Stories of Studio Ghibli's demise were greatly exaggerated. When studio-head Hayao Miyazaki said last year that he was stepping down from making films, it led to fears that Ghibli was shutting down. Fortunately it turns out that the studio will remain open, with just Miyazaki taking a back seat. This is great news, as Ghibli have given the world some of the most inventive and beautiful animated films ever created - and hopefully will continue to do so! What sets Ghibli's work apart, its gorgeous simplicity aside, is its incredible array of characters. Some are fantastical beings that have the ability to make you feel like you're being transported to far away worlds. Others are inspiring people fighting against difficult situations. A few are truly terrifying. And some are just plain cute. All have been brought to life by the stunning animation skills of Ghibli's finest creators. This list highlights the 20 most fascinating characters and creatures from a wide range of Ghibli's films, with the self-imposed rule that no more than three characters from each can be included (there's a slight cheat with the multi-film Susuwatari though!). This gives a panoramic overview of the many masterpieces put out by a studio that has always followed the adage that "inspiration unlocks the future".
20. Jiro Horikoshi (The Wind Rises)
The first two characters on this list aren't even Studio Ghibli creations, but they have become iconic figures in the studio's canon due to their brilliant interpretations by Hayao Miyazaki. The first of these is Jiro Horikoshi, the lead character in Miyazaki's final feature film The Wind Rises. Jiro Hirokoshi is a famed figure in Japanese military history, renowned for having designed two Mitsubishi aircraft utilised in World War II. The Wind Rises is Miyazaki's fictional biopic of his life, based primarily on the manga of the same name. Regardless of how historically accurate the film is, Miyazaki's interpretation of Hirokoshi is wonderful. He begins as a tragic figure whose dreams of becoming a pilot are shattered by his poor eyesight, but grows into a hero whose brilliant grasp of mechanics enables him to become an exceptional aircraft designer. However, the brilliance of the character does not become fully apparent until the film's later sequences. Hirokoshi is portrayed as being torn over his own creations. He is proud of his accomplishments, and recognises the innovative nature of the machines that he has developed. However, he also suffers genuine heartbreak at the realisation that his designs are to be used for destructive purposes. In realising his dreams, he has also realised his nightmares. A complex and truly tragic character, handled with trademark sensitivity by Miyazaki.