How to watch Studio Ghibli films on Netflix in the U.S., Canada, & Japan

On February 1, 2020 Netflix began bringing the Studio Ghibli films to its service. In total, there will be 21 films that make arrive, but they will come in three phases. The films will be made available globally through a distribution partner Wild Bunch International, though this rollout will exclude some big markets.

For those not familiar, Studio Ghibli was founded back in 1985 by the directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, along with the producer Toshio Suzuki. It is a Japanese animation film studio that has produced feature films, shorts, TV commercials, and even worked with video game studios on visual elements for games. Six of the studio’s films are among the 10 highest-grossing anime films from Japan, and the company has many other accolades. It’s most successful title was Spirited Away, which made over $360 million worldwide and was voted the fourth-best film of the 21st century as picked by 177 film critics from around the world in 2016 and it won an Academy Award in 2003.

To have these movies make their way to streaming services like Netflix is huge, though this does come with some exceptions. Unfortunately, those in the U.S., Canada, and Japan won’t be able to stream the films on Netflix easily because of agreements to bring the films to other services. Luckily, there are some ways around this if you’re willing to put in a few minutes of your time to get it set up.

Use a VPN to watch Studio Ghibli

If you happen to live in the U.S., Canada, or Japan and want to stream the films via your Netflix subscription you can by setting up a VPN. There are a lot of VPN services out there, and one of the key features of a VPN is the ability to change the server location that you connect to. By doing this, you can make it appear like you are in a different location, and then you have access to the content you previously did not.

Our VPN of choice is ExpressVPN for several reasons. The service is super reliable, the customer support is great, the speeds are fast, it’s easy to use, and it’s pretty affordable compared to some of the other options. ExpressVPN is currently offering up a 49% discount and 3 months of free access when you sign up for a one-year agreement. This scores you 15 months of access for just under $100.

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Studio Ghibli films have started arriving on Netflix, but they won’t be available for streaming in the U.S., Canada, or Japan. ExpressVPN is the easiest way to watch the films from the unsupported regions.

Getting the VPN set up takes only a few minutes, and once you are ready you can connect to a server in one of the regions where Studio Ghibli’s films are available, like Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America, or Asia. With just a few clicks, you can then begin streaming the content and catch up on the 21 films as they’re available.

Another option in the U.S.

Upon its launch in May, the Studio Ghibli films will also make their way over to the new HBO Max streaming service. Of course this means that you are signing up for yet another service to watch content on, but it’s another option for those in the U.S..

When will Studio Ghibli movies be available on Netflix?

Not all of the movies will be available on February 1, but that’s when they will begin making an appearance. There will be 21 in total that come to Netflix, and the first seven only will be available at first. Here’s the current roll-out schedule:

Phase 1: February 1

  • Castle in the Sky
  • My Neighbor Totoro
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service
  • Only Yesterday
  • Porco Rosso
  • Ocean Waves
  • Tales from Earthsea

Phase 2: March 1

  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
  • Princess Mononoke
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas
  • Spirited Away
  • The Cat Returns
  • The Secret World of Arrietty
  • The Tale of The Princess Kaguya

Phase 3: April 1

  • Pom Poko
  • Whisper of the Heart
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Ponyo
  • From Up on Poppy Hill
  • The Wind Rises
  • When Marnie Was There

Grave of the Fireflies is one of the most notable omissions here because Studio Ghibli does not actually hold the publishing rights to the film. Netflix will be subtitling the films in 28 different languages, which is more than ever existed before. If you aren’t already a Netflix customer, you can sign up now so you’re ready to go when the movies hit!

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In addition to the Studio Ghibli films, Netflix has a huge content library full of other great anime, movies, shows, and more. Sign up today.