10 Studio Ghibli Dubs We Love, Including The Boy and the Heron

10 Studio Ghibli Dubs We Love, Including The Boy and the Heron

In defense of English dubs, no one does it better than Studio Ghibli. It’s not a matter of either-or; with the incredible global talents that span the original Japanese voices and the English casts, it just means we get more!

With the release of The Boy and the Heron, which features Robert Pattinson’s dedicated vocal bird transformation, we’re looking back at the best Studio Ghibli dubs. When it comes to Hayao Miyazaki’s films, care has always been taken between by the Disney and GKIDS distributors to cast the English roles with incredible talent. It’s no easy feat to perform in sync with animation, let alone in a foreign language, but it helps to have the guidance of directors such as Pixar’s Pete Docter (Howl’s Moving Castle) who approach the task with appropriate reverence. While we understand the importance of subtitles—and we’d never take away from the wonderful work of the original Japanese voice casts—dubs help make the films accessible to more audiences. And as an animation fan, I love dubs because I can bask in the art and storytelling without reading and then revisiting with subtitles. It’s a preference and a gateway for more global animation to travel the world.

Here’s a list of the top 10 English Studio Ghibli dubs we love.

My Neighbor Totoro


MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO | Official English Trailer

My Neighbor Totoro’s titular character may be silent but its child leads carry the whimsical film. Sisters Elle and Dakota Fanning were just the right age to play siblings Satsuki and Mei, resulting in a very cute family performance. The film’s English dub cast also includes Disney stars Lea Salonga and Pat Carroll.

Princess Mononoke

In Princess Mononoke, Claire Danes and Billy Crudup lead one of the most beloved Miyazaki films. Minnie Driver, Gillian Anderson, Keith David, and Billy Bob Thornton also star.

Howl’s Moving Castle

Hands down my favorite dub. As Howl Pendragon, Christian Bale uses an American accent since he was Batman at the time (and maybe practicing his gravely growl through the beastly Howl). No really, he took David Bowie Labyrinth vibes plus his star power at the time to really give us the hottest male animated character in existence. Emily Mortimer co-stars as the film’s romantic lead Sophie, with Jean Simmons voicing the older Sophie; the character gets cursed by Hollywood icon Lauren Bacall as the Witch of the Waste. Also featured are Billy Crystal as the heart of the film, Calcifer, and a young Josh Hutcherson as Howl’s kid ward Markl.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

This Ghibli dub stars Kirsten Dunst as Kiki, a witch who goes out into the world to find her way. Kiki’s Delivery Service also has a standout performance by the late, great Phil Hartman as Kiki’s cat Jiji.


This adorable loose adaptation of The Little Mermaid features Liam Neeson, Cate Blanchett, Betty White, and Cloris Leachman in its ensemble, as well as a young Noah Cyrus as Ponyo.

Porco Rosso

If you thought Robert Pattinson as the Heron was a wildcard choice, it’s not the first time GKIDS cast a Batman for an unexpected role. We already mentioned Christian Bale in Howl’s Moving Castle, but Porco Rosso gives us Michael Keaton’s hilarious and heartfelt Humphrey Bogart-esque performance as the leading pig pilot.

Spirited Away

Lilo and Stitch’s Lilo, Daveigh Chase, voices Chihiro in this Disney distribution era dub. Hercules’ Meg, Susan Egan, is also featured in the film.

The Wind Rises

This wartime historical fantasy was Hayao Miyazaki’s last retirement film before his 2023 comeback, and it features quite a stacked English dub cast. Joseph Gordon Levitt leads the film alongside Emily Blunt; the ensemble includes Stanley Tucci, John Krasinski, Martin Short, Mae Whitman (Scott Pilgrim Takes Off), Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride), Elijah Wood, and freakin’ Werner Herzog (The Mandalorian).

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Alison Lohman (Drag Me To Hell) stars as Nausicaä in Ghibli’s apocalyptic tale alongside Shia LeBouf (Transformers), Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica), and Patrick Stewart (Picard).

The Boy and the Heron

The inspired casting of Robert Pattinson (The Batman) as the Heron really is just the cherry on top of the amazing ensemble put together for The Boy and the Heron. For what was once believed to be Miyazaki’s final final film—he’s since reconsidered this— GKIDS brought back a number of actors from previous English dubs including Bale, Mark Hamill (Castle in the Sky), and Willem Dafoe (Tales from Earthsea). Newcomers include Gemma Chan (Eternals), Dave Bautista, Florence Pugh, and Karen Fukuhara (Suicide Squad).

The Boy and the Heron is in theaters now.

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