Studio Ghibli is by far one of the most popular Anime films over the last three decades spanning 21 featured films, 2 television series, 23 short films and other works such as documentaries. Some of the most iconic Studio Ghibli films are My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Castle in the Sky, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo and many others. Since dating back to 1985, the director Hayao Miyazaki has made masterpieces writing beautiful stories with characters that usually enter a bizarre world where a new adventure awaits them. And through their journey in the film, the characters grow tremendously.
Haku from Spirited Away: The Protector
Haku is a twelve year old boy with the ability to transform into a dragon. He’s someone who is very kind-hearted and caring, yet also very strict with the intentions to help others. Throughout the entirety of the film, Haku is both in the forefront and background trying to keep Chihiro safe from the harms of Yubaba and the other evils in the world. Haku is also able to win the trust of Chihiro and guide her through the dangerous world. Haku is similar to an older brother who looks after a younger sibling especially when their parents are gone similar to the movie.
Chihiro from Spirited Away: Brave Soul
In the beginning of the film, Chihiro enters the spirit world as a girl who is easily scared who doesn’t trust anyone. But to protect her friends and rescue her parents after she gets lost, she begins to learn how to put her fears aside. With the help of Haku, she helps turn her parents from the pigs back to humans and is on a mission to take down the evil Yubaba. She relates to individuals who demonstrate great courage in the face of adversity and overcoming fear.
Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle: Social Butterfly
For those of you who seamlessly fit into social situations and seem to be the center of attention, Howl will be relatable for you. He’s a smooth talking and witty wizard who loves to show off and rescue Sophie. He loves meeting new people and isn’t afraid to put himself out there. Since he’s a magician and loves to woo ladies, his downfall is showing vulnerability.
Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle: Caregiver
For Sophie, she is initially quite reserved and afraid to speak her mind. But when it comes to helping others, she is the most compassionate woman you can have beside you. She is willing to help anyone she crosses paths with. In the movie, she turns into an old woman. But she realized that the outside appearance doesn’t matter. It’s only what matters on the inside. In the end Sophy, puts Howl’s heart back to free Calcifier. Individuals who put others before themselves will embody the characteristics of Sophie.
Seita from Grave of the Fireflies: Resilient
When it comes to trauma and resilience, Seita is true to this characteristic. Unfortunately, he is in a time of World War II and his house is destroyed during the fire bombings in Kobe Japan. His mother dies in this accident and Seita is forced to take care of her sister Setsuko. Despite the adversity, he is able to live a rather carefree life. Though in the end, even he dies of starvation, Seita fights until the very end. He is hardworking, disciplined and will never give up.
Setsuko from Grave of the Fireflies: Curious
Part of her curiosity is a result of the traumatic events that have happened to her and her family. However, the other aspect of curiosity comes from her child-like personality. For example she asks “why do fireflies have to die so soon?” She is still trying to grasp the death of her mother. Those who are curious and eager to learn discover the truths of the world.
Pazu from Castle in the Sky: Reckless
Though recklessness is often seen as a negative trait, Pazu uses his recklessness for good. The intent of recklessness comes from a place of willingness to help others at all costs. Pazu vows to protect and save his best friend Sheeta. The downside of his recklessness is his failure to think and plan ahead. However, his advantage is displaying tremendous courage against the face of fear.
Princess Sheeta from Castle in the Sky: Reserved
Sheeta is often reserved and shy to others. Since she fears she will put others in harm’s way, she prefers to be alone. But since she is saved by Pazu, an orphan Sheeta begins trusting others. For those who are reserved, it’s best to find people you truly trust and build strong bonds with them. She finds Laputa and saves her kingdom from Muska thanks to the help of Pazu. It’s important to note that having a partner or team beside you can get you farther than being alone.
Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke: Goal Oriented
For those individuals who are singular focused and tunnel visioned towards a goal, Ashitaka has a similar personality to you. The film begins with Ashitaka trying to save his village from a demon, and gets a curse mark doing so. He vows to journey into the west to find a cure. Since he is now cursed, Ashitaka is exiled from his village. His goal is to restore his name and find a cure. Along the process San helps him through the journey.
San from Princess Mononoke: Short Tempered
San, who is a wolf goddess, has all of the characteristics of a wolf. She is extremely loyal to the first and the animals that she had grown up with. For her, community and family is everything. However, this short tempered nature causes her to snap quickly and not trust others outside of her clan. As she saves Ashitaka, they begin falling in love and she begins developing compassion. If you relate to her, you likely have incredible inner strength and an independency to succeed on your own.
