Here are out top flick picks from Studio Ghibli
Despite winning an Oscar in 2003 for "Spirited Away," Japan's Studio Ghibli and its generally excellent work often goes unnoticed by the film-going population stateside.
Hayao Miyazaki, one of the founders of Studio Ghibli, is an unquestionable film legend, having proven his mastery of animation with top films such as "Spirited Away" and "Princess Mononoke."
The studio's latest release, "From Up on Poppy Hill," coming out Friday, is written by Hayao Miyazaki, and is directed by his son, Goro. It follows a high school girl and her pals in 1960s Japan who are trying to save their clubhouse.
Before that comes out, here are some of Studio Ghibli's finest achievements for you to catch up on:
'Princess Mononoke' (1997)
A young boy embarks on a quest to be lifted from a curse after a boar beast attacks his town. The environmental themes in the film are common throughout Hayao Miyazaki's work.
'Spirited Away' (2001)
Winner of the Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2003, this film follows a ten-year old girl as she contends with spirits and monsters while trying to save her parents, who have been turned into pigs by a witch.
Hayao Miyazaki's watery tale is not unlike "The Little Mermaid," but don't let that be a deterrent from seeing this story about a 5-year-old boy and a goldfish named Ponyo. Ponyo, the child of a wizard and sea goddess, magically transforms herself into a human girl and the two of them head out on an adventure.
'My Neighbor Totoro' (1988)
Hayao Miyazaki's first big film in the United States, this charmer is about a pair of sisters who move to a new home by a forest so they'll be closer to their hospitalized mother. They head off into the forest, where they have a great time with the Totoroes, who are giant, furry magical creatures.
'Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind' (1984)
Hayao Miyazaki originally started this story as Manga (Japanese comic books), and then brought it to animation. This is a post-apocalyptic fantasy about the title princess trying to save mutant insects from a kingdom out to destroy them.
'Howl's Moving Castle' (2004)
An 18-year-old woman is cursed by a witch, turning her into an old lady. She finds her way to the moving castle of the wizard Howl, who had been smitten by her when she was in her younger body. She takes a job in the castle, and ends up getting caught in a series of problems in her quest to regain her youth.
'Grave of the Fireflies' (1988)
This film - from writer-director Isao Takahata, based on a book by Akiyuki Nosaka - is a vast departure from the fantastical work of studiomate Hayao Miyazaki. This based-on-a-true story animated feature chronicles the life of two young siblings in Japan at the end days of World War II, as their mother is dying and their father's whereabouts are unknown, and they are trying to find food and a place to live.
5 more studio Ghibli films: "Castle in the Sky," "Kiki's Delivery Service," "Porco Rosso," "Tales From Earthsea," "The Secret World of Arrietty"