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This touching tale of two sisters who move with their father to a rickety wooden house in the country to be closer to their mother convalescing in a nearby hospital has gone on to achieve classic status. A celebration of the childhood imagination, it retains a freshness and originality that appears almost naive to modern viewers, and can be described (alongside 1992’s Porco Rosso) as the most personal and heartfelt of Miyazaki’s creations, with its setup stemming from an episode from his own youth when his mother was bed-bound with spinal tuberculosis.

A rich fantasy world beneath the ordinary is unveiled before our eyes as the girls explore their new environment, full of tiny spider-like creatures scuttling through the rafters and other strange supernatural beings invisible to adults. These include the huge woolly beastie of the title, hidden deep within the nearby forest, who would become the most iconic of Ghibli’s creations.

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