Out of 24 Studio Ghibli Movies Only 3 Earned Rarest 100% on Rotten Tomatoes

Out of 24 Studio Ghibli Movies Only 3 Earned Rarest 100% on Rotten Tomatoes
Image credit: Toho, NTV

Even 2023's The Boy and the Heron didn't earn this rare accolade.


  • Studio Ghibli is famous for its beautifully animated features.
  • That's thanks to the talent of its two founding members.
  • Although most Ghibli films have been incredibly well received, only three have earned 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

How Did It Begin?

In 1986, Studio Ghibli burst onto the scene with their debut feature, The Castle in the Sky. It set the benchmark for what we could expect from the Ghibli team: rousing adventure, thoughtful plot movement, endearing characters, and a humanistic worldview that leaves the viewers feeling a little more empathetic towards themselves and each other.

Ghibli's foremost creatives have been Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, who worked both together and separately to create such iconic masterpieces as My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Grave of the Fireflies.

A History of Beauty

It's been nearly four decades since the release of The Castle In The Sky, and Studio Ghibli has 24 feature films to its name (we're including films like Nausicaa, which was technically made before the Studio founding but is still considered part of the canon).

There have been only two real misfires from the studio, including The Earwig and the Witch (2020's regrettable foray into CGI animation) and Tales from Earthsea (2006's debut from Miyazaki's son). But every other entry into the catalog has been received with rave reviews and a special place in the hearts of viewers.

Still, while many of the Ghibli films enjoy sky high ratings on Rotten Tomatoes (Spirited Away with 96%, Kiki's Delivery Service with 98%), only three have ever hit the elusive 100% on the Tomatometer – signaling unanimous love from critics.

  1. The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013)

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I'll never forget my first time watching The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which I thought was going to be a cutesy, fluffy movie about a little fairy baby found inside a magical bamboo shoot. Instead, Princess Kaguya is a poignant and deeply affecting story about love, family, memory, and what it means to be human. Tissues are recommended.

On top of the thoughtful writing, the animation here is among Studio Ghibli's best. Hand-drawn watercolor images make every frame an absolute stunner.

  1. Only Yesterday (1991)

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There are Ghibli movies that are full of action and adventure, and those that are deliberately uneventful – they invite us to consider the lives of the characters at a slow, mindful pace.

Only Yesterday falls into the latter category. Taeko is an office worker in her late 20s, whose status as a single woman makes her the subject of pity among her peers. When she takes a holiday in the countryside, Taeko is flooded with memories from her childhood in a similar place.

Taeko's memories of her impulsive, joyful youth are interspersed with her more sedate, bittersweet adult life. In the meantime, she makes a romantic connection with local farmer Toshio.

  1. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

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Takahata's first directing effort for Studio Ghibli was this affecting anti-war drama that still holds up nearly forty years later.

The movie follows Seita, a teenager who is left to look after his younger sister Setsuko after a devastating WWII firebombing leaves their mother fatally wounded. Hiding the fact of their mother's death from his sister, Seita fights to keep himself and Setsuko alive. What follows is a heartbreaking, desperate struggle for survival.

The New York Times called Grave of the Fireflies 'One of the most startling and moving animated films ever,' and it has often been listed among the best anti-war movies of all time.