I pretended to like Ghibli movies for years and years to make friends and influence people.
I feel secure enough now to admit that the only Ghibli movie I really like is Howl’s Moving Castle.
And yet I’m STILL doing this tag that I found on the incomparable Zezee With Books.
There are rules, of course.
- Pingback to Kate at Melting Pots and Other Calamities so that she’ll know you did the tag too.
- Tag all your peeps! Ghibli movies aren’t as popular as Disney or Pixar, so be careful that those you tag are at least somewhat familiar with Ghibli.
- Use examples from books, movies, TV shows, anime/manga, and webcomics.
- As this tag celebrates heroines, please name either a piece of fiction or a female character, if you’re able.
- Have fun.
Nausicaa, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
(Even though this isn’t technically Ghibli, it’s still marketed that way.): Nausicaa is a princess in a post-disaster world. She is compassionate and brave, a daring explorer who is capable and selfless.
Name a strong female leader.
I ADMIT IT.
KATNISS IS A WELL-WRITTEN CHARACTER.
I like that she’s magnetic but resents her own power.
I love a leader who doesn’t want to lead.
Sheeta, Castle in the Sky
Although Sheeta may have a quieter demeanor than other Ghibli heroines, she is not a damsel in distress. She’s royalty, but doesn’t stay on the sidelines; she is involved, kind, and, despite a sad past, hopeful.
Name an inspiring member of royalty.
(Spoilers for Song of the Lioness Quartet)
Thayet jian Wilima is damn inspiring.
She escaped a civil war, became the Queen of Tortall, and befriended ALANNA???
Alanna is not a cuddly, friendly person! Befriending her is an ACCOMPLISHMENT.
(Oh…the White Saviorism of this story is hitting me now.)
Satsuki and Mei, My Neighbor Totoro
Before Anna and Elsa, before Lilo and Nani, there was Satsuki and Mei. Satsuki was incredibly young when their mother was hospitalized, and, with their father at work, she has to take care of Mei. And Mei is only four with a big imagination.
Name a pair of siblings (or two friends who act like siblings).
I don’t love the fairytale Snow White and Rose Red, because I am Team Rose and I feel like she gets shafted, but I do like the sisterly bond in the story.
I believe this story inspired Blanca and Roja, which I have not read yet.
Kiki, Kiki’s Delivery Service
Kiki has to go off on her own to live alone, as is the custom among witches. She goes through many things that newly independent young adults face, like money problems, finding a place to stay, job searching, and loneliness, before finding her way, thanks to her special abilities.
Name a female character who has supernatural gifts.
Hannah is a witch.
A real witch.
I am so excited for the second book in this duology.
Isabel Sterling promised more Hannah and Morgan cuteness.
I’M READY FOR IT.
Gina and Fio, Porco Rosso
Gina and Fio are both heroines in this film, and they couldn’t be less alike. Gina is a young woman who is very feminine, a singer and a restaurant owner. However, she is very resourceful and capable. Fio is a teenage mechanic who is independent, goes against the flow, and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. She may be one of the best mechanics of her time.
Name two inspiring heroines; one who is unabashedly feminine, and another who is more of a tomboy.
Let me dig up memories of All-American Girl.
(I can’t tell if I like this book or not? I’m not a big fan of Meg Cabot’s non-Princess Diaries books.)
Sam, the main character, is a sensitive artist and wannabe goth.
Her sister Lucy is a popular, gorgeous cheerleader.
Both are redheads.
Sam has a crush on Lucy’s boyfriend.
Angel, On Your Mark
On Your Mark is a music video that Ghibli helped a music group with. It may not have much of a story, but it’s beautiful and interesting, and not may people are aware of its existence.
Name an underrated heroine.
Weetzie Bat’s stepdaughter Witch Baby deserves more recognition.
Witch Baby is one of my favorite books in the Weetzie Bat series (my favorite is Baby Be-Bop.)
I’m not a narrow, knobbly person, so I can’t exactly embody Witch Baby’s creepy vibe.
I can try, though!
Shizuku, Whisper of the Heart
Shizuku is an eighth grade student who can’t quite focus on school as much as on her favorite books. However, through encounters with an ambitious boy who seems to have a likely chance at meeting his goals, a cat who rides trains, an antique shop owner, and a cat statue called the Baron, Shizuku is determined to meet her own goal and become a writer.
