Ranking the Bachelors of Romance Studio Ghibli

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Happy February, it’s the month of Valentines so today I’m ranking the main Studio Ghibili bachelors.

To my male viewers:

I do not mean for you to read this and feel like you have to measure up to these fictional bachelors. If you are feeling down, know you are loved, you are worthy of being loved, and you are a welcomed friend in my community.

What’s Studio Ghibli?

Think Disney, but Japan.

The eligible bachelors (not in order)

I decided to split them up into two categories: magical boyfriends and non-magical boyfriends because I want it to be a fairly even playing field. Plus, this allows me to better justify wanting to date a river spirit or magical cat statue. Also, if you notice I don’t comment much on the looks, it’s because I’m older than a good chunk of these bachelors so if they are in a specific spot, it’s with the implication that they exist and I am the same age.

Magical bachelors:

  • Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle
    • Wizard boyfriend
  • Haku from Spirited Away
    • River spirit boyfriend
  • Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke
    • Cursed boyfriend
  • Baron Humbert von Gikkingen
    • magic cat statue boyfriend
  • Marco from Porco Rosso
    • cursed boyfriend

Magical boyfriends are basically anyone who deals with magic. So wizard, cured, or cat statue.

Non-Magical bachelors:

  • Tombo from Kiki’s Delivery Service
  • Seiji from Whisper of the Heart
  • Pazu from Castle in the Sky
  • Sosuke from Ponyo
  • Asbel from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
  • Shun from From Up on Poppy Hill
  • Shon from Arrietty
  • Spillar from Arrietty

Non-Magical boyfriends are basically anyone who doesn’t have magic or dates a magical girlfriend. I counted Spillar because I don’t count the Borrowers as magic entities.

“Where are the bachelors of XYZ movie?”

I already covered “Only Yesterday”, you can read it here. Short story: I didn’t like it so I wasn’t about to rewatch a movie I hated. Jirou from The Wind Rises is off-limits because he gets married in the movie, so he’s very much off-limits. That, and the movie is more about his airplane engineering career and I came here for romance, not something close to my day job. Tales From Earthsea isn’t really about romance so I stopped watching.

“Why is Asbel an eligible bachelor?”

Technically, he shouldn’t count for similar reasons to Tales From Earthsea. However, I had already watched it and taken notes and I didn’t want it to go to waste.

Comments while watching the bachelors’ respective movies

Howl

  • Rescues you from two guys by pretending to be your sweetheart 
  • Powerful Wizard
  • Involves you in his dangerous life 
  • Well-traveled and can take you wherever you want to go 
  • Gives you compliments 
  • Fan of pet names 
  • Kind
  •  Has a child and a  pet demon
  •  Made a deal with a demon when he was a child 
  • Relies on you to fix his problems 
  • Has multiple personalities 
  • Coward
  • Messy
  • Hard worker 
  • Recognizes talent 
  • Makes a good breakfast 
  • Likes hot baths
  • Devious
  • Passive-aggressive
  • Turns himself into a bird monster 
  • Avoids responsibility 
  • He will watch you sleep 
  • Doesn’t eat much 
  • Never home
  • Has more beauty products than me
  • Narcissist
  • Throws temper tantrums and calls the spirits of darkness
  • Drama queen 
  • Passes out after throwing said tantrum
  • Desires freedom but obtains it through lies and deception 
  • Judges your fashion sense
  • He will get you home safely 
  • Flamboyant 
  • Would rather claim Sophie as his mother than his wife/gf
  • Has lots of potential but squanders it according to his peers
  • Selfish
  • Covers for you 
  • Has confidence in you
  • Recognizes you’re under a curse (since he recognizes turnip head) and won’t help you break it or give any insight on it
  • Gives you clothes and sets you up for success in case he dies 
  • Talks about his childhood with you, if only a little 
  • Gives you a ring
  • Won’t tell you what’s really going on with him 
  • Messes with a warship in midair 
  • Saves you from a bomb
  • Apologies for being late
  • Wants to protect you 
  • Thoughtful when building you a new home 
  • Loves your new looks

Haku

  • Helps you
  • Aggressive warning
  • Wind powers, magic dragon boy🌟
  • Feeds you
  • Commandeering 
  • Pins you up against the wall
  • Creates a diversion
  • Strategic but unkind
  • A henchman to the bad guy
  • Tries to comfort her
  • Cautious
  • Gives Chihiro her clothes
  • Remembers your name
  • Comforts you
  • Disappears sometimes 
  • Rumored to do Yubaba’s dirty work
  • Not well-liked by his colleagues (probably because he’s like 2nd in command)
  • Thief
  • Zeniba says he wants to steal her and her sister’s magic
  • Doesn’t like taking medicine…big mood
  • Stubborn
  • Clever
  • Bargains for Chihiro & her parents’ freedom
  • Controlled by a black slug
  • Picks you up and flies you home 
  • Saved Chihiro a long time ago
  • Homeless since his river is filled in 
  • Doesn’t tell you about Yubaba’s last test
  • Holds Yubaba to her word
  • Bad at goodbyes

