Life’s busy, and I’m exhausted and have little time to do anything so that means…..BOOK TAG WEEK!! 😀
Actually, it’ll be Book Tag Week for half the week because all my planning in November has gone off the rails and so too has this event since I’m starting on Tuesday instead of Monday. 😐 Oh well.
I’m kicking off Book Tag Week with the Ghibli Heroines Tag, which I found over on icebreaker694. The tag is inspired by Studio Ghibli films and was created by Kate at Melting Pots and Other Calamities.
- Pingback to Kate at Melting Pots and Other Calamities so that she’ll know you did the tag too.
- Tag all your peeps! Ghibli movies aren’t as popular as Disney or Pixar, so be careful that those you tag are at least somewhat familiar with Ghibli.
- Use examples from books, movies, TV shows, anime/manga, and webcomics.
- As this tag celebrates heroines, please name either a piece of fiction or a female character, if you’re able.
- Have fun.
Nausicaa, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Even though this isn’t technically Ghibli, it’s still marketed that way.): Nausicaa is a princess in a post-disaster world. She is compassionate and brave, a daring explorer who is capable and selfless.
Name a strong female leader.
Jane quickly came to mind because the second book in this series will be published next year and I can’t wait to read it. Jane is a formidable character who strives to survive no matter her circumstances. Dread Nation is a YA alt-historical, paranormal novel set shortly after the U.S. civil war. Due to the Native and Negro Reeducation Act, children are sent to schools where they are trained to fight zombies to protect wealthy White people. It’s an interesting premise that surprisingly works. The story is entertaining due to Jane’s personality yet makes great points about today’s society.
I need to watch Nausicaa again. I fell asleep in the movie when I saw it a few years ago at the theater (a few theaters in my area were celebrating Studio Ghibli by showing its movies for a few months. The theater has those new soft leather recliner seats, which made me fall asleep because the chairs are too comfy.)
Sheeta, Castle in the Sky: Although Sheeta may have a quieter demeanor than other Ghibli heroines, she is not a damsel in distress. She’s royalty, but doesn’t stay on the sidelines; she is involved, kind, and, despite a sad past, hopeful.
Name an inspiring member of royalty.
Kettricken is quite inspiring. She’s always willing to do what’s needed for the benefit of her people, even if it means marrying a man she does not know to become his queen and ensure the safety and prosperity of her people. She is kind but just; brave and wise. She’s one of many great female characters in Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series, which begin with Assassin’s Apprentice, a fantasy novel about the bastard son of a prince who becomes an assassin’s apprentice.
I’m hoping the Studio Ghibli movie celebration thing comes to my area again because I haven’t seen Castle in the Air….or maybe I did and fell asleep like with Nausicaa.
Satsuki and Mei, My Neighbor Totoro: Before Anna and Elsa, before Lilo and Nani, there was Satsuki and Mei. Satsuki was incredibly young when their mother was hospitalized, and, with their father at work, she has to take care of Mei. And Mei is only four with a big imagination.
Name a pair of siblings (or two friends who act like siblings).
Aster & Clementine
Aster and Clementine are sisters who work at a brothel. Aster, the older of the two, protects her sister at all costs and hopes to somehow keep Clementine away from the experiences she has endured at the brothel. But an accident occurs on the night Clementine entertains her first ever customer, and now the sisters and three of their friends are on the run. Set in a world that resembles the American Old West (well, that’s how I imagined it), The Good Luck Girls is a YA fantasy novel about five girls seeking their freedom. I didn’t love the story, but it sure was interesting and kept me reading.
My Neighbor Totoro is my favorite Studio Ghibli film. I love it so much! I’d love to watch it again. 🙂 I smile every time I think of that show.
Kiki, Kiki’s Delivery Service: Kiki has to go off on her own to live alone, as is the custom among witches. She goes through many things that newly independent young adults face, like money problems, finding a place to stay, job searching, and loneliness, before finding her way, thanks to her special abilities.
Name a female character who has supernatural gifts.
I enjoyed reading this middle-grade fantasy novel. Shadow Weaver is about a girl named Emmeline who possesses a queer ability: She can manipulate shadows and, more shockingly, speak to her shadow. This causes many to fear her, but Emmeline enjoys playing with shadows. So, when her family sought to remove the ability, she runs away and in doing so learns more about herself, and her shadow. This was a fun read that was a touch creepy at times.
I love Kiki’s Delivery Service too! 🙂 Another favorite that I’d love to watch again.
