It’s no wonder that Studio Ghibli films have continued to permeate the minds and imaginations of audiences, no matter their age or nationality. Whether a viewer is or isn’t an anime fan seems to have no effect on just how memorable the immense efforts of the studio and its leading filmmakers Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takaha, and others, have become.
The notability of the studio’s releases has also resulted in a massive amount of fanart and cosplays. From the atmosphere to the environments, people have found themselves immersed in the adventurous, fantastical, and nostalgic worlds. The characters are so unique and lovable that they have continued to go down as some of the most interestingly-dressed and designed animated characters of all time, and many love to recreate their iconic looks, as a result.
10 Princess Kaguya’s Royal Kimonos – The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya
Set during the Heian period in Japan, Princess Kaguya is clothed in the beautiful dresses, or kimonos, of the time. She goes through a few, marking her fascinating yet also tragic transition from the magical adopted daughter of a poor bamboo cutter and artisan in a small town to an isolated and lonely adolescent fate when living as royalty.
Kaguya’s transformation into traditional makeup involves painting her teeth black and plucking her eyebrows, as was the imperial custom of the time, and she seems to enjoy and appreciate her nature-themed kimonos. Her most note-worthy look is her flowery kimono and undergarments she wears when visiting the cherry blossoms for the last time.
9 Dola’s Pirate Captain Garb – Castle In The Sky
Dola is one of the most fun characters in all of Ghibli-dom. She’s a powerful, confident, assertive, and nonsensical pirate captain who ends up playing a huge role in the protagonists’ journey in Castle in the Sky. Anyone should aspire to be the shameless leader, as she’s had an incredible and notoriously long career as a sky pirate, a long-lasting relationship, and is able to wrangle a team of scatterbrained men in order to steal expensive goods.
Her character design reflects her aura, as her long, bushy, red-pink hair is collected into massive braids and she dresses in rich jewelry and a fancy-looking yet breathable jumpsuit with action-ready boots.
8 Princess Mononoke’s Makeshift Warrior Gear – Princess Mononoke
Princess Mononoke has practically lived her entire life in the forest. Representing her upbringing by the Wolf God and her love and respect for nature, as well as her warrior status, the young woman dresses in warpaint and accessories that appear to be made out of bone.
Her garments are both decorative and practical, as she seems to intend to empower and intimidate through her status as the highly skilled hunter, killer, and defender of the forest. She also tends to wear a mask.
7 Haku’s Haori Jacket & Jinbei – Spirited Away
The beloved and memorable river spirit Haku is seen in the same garments throughout the film while in his human form in Spirited Away. But what makes him memorable, other than the impressive facets of his character, is how different his design is compared to the usual Ghibli character, likely due to his alter being that of a legendary creature.
His eyes are more narrow and colored green, while his hair is kept in a neat, sharp bob. He wears a white Haori jacket and purple Jinbei sash, different in color but similar in design to Chirhio’s uniform that she’s given when put to work.
6 Sophie’s Deep Blue Dress & Silver Hair – Howl’s Moving Castle
Sophie Hatter from Howl’s Moving Castle is one of the more relatable characters, as she is admittedly insecure about her decidedly plain appearance. She hides her hair under a hat and wears a plain blue dress, both of which are later transformed after she is cursed into being an old woman and slowly comes into her own as her confidence and self-assurance grow.
With help from Howl’s magic, Sophie’s dress becomes brighter and the fabric seems to be more high-quality. Her hair also changes from brown and gray (with age) into a brilliant silver as she falls in love and persists in protecting her new family.
5 Sheeta’s New Pirate Getup – Castle In The Sky
Sheeta, throughout most of Castle In the Sky, is dressed quite plainly, with a dull-purple, long dress, braids, and a headband. The most interesting thing about her appearance is her much sought-after magical pendant that has been in her family for generations. This is the case until, after being taken in by Dola’s pirate group, Sheeta is put to work and given new clothes that allow her to move about more freely and practically.
Humorously, the parachute-like pants and top are handed down to her by Dola, who is a large, muscular adult woman. This forces Sheeta to make do and tie up the clothes so they fit her better.
4 Chihiro’s Outfits – Spirited Away
Chihiro’s two outfits in Spirited Away show a huge duality in her character, as she transforms into a more understanding, compassionate, responsible, and mature adolescent. Starting off and ending with her first outfit, Chihiro is dressed in plain and relatively contemporary pastel summer clothes, including a white t-shirt with a soft-green strip and salmon pink shorts with yellow sneakers.
These clothes also help represent her loss of identity when Chihiro is later renamed “Sen” by Yubaba and given a pink uniform and a Tasuki cord to tie it up for when she’s put to work. Chihiro is presented with her old clothes by Haku, her ally, in order to remind her of her real name and identity before she loses it.
3 Nausicaä’s Protective Jumpsuit – Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind
Similar to Princess Mononoke in her athleticism, build, and need for breathable, practical clothing, Princess Nausicaä dresses in a lightweight blue jumpsuit equipped with useful pockets, light tan tights, and sturdy boots. Her uniform resembles that of the messiah from an old legend/prophecy of which she comes to fulfill, aiding in the metaphor and likeness of Nausicaä as a savior.
She also carries a protective mask with her that helps her breathe when she visits the deadly toxic jungle, run amuck by poisonous spores. The outfit is also likely very aerodynamic, as she often travels using her lightweight flying device and carries things such as weapons with her. Lastly, she also accessorizes with red jewel earrings.
2 Kiki’s “Ugly” Witch Dress & Bow – Kiki’s Delivery Service
Like most kids, Kiki starts showing her need and want for independence after rebelling against her hand-me-down witch dress given to her by her mother. Despite her protest, Kiki wears the dress anyway, in dedication to her mom and tradition while adorning it with the usual big, bright-red bow on her head.
The style makes Kiki look like the perfect and spunky witch that she is and ultimately becomes her trademark in Kiki’s Delivery Service.
1 Howl’s Introductory Outfit & Changing Hair – Howl’s Moving Castle
One of the most-cosplayed if not the most cosplayed Ghibli character of all time, Howl’s sense of fashion has appealed to all audiences alike. Not only is he handsome and can be charming, but has a rich variety in clothing and style.
When he first appears in Howl’s Moving Castle, he is adorned in an elegant jacket with a brightly-colored design and has his hair dyed blonde. Later in the film, it’s revealed his hair is actually black (or dark blue). Throughout the movie, he is dressed in high-waisted dark trousers, a white blouse, and jewelry, including earrings and a pendant.
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