With 'From Up on Poppy Hill' on the way, Studio Ghibli's 10 best movies
From 'Spirited Away' to 'Arrietty,' counting down the Japanese studio's finest
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1. "Spirited Away" (2002, directed by Hiyao Miyazaki)
I can see any number of animation aficionados rolling their eyes at the obviousness of this choice, but I don't think it was by fluke that this endlessly absorbing crazy-quilt of multi-cultural storytelling tropes and references -- here's Lewis Carroll, here's L. Frank Baum, but there's Mizoguchi -- put Studio Ghibli on the map for the uninitiated in both arthouse and multiplex circles, winning not just an Oscar but the Berlinale Golden Bear. Sometimes things break out because they're that good: of all the studio's many marvelous flights of fancy, this is the one that felt most immediately like a new old standard.