Where to watch Studio Ghibli films from anywhere: stream on Netflix and HBO Max

Where to watch Studio Ghibli films ponyo
(Image credit: Studio Ghibli)

Streaming services haven't always let you watch Studio Ghibli and its weird and wonderful back catalogue. But after years in the wilderness, HBO Max and Netflix agreed deals last year allowing them to stream the company’s entire ouevre - and that's still the case in 2021. This collection of critically-lauded, record-breaking hits from the Japanese animation powerhouse wasn't available to stream or download digitally in the West until only last year, so fans have plenty to catch-up on now the catalogue is out in full.

Watch Studio Ghibli films online

When you're on the move, you can't always take your streaming subscriptions with you - which is where having a good VPN comes in handy. Try our No. 1 rated overall VPN 100% risk-free (opens in new tab) for 30 days to see if can help you watch more of what you love, wherever you are.

Netflix now has exclusive streaming rights for all territories except the US, Canada, and Japan. Meanwhile, HBO Max is the home for Studio Ghibli content (opens in new tab) for the North American market. With these services providing easy access to 20+ feature films, lesser known fare like Pom Poko and a TV movie called Ocean Waves, it gives them a competitive edge over rival platforms Disney Plus and Apple TV - certainly if you're an anime fan.

Co-founded in 1985 by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, Studio Ghibli has left an indelible impression on the cinematic landscape. Their highly imaginative, morally complex and humanistic films have endeared themselves to audiences and critics alike across the globe. Princess Mononoke won Japan’s Best Picture award in 1997, and was the first animated film to do so. Four years later, Spirited Away received the Best Animated Feature at the Oscars while also knocking Titanic from the top spot of Japan’s highest-ever grossing film.

So, are you ready to soar with porcine pilot Porco Rosso or join Totoro and his forest-dwelling friends? Then we’ll break down for you where to watch Studio Ghibli content based on your location, and let you enjoy some of the finest anime cinema has to offer - including how to watch Earwig and The Witch online, which is the legendary outfit's latest release and still in theaters in many countries.

Where to watch Studio Ghibli films online in the US

HBO Max (opens in new tab)

American audiences will find that one of the country's best overall streaming services, HBO Max, has the studio’s streaming rights in hand, so you can yourself on all that Studio Ghibli gold for $14.99 a month. That includes having the exclusive streaming release rights - as it does with many Hollywood blockbusters - to the legendary studio's latest, Earwig and The Witch.

Alternatively, some of the studio’s animated movies are available to purchase in digital for on major platforms like Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV. This includes Grave of the Fireflies, which isn’t available to stream on HBO Max but rather rival service Hulu.

Where to watch Studio Ghibli films in the rest of the world in 2021

Netflix (opens in new tab)

Should you live outside of Canada, Japan and the US, Netflix (opens in new tab) has you covered. It staggered the release of Ghibli's 21 features, but the likes of Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Tale of Princess Kaguya and 17 others are now ready to stream - there's a full list below.

Depending on your location, basic monthly subscription costs for Netflix are: £5.99 (UK); €7.99 (Europe); R99 (Africa); AED29 (United Arab Emirates); $9.99 (Australia); $11.99 (New Zealand).

As mentioned above, no platform currently has the rights to stream Grave of the Fireflies. However, you can purchase a digital copy of the movie from Amazon Prime Video. (opens in new tab)

Where to watch Studio Ghibli films from outside your country

If you find yourself away from home for whatever reason, you don’t have to skip your audio-visual visits to the wonderful world of Ghibli.

Utilizing a VPN will allow you to watch these anime masterpieces no matter where you are. This basic bit of software alters your IP address, giving you access to regional content that you’d usually be watching on your Totoro bedspread at home.

ExpressVPN - get the world's best VPN (opens in new tab)

ExpressVPN - get the world's best VPN (opens in new tab)
We've put all the major VPNs through their paces and we rate ExpressVPN as our top pick, thanks to its speed, ease of use and strong security features. It's also compatible with just about any streaming device out there, including Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Xbox and PlayStation, as well as Android and Apple mobiles.

Sign up for an annual plan now and get an extra 3 months absolutely FREE (opens in new tab). And if you change your mind within the first 30 days, let them know and they'll give you your money back without a quibble.

- Try ExpressVPN 100% risk-free for 30 days (opens in new tab)

What Studio Ghibli films can you watch on Netflix?

Listed below – with breathless excitement – are the dates that each Studio Ghibli feature became available on Netflix:

  • Arrietty (March 1st 2020)
  • Castle in the Sky (February 1st 2020)
  • From Up On Poppy Hill (April 1st 2020)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle (April 1st 2020)
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service (February 1st 2020)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (February 1st 2020)
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas (March 1st 2020)
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (March 1st 2020)
  • Ocean Waves (February 1st 2020)
  • Only Yesterday (February 1st 2020)
  • Pom Poko (April 1st 2020)
  • Ponyo – (April 1st 2020)
  • Porco Rosso (February 1st 2020)
  • Princess Mononoke (March 1st 2020)
  • Spirited Away (March 1st 2020)
  • Tales from Earthsea (February 1st 2020)
  • The Cat Returns (March 1st 2020)
  • The Tale of Princess Kaguya (March 1st 2020)
  • The Wind Rises (April 1st 2020)
  • When Marnie Was There (April 1st 2020)
  • Whisper of the Heart (April 1st 2020)

Daniel Pateman

Daniel Pateman is a freelance writer, producing articles across the cultural spectrum for magazines like Aesthetica, Photomonitor, The Brooklyn Rail and This is Tomorrow. He also provides text-writing services to individual curators and artists worldwide, and has had work published internationally. His favourite film genre is horror (bring on Scream 5!) and he never tires of listening to Absolute 80s on the radio.