The Boy and the Heron and the 7 best Studio Ghibli films to stream on Max

The Boy and the Heron
The Boy and the Heron /

After securing the esteemed Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, The Boy and the Heron has become a must-watch for anime lovers (or animated film appreciators) everywhere. Admittedly, we're feeling the same sentiments, as the 2023 film seems to be yet another Hayao Miyazaki masterpiece, prompting us to find a way to stream this film as soon as possible.

Fortunately, we don't have to look far!

Max (formerly known as HBO Max) has recently announced its plans to extend their partnership with GKIDS. This partnership gives Max the right to stream plenty of Studio Ghibli films on its platform, which is a great sign for those who have been wondering where they can stream some of the best Miyazaki titles to date.

This partnership also includes the eventual acquisition of The Boy and the Heron, so, as long as you're a tad patient, you should be able to stream Miyazaki's latest work much sooner than you initially thought.

Undoubtedly, Max is the place to be when it comes to all of your Studio Ghibli needs. However, as you wait for the streaming service to acquire The Boy and the Heron, here are the 7 Studio Ghibli films to watch in the meantime.

Best Studio Ghibli films streaming on Max

We'd be lying if we said choosing 7 films from Studio Ghibili's catalog was easy, especially because every film was made with so much love, curiosity, and, of course, talent. Nevertheless, if you're going to stream a Studio Ghibli film, you've got to go big or go home!

Here are the very best Studio Ghibli films you should stream on Max today:

1. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is a great watch for those who like films like Star Wars or Dune, as the films talk about a prophecy of a chosen one coming to free the land from things like war or environmental tragedies. The only difference is this film's chosen one doesn't go on a downward spiral that threatens the lives of many. (It's a Studio Ghibli film, after all!)

The 1984 film reminds us why it is so important for us to take care of the Earth we're living in because it's the only one we have. Even if we could live elsewhere, it still wouldn't erase the fact that humanity was so careless to lose our original home. Perhaps this film will shed some light on why we shouldn't have to wait for some famed hero to save us and instead do small heroic things every day to prevent a disaster.

2. Castle in the Sky (1986)

Think of Castle in the Sky as a One Piece film but darker and far more metaphorical than you've ever predicted.

Sure, this 1986 film also includes pirates in search of something beyond themselves. However, in this case, the prize isn't something as tangible as the infamous one piece but rather a chance to gaze upon a mythical floating society. How far some are willing to go to see this phenomenon, though, is something that Miyazaki begs his audience to be aware of and warns against.

3. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Oh, to be able to go back to a time when our biggest worry was moving away from our friends. Now, as adults, we are burdened by the overwhelming tasks that we constantly have to address to make ends meet. What's more, with diseases and sicknesses constantly rearing their ugly heads, we have to be even more conscious of our health and well-being.

My Neighbor Totoro is a gentle reminder to never take our current age for granted because we'll never be as young as we are now. We were in such a rush to grow up and, often, pretty selfish with how we lived our lives as children. But it's astonishing what many of us would do to go back to simpler times and thoroughly enjoy the unknown because events like these are few and in between now.

My Neighbor Totoro - Studio Ghibli /

4. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

At some point in our lives, we will feel like we aren't adequate at the thing we could've sworn we were best at. Sometimes we need a little dose of confidence, whereas other times we need an entire self-healing spiritual journey that helps us understand why no one else but ourselves can do what we were born to do.

This is the story of Kiki's Delivery Service, as it follows the life of a young girl who begins to lose her supernatural abilities needed to manage her aviation delivery service and needs to gain her confidence back to gain her powers back.

5. Princess Mononoke (1997)

The amount of subliminal messages in Princess Mononoke will have you searching within yourself for answers about what you and other members of humanity could be doing to ensure the prosperity of our ecological world for not just ourselves but for the many generations who are coming after us.

Miyazaki has always been a huge advocate for the preservation of forests and wildlife. In this 1997 film, you can see his passion for the matter, as the story of a prince who needs to make peace with his sins before being cured of a painful disease that only those who lurk in the wilderness know how to absolve. A great metaphor for how the very things we destroy could contain the answer for the problems we have today.

Princess Mononoke - Studio Ghibli /

6. Spirited Away (2001)

If there's any film the world would agree was perfect for adventure-seekers, it would definitely be Spirited Away because this film takes you on a journey like no other.

Only by watching this film do adventurers and adventure enthusiasts get a taste of the marvelous possibilities that can exist right under our noses. Be it a magical bathhouse or an off-putting monster who comes and goes when it so pleases, we could only imagine the child-like glee we would feel if any element of this film was real.

7. The Wind Rises (2013)

The Wind Rises is an amazing tale of how some technological explorations can lead to nothing but positive things for one nation and nothing but terrible happenings for another. It's a great message for those knowledgeable on wars that have wrecked humanity and how the inventions of certain products shifted the tide of peace for many years afterward.

For certain wars, it was the creation of a nuclear bomb. For others, it was something as simple as the creation of an efficient plane.

Spirited Away - Studio Ghibli /

And again, although The Boy and the Heron is not yet streaming on Max, it will very, very soon. Here's why you should keep an eye on its release!

The award-winning film follows the life of Mahito, a young boy who moves to the countryside after the death of his mother. In this new location, he encounters many things, including a heron who promises him that he can get his deceased mother back so long as Mahito follows its instructions. Despite being too good to be true, Mahito sets out on the journey to reunite with one of the most precious things he's ever cherished.

The Boy and the Heron holds a powerful sentiment about the lengths we're willing to go to return to a point in our lives where everything makes sense and how grief can sometimes hinder us from being the best versions of ourselves that we can be.

Check out the official trailer below!

Now that you know all about our top Studio Ghibli picks, all that's left to do is head over to Max to see them for yourselves!

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