11 Great Studio Ghibli Films Not Directed By Hayao Miyazaki
Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki are often seen as synonymous, but there are plenty of masterpieces under the Ghibli banner that weren't crafted by Miyazaki. Even so, this perception isn't totally off base. Miyazaki co-founded the studio with his creative partner Isao Takahata, and directed some of the studio's most renowned films, including My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke.
Miyazaki's work is spectacular – but so is the work of the other directors Studio Ghibli has worked with, like Isao Takahata, Yoshifumi Kondo, Hiroyuki Morita, Gorō Miyazaki, and Hiromasa Yonebayashi. Studio Ghibli movies not directed by Miyazaki have their own merit and charm, and are often underrated hidden gems, such as Only Yesterday and When Marnie Was There. Others – particularly Grave of the Fireflies – are just as well known as anything Miyazaki directed.
- 1174 VOTES
Grave Of The Fireflies, which premiered in 1988, was directed by Isao Takahata, one of the original founders of Studio Ghibli. Often cited as the saddest anime movie ever made, this film follows Seita and Setsuko, two children who are struggling to survive after their mother is killed during a World War II firebombing. They must deal with illness, starvation, and loss, all while trying to maintain a sense of innocence.
- Actors: Yoshiko Shinohara, Akemi Yamaguchi, Ayano Shiraishi, Tsutomu Tatsumi
- Released: 1988
- Directed by: Isao Takahata
- 2158 VOTES
Gorō Miyazaki's second film, 2011's From Up on Poppy Hill, deals with student activism. Umi Matsuzaki and Shun Kazama clean up their high school's clubhouse in order to use it to run the school newspaper. When Tokumaru (the school's chairman and local businessman) decides to destroy the clubhouse for redevelopment, the students must persuade him to forgo his plan.
- Actors: Masami Nagasawa, Teruyuki Kagawa, Yuriko Ishida, Nao Ōmori, Keiko Takeshita
- Released: 2011
- Directed by: Gorō Miyazaki
- 3169 VOTES
Whisper Of The Heart
Whisper Of The Heart is a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl who wants to pursue a writing career, and who is developing romantic feelings for the first time in her life.
The movie, which debuted in 1995, was the first and only film to be directed by Yoshifumi Kondō. He was expected to succeed Hayao Miyazaki as a primary director for Studio Ghibli, but he died suddenly of an aneurysm in 1998. His death was said to be caused by overwork, which inspired Miyazaki to temporarily retire, and then return to work at a more relaxed pace.
- Actors: Mayumi Iizuka, Minami Takayama, Shigeru Muroi, Yōko Honna, Toshio Suzuki
- Released: 1995
- Directed by: Yoshifumi Kondō
- 4185 VOTES
Like many Studio Ghibli films, The Secret World Of Arrietty is based on a book by a Western author. In this case, it's The Borrowers by Mary Norton. The 2010 film, which was the first film directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, follows a group of miniature humans called Borrowers, who live inside walls and borrow items from humans to survive. This move is particularly lauded for its soundtrack, which was composed by Cécile Corbel – a departure from the studio's usual composer, Joe Hisaishi.
- Actors: Mirai Shida, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Kirin Kiki, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Tomokazu Miura
- Released: 2010
- Directed by: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
- 5122 VOTES
When Marnie Was There tells the story of a young girl named Anna Sasaki who forges a deep friendship with a mysterious girl named Marnie. Marnie isn't who Anna thinks she is, but her unexpected identity helps Anna come to terms with some troubling aspects of her personal and family history.
The movie came out in 2014, and was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. It's based on Joan G. Robinson's novel of the same title, though its English setting is transposed to Japan. This was the last film Studio Ghibli made before it announced a hiatus following Hayao Miyazaki's retirement, which later proved to be temporary.
- Actors: Hailee Steinfeld, Kathy Bates, Mila Brener, Ellen Burstyn, Geena Davis
- Released: 2014
- Directed by: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
- 6150 VOTES
The Cat Returns
The Cat Returns is a spin-off of Whisper of the Heart that focuses on a minor character: a cat statue named named Baron who was brought to life by human creativity. In Hiroyuki Morita's 2002 film, a young girl named Haru Yoshioka saves the Prince of Cat's life, and is offered his hand in marriage as a thank you. Her vague reply is taken as a yes, and she has to travel to the Cat Kingdom to clear up the mistake.
- Actors: Chizuru Ikewaki, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Kumiko Okae, Aki Maeda, Takayuki Yamada
- Released: 2002
- Directed by: Hiroyuki Morita