Name your most relatable character.
Props forever go to Jordan from Riley Redgate’s Noteworthy for being a tall, masc, bisexual alto.
WHAT UP, IT’S ME.
San, Princess Mononoke
San has been raised by wolves her whole life. When humans begin to invade her home forest to make towns and use the resources for themselves while killing the spirits and animals within, San refuses to let it be. She takes a stand and becomes the village’s greatest obstacle. She is such a force to be reckoned with that they even give her a name; The Princess Mononoke.
Name a female character who is physically strong.
I love that April, the resident cute redhead in Lumberjanes, is fast with her fists.
PUNCH THOSE DINOSAURS, APRIL.
Chihiro, Spirited Away
At the beginning of Spirited Away, Chihiro starts off as a whiny, spoiled ten year old girl. However, during her time working at the spirit’s Bath House, she discovers parts of herself she didn’t know she had. The story is about her finding the strength she already had but was unaware of.
Name a character who has an amazing character journey.
I didn’t appreciate enough what Melinda Sordino went through.
She overcomes so much.
Surviving in itself is an accomplishment.
Haru, The Cat Returns
Haru is a typical high school girl; kind, clumsy, and a little forgetful. But she soon finds herself involved in events that are out of her control. In a way, it is because of her normalcy that she can find her way out of her situation and become stronger because of it.
Name a female character who may not have any supernatural abilities herself, but is memorable anyway.
Scarlet is the only Lunar Chronicles heroine without any special skills and she is my FAVORITE OF THEM ALL.
She has the most mundane of origin stories, yet she experiences the most character development.
Truly an icon.
Sophie, Howl’s Moving Castle
Sophie doesn’t think much of herself for a lot of the story. She doesn’t think she’s pretty or memorable, especially when compared to her younger sister, Lettie. It gets even worse when she’s cursed to look like an old woman. When she finds a new life that involves the mysterious wizard Howl, a fire demon, Howl’s apprentice, and many others, she is shown to be resilient and intuitive.
Name an emotionally strong character.
(Sophie is my favorite Ghibli heroine, by the by.)
NO ONE CARES ABOUT ANNE ELLIOT’S FEELINGS AND IT IS A TRAVESTY.
When Anne’s ex comes back to town after a long estrangement, she has to keep her feelings to herself and watch her ex flirt with a teenager.
Ponyo is one of the youngest Ghibli heroines at only five years old. But she still gets a lot done, including becoming human, discovering things, finding a best friend, and saving the world.
Name a hero who happens to be a child.
I’m pretty sure Hunky Dory of Diary of a Fairy Godmother was a child, if not a preteen.
I was so looking forward to this book in fourth grade.
It was…not great.
Arrietty, The Secret World of Arrietty
Arrietty is a Borrower; she is tiny and survives by stealing small things that humans won’t miss. Yet she’s curious about the human world, and does braver things than most humans would be incapable of doing, despite her tiny size.
Name an unlikely hero.
Marin isn’t the type of YA heroine one usually sees.
She’s depressed and pushes away her only friend and surrogate parents.
It’s hard to watch.
Like Anne Elliot and Melinda Sordino, though, she overcomes.
Nahoko, The Wind Rises
Nahoko has tuberculosis during World War 2. However, she doesn’t allow this to cripple her, and enjoys life to the fullest anyway, which includes painting and falling in love. Even being placed in a sanitarium doesn’t break her.
Name an inspiring character with some sort of obstacle.
Hey-o…Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman looks AMAZING.
It’s about a girl trying to avenge the death of her father.
Should I get my hopes up?
Kaguya, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
In a time where women were expected to follow social norms such as blackening teeth, shaving eyebrows, and being forced into arranged marriages, Kaguya refuses to play along. She would much rather be outside, dance, and play with friends.
Name a female character who challenges social norms.
After her friend Khalil is shot by a cop, Starr Carter starts speaking out about police brutality.
Her white friends do not appreciate it. They tell her to stop.
Starr keeps going.
This is a really good tag!
Even though I don’t love Studio Ghibli’s movies, I do love that they’re not afraid of female protagonists!
If you have time today and you’re sick of holiday tags, this is a great tag to try.