Myers-Briggs® Personality Types Of Studio Ghibli Characters
Films like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Castle In The Sky, and Howl’s Moving Castle are practically rites of passage on any anime fan’s 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 protagonists are complex and powerful, beautiful examples of well-written characters, making them perfect for matching with the Myers-Briggs® personality types. These are some of the fan-favorite characters from Studio Ghibli films and the personality types that make them perfect for leading these animated masterpieces.
Updated January 22nd, 2023 by Jordan Woods:
With Hayao Miyazaki emerging from retirement for his long-awaited new movie How Do You Live? next summer, it’s a safe bet that there will soon be even more distinctive and heartwarming characters to add to Studio Ghibli’s collection. Until then, there have already been so many unique protagonists in the animation studio’s long history, including in underrated titles like Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and The Wind Rises, that they cover nearly every personality type within the MBTI® framework.
Kiki (Kiki’s Delivery Service): The Crafter – ISTP
For a 13-year-old trainee witch trying to make it in an unfamiliar town, Kiki doesn’t take long to find a way to be productive. Likewise, ISTPs tend to thrive on constantly having a new challenge thrown their way. Rather than standing still, it’s change that drives Kiki to do her best and that reflects a unique personality type.
As the name suggests, ISTPs are naturally creative and Kiki is no different. Kiki makes plenty of mistakes along the way and that makes her perfectly matched to a personality type that tends to rely on hands-on experience and a trial-and-error approach in order to find their feet.
San (Princess Mononoke): The Adventurer – ISFP
San is courageous, stubborn, and willing to fight for what she cares about even if that means she’s fighting alone. Similarly, ISFPs are pathfinders, people willing to go ahead on and clear the way for everyone else. 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 straightforward plan to deal with them. Finally, her perceptive nature grants her the type of quick thinking that you’d expect of any good adventurer.
Tatsuo Kusakabe (My Neighbor Totoro): The Caregiver – ESFJ
My Neigbor Totoro may be most famous for its beloved non-human characters but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some distinctive personalities present. One of these is Tatsuo Kusakabe who, charged with looking after his daughters whilst balancing his job with visits to his sickly wife, seems to have the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Luckily, Caregivers are nothing if not reliable and Tatsuo manages to handle the delicate balance with a gentle smile and helpful word here and there. At their best, ESFJs can be the extraverted glue that holds communities together and it’s easy to imagine Tatsuo in that role for his family.
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, which explains why he’s one of the best-liked Ghibli characters. INFPs are true idealists and are often the person most dedicated to the feelings of the group in any given situation.
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 or 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 everyone just tries a little harder.
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. ISFPs have a strong sense of right and wrong and tend to let their moral compasses make the decisions and Sheeta is no exception.
Sheeta has a ton of responsibility on her shoulders, yet she still finds the strength to trudge onward when all seems lost. ISFPs are the people that can be relied upon when the going gets tough and all that’s needed is someone who can get the job done.
Pazu (Castle In The Sky): The Entertainer – ESFP
From the very beginning of the movie, 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, helping the miners that work down there but he is also very friendly. That makes sense as ESFPs are very social creatures and have a strong sense of aesthetics and style.
Pazu is empowered by those around him and sensitive and reactive to the feelings of the people he’s with. ESFPs are the kind of people willing to do anything to help out a good friend and Pazu perfectly encapsulates that spirit in Castle in the Sky.
Setsuko (Grave Of The Fireflies): The Performer – ESFP
Grave of the Fireflies has a reputation for being one of the most heartbreaking movies in Studio Ghibli’s catalog and that’s thanks in no small part to its memorable cast of characters. In particular, the sibling pair at the heart of the movie is unforgettable.
Setsuko is by far the purest thing in the tragic world of Grave Of The Fireflies. She is humble, considerate, and curious, all hallmarks of the ESFP. This personality type has a great capacity for love and understanding, and that’s demonstrated in how deeply she cares about her brother and understands far more about her world than anyone that age should.
