Following the success of Ghibli Fest 2017, Gkids is at it again in 2018. Partnering with Fathom Events, they are bringing us Ghibli Fest 2018! A movie event for three days a month March through November of 2018, see the graphic below for the specific movies being shown this year!

Ghibli Fest 2018 – Image rights to Gkids, Fathom Events, Studio Ghibli, & Disney

It’s a strong list of films, and only Ponyo and The Cat Returns have released so far so you haven’t missed your chance to see the majority of these “Ghibli” classics. However, it may not necessarily be a great idea to actually see all of them in theaters, so here our recommendation for ones to actually view on the big screen and which to maybe rent at home.

Our view of this has changed with our recent viewing of The Cat Returns where we heard a little girl so enamored with the characters and soundtrack she left the theater singing along to the Japanese outro song and asking her parents if they could rent more. Hearing families around us laugh helped loosen our minds to enjoy The Cat Returns more than we did when we home viewed it years ago and it now holds a higher value in our minds for the theater experience.

So the films we suggest viewing in theater from this year’s list? In their coming order: Pom Poko, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, and Spirited Away as a Halloween treat [even if you’ve seen it a million times, the theatre atmosphere will be a whole new facet worth experiencing, even if you went during Ghibli Fest 2017 just go again]. Pom Poko will be a cute forray that actually holds a lot of traditional Japanese mythology mixed with cuteness that will lilely be elevated by a crowd experience. Mononoke and Totoro are just staples that you would likely have never experienced this way and should take the opportunity if you can, but if it’s not in the cards then you should definitely do a [another] home viewing.

Ghibli Fest 2017 – Rights to Gkids, Studio Ghibli, and Disney

We just aren’t overly fans of Porco Rosso, and don’t view Castle in the Sky as theater ticket price worthy (sorry! but do the home viewing if you haven’t seen it yet), but Grave of the Fireflies is 100% not a theater movie. No one likes to cry in public and it requires the secluded ambiance of uninterrupted viewing away from annoyed parents, bored/confused children, or the sobs of the people around you. Its going to hurt, but Grave of the Fireflies is a movie you’ll never forget watching.

The movie that has been absent from both Ghibli fests without proper explanation is The Secret World of Ariety. A more recent, late 2000’s adaptation of The Borrowers, it should at least be viewed at home if you need a little more Ghibli in your life (who doesn’t?). We are confused as to how Ponyo made it to the list and some of the less popular movies, yet Ariety, one of the top 10 grossing anime films of all time, got ignored. Spirited Away and Ponyo are higher on that list, but Ariety solidly holds its own with a lot of Ghibli’s other titles. We’d have also have liked to have seen Howl’s Moving Castle back for 2018 or Princess Kaguya as a surprise addition, but if we have a succesful run this year maybe we can get a Ghibli Fest 2019?