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Remembering Magical Moments from Studio Ghibli Films

The new trailer for Earwig and the Witch is inspiring us to look back on more Studio Ghibli moments

With the release of the trailer for Earwig and the Witch, Studio Ghibli is entering a new era of animation. How the 3DCG model will fare, we’ve yet to see. But until then, we’re taking the opportunity to look back on other magical moments from the studio’s history.

Here are just a handful of moments we remember fondly from Ghibli films. Be sure to tell us about some of your favorites, too!


Above the City (Howl’s Moving Castle)

Howl's Moving Castle

Earwig and the Witch is based on a novel by Diana Wynne Jones, who also penned the original Howl’s Moving Castle. Studio Ghibli brought Howl to life in 2004 and, while there were many differences between the book and film, it was a magical reimagining.

Early on, we see just how magical it’s going to be as the wizard Howl goes skipping over rooftops with protagonist Sophie. The moment is lighthearted, and also reminiscent of a pre-Ghibli Miyazaki work. Howl’s light step over the village rooftops bears a resemblance to Lupin III’s more frantic leaps across castle turrets in The Castle of Cagliostro.


“Balse!” (Castle in the Sky)

Laputa: Castle in the Sky

Next, a Studio Ghibli moment that’s both magical and meme-worthy. Towards the end of Castle in the Sky, heroes Pazu and Sheeta join hands and recite the incantation that will trigger a powerful spell: “Balse!” If you’ve seen the film, you know what happens next; if you haven’t, it’s worth your time to find out.

The moment is so memorable that it’s nearly broken social media more than one. During annual airings of the film, fans take to Twitter and other platforms to type out “BALSE” as it’s being said. In previous years, Twitter has had to shore up its servers in anticipation of The Balsening. It’s become less world-shaking in recent years, but there’s still a heck of an activity spike.


The Golden Field (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Sometimes, all you need is a still frame from a Studio Ghibli film to remember a magical moment. The end of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is much the same. And if you don’t know have the full context for this glowing moment… again, we’ll let you find out on your own.

Suffice to say, everything leading up to this moment is intense and emotionally driven. The story culminates in this shot, a surprisingly ethereal one, but also one completely at home in a Ghibli piece.

What are your favorite Studio Ghibli moments?

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Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. Beyond the world of anime, she's a writer for Doctor Who expanded universe series including Iris Wildthyme and the City of the Saved, as well as an editor for the critically-acclaimed Black Archive series.