I thought he deserved his own topic, I searched and there wasn't a dedicated Miyazaki thread so I took the initiative (it had nothing to do with the literature review that is getting increasingly monotonous I promise).
My first introduction was Totoro in Japanese class when I was in primary school, this was back in the days before DVD and the copy we had had no subtitles and was in Japanese, despite my immense lack of skill with the language I was still able to pretty much get the idea.
I liked Spirited Away but I really don't think its his best, I don't really have a reason, it just didn't appeal to me as much. This could be because the friend I went to see it with hated it.
I'd also seen Kiki's delivery service at school.
I was really excited when my local video store got DVDs of I think six of his films. Two on each disc, I went in and hired them, watched the ones I'd seen before again and reveled in their beauty and sweetness. Watched the ones I hadn't seen (I think it was Princess Mononoke, Porco Roso and Laputa) and thought they were great.
Then I put in Grave of the Fireflies, this was when I was living on my own, and I knew nothing about the film. I expected a nice little film about nice things with a nice happy ending. I WEPT LIKE A FUCKING BABY! That film literally crushed me, probably because I wasn't expecting it to be sad, but it was the most crushing thing I'd seen in such a long time. Great movie though.