paprika

Photo via Amazon

Beautiful worlds of magic await you.

There’s no question that Studio Ghibli stands at the very top of the animation industry (sorry, Disney). Seeing a Ghibli film is always a magical adventure that brings us back to our most childlike place, and we are fans of pretty much Hayao Miyazaki has ever touched.

While it’s tough to match up to Miyazaki’s standards, there are some other animated filmmakers out there doing notable work. If you’re a Ghibli fan and would like to discover more beautiful animation, these films are just the thing.

1. Paprika 

If you’ve ever seen the film Inception, a lot of the concepts in Paprika will seem awfully familiar to you — but Paprika came out first. Set in a world where scientists can not only record but enter people’s dreams, Paprika is a kaleidoscope of colors, sounds, thoughts, and feelings, all expertly blended by the hand of late director Satoshi Kon. All his films are masterworks, so if this one does it for you, we recommend you consume his entire backlog.

Buy it here

2. Summer Wars

A peek into a future ruled by a virtual world, Summer Wars introduces a stunning medley of characters to tell its story. Mamoru Hosoda (Wolf Children, The Boy and the Beast) directs the lovely tale, which has a five-star rating on Amazon for a good reason. It also hits pretty close to home, which is all the more reason to give it a watch.

Buy it here

3. Colorful

“In such a colorful world…which colors are my own?” Colorful‘s main character asks in the intro. This sets the tone for a beautiful film that openly deals with human frailties, suicide, and one’s view of the world. Winner of the 34th Japanese Academy Prize for Excellence in Animation, Colorful is a deeply nuanced and feeling story that is required watching for any Studio Ghibli fan.

Buy it here

4. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Another Japan Academy Prize winner, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time tells the tale of high school student Makoto Konno having a really awful day — that is, until an encounter with a runaway train mysteriously sends her back in time. How Makoto deals with her new power, as well as how it makes her see her world, is the heart of this gentle story. Director Mamoru Hosoda is behind it all once again.

Buy it here

5. Children Who Chase Lost Voices

This mysterious tale of a lonely girl missing her father after his death and the unusual events she stumbles into afterwards is not only deeply poignant, but also an important footnote in the career of director Makoto Shinkai, whose recent film Your Name has blown through all of Japan’s box office records. If you’d like to catch up on his previous work, this is a terrific film to see.

Buy it here

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