Favorite Hayao Miyazaki films for kids

John Watson just wrote a glowing review of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s film “My Neighbor Totoro” on Blogging Baby. I agree, it’s an absolutely wonderful movie — it’s been listed in “Things We Like” since Day 1.

We’re big Miyazaki fans here…the kids really seem to appreciate the whimsical imagery and the ambiguous plotlines, despite their love of standard Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks fare.

Kiki’s Delivery Service is another great choice (more straightforward than Totoro, but still fun). When the kids get a little older, Nausicaa is fantastic. What a brave, principled heroine, and an imaginative plot. Who knew a post-apocalyptic storyline could be so uplifting? I had tears in my eyes at the end, it was that good.

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  1. says

    These movies are great for girls in particular. I just watched Kiki with my 2 1/2 year old, and she loved it. When she gets older, we’ll watch “Spirited Away” (which is a bit too scary right now). I’m looking forward to getting Totoro next week, it’s my favorite, but older girls might also appreciate “Whisper of the Heart”.

  2. Lauren Snell says

    My four-year-old daughter absolutely loves Kiki’s Delivery Service. It’s nearly the only non-princess movie she’ll watch these days. There are no scary parts and no mean people. And thanks so much for pointing out Totoro is finally coming to DVD! We’ll be among the first in line.

  3. says

    Don’t forget Porko Rosso- incredibly fun to watch, and anything that tells kids “I’d rather be a pig than a fascist” is cool with me!

  4. says

    When I was pregnant with our baby, The Husband and I had many a long discussion about rolemodels. Nausicaa toppped the list for us. Of course, in Totoro you have a pretty great Dad role model, too. Can’t wait for that one to come out again, but I’ll admit to thinking the Fox dub wasn’t too deadly… Looks like it won’t have the cat bus short included on on the DVD, though. I was hoping that would be a special feature.

  5. says

    And another thought: Those with older kids who will enjoy Howl’s Moving Castle (being released on DVD with Totoro) can also pick up the book by English author Dianna Wynn Jones.

  6. Myles says

    Nausicca is amazing, but the kids really need to be older to see it. My 3 yr. old has been watching “the cat returns” from Ghibli recently and loves it. I believe it is out now or soon to be released by Disney on DVD.

  7. says

    Totoro Rules!

    Parts of it scared our kids when they were in their early 2s, but now that they are 3 they love it to death.

  8. Kiki's Mommy says

    My daughter called herself Kiki for an entire year when she was 2 and wore the closest thing we could find to a black dress in size 2T to be her “Kiki dress”. (Dark purple with small flowers, with long sleves) She also always refers to wearing two ponytails as “having Mae hair” (since the younger sister in Totoro wears her hair like that). The best thing about these films is there are no “bad guys” or people being put in jail (seems to be a recurring theme with all of the Disney movies and classic kids books).

  9. STL Mom says

    My kids (3 and 6) love Kiki and Totoro. I love the little touches, like when the dad in Totoro tells his daughter to take her shoes off, but she’s in a hurry, so instead she walks on her knees to keep her shoes off the floor. I remember doing the exact same thing as a child.

    My daughter also loves Spririted Away. It was the first movies that she sat and watched all the way through. I think she was 5 at the time. We pull it out every few months, and my son will watch bits and pieces. He is fascinated by the train with the tracks under water.

    Our library showed Nausicaa recently and suggested it was for kids age 13 and up. Have parents shown it to kids younger than that? How old?

  10. Daniel's mom says

    hey, my 6 year old son and i simply love hayao’s animation. we watched Princess Mononoke (which is quite scary at first) and taught him about the balance between nature/animal and human. he loves nausicaa, how’s moving castle and spirited away.