Nausicaä (Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind): The Advocate – INFJ
In tune with their emotions but often possessing a more reserved public image, INFJs have a rich internal world that they can escape to at times. In the form of her garden of jungle plants, Nausicaä has a similar secret world of her own. Not only that but this personality type tends to be guided by an optimism and a belief in the fundamental goodness of humanity.
Despite the toxic jungles and warring nations of Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind, Nausicaä’s belief that humans can live in harmony with each other and nature never wavers even when that belief puts her in harm’s way.
Seita (Grave Of The Fireflies): The Virtuoso – ISTJ
Few characters in any Studio Ghibli movie face more hardship than Seita when he is forced to survive and care for his sister in a Japan that has been torn apart by the impact of the Second World War in Grave of the Fireflies. His endurance throughout it all is a testament to the best qualities of this personality type.
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 a task on their own when necessary. ISTJs are also hardworking and disciplined, two things that allow Seita to keep going even when any ordinary person might just give up.
Sophie (Howl’s Moving Castle): The Defender – ISFJ
Headstrong and dutiful, kind and compassionate, and always willing to help someone in need, Sophie encapsulates the best of ISFJ. A true altruist and a caregiver through and through, Sophie seems willing and able to help just about anyone that crosses her path and her words can even bring objects to life.
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 get others singing right along with them.
Lady Eboshi (Princess Mononoke): The Director – ESTJ
Assertive and rules-oriented, Lady Eboshi demonstrates exactly why ESTJ personalities make for great leaders. With their principled approach to life, ESTJs provide the stability that nearly every organization needs to function and that’s what Lady Eboshi provides to Iron Town.
Directors prefer to deal in the world of cold, hard facts and it’s this black-and-white approach that has allowed Eboshi to grow Iron Town into what it becomes. Of course, it’s these ideals that bring her into direct conflict with the gods of the traditional world that aren’t so easily defined.
Howl (Howl’s Moving Castle): The Campaigner – ENFP
Howl is the consummate smooth-talking, fast-acting wizard. 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 demands a lot of attention but ENFPs are often very friendly and sensitive to those around them. They are also regularly found, sometimes reluctantly, in positions of power and responsibility. This can be a vexing and unintended side effect for ENFPs like Howl who really just want to have fun and do exciting new things.
Chihiro (Spirited Away): The Idealist – INFP
Chihiro’s entire arc in Hayao Miyazaki’s greatest movie in Spirited Away is a story of her growth from being a naive and sometimes whiny child to someone who thrives off the love and compassion she feels for those around her. INFPs are often idealists with very strong convictions and Chihiro grows into this role over the course of the film.
As with Ashitaka, Chihiro has a strong sense of what is right and is willing to take action, even if it makes her uncomfortable, to fix things when she knows they’re wrong. What makes her a compelling protagonist is also what makes Idealists great friends in real life.
Haku (Spirited Away): The Architect – INTJ
With his elusive and even cold exterior, Haku could only be an INTJ. From his perspective, much of the events of Spirited Away likely seemed like something of a chess match with Chihiro’s freedom at stake. INTJs are true analysts and that’s why it’s clear Haku takes every possible outcome into consideration before deciding on a single move.
Architects can often be seen plotting or trying to figure out how things work. When they aren’t trying to understand the underlying mechanisms of the cosmos they are often happiest alone, flying majestically through the air in Haku’s case. INTJs are calm, structured, and organized. It’s no wonder Haku had no problem becoming Yubaba’s right-hand man.
Jiro Horikoshi (The Wind Rises): The Thinker – INTP
Of all the personality types, INTP is perhaps the one that spends the most time with its head in the clouds. Unwrapping a single mystery or attempting to solve an interesting problem can end up becoming an obsession and the way Jiro constantly loses himself to his engineering work reflects that.
As one of the more logical personality types, issues of the heart can be trickier for Thinkers. Whilst Jiro has a romantic side, his relationship with Nahoko often falls to the wayside when work takes over his life once again.
NEXT: 10 Underrated Studio Ghibli Movies That Deserve More Attention