Take our user survey here!

Everything You Need to Know About the Studio Ghibli Netflix Release

Netflix will add 21 Studio Ghibli films starting on Feb. 1. Here are the underrated films you need to binge.

By 5 min read

For anime lovers, Feb. 1, 2020, is pretty much the Christmas to end all Christmases as the day the first dump of Studio Ghibli films hits Netflix. Starting tomorrow, seven of a total of 21 classics from the studios of Hayao Miyazaki including, My Neighbor Totoro, Porco Rosso, and Kiki’s Delivery Service will be available for Netflix users across the globe.

The release does come with a slight caveat however, for Netflix users in Canada, Japan, and the United States. Stateside Miyazaki maniacs will be able to stream Ghibli classics via HBO Max when the WarnerMedia streaming service—who currently owns the U.S. streaming rights—launches in May.

Sadly, those of us living in Japan won’t be able to stream the classic films, as they won’t be available on Japanese Netflix. What a crime against humanity.

The 21 films will be added gradually over the next three months

Netflix users in the Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Latin America, and Africa can expect three deliveries of seven films at a time slated to arrive on Feb. 1, March 1, and April 1.

It’s a pretty huge deal given that this will be the first time many international fans will have the opportunity to enjoy Ghibli films in their native languages.

It’s a pretty huge deal given that this will be the first time many international fans will have the opportunity to enjoy Ghibli films in their native languages instead of having to hunt down old DVDs or scouring the internet for bootlegs. As part of the deal, all 21 Ghibli films will be subtitled into 28 languages and dubbed in up to 20 languages.

While the most recognizable titles like Academy Award-winning film Spirited Away will be online, so will the rest of the studio’s catalog, giving fans old and new an opportunity to discover some of the lesser-known Ghibli films.

Once you’ve rewatched Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and My Neighbor Totoro, you can dive a little deeper and admire the offbeat humor of My Neighbors the Yamadas, and the bizarro world of The Cat Returns. Here are some of the more unknown Ghibli gems for your next binge.

Only Yesterday (1991)

A classic coming of age tale.

This underrated gem will be included on the first roll out on Feb. 1. Only Yesterday is set in the early ‘80s follows the story of 27-year-old Tokyoite and office worker Taeko. Taeko takes a vacation to the countryside as a way to escape the social pressures of modern life.

While this touching coming of age tale was a big hit in Japan, it never received the audience it deserved in outside countries, especially the U.S., as it was released in America 25 years after its local debut. Nostalgic, but never cliche, the film is directed by Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies and The Tale of Princess Kaguya) and is a modern anime classic.

Tales from Earthsea (2006)

A fantastic fantasy.

While Earthsea may not have the widespread appreciation of many other films within the family, this fantastical journey is definitely worth a few hours of your time. The story is based on the popular fantasy series penned by American writer Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s also the first film directed by Goro Miyazaki, Hayao’s son.

During the production of the film, the pair had a falling out of sorts, as Miyazaki senior questioned the experience and capability of his son to handle such a big project. While it may be a bit more simple than other Ghibli films in the narrative department, it’s an excellent adaptation of a tale that enthralled so many fantasy fans.

My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)

A change in pace from the typical Ghibli style.

Look for this little-known treat on Netflix in March. Based on a long-running Asahi Newspaper comic by Hisaichi Ishii, this film was a real experiment by the studio. Fans still debate whether or not it paid off.

The film follows the story of a regular middle-class family and runs like an anime-sitcom-comic hybrid presented in vignettes, similar to its comic book origin. While it’s a far cry from the whimsical world of Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke, it’s a fun look at the studio trying to do something a little different.

The Cat Returns (2002)

While many regard The Cat Returns as a bit of flop, it’s a camp little fantasy for those with a bit of a feline fetish. The film tells the tale of Haru, a young girl with the enviable ability to communicate with cats. After saving the life of a handsome Russian Blue named Luna, Haru discovers he is the Prince of the Cat Kingdom. When Luna asks Haru to marry him, she tries to escape to the human world before it’s too late.

When Marnie Was There (2014)

Out on April 1, When Marnie Was There is the newest of all the Ghibli films. This modern classic is based in Hokkaido and follows the adventures of Anna, a young girl in foster care. Anna’s life changes drastically when she meets the mysterious Marnie, who helps her overcome some deep-rooted trauma.

It’s mature, realistic, stylistically beautiful, and an excellent Ghibli introduction for even the most non-anime literate viewer. Basically, it’s the perfect Ghibli indoctrination film.

Release schedule

Feb. 1, 2020

Castle in the Sky (1986)
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Only Yesterday (1991)
Porco Rosso (1992)
Ocean Waves (1993)
Tales from Earthsea (2006)

March 1, 2020

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Princess Mononoke (1997)
My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)
Spirited Away (2001)
The Cat Returns (2002)
Arrietty (2010)
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013)

April 1, 2020

Pom Poko (1994)
Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (2008)
From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
The Wind Rises (2013)
When Marnie Was There (2014)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA - Privacy Policy - Terms of Service



A Complete Guide to the Films of Hayao Miyazaki

Fill in the gaps of your anime knowledge with this 11-film must-watch list.

By 8 min read


Otaku Time: 5 Anime to Binge on Netflix Japan Right Now

No kanji? No problem. Here’s a collection of top Japanese animated shows you can watch in English.

By 6 min read


Netflix Japan: 10 Series to Binge in 2019

Turn on the AC, buy some ice cream, and check out these recommended titles on Japanese Netflix.

By 10 min read