Ghibli Plains

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Distant background: Ghibli Hills. Background: Ghibli Plains. Foreground: statue in a Studio Ghibli film. Production: Studio Ghibli.
Call an ambulance. You're about to overdose on Ghibli.

A field of grass stretches out as far as the eye can see, on a clear, blue day. Clouds float effortlessly across the landscape, leaving behind gentle dark shadows in their paths. Colourful blades of grass sway in the wind, softly dancing to the beat of nature. A tiny cottage rests in the distance, its inhabitants living a humble yet satisfying life. A gentle wind whispers in your ear, telling stories from far away. Your mind is concentrated on what's in front of you, and a relaxing sense of comfort washes over you. Enjoy the sun, lay on the grass, and just adore life, for you are in Ghibli Plains.

If Ghibli Hills are vast, sprawling forests, Ghibli Plains are vast, sprawling fields. The former trope tends to be much busier, creating a detailed yet relaxing landscape of trees, birds, dirt, animals, grass, and flowers all existing in harmony. Ghibli Plains is a much simpler trope: you have a vast plain, and you have grass. There may be a river or two crossing through the plain, and there may be some ruins or a home in the corner. Overall, Ghibli Plains places less of an emphasis on the nature, and more of an emphasis on space. Also, Ghibli Plains are much safer than Ghibli Hills, as Ghibli Hills is filled with creatures that want you dead. You can easily tell the tropes apart by how many trees are in a shot: a lot of trees means you're in Ghibli Hills territory, fewer trees means you're in Ghibli Plains.

That said, the two tropes does have a lot of overlap. In fact, Ghibli Plains is the Sister Trope to Ghibli Hills. If one trope is used, then expect the other to be used somewhere else in the work. In fact, they may occur next to each other: after emerging from the Hills, you arrive in Plains, or long stretches of Ghibli Plains end in Ghibli Hills. Dream Land probably features a lot of Ghibli Plains. Expect a lot of Scenery Porn focusing on these plains. Common in fantasy establishing shots.

Studio Ghibli uses this trope to create a serene sense of beauty, and evoke feelings of wonder. It is used to create a feeling of serenity, and relax their minds between more intense scenes. In addition, it can showcase the beauty of everyday life, offering a form of escapism from a loud, congested city. It's a nice place to travel through, providing contrast with sprawling cities in films such as Kiki's Delivery Service. That isn't the only way to use the trope, though. You can use it to establish an epic world by showing how endless and vast it is, creating a large sense of scale. Often, Ghibli Plains will lead up to an adventure in Ghibli Hills, connecting various parts of the world. Lastly, it's a nice thing to put in the background, while your foreground characters go about their business.

Named after the wide, open setting of Studio Ghibli films, particularly The Wind Rises and Spirited Away. Studio Ghibli aren't the only ones known for overdosing on the trope, though. Makoto Shinkai uses the trope just as often, if not more, than Ghibli. Not to be confused with Ghibli Planes, other Ghibli Planes, or the Ghibli plane.

Examples of Ghibli Plains include:

Anime and Manga

Studio Ghibli

  • My Neighbor Totoro features many shots into the distance with farmland. There is a smaller version of Ghibli Plains around The Protagonists Mei and Satsuki's house. Scenes with Totoro usually go into Ghibli Hills territory.
    • Around 18 minutes into the film, Ghibli Plains are shown at night when Satsuki gathers firewood. A strong wind blows across these plains, sending blades of grass waving and little bits of firewood flying.
    • The climax, involving Satsuki running around the countryside, features plenty of those in pristine, untouched conditions. The occasional farmland is mixed in.
  • Kiki's Delivery Service opens with The Hero Kiki lying on Ghibli Plains. They overlook a glittering lake, with soft wind blowing on grass, dancing flowers, and a busy buzzy bee. Kiki flies over some Plains on her way to the town Koriko at night time. They're also prominent in the fields surrounding Koriko, with wide open grassfields mixing in with Ghibli Hills.
  • In Porco Rosso, these plains are seen passing under the Ace Pilot Porco's plane as he flies across the land.
  • The ending shot of the On Your Mark music video, when the angel is flying away into the sky, takes place in a lush, open field. After escaping from the narrow, confined habitats and nuclear reactors, you'll arrive in wide Ghibli Plains in their natural habitat.
  • Spirited Away uses Ghibli Plains to bridge the gap between the human world and the spirit world. The trope image up above is taken from the Denouement of Spirited Away. The main character Chihiro and her family walks across these lush fields to reach the abandoned theme park housing the spirit world, and Chihiro returns to the human world via these plains. At night, they are flooded so spirits can arrive on boats. During day, they are just another regular field. The plains provides contrast with the spirit world.
  • In The Cat Returns, when the soon-to-be-Catgirl Haru first arrived in the Cat Kingdom, she is in Ghibli Plains, with lush cattails blowing in the wind and small cat cottages in the background, although they aren't as prominent throughout the rest of the film. Ghibli Plains appear on the film poster.
  • In Howl's Moving Castle, the titular moving castle often takes a journey through Ghibli Plains. Ghibli Plains are a frequent occurrence in the countryside. The trope is used to give audiences time to breathe and relax between more intense and emotional scenes.
  • In The Borrower Arrietty, the Ill Boy Sho sometimes lies down in the garden--a miniature version of Ghibli Plains--to read a book. It's a small, secluded place, not as sprawling as other examples, but making up for it in its cosiness. There's trees growing overhead and a small stream crossing through the garden. The trope is used to create a dreamy sense of comfort in the middle of a busy city.
  • The Wind Rises uses plenty of this trope in Dream Sequences. The vastness of plains creates a feeling of wonder, while also being a pragmatic place for fantastical aeroplanes to take off from and fly over.
  • In The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, the titular Princess Kaguya and her Childhood Friend Sutemaru fly through Ghibli Plains near the end of the film, representing Princess Kaguya's freedom to be away from the harsh expectations of royalty.
  • In When Marnie Was There, Ghibli Plains are seen around the Marsh House the Ill Girl Anna visits.
  • Dream Sequences in the Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind manga and its film adaptation takes place in golden Ghibli Plains.
  • Tales From Earthsea features vast plains surrounding the cottage belonging to Plucky Girl Therru and her caregiver Tenar. There aren't many shots focusing on these plains. Instead, the film chooses to focus on everyday farm work. The exception is the "Therru's Song" sequence, where Ghibli is about to make everyone overdose on the trope with an abundance of long shots focusing on hills and clouds.

