Studio Ghibli has the best portrayal of gender inclusivity through the idea that the characters created by the directors are made with the notion, "Women are realistic, Men are idealistic" in their minds.
Their simplicity in nature, totally bending outside the masculine boundaries set for men in mainstream media that affects the gender at large, the male characters of Studio Ghibli are awe-inspiring with ideal aspects that society should most definitely endorse in their system of gender impositions, even though it is challenging to bend the trajectories of gender imposed roles already earmarked at birth.
Despite the dehumanization of society and imposing masculine and feminine ideals into the heteronormative gender distinction system, the men created by Studio Ghibli artfully ignore such super-imposed agendas and live like humans, cry, laugh, feel, like humans, like their heart demands them to feel.
It is most definitely impossible to resist the warmth and love that viewers develop for such heartwarming, tenderly built characters. Here is an analysis of the male characters by Studio Ghibli portrayed on its plethoric plate of films.
1. Jiro Horikoshi from The Wind Rises
The tenderness and free will that he discovers from his dreams, to fly into the infinite body of the sky, to love the woman he saved whose hat from being blown away, to be passionately engulfed by his dreams, to feel the pangs of pain from the separation from his beloved to watch her say goodbye in one of his dreams, his character makes the viewers go through a series of tear-jerking moments where all we want to do is hug him and watch him cry his eyes out.
2. Sho from The Secret World of Arrietty
Sho is a cottagecore dream laying on flower beds, reading a book while petting his cat; the aesthetic sublimity in reflecting what his character is through aesthetic parallels is still one of the majestic mastery of Ghibli that doesn't receive enough appreciation.
His heart conditions make him feel pessimistic about his life, but Arrietty inspires him to keep on living that he tries even after facing adversities, expressing what he feels.
3. Tombo from Kiki's Delivery Service
This adorable munchkin wants to befriend Kiki and extend his passion and curiosity to fly through the skies. His extreme genuine interest in Kiki, understanding boundaries, and trying to approach her is adorably humorous as the story unfurls into the best possible conclusion ever.
4. Seiji Amasawa from Whisper of the heart
Every literature lover will agree that a mysterious boy who issues and reads the exact book you do, is a dealbreaker. You are bound to have the best love story and the worst heartbreak ever. His subtle teasing of Shizuku while also showing a part of him to readers that he usually doesn't.
His character's depth and personality make the viewers never satisfied with him as we keep wanting more of him! His tactic to get his crush's attention, Shizuku, is undeniably the most adorable and beautiful way - by reading and writing the name after hers on the same books (a dream of every bookworm).
5. Shun Kazama from From up on the Poppy hill
Shun's decisive character with the added characteristic of his leadership skills is the most inspiring and heartfelt characterization of any of the characters made by Ghibli.
6. Prince Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke
When Mononoke threatened to cut his throat, and his reply to it was, "You're beautiful" (makes you want to jump out off your skin. I can relate, bestie), was probably, poetically, the most beautiful, heart thumping lines to fall in love with.
His perseverance in bringing balance between humans and nature is inspiring and attractive, which makes him all the more beautiful to idolize. His maintenance in balancing the friendship and animosity between the two worlds is beautifully articulated with the flow of the story of Princess Mononoke.
7. Howl Jenkins Pendragon from How's Moving Castle
If Howl is not the definition of a dreamboat, look up the word dreamboat. Howl's dramatic entrances and expressions at the mildest occurrence that made Sophie angry and exasperated are the real comic moments that make Howl the most iconic man of all.
His quirks, seriousness, and dramatic expressions are like an adorable man-child. Yet, accountability for his actions and responsibility to save Sophie surpass all the idealistic expectations that make the viewers fall in love with his character by the second.