Thursday, June 07, 2007

It's a Ghiblog-A-Thon!

J.D. over at Joe's Movie Corner is hosting a Studio Ghibli Blog-a-thon this weeked and since I am such a big Hayao Miyazaki/ Studio Ghibli fan I couldn't resist putting a post up. So here is my contribution a guide to the creatures of the Ghibli universe.

Studio Ghibli Creature Compendium

Apes- (Princess Mononoke) Primate creatures that live in the forest of the gods. It is said by eating a creature they can gain it’s strength.

Baron Humbert von Gikkingen- (The Cat Returns) The charming and fearless cat statue with a soul who comes to life. The Baron as he prefers to be called is also the owner of The Cat Bureau a service dedicated to helping those in need.

The Baron

Boh- (Spirirted Away) The giant, greedy, spoiled baby of Yubaba.

Calcifer- (Howl’s Moving Castle) The feisty, smart-talking demon who lives in the wizard How’s fireplace. There is a magical contract that binds Howl and Calcifer together, Calcifer is forced to work as Howl’s servant because of this and has grown over the years to resent the mighty wizard.

Cat-bus- (My Neighbor Totoro) A Passenger bus shaped like a live cat. It is a Japanese belief that if a cat grows old enough it gains magical shape changing powers and is called Bake neko or monster cat.

The Catbus

Haku- (Spirited Away) A young boy of the spirit world who has the ability to become a dragon and fly. Haku works for the witch Yubaba, running errands and performing missions. It is said however that Haku is neither the boy nor the dragon but only Yubaba knows this for certain.

Heen- (Howl’s Moving Castle) The Sorceress Madame Suliman’s asthmatic errand dog.

Howl- (Howl’s Moving Castle) A handsome and mysterious wizard who is rumored to steal the hearts of pretty girls, but despite this bad reputation and his cavalier and pomposity Howl is a pretty sweet guy with a strange past.


Jiji- (Kiki’s Delivery Service) The chatty and cautious black cat familiar of a young witch Kiki, who accompanies his mistress as she learns to master her powers in a new town.

Kamaji- (Spirirted Away) The elderly, mustachioed, six-armed creature who runs the boiler room of Yubaba’s bath house and is skilled in the knowledge of herbs and healing. Kamaji may come off as cold at first but can be very kind and generous with those he cares about.

Kashira- (Spirirted Away) A trio of heads living in Yubaba’s office that move around by bouncing and speak with a grunt.

Kodoma- (Princess Mononoke) White, rattle-headed, tree spirits who lead people safely through the wood of The Great Forest Spirit.

Madame Suliman- (Howl’s Moving Castle) The King of Kingsbury’s head sorceress and the wizard Howl’s mentor.

Moro- (Princess Mononoke) The giant twin-tailed leader of the wolf clan is the 3 centuries old goddess of the wolves. Strong, brave and a ferocious warrior’ she is and should be feared by all who enter the forest. She has 3 children two wolf sons and an adopted human daughter, San, whom she raised as her own after a traveler desperate to save his own life offered that of his own child.


Muta- (The Cat Returns) A large white curmudgeonly cat who works with The Baron at The Cat Bureau.

No Face- (Spirited Away) A lonely, mysterious and shadowy creature who sustains himself on the emotions of others around him. No face wears a mask similar to the performers of Japanese Noh theater.

Ohmu- (Nausicaa Valley of the Wind) Giant armored caterpillar-like insects that inhabit the fungal filled forest commonly referred to as The Sea of Decay. The Ohmu has 14 eyes which change color depending on its mood. In adulthood this creature can weigh several tons and is said to be the smartest animal in The Sea of Decay.

Okkoto- (Princess Mononoke) The giant, blind god of the boars is nearly 5 centuries old and a devout servant of The Great Forest Spirit. Okkoto is a fierce warrior; he and his clan attack head on despite any disadvantages and do not engage in any strategizing. This rashness is a great weakness.

Porco Rosso- (Porco Rosso) Porco Rosso, otherwise known as The Crimson Pig was once an Italian ace fighter pilot during World War I named Marco Pagot who was cursed to live the rest of his life in the body of a pig. Once cursed Porco became disillusioned with his military career and now ekes out a living as a bounty hunter/ strong arm for hire.

Porco Rosso

Shishigami- (Princess Mononoke) is also known as The Great Forest Spirit as he is the ancient spirit of the forest. During the day this creature takes the form of a great stag with the face of a baboon at night however he transforms into Didarabocchi or The Night Walker a god resembling a human made of stars. It is said Shishigami has the power to give life and take it away. He can heal in an instant and kill just as quick.

Soot Sprites- (My Neighbor Totoro & Spirited Away) also known as dust bunnies and soot Gremlins. Shy creatures who live in abandoned buildings such as houses. Once a building is inhabited they move on and find another abandoned building to live in.

Tanuki- (Pom Poko) The Tanuki are mischievous, lazy, cheerful and gullible creatures who use their supernatural ball-sac shape-shifting powers to trick humans. Tanuki is Japanese for Racoon dog a figure which has been part of their folklore since ancient times. They are often mistaken as a raccoon or badger.

Totoro- (My Neighbor Totoro) Totoro who gets his name from a mispronunciation of the Japanese word for troll, Tororu, is a magical, friendly grey cat-like spirit who serves as the keeper and guardian of a rural forest. While his exact origin is unknown there are those who speculate Totoro is not at all a troll but a Shinto Kami Spirit based on his home which he makes in an old Shinto shrine. Totoro’s size can be intimidating, it is said he is at least 3 meters tall, but those who show him kindness will not regret it when they see just how generous he can be in return.


Turnip Head- (Howl’s Moving Castle) A magical animated scarecrow with a turnip for a head. It is said that Turnip Head has been cursed by The Witch of the Waste and is seeking a way to achieve his revenge.

The Witch of the Waste- (Howl’s Moving Castle) An enormously obese witch who threatens her way into getting what she wants, and what she wants most is the wizard Howl.

Yakul- (Princess Mononoke) The loyal red elk steed of Ashitaka the last Emishi Prince.

Yubaba- (Spirirted Away) Yubaba literally translated into Japanese means bath crone and that’s what she is; the witch who runs the bath house catering to the creatures of the spirit world. Yubaba has an over-bearing and authoritarian personality. She runs her bath house with an iron fist and keeps most of the profits for her opulent lifestyle. Yubaba is the mother of Boh, her giant baby and the twin sister of Zeniba.

Zeniba- (Spirirted Away) Yubaba’s twin sister and rival. Although identical in appearance their personalities are polar opposites. Where her sister is greedy, over-bearing and shrill, Zeniba is generous, sweet and soft spoken like a loving grandmother.

Zeniba and No Face


J.D. said...

Wow, that was good! Good work, Becca! (thumbs up)

Becca said...

It was fun, thanks for the great idea!

Fernweher said...

oh gosh, i came here searching for a pic of Poison Ivy and I was very impressed by your Miyazaki article! I am a big fan of h is movies, but I did not know the legend about the monster cat! great post!

Fernweher said...

oh gosh, i came here searching for a pic of Poison Ivy and I was very impressed by your Miyazaki article! I am a big fan of his movies, but I did not know the legend about the monster cat! great post!