Hayao Miyazaki movies are the best kind of special. They are magical and fantastic creatures that you never forget. His brand of fantasy hits home for fans of all ages and his films are beloved all over the world.
Through his company Studio Ghibli, over the last few decades, Miyazaki has made some of the most incredible animated films in history. These are movies that appeal to audiences through heartfelt stories and characters that go on amazing adventures. Here are some of the most memorable creatures in the films of Hayao Miyazaki.
In My Neighbor Totoro, a family moves into a home in rural Japan where magical things are happening. Young sisters, Satsuki and Mei, await the return of their mother from the hospital when spirits from the nearby woods visit them.
The Totoros are fuzzy creatures that resemble a cross between an owl and a rabbit and they also roar. Despite the largest of them being somewhat intimidating in size, the Totoro creatures are ultimately goodhearted protectors who help when Mei gets lost.
Also appearing in My Neighbor Totoro as well as the 2001 film Spirited Away, softballs are precisely what their name says. They are little balls of soot that jump around and can sprout legs, arms, and googly eyes.
In Totoro, they leave the county home after Satsuki and Mei move into the house, but in Spirited Away they are put to work. What makes these creatures even more memorable is that they feed on star-shaped candy whenever its break time, making them cute and funny despite being made of soot.
No-Face is easily one of the scariest and most intimidating creatures the Miyazaki team has ever created. He is a spirit who shows up at the bathhouse in Spirited Away with a very insatiable appetite. At one point he gets so hungry that he eats just about everything in his path and almost destroys the bathhouse just so he can get Chihiro to like him.
Even though he can make gold appear practically out of thin air, he’s still very scary. Thankfully he turns out to be a good guy.
The Kodama are some of the most popular and most mysterious creatures ever to come from a Studio Ghibli film. In Princess Mononoke, these things appear in multiple sequences as nothing more than observers to what’s going on in their forest. We’re not sure exactly what these creatures do or if they are good or bad, but they stand out. Their most distinctive trait is how they look like bobbleheads when they stand still or sit down. They’re very strange.
The Forest Spirit in Princess Mononoke is a vital creature to the story. Also known as the Shishigami and Night-Walker, this is an animal that appears to be similar to a deer or an elk with a humanlike face and multiple antlers. It can transform into a giant blue creature that walks the woods at night, and it can also heal or destroy the forest. This spirit is a god of life and death, and it is possibly the most powerful creature in all of Miyazaki’s films.
In the animated sci-fi film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the ohmu are gigantic insects that roam the earth. They live primarily in a toxic and polluted environment called the Sea of Corruption, and when one of their kind gets killed, they go on a rampage.
The ohmu are so large that they can take down almost anything in their path, and when they’re angry, they’re even more dangerous. There’s nothing scarier than seeing dozens of these things charging at you with their multiple eyes glowing red.
Calcifer is a magical fire spirit with a big mouth in the Miyazaki film Howl’s Moving Castle. He powers Howl’s house by use of his magic and can make the house move when he burns a lot of fuel.
Often making jokes and mocking others, Calcifer is a likeable creature with a fun sense of humour and wit. We eventually learn that he was initially a falling star that Howl was able to capture and keep, but thankfully he gets released and can be happy and free once again.
Before Disney decided to empower little girls with Moana, before DC finally brought Wonder Woman to the big screen, Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli have been supplying us with a steady stream of iconic female characters. These leading girls (most of them have yet to hit puberty) capture both our hearts and imaginations while leading us on their fantastic journeys.