8 most likable Studio Ghibli characters ranked

In a whimsical journey through Studio Ghibli's universe, we celebrate the essence of its captivating characters, from the intriguingly complex to the universally adored. But which one is the most adored?

Photo: Spirited Away.. Image Courtesy Studio Ghibli, Fathom Events
Photo: Spirited Away.. Image Courtesy Studio Ghibli, Fathom Events /

From the enigmatic and complex to the outright adorable, Studio Ghibli's rosters are full of different personalities.

We're getting ready to plunge into the mesmerizing realm of Studio Ghibli, where the roster of whimsical beings is as vast and varied as the stars in the sky.
Picking favorites here is like trying to snag a cloud with a net - everyone's going to end up with a different piece of the pie.

Imagine characters with a mysterious aura, like the cool new kid who just transferred to your school. They might start off a tad distant or detached with a swagger that commands attention and a hidden depth that slowly unfolds, making you cheer for them by the end of their tale. Then there are the fierce warriors of the realm, battling against odds that seem as large as giants - not the first you'd pick for a cozy chat by the fire, but their bravery and conviction are absolutely awe-inspiring. And amidst this cast, we find a soul undergoing a transformation that's more than just skin deep, showcasing a journey of self-discovery and acceptance that's nothing short of magical.

Some feel like the childhood buddies we've always dreamed of, characters who navigate their trials with a resilience that inspires, and others who embark on quests that teach them - and us - about courage, hope, and finding one's place in the vast world. Some face a whirlwind of challenges, emerging as a beacon of kindness and strength. Some of them embody the pure essence of wonder and innocence, figures so endearing that just the thought of them sends us into a daydream of fantastical adventures.

Let's take a look at 8 lovely and loved Studio Ghibli characters and see how they rank amongt each other. Remember, this whimsical world is ever-changing, and what we find endearing today might shift tomorrow. But that's the charm of this animated universe - it keeps us enchanted, always eager for another journey.

Photo: Howl's Moving Castle.. Image Courtesy Studio Ghibli, Fathom Events /

1. Howl (Howl's Moving Castle)

Imagine strolling into a magical castle and meeting Howl, a wizard with a flair for the dramatic (understatement of the year) and a wardrobe that makes fashionistas weep with envy. At first glance, you might think he's all about casting spells to make his hair look fabulous and breaking hearts with a snap of his fingers. But don't let that glittery exterior fool you. Beneath the sparkle and sass, there's a wizard with a heart bigger than his castle (which, by the way, walks on chicken legs).

As we journey with him, we see his layers peel away like onions in a spell gone wonky, revealing a hero who's as brave as he is kind-hearted. Sure, he might start off as the guy who spends too long in front of the mirror, but give him time. By the end of his tale, you'll be rooting for him, cheering his name, and maybe even trying to find a moving castle of your own to join his magical adventures.

Photo: Princess Mononoke.. Image Courtesy Studio Ghibli, Fathom Events /

2. Ashitaka (Princess Mononoke)

Imagine Ashitaka as that quiet, super serious guy in class who always sits at the front, never cracking a joke but somehow manages to have everyone's respect. He's like that friend who, when you're planning something a tad bit naughty, gives you the look, and suddenly, you're reconsidering your life choices. Ashitaka's the kind of hero who doesn't wear a flashy cape or swing around a giant sword for fun, he's all about the noble quest, fighting for what's right with a determination that's as unwavering as a tree rooted deep within the earth.

His story isn't the light, fluffy kind that leaves you with warm, fuzzy feelings - it's the heavy, thought-provoking type that sticks with you, making you ponder the deeper meanings of life and our place in the world. Sure, he might not be the first pick for a laugh-out-loud movie night, but he's definitely the hero you'd want by your side when the going gets tough.

Princess Mononoke - Studio Ghibli /

3. San (Princess Mononoke)

Imagine stumbling into a lush, mystical forest and bumping into San, the fierce wolf girl. She's like that one friend who’s always ready to jump into a wild adventure, no questions asked. With eyes blazing with determination and a spirit as untamable as the wolves she calls family, San might seem a tad intimidating at first glance - like, "maybe let's not borrow her favorite spear" kind of intimidating.

But beneath that warrior exterior beats a heart of pure gold, driven by a love for nature and a fierce desire to protect her forest home from harm. It’s this raw passion and unyielding spirit that makes her stand out. Sure, she's not the type to start a chit-chat by the water cooler, but give her a cause to fight for, and she’s the hero you'd want by your side, ready to face off against any challenge with a growl and a fearless grin.

Photo: Howl's Moving Castle.. Image Courtesy Studio Ghibli, Fathom Events /

4. Sophie (Howl's Moving Castle)

Imagine if your mirror started telling tales and one day, decided to throw you into the shoes of your wise, eighty-year-old self. Meet Sophie, who started her adventure feeling a tad unsure about pretty much everything. She could blend into a crowd faster than a chameleon in a box of crayons. But then, along came a spell that turned her life upside down, and suddenly, she's living the grandma life way before her time.

