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  • Plan Your Movie Night! 7 Kid-Friendly Studio Ghibli Films To Watch With The Family

    These are the best films to introduce your children to the whimsical world of Hayao Miyazaki.
    by Karen Mae de Vera .
  • The Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli is one of the most globally renowned names aside from Disney. Famed animator and storyteller Hayao Miyazaki leads most of the works and is known for creating the consistently distinct art style that looks timeless regardless of the decade it was released. Studio Ghibli movies show both grand fantastical displays of heroism and also simpler tales of triumph amidst everyday adversity. They also never shy away from explaining serious grown-up issues. The unifying theme has always been empowering the children to make a positive change in their own way.

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    Studio Ghibli movies for kids

    If you want to introduce your children to these beautiful films, the movies will slowly be added to Netflix in batches over a three-month period from February to April 2020. Now's your chance to do a movie marathon!

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    My Neighbor Totoro

    My Neighbor Totoro follows the mundane-yet-memorable moments of the Kusakabe family as they move into the rural countryside — and the occasional magical encounter with the titular character! As a parent, you may find many relatable scenes such as siblings Satsuki and Mei constantly bickering, the kids clinging on to their mommy, and the heartwarming bonding between the sisters and their dad. The animated film may look light-hearted at first but discusses serious issues such as coping with the terminal illness of a loved one. (Now streaming)

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    Why Kids Will Love It: The overall look of Totoro and his cuddly forest companions will surely delight the children. The Catbus is also one of the most unusual depictions of transportation on the screen.

    Kiki’s Delivery Service

    Kiki is a 13-year-old witch-in-training being mentored by a talking black cat named Jiji. Kiki establishes herself as the resident witch in a European style town and utilizes her broom flying skills to start a delivery service. The slice-of-life story follows Kiki’s adventures running the business, honing her developing witchy powers, and dealing with puberty in general. Kiki’s struggles with growing up and taking on more responsibility certainly rings true for most tweens transitioning into adolescence. (Now streaming)

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    Why Kids Will Love It: The kids will be amused by Jiji’s antics in the film. The broom flying scenes are quite exhilarating as well!

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    Castle in the Sky

    The fantasy epic is the first animated film produced by Studio Ghibli. Castle in the Sky is about a farm girl named Sheeta and a miner boy called Pazu. Together, they must search for a legendary floating castle (a place mysteriously connected to Sheeta’s past) before pirates riding mechanical blimps and other villainous figures reach the place. The grand adventure features exciting high-flying action sequences taking place above the clouds and intricately drawn flight mechanisms. (Now streaming)

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    Why Kids Will Love It: There’s a lot of interesting machinery involved with the sky pirates’ airborne transportation. They can also look forward to a cool-looking giant mechanical robot that will leave them in awe.

    Spirited Away

    Chihiro is thrown into the spirit world after her parents are transformed into pigs. She must now find a way to reverse the curse and return to the human world. Spirited Away is an immersive and quirky glimpse into Japanese myths and ancient customs. It’s one of the more popular titles next to My Neighbor Totoro and even won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. (Streams on March 1, 2020)

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    Why Kids Will Love It: Chihiro’s BFF is a boy who can transform into a dragon! The Susuwatari or soot sprites particularly stand out among the spirits. There’s also a hilarious scene with No Face gorging on a delectable buffet.

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    Arietty

    Arietty hails from a race of pocket-sized beings called Borrowers. Her family resides in a teeny-tiny part of a house inhabited by humans. They sneak around corners “borrowing” bits of food and household items in order to get by. During Arietty’s first mission, she stumbles into the bedroom of a sickly human boy named Sho and they eventually strike a friendship. An inspiring story of unwavering mutual support as Arietty and Sho encourage each other to keep fighting and surviving despite their dire circumstances. The movie teaches children to find commonality and camaraderie with others of a drastically different background. (Streams on March 1, 2020)

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    Why Kids Will Love It: Common indoor sights are viewed in a fascinating light from the perspective of the pint-sized heroine, Arietty. The film also features an elaborately decorated custom-built dollhouse.

    Howl’s Moving Castle

    Howl’s Moving Castle is an animated adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’ British fantasy novel of the same name. Sophie is a young woman who works as a hat-maker at her family’s shop and lives a peaceful. However, a chance encounter with the enigmatic magician Howl throws her into the thrilling world of wizardry and machinery. This fairy tale contains grown-up issues shown in vibrant imagery as it contains anti-war sentiments, promotes female empowerment, and discourages ageism. These are important lessons laid out to general viewers without any condescension. (Streams April 1, 2020)

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    Why Kids Will Love It: The magical transformations and wizardry are truly a sight to behold! There are also amusing side characters such as Calcifer, the fire creature, and Markl a little boy who can disguise himself as an old man.

    Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea

    A Little Mermaid type of tale starring a sentient sea creature who runs away (more like swims away) from home and somehow ends up as the pet goldfish of a little boy named Sosuke. One day, she magically transforms into a human girl surprising her newfound friend. Ponyo also talks about the dangers of storms and tsunamis, with the adults taking the necessary precautions. The main character Ponyo has an obvious crush on Sosuke, making for adorably innocent interactions. (Streams April 1, 2020)

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    Why Kids Will Love It: Ponyo has some impressive action sequences such as the moment where she’s running on water and hopping on top of the waves. Plus, her goldfish design would look really precious as a plush toy. And let’s not forget the mouthwatering scene where Ponyo and Sosuke are eating freshly cooked ramen. 

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