One of the things that brought me great personal delight playing through Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was figuring out names for the familiars I was using in my party. It’s always fun to have themed party members in tactical games and such. I decided to give all of them names of characters from Studio Ghibli films, because, obviously, the game was inspired by and collaborated with the legendary animation studio.
Some of these names fit the familiars more than others and not all of them, but I did have a few good laughs. Maybe you will too. Take this as a little bit of Ghibli trivia, anime fans. Can you name any films I missed? Leave me a comment below!
#001. Little Bighorn – Ashitaka
I named this fierce creature after the protagonist of Princess Mononoke. The feather frills reminded me of Ashitaka and the horns of his mount.
#007. Puss in Boats – The Baron
The Baron was an anthropomorphic cat doll portrayed envisioned as alive in Whisper of the Heart and The Cat Returns.
#013. Mite – Rosso
Mite is the first familiar you get in Ni no Kuni, so I named him after the hero of my favorite Ghibli film: Porco Rosso. The red cape and russet skin made me think of the crimson pig.
#049. Thumbelemur – Markl
Named after the apprentice with boyish enthusiasm and energy from Howl’s Moving Castle.
#060. Spanglerfish – Fujimoto
I thought of Ponyo’s antagonistic father, voiced by Liam Neeson.
#071. Grimray – Ponyo
Okay so maybe not as adorable as the actual heroine in Ponyo, but Grimray was the only aquatic familiar I actually wanted.
#088. Captain Whamtastic – Takahata
In honor of Director Isao Takahata… and… hahaha, I have no idea why!
#089. Sleepeafowl – Nausicaa
Large wings reminded me of the heroine of the valley of the wind from one of Ghibli’s earliest! So early they weren’t even officially a studio yet…
#099. Paladin Patridge – Jiro
Two winged familiars representing both the earliest of Ghibli and the latest and possibly last of Ghibli. I named this one after Jiro Horikoshi from Miyazaki’s final magnum opus: The Wind Rises.
#105. Floret – Arrietty
Diminutive and feminine, I thought of Arrietty the borrower from The Secret World of Arrietty.
#116. Pike Tyke – Pom Poko
Not a raccoon. Not a dog. It’s a tanuki! Dubbed for the Takahata environmental film Pom Poko.
#121. Idler – Yamada
One look at that stupid face and I thought of the caricatured family from My Neighbors the Yamadas.
#139. Paleolithic – Laputa
This ancient mechanical device seems to have a crest on its front straight out of Laputa, Castle in the Sky.
#147. Steam Man – Kushana
I caught a gold one and thought of Lady Kushana, armored in gold, the villain of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
#159. Umberwood – Poppy Hill
This peaceful tree is named for the fun Goro Miyazaki directed From Up on Poppy Hill.
#160. Wildwood – Mononoke
The opposite of Umberwood, Wildwood is dark and frightening and angry, just like Princess Mononoke, which is pretty different than From Up on Poppy Hill.
#172. Nightcap – Kodama
Princess Mononoke again. Nightcap was named after the tree spirits with blank faces and big heads.
#201. Seed Sprite – Kaguya
The bamboo princess from Takahata’s recent art piece: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.
#205. Toko – Totoro
What would any list of Ghibli films be without My Neighbor Totoro? Uhm… incomplete! Both the Toko and Totoro are forest spirits. But it’s mostly those wide-set eyes that drew the similarity for me.
#215. Stressy Plessie – Haku
Christened after the shapeshifting river spirit dragon from Spirited Away.
#217. Naja – Pendragon
“Pendragon” was one of Howl’s aliases in Howl’s Moving Castle.
#228. Catastroceros – Lord Yupa
Lord Yupa the weapon master was a powerful mentor in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. His dual blades reminded me of Catastroceros and the connection was made.
#229. Sunshine – Calcifer
The fast-talking Billy Crystal fire demon from Howl’s Moving Castle.
#233. Pom Pom – StinkSpirit
This familiar was a swamp creature and I named it after the polluted river deity from Spirited Away.
#248. Dualynx – Jiji
RIP Phil Hartman! Kiki’s talking cat from Kiki’s Delivery Service.
#249. Shonky-Honker – Pazu
Pazu was the boy who played the trumpet in Castle in the Sky.
#273. Bougie – Fireflies
One of the greatest war films ever, Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies, lent its title to a silly ghostly familiar. Seems a little disrespectful, I know.
#280. Wispula – Lob Cob
Tales of Earthsea isn’t at the top of maybe any Ghibli fan’s list, but I named Wispula after the villain from Goro Miyazaki’s first attempt in the director’s chair.
#281. Girlfiend – Marnie
Hilarious! When Marnie was There’s phantom girl.
#287. Bone Brigadier – Aiuto
In honor of the Mamma Aiuto pirate gang from the adventurous Porco Rosso. Skull and crossbones, of course.
#301. Draggle – Ghibli
If you never knew, Ghibli means “hot wind”. The name was used for Italian scouting airplanes during World War II. Miyazaki, who loves airplanes (and Italy), named his studio after it, intending Studio Ghibli to blow a fresh wind in anime. It did. And I named my gold Draggle after the hot wind.
#439. Scrapdragon – Miyazaki
Last but not least, Miyazaki-san! I remembered Miyazaki’s caricature and thought of those swirly glasses!
-The Well-Red Mage