Instead of throwing in the towel, she rolled up her sleeves (probably knitted by her new alter-ego) and dove headfirst into an enchanting world of moving castles, talking fires, and handsome wizards with more mood swings than a pubescent teen. Through magical mishaps and heartwarming friendships, she found her purpose, proving it's never too late (or too early) to discover your inner strength and sparkle. Her tale isn't just a rollercoaster of whimsy - it's a high-flying broomstick ride into becoming your best, most confident self.

Photo: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.. Image Courtesy Studio Ghibli, Fathom Events /

5. Nausicaä (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind)

Dive into the vibrant, wind-swept world of a true eco-warrior princess, and you'll find Nausicaä, soaring high above the rest with her glider, leading with a heart as vast as the very skies she navigates. In a post-apocalyptic landscape that could give a scarecrow a run for its money, she stands as a beacon of hope, her spirit as indomitable as the giant, mutant insects she calls friends. Nausicaä's not your stereotypical princess waiting around for a hero - she is the hero, flying headfirst into danger armed with nothing but her unwavering courage and a deep, boundless love for every living creature, big or small, creepy or crawly.

Her story isn't just a thrilling ride through lush, fantastical forests and desolate, toxic wastelands - it's a heart-stirring symphony of compassion, leadership, and a fierce commitment to healing the planet. For anyone who's ever hugged a tree or just dreamed of making the world a greener place, Nausicaä's tale resonates like a call to arms - or better yet, a call to plant some trees and make friends with bugs!

Photo: Kiki’s Delivery Service.. Image Courtesy Studio Ghibli, Fathom Events /

6. Kiki (Kiki's Delivery Service)

Dive into the world of Kiki, a young witch with a heart as big as her dreams and a flying broomstick to match. Picture this spunky gal taking the leap into adulthood - except her version involves zipping across the skies and delivering packages with her trusty black cat. It's not all smooth flying, though. Kiki faces the kind of bumps and hiccups that would ground most of us. From figuring out how to make her first friend in a bustling new town to losing her magical mojo when self-doubt creeps in, she's the friend we've all been at some point - plucky, a tad insecure, but ever so determined.

Watching Kiki navigate the ups and downs of independence with a spirit that just won't quit makes her not just a character to adore but a beacon of inspiration. She shows us that with a pinch of courage and a dash of resilience, we can find our place in the world, even if we occasionally stumble along the way.

Photo: Spirited Away.. Image Courtesy Studio Ghibli, Fathom Events /

7. Chihiro (Spirited Away)

Imagine Chihiro starting off as the kid at the back of the class, sulking and rolling her eyes at everything. Now picture her diving headfirst into a world that's like the inside of a kaleidoscope -crazy, colorful, and completely cuckoo. At first, she's as thrilled as a cat in a bathtub, but this once grumpy munchkin starts to change. It's like watching a caterpillar turn into a butterfly, but instead of wings, she gets courage and a heart as big as a giant peach.

She starts solving riddles, outsmarting spirits, and even making friends with a dragon (because why not?). By the end, she's not just the girl who saved her parents and the spirit world - she's the poster child for bravery and kindness. Watching Chihiro transform is like warming your hands on a cozy campfire, it leaves you feeling all fuzzy and glowing inside.

Photo: My Neighbor Totoro.. Image Courtesy Studio Ghibli, Fathom Events /

8. Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)

Imagine if your fluffiest pillow turned into a giant, gentle creature that could whisk you away on adventures in the blink of an eye. That wouldn't just be amazing, it'd be Totoro! This big, cuddly buddy named Totoro is like the superhero of childhood dreams, minus the cape but with all the magic. Think of Totoro as the guardian of the forest who's also the ultimate playmate, inviting you into a world where trees dance and buses are enormous, grinning cats.

With every rumbling purr and wide-eyed smile, Totoro wraps you up in a blanket of wonder, making every leaf and whisper of the wind seem like a secret message sent just for you. He doesn't need a speech to steal your heart - his actions are a universal language of joy and comfort. Totoro embodies that pure, unspoken connection we all share with nature and the simple, deep happiness it brings, making him a cherished friend across the globe.

And that, my friends, is our magical carousel ride through a world where every character, named or unnamed, plays a part in storytelling. Just like choosing your favorite flavor of ice cream on a hot summer day, deciding who steals your heart in this animated wonderland is a delicious dilemma.

Whether you're drawn to the mysterious, the brave, or the downright cuddly, remember - each has its sparkle, making our adventures through their worlds endlessly fascinating. Studio Ghibli and its characters urge you to keep your imagination wide open because, in this realm, every visit uncovers new delights.

Next. All 24 Studio Ghibli movies ranked from worst to best. All 24 Studio Ghibli movies ranked from worst to best. dark