Studio Ghibli’s Top 10 Male Characters

Hayao Miyazaki focuses on showing strong female characters in Studio Ghibli tales. This has greatly influenced many people’s thoughts over the years.

But it’s not just about strong females. It’s also about having male characters who are good role models and don’t fall into harmful behavior.

In Studio Ghibli films, you’ll often see boys and men who are respectful and kind. They look out for others and value their independence. This balance is crucial in portraying healthy relationships and behaviors.

They’re caring and gentle, like mothers or sisters. These male characters form strong bonds with their children, friends, and those they guide.

They’re not one-dimensional their stories unfold with depth. They prove that being brave doesn’t mean lacking kindness or the ability to learn and change for the better.

1) Haku from Spirited Away

Haku is a steadfast and gentle companion in Spirited Away. At first, his stoic demeanor and dragon form might make him seem mysterious.

Yet, as the story unfolds, Haku reveals his true nature: kind and caring. While he may not say much, his actions demonstrate his compassion and loyalty.

Haku from Spirited Away (Credit: Studio Ghibli)

Haku proves himself to be brave and fiercely protective of Chihiro in Spirited Away. Recognizing her vulnerability as a young child in a strange and mystical world, he remains by her side, ensuring her safety.

Haku is willing to risk everything to free Chihiro from the spiritual entanglements she faces. Although he may be unable to solve his own challenges, he selflessly extends a helping hand to her in her time of need. 

2) Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl Pendragon in Howl’s Moving Castle boasts one of the most engrossing character arcs in Studio Ghibli’s repertoire.

Initially perceived as wicked, with rumors swirling about his appetite for women’s hearts, Howl’s true nature reveals a stark contrast.

The film unfolds as one of Ghibli’s most romantic tales, with an unforgettable love story at its core. Sophie’s affection for Howl deepens as he undergoes transformation, ultimately becoming the person he was destined to be.

Studio Ghibli's Top 10 Male Characters
Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle (Credit: Studio Ghibli)

Howl rises to the occasion admirably, particularly when he falls for Sophie. His journey to find courage and confront his true self is profound.

Howl’s flaws add depth to his character; he grapples with a desire for love that feels artificial, driven by his lack of confidence in his true identity.

However, when the time comes to protect his people, Howl rises to his full potential. Despite his vanity and stubbornness, Howl’s character arc remains compelling and multi-dimensional. 

3) Prince Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke

Prince Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke indeed stands out as a protagonist with few flaws, yet he remains compelling and relatable, if not aspirational.

His character is defined by a strong sense of responsibility and emotional intelligence. Ashitaka demonstrates the ability to listen and discern when action is necessary, even if it means endangering himself.

He embodies resilience and determination, showing an unwavering commitment to seeing his tasks through to completion.

Studio Ghibli's Top 10 Male Characters
Prince Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke (Credit: Studio Ghibli)

Despite facing significant adversity, Ashitaka remains unafraid of change and risk, steadfastly adhering to his deeply held values.

He transforms his personal pain into positive actions, striving to prevent others from suffering. Ashitaka embodies compassionate leadership and advocates for genuine peace.

Considering his exemplary qualities and impactful role, Ashitaka undoubtedly deserves recognition as one of the best Studio Ghibli male characters to date. 

4) Jiro Horikoshi from The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises from Studio Ghibli tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, a real-life aircraft designer famous for his work during World War II.

Jiro is passionate about building planes, and he’s really good at it. But even as he finds success, he doesn’t let it overshadow what he believes in.

Studio Ghibli's Top 10 Male Characters
Jiro Horikoshi from The Wind Rises (Credit: Studio Ghibli)

He’s saddened by the idea that his love for planes and engineering is overshadowed by the war and its destruction.

In The Wind Rises, a big part of the story revolves around Jiro’s relationship with his fiancée, Nahoko Satomi. When Jiro loves, he loves deeply, whether it’s for airplanes or for Nahoko.

He’s committed to being by Nahoko’s side, no matter what challenges come their way. He sees her for who she truly is and cherishes every moment they have together, even during difficult times with her health.

5) Tatsuo Kusakabe from My Neighbor Totoro

Tatsuo Kusakabe shines as a loving father to his two daughters in My Neighbor Totoro. Despite facing challenging times with their mother’s illness and prolonged hospital stay, he remains caring and optimistic.

He creates a warm and supportive environment for Mei and Satsuki, keeping their family together during difficult moments when fear and uncertainty could easily drive them apart.

Tatsuo guides his daughters with a cheerful spirit, finding the silver lining in every situation. Even when the girls express concern about their new home potentially being haunted.

