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Studio Ghibli’s Spring Garden

RWC tutors Patricia and Gabriela Santiago give a list of Studio Ghibli films that evoke a sense of spring.

Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation company that has produced a total of 24 full-films since being founded in 1985. It is responsible for highly awarded films such as Spirited Away, The Boy and the Heron, and many more. Studio Ghibli is notoriously known for its unique style of whimsical realism, many of which are full of beautiful depictions of flowers and nature! Now that May is in full bloom, let's take a look at some Studio Ghibli films that immerse watchers in the spring G

The Secret World or Arrietty

This film follows the story of Arrietty Clock, a diminutive four-inch girl who lives with her parents under the floorboards of a human family. Known as borrowers, Arrietty and her parents survive by scavenging items from their larger counterparts. However, Arrietty’s world becomes a little less secret when she is discovered by a boy named Shawn, a fragile boy that recently moved into the house. Initially wary of Shawn, Arrietty gradually forms an unlikely friendship with him, leading to an exciting adventure.

Beyond its captivating storyline of resilience and camaraderie, the film mesmerizes viewers with its stunning visuals. From the lush garden where Shawn and Arrietty meet, adorned with a kaleidoscope of flowers and framed by towering trees, to the thrilling escapades that unfold, the film is a must watch for the eyes and spirit.

When Marnie Was There

When a young girl named Anna, is sent to the country with her relatives to heal from her health conditions, she is drawn to an abandoned mansion on the marsh. Across the expanse of the marsh, Anna sees a mysterious blonde girl in the window of the top floor. One night she ventures into the mansion and befriends the enigmatic girl named Marnie.

In comparison to Anna’s reserved nature, Marnie is a seemingly lively girl that opens up Anna to the world around her. They begin to form a unique bond as reality and fantasy begin to merge as the film progresses. However, one thing is clear, they both offer the other exactly what they need, whether it is a sense of security or unbridled happiness. Everything unravels as Anna begins to piece together the truth about Marnie leading to an unexpected ending that I will not spoil here.

Despite exploring theme of loneliness, struggle, and forgiveness, this film remains a breathing taking film and one of my personal favorites from Studio Ghibli. Its visually stunning portrayal of the marshland, vibrant green forests, and pink sunsets captivates viewers, making it an aesthetically pleasing experience from start to finish. For those looking for a blend of mystery and visual splendor, this Studio Ghibli gem is a must-watch.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

This film begins with an old bamboo cutter stumbling upon a glowing tree, from which he discovers a miniature girl. He decides to take her in with his wife. The miniature girl quickly transitions into a baby and then grows into a young girl named Princess Kaguya, raised to be a princess. Although Kaguya is initially thrilled, she later faces challenges that prompt her to reconsider her decisions.

One scene in the film depicts Kaguya wishing to return to the countryside to see the cherry blossoms bloom. Completely immersed in the spirit of spring, she twirls around in falling blossoms. This memorable moment captures Princess Kaguya bursting with life and joy! This film's beautiful depiction of cherry blossoms and its unique art style are very fitting for spring.

Howl’s Moving Castle

One of the studio’s most popular films, this story takes place in a country where peace is constantly under threat. Sophie lives an uneventful life until she encounters a wizard called Howl, who has a notoriously bad reputation and wanders aimlessly in a moving castle. Sophie’s encounter with Howl catches the attention of the wicked Witch of the Waste, leading to her being placed under an aging spell. Transformed into an old lady, Sophie leaves her home to seek the help of Howl in restoring her youth, marking the start of a very eventful journey.

In the film, there are many depictions of beautiful scenery, including lush green grasslands and flowers. However, a notable location is Howl’s secret garden, filled with flowers near a picturesque lake. Howl’s Moving Castle is a film brimming with spring vibes, from its stunning scenery and vibrant colors to the blossoming growth of the characters!

Castle in the Sky

This film starts off with a young girl named Sheeta being kidnapped by a government agent named Muska in order to find Laputa, a legendary floating castle, and use her crystal necklace to access it. Sheeta manages to escape during a pirate attack and joins forces with a boy named Pazu. Together, they decide to seek out Laputa to unravel the history of Sheeta’s identity and the lost civilization. This journey becomes a race against Muska and the pirates, who seek to reach the castle and take its treasure and advanced technology.

The Castle in the Sky features some beautiful scenes of the city of Laputa that fill it with whimsical and breathtaking depictions of nature. Since the disappearance of civilization on Laputa, nature has taken over the city, filling everything with beautiful, unruly greenery. With scenes such as this and the sun shining brightly, it resonates with the spirit of spring and all its vibrant colors!

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