8 Best Ghibli Movies That Inspired Stained Glass Geek’s Creations

If there is one studio that comes to mind when discussing animated films with overempowering storytelling and stunning visuals, it's undoubtedly Studio Ghibli. If you're like me, you've probably lost count of how many times you've seen these timeless classics. If you haven't watched them yet, I highly urge you to do so. In this blog post, I want to walk you through some of my personal best Ghibli movies. But there's a catch – in this journey, we won't just be exploring the films themselves, but also how they inspired me to bring key elements of these films to life in coloured glass.

 1. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

So, picture this: a post-apocalyptic world overrun by toxic forests and giant insects. That is the setting for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. But don't run away yet! Nausicaä, the proud lover and heroine for nature, is trying to find the balance between humans and the environment. She cruises around on her Mehve glider, fighting for a greener world. In order to capture the eco-warrior spirit of Nausicaä in full flight on her glider, I tried to design a stained glass representation of her, and I think it came out well and nice!

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Mehve Glider Stained Glass Pattern

*This pattern is only available through a Patreon membership.

2. Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

Now, we move on to floating castles and ancient civilizations. Laputa: Castle in the Sky takes us on an action-intensive flight that follows Pazu and Sheeta, two young adventurers who unite to unlock the secrets of a long-lost floating city. Their odyssey revolves around the Sheeta's crystal levitation stone, a symbol of hope and a guiding light. This centerpiece of the movie, a Laputa royal crest pendant necklace, is pivotal to their journey. I've attempted to capture this sense of mystery and exploration in the film with a stained glass version that still pays respect to its grand adventure.

*This pattern is only available through a Patreon membership.

3. My Neighbor Totoro (1988) 

My Neighbor Totoro is a tale of magic and adventure that the whole family will love. Two young girls stumble upon a secret world of whimsical creatures, including a showering rabbit, a playful cat bus, and the home of Totoro, a giant friendly woodland spirit, living behind their house. The film is filled with unforgettable characters and incredible animation. One of the most enchanting scenes features Totoro flying with an umbrella in hand and dancing on a spinning top. My stained glass art of Totoro depicts this enchanting dynamic, serving as a beautiful reminder to appreciate the simpler things in life.

4. Porco Rosso (1992)

Porco Rosso takes us to the Adriatic Sea of the inter-war period, mixing aviation with adventure and a touch of the supernatural. Its main character, Porco Rosso, is an ex-aviator cursed to look like a pig. Yes, you read that right - a pig! The defining moment of Porco's character is his iconic thumbs-up gesture, a simple act that conveys a powerful message. Choosing to depict Porco Rosso, giving a thumbs up, in stained glass pays honour to his indomitable spirit and reminds viewers that heroes may appear in the most unconventional fashions.

*This pattern is only available through a Patreon membership.

5. Princess Mononoke (1997)

In Princess Mononoke, we're in the middle of a clash between humans and nature, and it's intense! The character San, otherwise known as Princess Mononoke, is depicted as an extremely independent and strong-willed character that was raised in the forest by wolf gods. She has a mask in the form of a wolf that symbolizes her pact with the wolves and her stand to guard the forest against human invasion. This stained glass interpretation of the Princess Mononoke mask is a tribute to her as a mighty guardian of nature, capturing the spirit of the wild and untamed. 

princess mononoke mask stained glass pattern

*This pattern is only available through a Patreon membership.

6. Spirited Away (2001) 

In Spirited Away, Chihiro, a young girl, finds herself in a mystical, spirit-filled bathhouse, an experience that is both surreal and terrifying. Amidst this chaos, she encounters Haku, the river spirit, who plays a pivotal role in her journey. Taking the form of a dragon for a significant part of the movie, his majestic presence and gentle guidance help Chihiro navigate through the unfamiliar and daunting world. Haku in Spirited Away is not just a guide but also a symbol of transformation and resilience. As a stained glass artist, capturing Haku the white dragon's essence, the grace and serenity, was a challenge I gladly accepted.

spirited away haku white dragon stained glass

*This pattern is only available through a Patreon membership.

7. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)

If you still haven't had the chance to see Kiki's Delivery Service, you've missed a great story about maturing and finding your line in life. Kiki is a young emerging witch, accompanied by her blunt cat, Jiji. They form an efficient duo, delivering parcels throughout the town to various individuals and families. Yet, a moment of crisis arises when Kiki is unable to communicate with Jiji, depicted by the scene of Jiji sitting on the broomstick next to a playful 'not in service' sign. I was so inspired to immortalise this symbolic scene in stained glass, reflecting the idea that even when we feel out of sorts or not 'in service' in our lives, a touch of humor can help us continue on our path.

*This pattern is only available through a Patreon membership

8. Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

Finally, we've got Howl's Moving Castle, a delightful tale laced with magical threads of love and transformation. A most integral character Calciferthe fire demon, who plays a crucial role in the mobility and functioning of the castle. His journey in the film is significant, characterized by a sarcastic demeanor and a literally fiery nature, yet he remains an endearing figure. Creating a stained glass depiction of Calcifer yule log was so much fun. This artwork serves as a metaphor, implying that in the midst of chaos, there is always a glare of direction and hope.

calcifer stained glass pattern

So, there you have it – a journey through Studio Ghibli's enchanting world. Every stained glass piece I complete is more than just a tribute to these films—they stand as evidence of the level of storytelling, artistic excellence, and emotional connection used by each film. I hope that through this blog post, it instills in you the desire to rewatch these Ghibli classics or be enticed to discover them for the first time.

And on that note, out of reverence and respect for the movies, another great wave of excitement is resonating today, on account of a new Ghibli movie, The Boy and the Heron, now showing in cinemas! This film is special as it marks Hayao Miyazaki's return to filmmaking after he announced his retirement in 2013, and I have a strong feeling that this is bound to be another masterpiece! Enjoy your movie nights and the beauty of stained glass art!