You can find Studio Ghibli’s influence just about anywhere you look in anime, and for good reason too. Films like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, The Castle In The Sky, and Howl’s Moving Castle are practically rites of passage on any anime fans journey through the medium. Hayao Miyazaki and the rest of the folks over at Studio Ghibli have been cranking out some of the finest animated feature films for decades now.
The art in these films may be top billing for most, but Studio Ghibli’s characters are complex and powerful, beautiful examples of well-written characters. The perfect type of characters to take apart and examine for an article about the Myers-Briggs personality types. Let’s take a look at some of the paired protagonists from our favorite Studio Ghibli films and see what we can learn about some of the personality types they use to lead their animated.
10. SAN (PRINCESS MONONOKE): THE ADVENTURER – ISFP
San is courageous, stubborn, willing to fight for what she cares about even if that means she’s fighting alone. ISFPs are pathfinders, people willing to go ahead on and clear the way for the rest of us. They have an introverted nature and a true aptitude for examining a situation exactly as it is. ISFPs make great adventurers because they don’t allow complications to slow them down. San understands the issue of the encroaching humans and forms a plan to deal with them. Her Perceptive nature grants her the type of improvisation skills that you’d expect of any good adventurer.
9. ASHITAKA (PRINCESS MONONOKE): THE MEDIATOR – INFP
Ashitaka has a strong sense of right and wrong. He is always striving to do what he feels is right no matter what the sacrifice is to himself. INFPs are true idealists and the member of the group most dedicated to the feelings of the group. Unlike his extraverted cousins, the ENFP, Ashitaka is more like to find a single worthy cause to throw himself into, rather than spread himself thinly and risk burnout while accomplishing nothing. Ashitaka and INFPs like him may not add much logic of strategy to the party, but they are the ones showing time and time again that the world can be a kinder and gentler place if we all just try a little harder.
8. PRINCESS SHEETA (CASTLE IN THE SKY): THE ARTIST – ISFP
Sheeta is quiet and reserved, especially around new people. She has a hard time getting near others because of the danger her very presence brings them. She is the rightful princess of Laputa but more than that she is a polite, quiet, and considerate person. FPs, in general, have a strong sense right and wrong and tend to let their moral compasses make the decision and Sheeta is not the exemption to the rule. Sheeta has the weight of an entire floating castle on her shoulders, yet she still finds the strength the trudge onward when all seems lost. ISFPs are the people you go to when the going gets tough and you need someone, anyone, to get going.
7. PAZU (CASTLE IN THE SKY): THE ENTERTAINER – ESFP
From the very beginning of the film, it’s easy to see that Pazu is someone who has no problem with giving out their time in order to help people. Pazu is active in the mines and helping the miners that work there, but he is also very friendly. ESFPs are entirely social creatures and have a strong sense of aesthetic and style. Pazu is empowered by those around him and uses is sensitive and reactive to the feelings of those around. ESFPs are the kind of people willing to do anything to help out a good friend. And they are no stranger to good friends.
6. SETSUKO (GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES): THE PERFORMER – ESFP
As much as it breaks my heart to even look at this title. I couldn’t in good conscience, just ignore the film because of its characters and how truly beautiful and powerful they are. If you haven’t watched Grave of the Fireflies yet I strongly recommend that you do so immediately. Bring tissures. Setsuko is by far the purest thing about the world of Grave Of The Fireflies. She is humble and considerate, kind and curious, loving and understanding. All hallmarks of the ESFP. She cares deeply about her brother and understands far more about her world than anyone that age should.
5. SEITA (GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES): THE VIRTUOSO – ISTJ
Oh, man. Seita. Dude. You really made the best out of a tough situation and that’s the best anyone can do. ISTJs are good like that. Seita is the kind of person that can take something truly horrific like Japan circa World War 2 and create something livable – magical even, at times, for his little sister. ISTJs make great doers because they understand exactly what needs to be done and know exactly the steps to take to get it done. They don’t need a group to get them started and have no problem completing the task on their own when necessary. ISTJs are hardworking and disciplined, making them the ideal older brother for when things really start to go downhill.
4. SOPHIE (HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE): THE DEFENDER – ISFJ
I mean, I feel like this one’s pretty obvious, right? Sophie is headstrong and dutiful, kind and compassionate, and always willing to help someone in need. A true altruist and a caregiver through and through. Sophie seems willing and able to help just about anyone that crosses her path and she literally speaks life into objects. ISFJs are often found in the medical profession, preferring to spend their time helping others as much as possible. What makes Sophie an ISFJ is not simply that she can and does take care of those around her, it’s that she is happiest when she is doing so. Defenders aren’t just natural caretakers, they’re the caretakers that have you singing right along with them.
3. HOWL (HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE): THE CAMPAIGNER -ENFP
Howl is the smooth-talking, fast-acting wizard of your dreams. Like most ENFPs, Howl is right at home in any social situation, whether it be rescuing Sophie from some obnoxious soldiers or trying to covertly get some information for a friend. ENFPs are charismatic and sociable almost to a fault. Someone like Howl requires a lot of attention, but ENFPs are often very friendly and sensitive to those around them. They are often found–reluctantly, in positions of power. This can be a vexing and unintended side effect for the ENFP who really just wants to have fun, meet new people, and do exciting new things.
2. CHIHIRO (SPIRITED AWAY): THE IDEALIST – INFP
Chihiro’s entire story arc in this film is a story of her growth from being a naive and sometimes whiny child to someone who has seen genuine growth through the love and compassion she feels for those around her. INFPs in some sense can be considered the same as they are often idealists with very strong convictions. They have no problem being alone but are also incredibly considerate of those around them and perceptive enough to know when a line has been crossed. As with Ashitaka above, Chihiro has a strong sense of what is right and is willing to take action, even if it makes her uncomfortable, to fix whatever has gone wrong.
1. HAKU (SPIRITED AWAY): THE ARCHITECT – INTJ
Haku is a stone-cold and elusive INTJ through and through. Through his perspective, I’m sure much of the film looked like some chess match with Chihiro’s freedom at stake. INTJs are the true analysts of the group, taking into consideration every possible outcome before deciding on a single move. Architects can often be seen plotting or trying to figure out how something works. When they aren’t trying to understand the underlying mechanisms of the cosmos they are the happiest when flying alone through the air doing dragon stuff. INTJs are calm, structured, and organized. It’s no wonder Haku had no problem becoming Yubaba’s right-hand man.