Studio Ghibli Comes to Netflix

The iconic Japanese cartoons have finally made their way to a streaming platform, but finding each and every one is a bit more complicated than it seems.
Studio Ghibli films are pretty beloved, even among those who don't tend to go for anime or family films. If you've never seen them, you don't have much of an excuse anymore. The studio's back catalogue has finally made it onto a streaming service, the first selection hit Netflix just this week.
The film studio has been notoriously slow to adapt to modern technology. Their insistence on physical media was beginning to look as nostalgic as many of their protagonists. However, if you've never found the time to sit down and watch them you’re in for a treat. Providing, you have the right Netflix that is.

What's So Special About These Films?

If you've not seen one, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. In short, they’re just very charming movies. If you're sat on the fence, maybe the excitement of some fans at the news can convince you.
Different films have different appeals, but you'll find a magical approach to animation that is missing from a lot of the others around.

Are They in Japanese?

Well, yeah… but also no.
Netflix has thankfully given viewers the option between dubs and subs for most of their anime. While many purists always stick with the subtitled versions (which are now available in 28 languages), Ghibli films always attract quite the pedigree to their voice cast. In the first batch uploaded, one stars Daisy Ridley and another features Phil Hartman as a wisecracking cat (You may remember him from such roles as Troy MacClure). You're in for a good performance no matter which language you pick.

How to Watch Studio Ghibli on Netflix

If you're in the US or Canada, Ghibli hasn't hit your service. However, this can be easily worked around with the use of a VPN to access the UK or other international versions of the service. In other regions, you might be wondering why your favourite isn't quite available yet.
This is because the movies are being rolled out in batches rather than dumped online all at once. These things are far too precious to be binged watched in one sitting. Instead, Netflix is enforcing some rationing. You get a handful of movies each month, to space things out a little. The first batch is already online and consists of:

Is There Anything Missing?

That's a lot of films, but there is one movie missing from this list. Its absence is always pretty conspicuous since it is such a standout film. Grave of the Fireflies is tied up in an entirely separate rights deal, meaning it is sat on Amazon Prime at the moment.
This is one of the earliest Ghibli films. It's a pretty horrific drama about youth in the dismal final months of the Second World War. Not quite the happy magical tone you'll find elsewhere. It features such dark themes that Totoro was released as a double feature alongside it, like a palette cleanser to cheer viewers up after sitting through it.

Where to Start?

Out of the first batch of films, you can start just about anywhere. Kiki's Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky, and My Neighbour Totoro are all firm favourites that are bound to give you a good taste of why so many people love these films. Some have particularly found Totoro to be a good starting place.
Alternatively, if you're really into distressing images and themes then you should head to Amazon for Grave of the Fireflies! Just remember that Totoro is back on Netflix when you need cheering afterwards.