The Immersive Realism of Studio Ghibli


Studio Ghibli has consistently created the most compelling animated films I have ever seen, in part due to their immersive realism. Despite the fantasy and magic, Ghibli's films consistently feel tactile and realistic. In this video essay, we explore how Studio Ghibli consistently achieves immersive realism in their films.

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Music by Mary Lattimore —

Chinese subtitles by Jim Huang

Footage from the following Studio Ghibli films:

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 1984)
My Neighbor Totoro (dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 1988)
Kiki's Delivery Service (dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 1989)
Only Yesterday (dir. Isao Takahata, 1991)
Ocean Waves (dir. Tomomi Mochizuki, 1993)
Whisper of the Heart (dir. Yoshifumi Kondō, 1995)
Princess Mononoke (dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 1997)
Spirited Away (dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
Howl's Moving Castle (dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 2004)
From Up on Poppy Hill (dir. Gorō Miyazaki, 2011)
The Wind Rises (dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 2013)

Additional footage:

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (dir. Mami Sunada, 2013)
"The Making of Spirited Away" & "Spirited Away: Behind the Microphone", Spirited Away DVD special features
The Lord of the Rings (dir. Ralph Bakshi, 1978)
Fire and Ice (dir. Ralph Bakshi, 1983)
American Pop (dir. Ralph Bakshi, 1981)

CG VFX & Misc