Miyazaki's films have one certainty apart from the eye-dazzling aesthetic parallels. The inclusion of strong-willed female characters is inspiring and empowering in every facet with the motive of carrying the story further. Miyazaki's feminist approach to his stories provides an adventurous ride for the viewers that changes the trajectory of the male figure that is generally embedded into the stream of the mainstream genre of films or any media.
The inspiring women built on the grounds of simple plotlines and stories are immensely impactful and effective to the stories that leave an everlasting impact in the hearts of the readers. Here are some of the most inspiring feminist strong-willed women characters that should inspire creators to embed a sense of equality and fundamental strength in people.
1. San from Princess Mononoke
Possibly the most powerful, empowering, and feminist idol character ever made in the history of Studio Ghibli. Humans are humans even in the bleakest way, and sometimes we try escaping that notion and live with nature, turning us into one of its docile creatures. Still, even then, the complexities of the human mind, its weakness, and its strength coexist in the existentialist idealism of the characterization of such a powerful character.
San is a character that hates humans, is raised by wolves, and gives everything she has to protect them from the evilness of human greed. Her tough exterior is warmed with the help of an endearing human being, Ashitaka, who redeems her. Still, her individuality remains firm as a boulder stopping the flow of a river, which makes the viewers compelled to be fascinated by her character build-up. A woman can change and progress without losing her individuality in believing what she deems best for herself is the only message that resonates higher above the others.
2. Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle
If there is one character who exists to be an emblem of a journey from self-hatred to self-appreciation and confidence, it's Sophie Hatter. The beauty standards imposed on women often make them have self-doubts about themselves that they cannot feel peaceful with, which is relatable to every woman.
The empowering trajectory of the film imposes that beauty is a fleeting myth that endures the tarnish of time. The heart holds the most powerful possession of all: love. Sophie's character is the most relatable and empowering in facing a drastic change, coping with it, coming to terms with it, changing and powering through it, all shown through the uniqueness of the curse and boons, the fascinating concoction of every Studio Ghibli film.
3. Shizuku from Whisper of the heart
Shizuku is the most relatable character that portrays the unprecedented burdens one must face due to the unpredictable quotient present in life. Her hesitation from following her passion to being overwhelmingly burdened by it to producing something beautifully raw to working on it, bringing a balance in her pursuit, her character is an entire journey from someone immature to someone passionate and deep in her personality.
Her relentless tries to excel at something with perfection to understanding that the concept of perfection is highly subjective is what brings a reality-checking inspired character shown through Whisper of the heart.
4. Kiki from kiki's Delivery Service
Kiki is the most lovable little witch whose determination and adherence to her responsibilities and the beautiful change into adulthood shown in the film warms the hearts of the viewers while also imparting her moral standards as inspiring doctrines of self-behavior. With her inspiring nature and characterization, it hits the viewers right at home when they can relate her struggles with their own and how eventually she becomes an idol, an inspiring character to follow.
5. Sheeta from Castle in the sky
The entire thematic trajectory of how a ruling figure of a kingdom is perceived to be is changed with this progressive perspective from Sheeta, the rightful ruler of Laputa, the Castle in the sky. Her compassionate treatment of her subjects and the people are looking up to her for going against the intimidating aggressor Colonel Muska.
6. Nausicaa from Nausicaa of the valley of the wind
The supervision to her subjects, responsibility, and a figurine of the savior; Nausicaa is a dynamic character who is shown to harbor massive willpower and a strong sense of justice while a caring and responsible heart set out to save the forests and her people. Even while exposed to the vile and cruel side of humanity, her relentless pursuit of doing good for the people shows her endurance and the powerful driving force to bring about a progressive change baked right into her character.
7. Haru from The Cat Returns
From the inception of the film, the character is shown to be clumsy and a victim of bullying when, upon having the power to understand felines, her life changes drastically, leading her to make brave choices that make her into a better strong human being.
Ghibli's artistic portrayal of change in a woman as she embraces herself beautifully aids her personal growth and confidence adds to her beauty and is visually portrayed through such beautiful aesthetic symbols. Her character is shown to be progressive and dexterous with the challenges thrown in her way and how she finds a way by herself, changing from being clumsy to a self-confident woman.
8. Satsuki from My Neighbour Totoro
Despite being just eleven, Satsuki is extremely responsible, given that her four-year-old sister is a troublemaker. Her curiosity and loving nature spellbind the viewers into the enchanting spell of Totoro, along with her perseverance, breakdowns, and witty remarks that shape her character into a beautiful and strong-willed human being.
The siblings add to the moral of having a balance between adventures and responsibility given the situation with their parents. Satsuki's self-reliant nature leads her father to rely on her as a secondary head of their tiny cozy household.