Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess (2010)

A lovely story of a brave egg and a bizarre-looking magical dough creature. The short sweeps you up, its world, its music, its visuals, but the goofiness of Mr. Dough is what sticks out the most. The villain feels like a bit of a mix of the witch figures in Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving…

Monmon the Water Spider (2006)

A water spider being infatuated with a water strider makes for a cute, quirky premise, and from there Miyazaki fills this short with his usual way of rendering nature in beautiful ways, here bringing all sorts of creatures to life in charming, cute ways. Lovely little short that really sweeps you away into its world…

Mei and the Kittenbus (2002)

This quasi-sequel to “My Neighbor Totoro” is a thirteen-minute dip back into that film’s world. The premise is cute, following the titular child of that film’s iconic Catbus, and there are some nice grace notes about ageing and sharing, but there’s not much meat on the bone here – a pleasant little jaunt but nothing…

Tales from Earthsea (2006)

Exposition-heavy but borderline incoherent, “Tales from Earthsea” is perhaps the least substantial offering from Studio Ghibli, a rudderless mess of a story without the saving grace of stunning visuals. Perhaps familiarity with the books the film is apparently a mash-up of would have helped the story make sense to me, but for all the exposition…

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)

Isao Takahata’s last film, based on ancient Japanese folklore, looks absolutely exquisite. The hand-drawn animation style exemplifies the natural beauty Studio Ghibli is so concerned with. The watercolour palette plays beautifully into how the film addresses the wonder of simple life and creation. Like Takahata’s last film, made so many years earlier, the film revels…