Everybody Else

  • The opening of Violet Evergarden features the titular letter-writing Violet Evergarden standing in vast, sprawling plains with way too much False Camera Effects. In the opening, the first shot after the title sequence is of Ghibli Plains.
  • Land of the Lustrous is quite fond of this trope. There isn't much going on in its world, and its world is only populated with basic wildlife like plants (excluding the minerals who became humanoids). Thus, it features many shots of vast sprawling plains.
  • In Witch Hat Atelier, the witch Qifrey's Atelier is located in the centre of Ghibli Plains. This is best shown in a two page panel at the start of chapter 2.
  • Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms ends with the hero Maquia travelling on a cart through golden Ghibli Plains. The last shot of the film before the credits roll is of green grass and flowers swaying in the wind.
  • The countryside in Mary and the Witch's Flower features both Ghibli Plains and Hills. It's a great example of the two tropes being used side by side. The actual adventure begins in Ghibli Hills, but the protagonist Mary travels through Ghibli Plains to reach the hills. A short walk from Mary's home will get you to Ghibli Plains.
  • Makoto Shinkai seems fond of the trope. In fact, the trope would be called "Shinkai Plains" if Ghibli didn't have such an established history of using it. Ghibli's usage of the trope goes back to 1988, while Shinkai goes back to the 2000s.
    • Voices of a Distant Star has plains on an alien planet contrasting with built-up Earth and the lonely darkness of space. The uncanny peacefulness of the locale apparently contributes to Mikako's emotions boiling over at long last.
    • The Place Promised in Our Early Days depicts vast lush grasslands both in Aomori and when our heroes finally reach Ezo/Hokkaido, contrasting sharply with dull, drab Tokyo.
    • In 5 Centimeters per Second, the greenery of Tanegashima contrasts with the built-up confines of Tokyo and the snowfields of Tochigi. One of the subtle Show, Don't Tell points of the film is how Takaki is only ever depicted amongst them at or near night, with physical inability to see the beauty of his surroundings reflecting how he's mentally stuck pining for faraway Akari instead of appreciating nearby Kanae who wants to be there for him.
    • Children Who Chase Lost Voices predates Weathering in not romanticising the trope, with the seemingly idyllic setting of Agartha contrasting sharply with it being a Crap Saccharine World with xenophobic denizens and manhunting monsters.
    • Your Name features a vast green plain in a crater deep in the mountains, at the centre of which is the god's body sacred to the Miyamizu.
    • In Weathering with You, The Runaway Hodaka's home town is filled with these. This is a rare example where the trope isn't romanticised, with how Hodaka feels "suffocated" at his home, chasing the sunlight which falls just outside his island, onto the sea. In the climax, Hina is found on a giant Ghibli Plain on top of a cloud. Also not romanticised, as its desolate emptiness only serves to highlight the lonely fate awaiting the affected character.
    • Suzume opens and ends with Ghibli Plains near night time in the Ever After dimension. The trope is used to create a feeling of vastness.


  • The Lion King takes place on a vast plain. The trope is used frequently throughout, particularly in the opening sequence.
  • The film adaptation of Mortal Engines sees cities on wheels moving through vast, sprawling landscapes.

Video Games

  • The entirety of Flower has you controlling flying flower petals through Ghibli Plains. There's a lot of vast, grass covered fields, mixed with cities. Ghibli Plains are depicted at different times of the day, some at sunset and some during midday.

Western Animation

  • In High Guardian Spice, the main characters Rosemary and Sage's hometown is filled with Ghibli Plains. There's green grass everywhere and vast rolling hills, all topped off with mountains in the distance. The first couple of minutes of the first episode shows the hometown, and it is seen in flashbacks throughout other episodes in the series. The prestigious High Guardian Academy, being in the middle of the busy Lyngarth city, has considerably less nature and considerably more urbanism.
  • The Denouement following the season 3 climax in Amphibia briefly features Ghibli Plains. There's a shot showing the previous industrial wasteland changing into green Ghibli Plains.

Real Life

  • Go to any farm, and you'll see vast, flat sprawling bits of greenery with not a lot of trees in the way. Drive out to the countryside, walk a couple of miles away from the road, and you'll probably encounter Ghibli Plains. If not, then you've encountered the Sister Trope Ghibli Hills.