This week Japanese film company Studio Ghibli released more than 400 still frames from their beautiful animated films for free and unrestricted public use. This is the first time that Ghibli has released any of their art for public use, in the past they have maintained very strict control over their intellectual property.

The loosening of control is great news for Ghibli fans, many of whom have been drawn to the studio primarily by their incredible art. Until very recently, all of Ghibli’s films were hand painted, making them not only charming but visually stunning. That may soon be changing too, however, as the studio is set to release its first CGI film next summer.

In the meantime, if you have never had the chance to see any of Ghibli’s movies they are definitely worth watching. Drawing on stories from Japanese mythology as well as modern history, Ghibli’s films remain as poignant today as they have been for years. From a girl lost in the spirit world, to an authoritarian military seeking a castle in the sky, to a civilization living on the edge of a poisoned and magical forest waiting to take its revenge on humanity, Ghibli’s artists and storytellers consistently create stunning blends of the unreal and real that are as breathtaking as they are thought provoking.

To learn more about where to get started with Studio Ghibli read the Verge’s essential guide, or view all the free stills here.

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Writer of many interests entering my third year at The City Voice. If you have a question about any of my articles, or a topic you want me to write about, please feel free to leave a comment or email me at the.scrivener.chms@gmail.com.