The Regal Cinema Theater, located in the Cottonwood Mall in Albuquerque, has been selected as one of the theaters to host the annual Studio Ghibli Fest, an event put on by the Tokyo-based film production studio that specializes in anime movie features.

The festival this year is featuring nine of the studio’s most popular animations. While some films have already left the 2018 Studio Ghibli Fest, there is still time to see the remaining four films: “Grave of the Fireflies,” “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Spirited Away” and “Castle in the Sky.”

Below are summaries of each film and the dates when it will be showing.



“Grave of the Fireflies” (1988) August 15

First on the list we have “Grave of the Fireflies,” which is one of Studio Ghibli’s more gloomy, undertone films. The plot peers into the life of Seita, a young boy taking care of his little sister Setsuko, as the both of them fight for survival during World War II. Be prepared to shed a few tears throughout this animation, because the story is unlike any other Studio Ghibli film. The realistic qualities reveal what life was like for those trying their best to make it out alive during the Japan bombings in WWII. The film was directed by Isao Takahata, and has a 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Due to the sensitive topic matter and unapologetic honesty of the struggles people faced during this tragic period of time, “Grave of the Fireflies” should be on your next-watch list of films to see.

“My Neighbor Totoro” (1988) September 30 and October 1, 3

No Studio Ghibli list would be complete without “My Neighbor Totoro” on the list, since the fuzzy monster featured in the film is the studio’s mascot. He appears to be no monster on the outside, despite his towering presence and roar, “My Neighbor Totoro” is a fun film for all ages. This film follows two young sisters who have recently moved to a rural town in post-war Japan. Their story includes their interactions with the unique spirits that inhabit the area around their house, and also features the iconic Cat Bus. As a Studio Ghibli classic, this film contains universal appeal, no matter one’s familiarity with anime. “My Neighbor Totoro” won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize, the Mainichi Film Award and Kinema Junpo Award for Best Film in 1988.

“Spirited Away” (2001) October, 28, 29 and 30

An essential Studio Ghibli film, not only because of the incredible animation and art featured in the film, but because the film is the second most successful film from the studio. “Spirited Away” brought in $290 million across the globe. The film was also awarded the Golden Bear in 2002, as well as an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film in 2003. Brought to life by Hayao Miyazaki, one of the studio’s founders and legendary directors, the film follows a young girl Chihiro, navigating her way through the spirit world. The animation is highly imaginative and detailed with, so much that the viewer it is incredibly likely to find themselves ‘spirited away’ by the film’s jaw-dropping plot and animation.

“Castle in the Sky” (1986) November 18, 19, and 20

The studio’s first film to ever be released, “Castle in the Sky” is the perfect way to cap off the essential films from this legendary filmhouse. Released in 1986, the story features a similar battle as shown in “Princess Mononoke,” but this time the battle is over a floating castle known as Laputa. Once again there are outside forces overcome with greed and desire for fortune. The two protagonists of the film, Pazu and Sheeta, have to do what they can to protect the castle and the power within Sheeta herself. Another Miyazaki directed film, makes this film another classic from the studio, and should be seen at this year’s Studio Ghibli Fest.

Macey Rose is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted by email at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @maceyrae9.