My Neighbor TotoroWhether you’re an established anime fan or just starting out, you might ask yourself: why all the Miyazaki?

Anime fillmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, a partner in an anime studio called Studio Ghibli, dominates best-of-anime lists the way the Beatles own the top ten on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list. He's known as the Walt Disney of Japan and enjoys more popularity outside of Japan than any other director.

His reputation is well earned. Miyazaki's films are the best entry point for Japanese animation, also known as anime. Depending on the movie kids can start quite young and there is a good variety of material.

I’ve ordered this list by age recommendation youngest to oldest.

(Also see our list of best non-Miayazaki anime films.)

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Age recommendation: 5 and older

If you were to ask any anime fan which Miyazaki film a child should start with I guarantee they would say Totoro, a film about two girls who have adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live near their mother's hospital. If you didn’t limit it to Miyazaki and let them choose from any anime director, there’s a good chance they would still say Totoro. ‘Nuff said.

>Next: Kiki's Delivery Service

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