Studio Ghibli's Top 10 Male Characters
Tatsuo Kusakabe from My Neighbor Totoro (Credit: Studio Ghibli)

Tatsuo responds with enthusiasm, expressing his lifelong wish to live in a haunted house.  During storms, he teaches them to find joy and laughter amidst their fear.

He exemplifies fatherhood beautifully and stands as one of the finest male characters in Studio Ghibli films. However, there are a few male characters with an even greater impact than Tatsuo on this list. 

6) Asbel from Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind

Asbel undergoes significant growth in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. It’s crucial to demonstrate how characters can evolve, and how a young man can alter his perspective with new knowledge and learning.

Initially, Asbel sticks to the status quo, but as he gains understanding, he joins Nausicaä in bringing about positive change.

Studio Ghibli's Top 10 Male Characters
Asbel from Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind (Credit: Studio Ghibli)

It’s crucial that Asbel was allowed to develop and become a better person. Many young folks stick to their initial beliefs without questioning them.

But Asbel shows the maturity to consider new ideas and challenge his own worldview. Sometimes he can be stubborn, especially when frustrated, but he’s enthusiastic and supportive. And this enthusiasm ultimately benefits Nausicaä.

7) Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service

In Kiki’s Delivery Service, Jiji might talk a lot, but he’s got wisdom to share. He’s the practical and supportive buddy that a young witch like Kiki relies on.

Even though he’s a cautious cat, Jiji steps up to try new stuff and lend a paw when it counts. Usually, animal pals in stories don’t change much, but in a Studio Ghibli film, things are different.

Studio Ghibli's Top 10 Male Characters
Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service (Credit: Studio Ghibli)

As the story progresses, Jiji transitions into a new role. While he stays close to Kiki, he starts his own family and takes on the challenge of being a caring but overwhelmed father to a bunch of playful kittens.

It’s worth noting that the Japanese version of Jiji is polite and watchful, whereas the American version portrays him as sarcastic and outgoing.

Despite his great qualities, it’s clear that a cat can’t be at the top of the list of the best Studio Ghibli men.

8) Fukuo from Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki and Jiji are uncertain about Fukuo when they first meet him in Kiki’s Delivery Service. Unlike his wife, Osono, who quickly becomes a friend to Kiki, Fukuo is initially harder to read.

With his quiet demeanor and imposing physique, it’s easy to misjudge him. However, beneath his intimidating appearance lies a gentle and kind-hearted man.

Despite eagerly awaiting the arrival of his first child with Osono, Fukuo still finds the time and compassion to care for Kiki.

Studio Ghibli's Top 10 Male Characters
Fukuo from Kiki’s Delivery Service (Credit: Studio Ghibli)

He goes above and beyond, designing a logo for Kiki’s delivery service out of bread and celebrating her successes.

While working diligently in the bakery, Fukuo also takes pleasure in simple joys, such as watching dirigibles and bringing laughter to Jiji.

He demonstrates that a person doesn’t need grand achievements to be valued, and Fukuo embodies this truth beautifully.

9) Fujimoto from Ponyo

Many caring dads can understand Fujimoto’s struggles in Ponyo. He’s got a ton to handle, and he only wants what’s best for his daughter, Ponyo.

Sadly, his strictness pushes Ponyo away at first, leading him on a journey to find her on land. But in the end, he figures out how to care for her without holding her back.

Fujimoto’s appearance in Ponyo is top-notch, standing out with his tired eyes, fiery red hair, and snazzy suit, giving even Howl’s stylish outfits in Howl’s Moving Castle a run for their money.

Studio Ghibli's Top 10 Male Characters
Fujimoto from Ponyo (Credit: Studio Ghibli)

But beyond his fatherly duties, Fujimoto has a crucial job: using his potions to heal the seas and clean up pollution.

He’s a symbol of environmental care, dedicating much of his time to purifying the waters affected by human activity.

10) Lord Yupa from Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind

Lord Yupa in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is a remarkable blend of skills and virtues. He’s not just an exceptional fighter, hailed as the best swordsman around, but also a learned scholar.

Despite the challenges his world faces, Yupa remains hopeful for its healing and believes in the prophesied blue-clad one.

Studio Ghibli's Top 10 Male Characters
Lord Yupa from Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind (Credit: Studio Ghibli)

He serves as a wise mentor to Nausicaä, adding to his charm as a character loved by all. Lord Yupa plays a crucial role in Nausicaä’s journey. He admires her skills as a warrior and leader, yet he also guides her to temper her emotions and exercise restraint when necessary.

He provides support and comfort during her most difficult moments, such as after her father’s death. Yupa’s unwavering belief in Nausicaä is pivotal to the story’s development and her personal growth.