For a cranky old man, dude writes some fantastic, idealistic young women
  1. Mei (from "My Neighbor Totoro")
    C278875d 3cd6 44a6 b052 a29daca4e82f
    Unflappable sense of adventure. Beautifully encapsulates the childhood joy of finding everything utterly fascinating.
  2. Kiki
    2b74c8ed 574c 40e2 8d65 571b86f8e3ea
    A feminine, feminist superhero figuring out her way in the world. Probably the best role model on the list.
  3. Nausicaa
    67b122f5 5c84 49ae 9f2c 5bd8aed2a4c7
    Maybe too perfect to be my favorite, but I love how she owns her feminism in a male-driven society and lets that empower her. Compassionate as hell, but brave enough to face down the ohmus, who are freaking terrifying.
  4. Mononoke
    Df6752a7 6419 48a4 8300 397065fcf1ad
    Is she a heroine? Is she a terrorist? I'm not sure, but she can definitely kick my ass. A complex, difficult character in a way that few women in action movies are allowed to be.
  5. Chihiro (from "Spirited Away")
    5dd417f4 acc5 422f 96bd f4a78191bcbc
    An ordinary girl who becomes extraordinary in order to survive. Basically Miyazaki's way of challenging the youth of Japan to move past their overindulgent parents and harness their true potential, but it also works universally.
  6. Shizuku (from "Whisper of the Heart")
    97327174 c366 406e b0e3 d8eb7e5f6ef5
    There's nothing all that special about her, but that's why I like her. Too often, there's a pressure to make characters of any gender extraordinary in some way (super-smart or brave or mean or whatever), but Miyazaki doesn't force any of that. She's just a girl who's got a crush on some cute boy and wants to translate "Country Roads" and sing it in the cutest way ever and is trying to figure out what to do next. That's compelling enough.
  7. Sophie (from "Howl's Moving Castle")
    1b1d890c c8f5 4729 aae3 475f83f98b1a
    A maternal figure in the best way. Takes an extremely motley crew of magical people and creatures and creates a family, not because she's supposed to as a woman, but because she's a genuinely warm person who makes everyone around her better (even evil witches).
  8. Ponyo
    6855336b 42d2 4bfc ba27 b23598527b74
    Basically a magical version of Mei, but neither cute nor plucky enough (but who is?). Like the movie itself, great by normal standards, pretty good by Ghibli standards.