Is there a watch order for Studio Ghibli Movies?

Get ready for The Boy and the Heron!

The Boy and the Heron

Studio Ghibli has earned its place among the most iconic creative producers of all time. Even if you’ve never seen a single episode of an anime, there’s a significant chance you’ve seen a Ghibli movie. From Spirited Away to Howl’s Moving Castle to Ponyo and beyond, its portfolio speaks for itself.

The Boy and the Heron, the latest work by Ghibli and its co-creator Hayao Miyazaki, is set for release in the west on December 4, 2023. So, it makes perfect sense that there will be people who wonder if there is a preferred watch order for films made by Studio Ghibli. So, let’s dive in and find out!

Is there a watch order for Studio Ghibli movies?

It might not be much of a surprise, but the films made by Studio Ghibli are isolated from each other, meaning there is no story-based reason to watch one before the other. That said — everyone will have their own opinions about where to begin with Ghibli films, and it’ll probably have a lot to do with where they began with Ghibli films.

That said, there’s reason to highlight the release order as a meaningful Ghibli watch order. If you decide to watch them in release order, you’ll be able to see the steadfast improvement in visual and aural style that Ghibli has made from the early ‘80s to today. It also gives you 25 films to catch up on if you haven’t seen any (though there’s nothing wrong with rewatching them if you’ve already seen them).

Here’s the Studio Ghibli release order:

  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
  • Castle in the Sky (1986)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
  • Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
  • Only Yesterday (1991)
  • Porco Rosso (1992)
  • Ocean Waves (1993)
  • Pom Poko (1994)
  • Whisper of the Heart (1995)
  • Princess Mononoke (1997)
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)
  • Spirited Away (2001)
  • The Cat Returns (2002)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
  • Tales from Earthsea (2006)
  • Ponyo (2008)
  • The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)
  • From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
  • The Wind Rises (2013)
  • The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)
  • When Marnie Was There (2014)
  • The Red Turtle (2016)
  • Earwig and the Witch (2020-2021)
  • The Boy and the Heron (2023)
About The Author
James Herd
Staff Writer — James has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. He was told once that video games couldn't be a career, so he set out to prove them wrong. And now, he has.
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