see details they had missed the day before.

We have My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service up next for us at the library. I’m bummed I can’t find any of these films in iTunes or online. Although, the library also has a few graphic novels from the films. My kids love reading these graphic novels. While watching Ponyo I heard my kids say, “This is when book 2 ends!”

I may let my kids watch Spirited Away, but it will be a long time before we watch the violent and freaky Princess Mononoke.


Hayao Miyazaki films often have an environmental and conservation theme. A few days ago Miyazaki announced he is creating a magical nature park called “the Forest Where the Wind Returns” on Kume Island in Okinawa, Japan. Whenever we get to Japan this nature park will be high on our list of places to visit. In the meantime we get to visit Matsuko, Laputa, and other mystical land through his films.

P.S. I also want to watch Pom Poko and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. These are Ghibli Studio films, but not directed by Miyazaki.

What is your favorite Miyazaki film? Have you watched any with your kids yet?