If you were to end a legacy that you’ve started, a legacy that has dealt a great impact to the whole industry itself, how would you end it? With an ambitious cross-over no one has ever seen like Avengers: Endgame where all events intertwine together? Or with a story that is plain and simple, like an adaption from English children’s novel classic by Joan G. Robinson?

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For anime and non-anime lovers, the first film that ever comes in mind when Studio Ghibli is mentioned would probably be Your Name Spirited Away – a supernatural adventure of a 10-years-old girl in a spirit world while her mom and dad are being treated as pigs. But other than this, Studio Ghibli has produced plenty more classic movies such as Howl’s Moving Castle, Whisper of the Heart and The Wind Rises that has about the same entertaining value and lessons with a vibe that the studio is renowned for.

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Studio Ghibli has always been able to create this sweet and surprising twist somewhere at the beginning, throwing off everyone into the world of unknowns. Then, the plot advances with the protagonist continuing the discovery, meeting peculiar strangers, beasts, witches or even just on old friend. But, almost all its movies has this ‘Ghibli’s magical touch’. It comes in many form but unanimously serve as a message to remind us that no matter how the story turns, twists and progresses, it would reach an end.

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An inevitable ending that takes away the protagonist from their adventure. A slap of realization that wakes the protagonist up and back to reality, as it everything was just a dream. This is the real power of Studio Ghibli – by creating a warm atmosphere to lure anyone in and to end the journey with a final bittersweet closure, a departure where everyone especially the characters yearn for more in the unknown future. 

This rings especially true in their final film.

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The protagonist, Anna is an asthmatic girl who lives inside a frame that she defines herself with. An unpleasant frame of constriction and full of hatred of herself, annoyance she finds on others. This left her emotionless, because she just couldn’t bring herself to handle them after what she’s been through. There are only her sketches that bring her comforts and a real connection to the world until she met this one girl. And the whole journey of forgiveness, self-discovery and fun begins, patching its way to a surprisingly pleasant ending.

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The beauty of the scenery once again proves just how good Ghibli is at portraying nature or anything at all from different angles. The art also managed to bring out the emotions of the characters with just simple expressions. The score is just melancholic and really fits the whole theme, especially the ending song “Fine on the Outside” which makes the story much more mesmerizing.

Overall, everything just feels right to have this as Ghibli’s last film. The scores and art blend nicely with each other, adding the strong personality that Marnie has and emotional development of Anna to make the ending feels more attached. With its last breath, Studio Ghibli gracefully presented a short tale that impacts Anna’s life with a closure to her past and a new beginning to her unknown future, when Marnie was there.

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End notes:

It’s been 5 years since When Marnie Was There was aired so I guess this is a late goodbye to Studio Ghibli. However, I believe that Studio Ghibli’s legacy will continue to inspire and tug the heart of many more in the future, as long as there are people still mentioning it, blogging it or watching it. Which I think, is the most beautiful and amazing gift Studio Ghibli has left us with. Farewell Ghibli!