Gina and Fio, Porco Rosso: Gina and Fio are both heroines in this film, and they couldn’t be less alike. Gina is a young woman who is very feminine, a singer and a restaurant owner. However, she is very resourceful and capable. Fio is a teenage mechanic who is independent, goes against the flow, and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. She may be one of the best mechanics of her time.
Name two inspiring heroines; one who is unabashedly feminine, and another who is more of a tomboy.
Korra and Asami
Korra and Asami immediately came to mind when I read this prompt. Korra is the protagonist of the Legend of Korra TV show, which continues the Avatar: the Last Airbender story but several years in the future. Korra is from the northern Water tribe, very confident and adventurous, a tomboy, and the avatar of her time. When she visits Republic City, one of the many people she meets is Asami Sato, an alluring young woman from a wealthy family who’s a badass in her own right but is unable to Bend the elements like Korra and others.
It took a while for Legend of Korra to grow on me but eventually I got hooked on the show and enjoyed watching it. I need to watch it again.
And I also need to see Porco Rosso.
Angel, On Your Mark: On Your Mark is a music video that Ghibli helped a music group with. It may not have much of a story, but it’s beautiful and interesting, and not may people are aware of its existence.
Name an underrated heroine.
I was trying to avoid referring to the Harry Potter books, but Hermione got in my head when I read this prompt and wouldn’t leave. But, yeah, she’s underrated and is a heroine of the stories because she’s the one who often saves the other two or make sure they’re prepared for the crazy shit to come. She’s awesome!
Shizuku, Whisper of the Heart: Shizuku is an eighth grade student who can’t quite focus on school as much as on her favorite books. However, through encounters with an ambitious boy who seems to have a likely chance at meeting his goals, a cat who rides trains, an antique shop owner, and a cat statue called the Baron, Shizuku is determined to meet her own goal and become a writer.
Name your most relatable character.
She’s a perspective character in Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, a historical fiction novel that focuses on the lives of the descendants of two sisters from West Africa, one of whom was sold into slavery while the other became the wife of an Englishman. I strongly related to Marjorie because, like me, she’s an immigrant living in America and sometimes feels displaced, as if she doesn’t fully belong in the country she immigrated to or the one she immigrated from.
It’s the first I’ve heard of Whisper of the Heart. I need to see this show.
San, Princess Mononoke: San has been raised by wolves her whole life. When humans begin to invade her home forest to make towns and use the resources for themselves while killing the spirits and animals within, San refuses to let it be. She takes a stand and becomes the village’s greatest obstacle. She is such a force to be reckoned with that they even give her a name; The Princess Mononoke.
Name a female character who is physically strong.
Hammer (on the right)
I immediately thought of Hammer from the Monstress comic book series by Marjorie Liu, illus. by Sana Takeda, about a young woman who has a monster inside her. Hammer is an Inquistrix, a villain, hence her outfit. Her entire body is covered, except her hands, which she uses to communicate. Her face is always veiled. Although they are the villains, I always like it when the Inquistrixes pop up. Their entrance/appearance is always impressive.
Princess Mononoke is another one I fell asleep in although I found the story interesting. In some ways, it made me think of Avatar: the Last Airbender.
Chihiro, Spirited Away: At the beginning of Spirited Away, Chihiro starts off as a whiny, spoiled ten year old girl. However, during her time working at the spirit’s Bath House, she discovers parts of herself she didn’t know she had. The story is about her finding the strength she already had but was unaware of.
Name a character who has an amazing character journey.
Ana was 15 years old when she was forced to marry a man twice her age so that she could immigrate to America to make a better life for her family — parents, brothers, and sister — back in the Dominican Republic. The story is told almost entirely from her POV. Despite being spending almost all her days in the tiny apartment she shares with her husband, Ana observes and learns from those around her and seeks opportunities to improve her situation and her family’s no matter how small. Ana is quite an amazing character and seeing her develop through this book’s pages made the story a worthwhile read. Dominicana is a historical fiction novel that was published this year.
Spirited Away is many people’s favorite, but not mine. I didn’t like it as much. My fav will always be My Neighbor Totoro.
Haru, The Cat Returns: Haru is a typical high school girl; kind, clumsy, and a little forgetful. But she soon finds herself involved in events that are out of her control. In a way, it is because of her normalcy that she can find her way out of her situation and become stronger because of it.
Name a female character who may not have any supernatural abilities herself, but is memorable anyway.
