How to Watch Studio Ghibli movies on HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu

2021 seems to have finally brought some good news, especially if you are an anime fan and love Japanese animation films. The legendary Studio Ghibli has finally decided to entertain requests from online streaming giants like Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu. The world-renowned, Academy Award-winning studio has made an agreement to give streaming rights to OTT platforms. This started a crazy bidding war and Netflix emerged victorious with streaming rights for 21 critically acclaimed Studio Ghibli movies. The list includes all-time classics like “Castle in the Sky”, “Princess Mononoke”, “My Neighbor Totoro”, “Spirited Away”, so and so forth. HBO Max made a similar deal and purchased the entire catalogue along with exclusive streaming rights in the USA, Canada, and Japan. Hulu got the exclusive streaming rights for “Grave of the Fireflies”, which is the most successful and critically acclaimed animation movie of Studio Ghibli.

How to Watch Studio Ghibli movies on HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu
Image: Studio Ghibli

What is Studio Ghibli?

Those who are not familiar with anime, such as Naruto Shippuden, or do not watch animated movies, in general, might not have heard of Studio Ghibli. This is a little introduction for them.

Studio Ghibli was founded in the year 1985 by creative genius and Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, in collaboration with long-term colleague and director Isao Takahata. Toshio Suzuki joined in as the producer. Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio that produces feature films. It has produced a number of short films, TV commercials, and even had their fair share of contribution in the world of video games.

The studio is world-renowned and has a reputation for producing some of the best imaginative and creative films ever. Studio Ghibli showed the world that there is so much that you can do if you think out of the box and inspired directors and creators to put on their thinking caps. They have given us some of the most memorable and iconic characters like Totoro, Kiki, and Kaonashi. Movies like Grave of the Fireflies bring out raw, gut-wrenching, horrors of war that is bound to make you cry. Then we have movies like Spirited Away that not only won an Academy Award for the best-animated feature film but also replaced Titanic to be the top-grossing movie of Japan. The entire world shall always be in debt of Studio Ghibli for giving us some of the most beautiful, emotionally complex, imaginative, and humanistic movies of all time. It is a perfect example of what you can achieve when your primary motivation is creating beautiful art rather than earning profit.

What is Studio Ghibli
Image: Studio Ghibli

Also Read: How to Delete Hulu Account

How to Watch Studio Ghibli movies in the United States

As mentioned earlier, Netflix purchased the streaming rights for Studio Ghibli movies for every other country (practically the entire world) except the US, Canada, and Japan. Now if you are a US citizen then you need to wait a little longer to stream Studio Ghibli movies, at least till May 2021. The streaming rights for Studio Ghibli movies in North America have been given to HBO Max. Although Netflix has already launched its first set of Studio Ghibli movies on 1st February 2021, HBO Max has decided to wait a little longer. Thus, if you are living in North America then you can either wait until it becomes officially available or uses a VPN to stream Netflix content from any other country. You can use a VPN to set your location to the United Kingdom and stream the contents of Netflix UK. We will discuss this in detail later in the article.

How to Watch Studio Ghibli movies anywhere outside the US, Canada, and Japan

If you belong to any other country apart from the ones mentioned above then Netflix will tend to your needs. Netflix is currently available in 190 countries and so chances are that you are pretty well covered. Just pay the subscription and start binging right away. Netflix is going to release 21 films in three sets of 7 movies at the beginning of every month starting from February.

The list of Studio Ghibli movies along with their date of release is given in the table below:

1st February 2021 1st March 1st April
Castle in the Sky (1986) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) Pom Poko (1994)
My Neighbor Totoro (1988) Princess Mononoke (1997) Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999) Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
Only Yesterday (1991) Spirited Away (2001) Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (2008)
Porco Rosso (1992) The Cat Returns (2002) From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
Ocean Waves (1993) Arrietty (2010) The Wind Rises (2013)
Tales from Earthsea (2006) The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013) When Marnie Was There (2014)

How to Watch Studio Ghibli movies with a VPN

If you are living in some country where Netflix isn’t available or Studio Ghibli movies aren’t streaming on Netflix for some reason or it is just that you don’t want to wait for HBO Max then you need to use a VPN. A VPN will allow you to circumvent geographical restrictions and view stream content available in any other country. For example, you are a US citizen and would like to stream Studio Ghibli movies, then you can set your location to the UK or any other country and enjoy the Netflix content of that country. It is essentially a three-step process.

  1. Firstly, download and install a VPN app that you like.
  2. Now use that app to set your location (IP address) to anywhere except US, Canada, or Japan.
  3. Open Netflix and you will find all Studio Ghibli movies available for you to stream.

The only thing that you need to decide is to which VPN would be the best for you and ideal for streaming on Netflix. Here is a list of VPN app suggestions. You can try using all of these and decide which one works best in your region.

How to Watch Studio Ghibli movies anywhere outside the US, Canada, and Japan
Image: Studio Ghibli

1. Express VPN

One of the VPN apps for streaming on Netflix is Express VPN. It is reliable and provides great speed for streaming on Netflix. One thing that you do not need to worry about while using Express VPN is compatibility. However, the most impressive thing about Express VPN is its extensive server list. It has over 3000 servers spread out in 160 locations and 94 countries. Apart from Android, it is also compatible with Apple TV, PlayStation, Amazon Fire TV Stick, iOS, and Xbox. Express VPN is however a paid app. You can try the app for one month and when you do so, you’ll realize that it is worth the money.

2. Nord VPN

Nord VPN is one of the most widely used VPN apps in the world. In terms of features and quality of service, it is neck to neck with Express VPN. However, in terms of price, it is almost half. As a result, Nord VPN is picked more often when choosing a premium paid VPN service. In addition to that, various offers and discounts greatly reduce the subscription. Similar to Express VPN you can try the app for one month and if you are not satisfied then you will be given a full refund.

3. VyprVPN

This is the cheapest of the lot. However, that doesn’t imply a compromise in quality in terms of speed and reliability. The only difference is the number of available proxy servers. VyprVPN has servers from a little over 70 countries to choose from and for any normal user, this should be more than enough. Just like the other two paid VPNs discussed above, this too has a money-back guarantee after a 30-day trial period. Thus, in case you feel unsatisfied with the app, you can easily upgrade to Express VPN or Nord VPN.


Studio Ghibli movies are truly a work of art and a display of creative genius. If you appreciate good movies then you must give them a watch. However, if you are a Hayao Miyazaki fan, then this is the best thing that could happen to you. You can finally find all your favourite movies in one place. We have covered every possible way in which you can stream Studio Ghibli movies irrespective of your current location. So, what are you waiting for? Hop on to your computers or mobiles and start binging right now.

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