Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio that has created a plethora of timeless classics. The studio’s films often feature deep, relatable messages with jaw-dropping visuals. Many of their films also incorporate fantasy elements, allowing characters to be immersed in different worlds that viewers wish they existed.
However, not everything in the movies holds together as well as it used to, especially since many Studio Ghibli movies are decades old. Many fans who watched these films as children are now adults and have noticed flaws in certain characters that have become more apparent over time. Some of these characters are downright incompetent, to the point that they seem to only exist to advance the plot.
9 Howl’s Moving Castle: The Trash Witch was an unnecessary addition during an already difficult time
After having her magic drained by Madame Suliman, the Waste Witch became part of Howl’s family. Her memory was spotty at best, and although she retained some of her cunning nature, the other characters assumed she was harmless. As a war unfolded outside of Sophie’s hat shop, the witch found a way to make a bad situation worse.
She weakened Calcifer by making him swallow Suliman’s Peeping Bug, making the castle more vulnerable to attack. She later grabbed Calcifer when she realized he had Howl’s heart and she was desperate to make him hers. Although the witch is no longer the main witch or antagonist, she still managed to put many lives in danger.
8 Earwig and the Witch: Earwig’s main goal is to make everyone bend to his will
Earwig was a young girl delighted to succeed. She played clever tricks and manipulated the people around her. She loved breaking the rules because she knew a few sweet words would get her away with anything.
When she was adopted, she hated being put to work. Her main goal was to learn magic and get the people of her new home to do what she wanted them to do. She eventually accomplished this, as she was seen being treated like a princess. It’s hard to root for a protagonist with such superficial goals.
7 Ponyo: Lisa is a threat on the road
Lisa is Sousuke’s mother and is known for her incredibly reckless driving. During a terrible storm, she drove through dangerous, flooded areas, speeding through slippery roads while her son was in the passenger seat. After the storm, Lisa left Ponyo and Sousuke alone at home in order to watch over the elderly at the nursing home where she works.
Leaving two children unattended was irresponsible, and when she left, the house was completely surrounded by water, making it impossible for Lisa to return. Although the children find her safely, a lot could have gone wrong in her absence.
6 Spirited Away: Akio Ogino and Yuko Ogino are terrible customers
Akio and Yuko are great examples of terrible customers. When they came across a row of food stalls, they noticed that they were full of food, but there were no vendors in sight. Rather than wait for one to show up, Chihiro’s parents decided it would be perfectly fine to help themselves.
They assumed the food was for sale and chomped on the meal unattended. Such food could not easily be replaced, and any vendor would have been angry if the food had been prepared for a special occasion. For fans who have grown up with these films, it has become even more apparent that no product belongs to the consumer until he has paid for it. Worse still, they tried to pass these bad manners on to their daughter, who luckily knew better.
5 The story of Princess Kaguya: Sutemaru was ready to run away with Kaguya
Sutemaru was Princess Kaguya’s main love interest. She associates it with a simpler time with simpler pleasures, when she could run free without the expectations of nobility. They grew up together until Kaguya was forced to leave the countryside. Years later, the two still had strong feelings for each other.
Before being taken away by the Moon People, Kaguya was reunited with Sutemaru for a short time, allowing the two to profess their love for each other. When Kaguya told her that the Moon people had to take her from Earth, Sutemaru offered to run away with her. However, Sutemaru already had a wife and child at this point in the story. He seemed too eager to throw away his current life and family for someone he hadn’t seen in years.
4 Return of the Cat: Hiromi is one of the rudest characters in the film
Hiromi was the film’s protagonist, Haru Yoshioka’s best friend. Despite being best friends, this character’s writing made her come across as unnecessarily mean-spirited. She didn’t bat an eyelid when she saw a cat was about to be run over by a truck and casually said it was the cat’s fault for being stupid.
She also pressured Haru into confessing his crush and soon after revealed that said crush was already in a relationship with someone else. Hiromi laughed at Haru’s reaction, stating that she wanted to see Haru get blown up.
3 When Marnie was there: Setsu Oiwa and Kiyomasa Oiwa don’t really fulfill their role as guardians
Setsu and Kiyomasa were to be Anna Sasaki’s guardians during her temporary stay at the seaside. Anna was staying there because a doctor told her that the fresh air would do her good. Her asthma attacks became less frequent during her stay. Seeing nothing wrong with her, Anna’s guardians allowed her to roam the area freely without any supervision.
They made no attempt to monitor his activities at all. Anna was found unconscious outside twice, was stranded by Marnie’s house and even called another girl her age a “fat pig”. While Setsu and Kiyomasa were worried, they did nothing to keep Anna safe and didn’t even reprimand her when she did something wrong.
2 Porco Rosso: Donald Curtis is more a walking stereotype than a character
Donald Curtis was an American racer from Texas who was Porco Rosso’s rival. While a talented pilot, he exhibited many traits that are considered stereotypical Americans. He was arrogant, insisting to everyone that he would “make it” in Hollywood before one day becoming President of the United States.
He also quickly fell in love and longed to marry, professing his love to two different women in one film. Donald was also extremely concerned about his reputation, claiming a piece of Porco’s ship after shooting him down and agreeing to a duel, which turned into a show in its own right.
1 Princess Mononoke: The Story Follows Someone Other Than The Princess
Although the film is named after Princess Mononoke, more often referred to as San, she is not actually the film’s main protagonist. Instead, she is the love interest of the real protagonist, Ashitaka. San often put herself in danger, forcing other characters to save her. When she entered Iron Town to kill Eboshi, Ashitaka had to save her from falling into the residents’ trap. San then tried to help Okkoto, the boar god who was slowly turning into a demon. She was almost consumed in the process, but was saved by Ashitaka and Moro.
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