(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.)

For the first time in its 36-year history of making some of the most breathtaking animated masterpieces of all time, all of Studio Ghibli‘s movies are available to stream right now. The Japanese animation studio best known for its adorable raccoon-like mascot and the acclaimed works of animation titan Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli is often written off as the maker of peculiar arthouse animes — too philosophical for western kids used to fast-paced Disney movies, and too anime for cinephiles. Well, I’m here to prove those hypothetical haters wrong. Or, at least, to lend a helping hand to those who are interested in diving into the works of Studio Ghibli, but are unsure about where to start or if the studio’s films will even appeal to them. I can assure you, of the 21 feature films (and one TV movie) released by Studio Ghibli since its inception in 1984, there will be something for you.

So in this week’s Pop Culture Imports, I’m shaking things up a bit and spiriting you away across the Pacific to give you a beginner’s guide to Studio Ghibli movies.

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Studio Ghibli fans, mark your calendars for two weeks from today. On Tuesday, December 17, 2019, the beloved Japanese animation studio will finally release its complete library of films on digital home media in the U.S. and Canada. Ghibli’s North American distributor, GKIDS, has announced through a press release that the studio’s entire catalogue will be available to download for the very first time on all major transactional platforms, including Apple TV, Amazon VOD, Vudu, Google Play, Sony, Microsoft, and Fandango Now.

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spirited away collector's edition

If, like me, you have watched your DVD copy of Spirited Away so much that the disc is scratched to the point of being unwatchable, you’re in luck. Hayao Miyazaki‘s Oscar-winning animated classis is getting a long-deserved collector’s edition that will be available in limited supply this November. Studio Ghibli is teaming up with GKIDS and distributor Shout! Factory to issue this Spirited Away collector’s edition, which includes a new 40-page book filled with beautiful art and essays, in addition to hours of special features and the film’s soaring soundtrack composed by longtime Miyazaki collaborator Joe Hisaishi.

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Toy story 4 china box office

It’s very rare for a film, animated or otherwise, to hold a candle to Pixar at the box office. But when you throw in a classic work by Hayao Miyazaki, it’s a different kind of contest. Pixar latest film, Toy Story 4, was a critically acclaimed guaranteed mega-hit that was sure to sweep the box office worldwide — except in one country. China, usually one of the biggest markets for Disney and Pixar releases, instead awarded the No. 1 spot to Spirited Away, Miyazaki’s 18-year-old film which just made its theatrical debut in the country this weekend.

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The 10 Best Animated Flying Sequences

best animated flying sequences

(Welcome to Let’s Get Animated!, a column that spotlights the best of film animation. In this edition: the best animated flying sequences.)

The best kinds of animated films sweep you away — whether in their dazzling technical craft, their boundless imagination, or their awe-inspiring execution. And the best kinds of animated flying sequences achieve all three.

In honor of the release of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third and final film in a franchise that has given us some of the most breakthtaking flying sequences rendered to celluloid, I have compiled the best flying sequences from animated films. Because of my arbitrary decision to limit the definition of “flying” to characters achieving lift for a significant amount of time, it pains me to say that I won’t be including last year’s brilliant Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but honorable mention goes to that leap of faith. Now that that’s all said and done, here are the 10 best animated flying sequences.

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The 15 Most Beautiful Animated Movies Ever

most beautiful animated movies

(Welcome to Let’s Get Animated!, a column that spotlights the best of film animation. In this edition: the most beautiful animated movies.)

Over the weekend, one of the most imaginative and visually striking animated movies ever made hit theaters. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is being hailed as a groundbreaking achievement, and a testament to the creative heights that animation can reach. But it’s not the first animated movie to push the boundaries of the medium.

Animation so often gets dismissed a “children’s genre” that it’s often overlooked how damn beautiful these movies can get. Cinema is first and foremost a visual medium, and no other medium can test the limits of the imagination and realize the potential of filmmaking like animation. So in honor of the release of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, here are the 15 most beautiful animated films ever.

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hayao miyazaki prints

There’s nothing as magical as watching a Hayao Miyazaki film, and letting it transport you to a fantastical world where dragons soar and castles walk. But a Hayao Miyazaki print done in the style of Japanese woodblock prints may just come close.

For a limited time, Japanese woodblock-style prints of Studio Ghibli movies directed by the legendary anime filmmaker are available to purchase. But better snatch them up quick, because like a certain antique grandfather clock in Whisper of the Heart, at the stroke of midnight, they may disappear.

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Hoai-Tran Bui’s Favorite Movies of All Time

Hoai-Tran Bui's Favorite Movies of All Time

Hey, /Film. What’s a nice place like you doing in a girl like this? Wait, let me start over…

My name is Hoai-Tran Bui, and I’m just happy to be here. Before you ask me how to pronounce my name (not important, and you’d probably get it wrong anyway), let me tell you about my favorite films.

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The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki Blu-Ray

The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki Blu-Ray Set will be released by Disney in North America and is now available for pre-order for $224.99. The U.S. release of this set appears to be an Amazon exclusive. Shipping is free with or without Amazon Prime. The set includes the following films: Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo and The Wind Rises. An international trailer and details about bonus features included in the set, can be found after the jump.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Spirited Away 8-bit

Hayao Miyazaki‘s films represent some of the greatest animation in cinema, but his ideas are so close to the material in some Japanese RPG video games that it seems only natural to see some of Miyazaki’s work reimagined in video game form.

Spirited Away is among Miyazaki’s best work (OK, I think it is his best work) and one of the greatest examples of visual storytelling in animation, or any style of filmmaking. But the characters and storytelling of Spirited Away are so pure that, even distilled down into simple video game form, the ideas remain clear. Now, a set of artists has produced a Spirited Away 8-Bit “remake,” complete with sounds and music appropriate for an NES presentation. Check it out below.  Read More »