Of all the perspectives we read from in Libba Bray’s Diviners books, Mabel is probably the only character who isn’t a Diviner. But I’ve only read up to the second novel, Lair of Dreams, so I may be proven wrong later. Mabel is Evie’s, the protagonist, best friend, has poor fashion taste and a crush on Jericho, but is very smart and often attends her parents’ protests. I sometimes wish we got more chapters from her POV, especially in Lair of Dreams to see if she would learn more about the creepy guys in the car watching the museum of creepy crawlies.
Hmm… It’s the first I’ve heard of The Cat Returns too.
Sophie, Howl’s Moving Castle: Sophie doesn’t think much of herself for a lot of the story. She doesn’t think she’s pretty or memorable, especially when compared to her younger sister, Lettie. It gets even worse when she’s cursed to look like an old woman. When she finds a new life that involves the mysterious wizard Howl, a fire demon, Howl’s apprentice, and many others, she is shown to be resilient and intuitive.
Name an emotionally strong character.
Lucy Pickett travels to Blackwell Manor out of concern for her newlywed cousin, who has fallen ill and claims the manor is haunted by a ghost. When Lucy arrives at the manor, she finds its lord to be quite prickly and realizes that there’s something mysterious going on at the manor. It may indeed be haunted and there may also be a vampire about. Despite all that happens, Lucy is a capable young woman who’s able to keep a cool head in dangerous situations, take charge when needed, and use her wealth of knowledge (she is a botanist) to navigate difficult situations. Beauty and the Clockwork Beast is a steampunk, romance novel that’s described as “Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast.”
Oh man! I really want to read and watch Howl’s Moving Castle. I kept missing it when my local theater celebrated Studio Ghibli films.
Ponyo, Ponyo: Ponyo is one of the youngest Ghibli heroines at only five years old. But she still gets a lot done, including becoming human, discovering things, finding a best friend, and saving the world.
Name a hero who happens to be a child.
Lucy is certainly the heroine in Gregory Funaro’s Watch Hollow, a middle-grade fantasy, horror novel. Lucy, her brother and father, all move to Blackford House for the summer so that Lucy’s dad can fix its magnificent cuckoo clock, which powers the house. But while there, Lucy learns of an evil presence that threatens the house and the clock, and works with those who oppose it to protect her family and the house, which she’s grown to love. It is a fun read and not at all scary.
I enjoyed Ponyo! Either it or Kiki’s Delivery Service was my first Studio Ghibli film.
Arrietty, The Secret World of Arrietty: Arrietty is a Borrower; she is tiny and survives by stealing small things that humans won’t miss. Yet she’s curious about the human world, and does braver things than most humans would be incapable of doing, despite her tiny size.
Name an unlikely hero.
Maybe Amy from Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör, a horror novel set in a large department store that’s similar to Ikea. Basically, a couple workers decide to do an overnight shift but stuff start to get really weird after a seance. I guess Amy is an unlikely hero since she doesn’t consider herself a hero and wasn’t even feeling like being at work when the weird stuff happened because her manager is super annoying.
The gifs I’ve seen of The Secret World of Arietty make me really want to watch it too. I like Arietty’s little room.
Nahoko, The Wind Rises: Nahoko has tuberculosis during World War 2. However, she doesn’t allow this to cripple her, and enjoys life to the fullest anyway, which includes painting and falling in love. Even being placed in a sanitarium doesn’t break her.
Name an inspiring character with some sort of obstacle.
Toph is one of my favorite characters from the Avatar: the Last Airbender TV show, and I find her quite inspiring. She’s an upfront, tell-it-like-it-is character who, at first, doesn’t get along with Aang, who tends to avoid confrontation. Toph is blind but is able to perceive objects in her surroundings using vibrations to discern location, density, and shape. Toph is strong, confident, and so comfortable with who she is that she cracks up over an exaggerated representation of her at a play (Ember Island Players — one of my favorite episodes).
Kaguya, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya: in a time where women were expected to follow social norms such as blackening teeth, shaving eyebrows, and being forced into arranged marriages, Kaguya refuses to play along. She would much rather be outside, dance, and play with friends.
Name a female character who challenges social norms.
I knew I’d refer to Tamora Pierce’s books at some point in this tag. Alanna is the protagonist from Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series, a YA fantasy series about a girl who disguises herself as a boy so that she can train to become a knight. I enjoyed reading these books as a kid and still do today. Reading about Alanna’s training is fun, but her adventures as a knight are great too, especially how people react to and she deals with being a female knight. The first book was published in 1983, so the story suffers from issues like White saviorism, but despite that they are still enjoyable reads.