Totoro from My Neighbor Totoro: Playful
Totoro is an extremely friendly and kind character who helps Mei and Satsuki, his first human friends. He is the king of the forest and looks out for all inhabits. For individuals who are playful and cuddly, Totoro should be your favorite character. He’s one of those characters that is so lovable, nobody can hate him.
Ursula from Kiki’s Delivery Service: The Artist
Ursula is an artist who is obsessed with painting, especially crows. She lives in a faraway log cabin so she can perfect and focus on her art. Ursula advises Kiki to renew her flying ability and find a purpose by channeling her art. She refers to Kiki’s struggles as an artist’s block. The advantage of Ursula, is that she sees life as her oyster. She is able to use her imagination to paint the type of life she wants and sees the beauty in everything. Individuals who have an artists point of view will adore Ursula.
Haru from The Cat Returns: Shy
Haru is a shy individual who has a special ability to talk to cats. Since she struggles to interact with humans, she finds joy in helping cats. She saves a cat from being hit by a truck. And next thing you know it, she lands in a Cat Kingdom. Her shy nature makes her want to help others. Those who are shy tend to also have a cooperative attitude and listen well to others.
Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service: Stubborn
Kiki is a 13 year old witch with the ability to fly and loves her cat. She uses her talents to start a witch delivery business to deliver goods using her broomstick. This stubbornness makes it difficult to adapt to reality when she loses her powers and loses her cat, two of her most prized possessions. The advantage of stubborness is that you can block out critics who say negative things about you. However, stubbornness can lead to arrogance as well by not listening to the right advice when given.
Shizuku from the Whisper of the Heart – Passionate
Shizuki has a passion for writing and is a lifelong learner. She loves writing and even goes to the library frequently. She diverts for 2 months into books and creates a beautiful fantasy story. Those who are passionate and lifelong learners can create meaningful relationships with others and their work.
Nausicaa from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind – The Communicator
Nausicaa was quite a unique character compared to others. Even with incredible ability, she uses her gifts for good and to try to find a cure to help her father who is dying of an unknown illness and others. She can communicate with giant insects, plants and other animals. In the story, she is presented as a messiah and is seen as an ideology on how to interact with others. In many ways, she charted the path of how to bring people together. If you’re someone who loves to connect people to others, Nausicaa is someone you may see yourself as in the Ghibli world.
Gina from Porco Rosso – True Supporter
Gina despite her troubles with marriage is a fantastic friend anyone wants on her side. Gina always speaks glowingly about one of her friends Marco Pagot. Despite the fact that Marco has decided to turn from a human to a pig, she doesn’t judge. Having a true friend who supports who and is with you even at your worst moments is one that everyone needs. If you’re someone that sees the good in others and will support them through thick and thin, Gina shares the same qualities.
Catbus – Servant
Whether good or bad, the catbus is always there when you need him the most. The catbus stretches out with 12 legs and always helps those in need of travel. In the film, he is asked to help Satsuki find her lost sister Mei. The catbus also volunteers to bring Mei and Satsuki to the countryside to nurse their hospitalized mother. A character like the catbus lives to serve others. But don’t mistake their characteristics to be a slave. The catbus helps others with grace and class. Those who serve are appreciated and make the biggest impact on the lives of others. For those who love to serve and receive the most joy from helping others, you might relate to a character such as the catbus.
Kaonashi – A Wanderer
Kaonashi is often referred to as No Face, as it’s a spirit with a shapeshifting body with no apparent face. It is rather a lonely spirit who loves to adapt and copy it’s traits depending on its environment. At first, he gets in with the wrong crowd and is quite demonstrative. However, Kaonashi follows Chihiro, a young girl trying to find her parents. She accepts him as a co-journeyer and trains him to be more compassionate and well behaved. This is a strange character who wanders around adapting its characteristics based on others. For individuals with many different personalities, you may relate to Kaonashi.
Yubaba – Overly Protective
Throughout the film, she is the main antagonist who reigns terror to everyone in her path. Though she is 99 percent evil, she shows a softer side. She shows overwhelming affection to her baby boy. Even though the boy is very aggressive and angry, she still loves him and cares for him like any mother would. You may relate to her if you’re someone who is very stern and tough on the outside. But once you develop meaningful relationships, you can open up to people with open arms.