It’s Hayao Miyazaki’s 76th birthday! Let’s celebrate with a little trip down memory lane alongside our fave Ghibli sidekicks.
1. Soot Sprites (TOTORO, SPIRITED AWAY)
Let’s face it: these little guys are as cute as spooky boiler-room spirits get. And they’re SUPER helpful around the house, because if they don’t have a job to do they’ll turn back into soot and cease to be adorable sentient beings. The soot sprites are so cuddly, in fact, that after they briefly appeared in MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO in 1988, Miyazaki felt the need to flesh them out more in SPIRITED AWAY.
2. No-Face (SPIRITED AWAY)
No-Face is so relatable it hurts. Kind of a try-hard, often transparent, constantly getting bowled over by waves of #feels–not to mention the whole “uncontrollable hunger monster” thing that occasionally happens, which is basically me when I start to get hangry.
3. Calcifer (HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE)
This spunky SOB is fiery in more ways than one. Sure, he’s a demon; but underneath iconic curses like “may all your bacon burn,” you know that there’s a big ole softie that’ll always be there for you and your breakfast needs.
4. Kodama Forest Spirits (PRINCESS MONONOKE)
Sort of eerie, but mostly adorable. These pint-sized forest spirits are totally in tune with nature, but also would make an amazing a capella group.
5. Jiji (KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE)
Talking cat. Need I say more? Jiji’s always gonna be real with you, dispensing the sassy one-liners that you always imagine your cat’s thinking.
6. Robot (LAPUTA: CASTLE IN THE SKY)
The definition of gentle giant. A perfect companion for flower-picking or sky-high adventures.
7. Teto (NAUSICAA)
Y’all. It’s Evie, before Evie was even a thing. It’s sort of a “first they’re sour, then they’re sweet” situation. But even when Teto bites, you know he’s a ride-or-die pal for your post-apocalyptic lifestyle.
8. Turnip Head (HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE)
The only thing better than a kindly scarecrow sidekick? A kindly scarecrow sidekick that’s *actually* a dashing prince. Hey-o, Sophie.
9. Catbus (MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO)
The catbus is way cuddlier than most public transport. Also, faster. And more convenient. Generally better. PLUS that delightful dash of magical animal whimsy!