Hayao Miyazaki And His Women

Watching Kari Gurashi no Arrietty by Studio Ghibli something occurred to me. Thinking back to my last year in high school where I watched almost all movies produced by Studio Ghibli until then (and by extension Hayao Miyazaki) the main character was “always” a female with strangely freakish history, fate or ability. Let’s “prove” this scientifically-ish … 🙂

Theory: Studio Ghibli movies by Hayao Miyazaki have this peculiarity of a strange/freakish main female character.

Data source: Wikipedia’s list of Studio Ghibli films from 1984-2014.

Let’s see how far we get. 🙂

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind: pre Ghibli, but still … the heroine has a supernatural connection with the giant insect-like Ohmu … fulfilling an ancient prophecy for good measure. pass
Castle in the Sky: Sheeta is of royal decent from an ancient civilization building flying cities. pass
Grave of the Fireflies: not by Hayao Miyazaki … phew I had almost forgot about this one. 😛 skip
My Neighbor Totoro: two curious girls befriending ghosts/spirits/trolls of the forest. pass
Kiki’s Delivery Service: the main character is a witch running a delivery service. … need I say more? pass
Only Yesterday: not by Hayao Miyazaki again. 😛 skip
Porco Rosso: no “main” female character: strike 1!
Pom Poko: phew … not by Hayao Miyazaki … Tanuki to the rescue! 🙂 skip
Whisper of the Heart: … I don’t remember the plot any more … so, strike 2!
Princess Mononoke: raised-by-wolves warrior princess of the woods. pass
My Neighbors the Yamadas: haha … I was almost worried … not by Hayao Miyazaki 😀 skip
Spirited Away: Chihiro has to master her passage from childhood to adulthood in the spirit world … also falling in love with a boy-dragon-hybrid-formshifter-thing. pass
The Cat Returns: not by Hayao Miyazaki, but in this film the main character Haru is offered the hand of the Prince of the Cat Kingdom for saving him … too bad it doesn’t count. 🙂 skip/pass
Howl’s Moving Castle: The main character, Sophie, gets cursed and is transformed into an old woman. she works at the hand of the wizard Howl to remove the curse. pass
Tales from Earthsea: not by Hayao Miyazaki. skip
Ponyo: Let me quote the first line of the plot section in the Wikipedia article of the film “Brunhilde [also named Ponyo] is a fish-girl who lives with her father Fujimoto, a once-human wizard who now lives underwater, and her numerous smaller sisters.” pass
Arrietty: is only 10cm tall! pass
From Up on Poppy Hill: knowingly agreeing to incest (at least from what they knew at that time) … really?!? pass
The Wind Rises: tragic story, but no “main” female character. strike 3! 🙁
The Tale of Princess Kaguya: not by Hayao Miyazaki, but she starts out as a “miniature girl inside a glowing bamboo shoot” skip/pass
When Marnie Was There: not by Hayao Miyazaki … (not seen yet) skip

Summary: 21 Studio Ghibli films; 13 of them by/with Hayao Miyazaki; of which 10 fit the theory, with 3 “outliers” and 1 “unexamined” data point.

Not bad for a hunch. 😉

Update 14.09.2013:
Updated the list and the summary after seeing From Up on Poppy Hill.

Update 11.08.2014:
Updated the list and the summary after seeing The Wind Rises and the The Tale of Princess Kaguya.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.