Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio that was created by Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki, Isao Takahata, and Yasuyoshi Tokuma in 1985. Some of their more notable films include My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo. Although each movie is different in terms of storyline, they all have themes within them that tie them together and make them undeniably recognizable as Studio Ghibli films.
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studio_Ghibli
The first theme that makes up the Studio Ghibli aesthetic is the use of female protagonists. Studio Ghibli, and Hayao Miyazaki more specifically, make a concerted effort to create female characters that feel real. They are strong-willed, critical thinkers, who take charge of their destiny. These character dynamics differ from many other films that have a similar audience demographic, such as the classic Disney Princess movies.
Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/340303315570530027/?lp=true
The second theme is the balance between the natural and man-made worlds. Many Studio Ghibli films include the use of airplanes, blimps, or other such machinery. At the same time, those same movies often include scenes of beautiful, untouched landscapes. An example of this is in Howl’s Moving Castle, where the Castle itself is a monstrous mish-mash of buildings and scrap metal, but the Secret Garden is pristine and filled with wildflowers.
Image Source: https://ghibli.fandom.com/wiki/Howl%27s_Castle
Image Source: https://howlscastle.fandom.com/wiki/Secret_Garden
One final piece of the Studio Ghibli aesthetic is the food. While the food is usually an important plot device used to bring characters together, it is also amazingly delicious looking. When you look up how to recreate the meals that are seen in Studio Ghibli movies, you get 16,800,000 results.
Image Source: https://www.google.com/search?ei=2dYoXtHeLpS0tQbT0JaACw&q=how+to+make+studio+ghibli+food&oq=how+to+make+studio&gs_l=psy-ab.3.0.0i67j0l9.187823.189815..190417…0.1..2.240.1460.15j2j1……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i71j0i131j0i273j0i10.8wEES_UVRdM
Video Source: https://filmschoolrejects.com/come-get-food-films-hayao-miyazaki/
While there are many other aspects of these films that can go into the Studio Ghibli aesthetic, these are the ones that stick out me.