Tombo

  • Rides a bike
  • Persistant
  • Will cover for you without knowing you
  • Wants to get to know you but maybe only interested because kiki can fly
  • Loves flying
  • Hangs out with his grandma
  • Will defend you from mean comments
  • Apologies for offending you 
  • Speaks highly of you to others
  • Adorkable 
  • Dresses up to ask you out
  • Offers to help carry heavy things for you
  • Will pick you up to go to a party
  • Waits for you in the rain
  • Nice to you even if you aren’t nice to him
  • Dresses up to come pick you up
  • Stops by to check in on you
  • Will visit you if sick
  • Has a wing-woman that happens to be who you’re staying with? If my second mom-approved, he has to be a quality person
  • Empathetic of you ditching him
  • Shows you his inventions
  • Takes you on wild bike rides
  • Gives clear instructions = good communicator
  • Responsible for his things
  • Compliments you
  • His impressions are on point👌👌
  • Able to laugh at himself 
  • Asks you what’s wrong
  • His friends suck
  • Calls you to check-in
  • Waves to you from the blimp
  • Gives you space if you ask for it
  • Continues to hold onto the line for the blimp when everyone else let go = dumb
  • Tried to help the blimp not crash 
  • Tight grip 
  • Gives credit where credit is due 
  • Helps you expand your business

Ashitaka

  • Has a deer like steed as a bff which is cooler than a horse
  • A responsible, protective type
  • Athletic, accomplished warrior 
  • Brave, the monsters are scary 
  • Beloved by his people
  • Cursed 
  • Banished by his people 
  • Has a sister who is willing to break the rules to give him a farewell gift
  • Attentive to his curse
  • Humble didn’t want to draw attention to himself 
  • Wise, asks people older than him for advice 
  • Doesn’t overstay his welcome 
  • Well-traveled 
  • Kind, he helped out complete strangers 
  • Politely introduced himself 
  • Knowledgeable about spirits and tracking
  • Logical, doesn’t try to cross the river because it’s reckless 
  • Cautious about exposing his identity 
  • “You’re not handsome, you’re gorgeous”
  • Would be curious about your interests
  • Doesn’t add to the men talking badly about the women. So he won’t gossip about you 
  • Focused on his mission/destiny 
  • Compassionate for others, even if they hurt him
  • Good listener 
  • Determined as heck
  • Inspiring to others
  • Will give you compliments 
  • Unafraid of pain, suffering, and death
  • Doesn’t raise his voice when angry
  • Cries 
  • Truthful about his experience 
  • Will cover you with a blanket 
  • Gives thoughtful gifts
  • A murderer 
  • A true neutral doesn’t show favoritism to either side
  • Does the right thing even if it could cost him
  • Ok with a long-distance relationship
  • Respects Mononoke for not being able to forgive the humans 

Seiji

  • Well read
  • Smart
  • Sassy
  • Teases you
  • Brings the stuff you forgot 
  • Chairman of PTA’s son
  • Blushy boy🥺
  • Good conversationalist when you actually have a conversation instead of in passing 
  • Gives you space
  • Makes violins 
  • Plays violin
  • One of those musicians who can play a song without needing sheet music
  • Can jam out with his grandpa and his grandpa’s friends 
  • Walks you home
  • Invites you back to his grandpa’s house again 
  • Gives compliments 
  • Knows what he wants to do with his life but has the wisdom to know it may not work out how he wants 
  • Apologies for being a jerk 
  • Comes to her first with his exciting news
  • Took an interest in her interests to get her attention 
  • Admits feelings before leaving town
  • Quietly surprises you while you’re working 
  • Surprises you at your house to pick you up
  • Takes you to watch the sunrise 
  • Gives you his jacket so you won’t be cold
  • Talks about your future together with you
  • Corny

(Ps country roads is in the movie 6 times, once as an instrumental)

Pazu

  • Orphan but the adopted son of the entire town
  • Plays the trumpet which would absolutely wake you up 
  • Hard worker 
  • Willing to do long hours
  • Catches Sheeta when she falls *3
  • Covers her with his vest
  • Strong
  • Last to leave work
  • Gives Sheeta his bed and sleeps on the floor
  • Has pet doves/pigeons
  • Calls Sheeta an angel 
  • Funny
  • Asks for consent to see her necklace 
  • Jumps off the roof 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️
  • Cooks
  • Wants to prove his dad wasn’t a liar
  • Sassy
  • Ready to fight on Sheeta’s behalf 
  • Notices when Sheeta is uncomfortable 
  • Plans ahead (he packed lunch and a lantern)
  • Respectful 
  • Determined
  • Knocked out & imprisoned for defending Sheeta
  • Hurt when forced to give her up
  • “Sheeta means the world to me” a day after meeting her
  • Admits his flaws but wants to make them right 
  • Fine with leaving his friends and home behind
  • Offers to work rather than go back to his hometown 
  • “Mechanically minded”
  • Shares his blanket with you
  • Good listener 
  • Understanding 
  • Wants to see where Sheeta is from
  • Doesn’t speak ill of others–could have spoken ill of the captain but didn’t
  • Smart
  • Picks Sheeta up and spins her around when they land in Laputa
  • Holds her hand walking through the garden 
  • Trustworthy 
  • Dedicated 

Sosuke

  • A 5-year-old
  • Thinks his love interest is a goldfish 
  • Sees her as his responsibility 
  • Polite
  • Likes surprising people 
  • Protective of Ponyo
  • Tries to go after Ponyo when her dad catches her 
  • Loved by his mom, old ladies, and girls at school 
  • Loves his mom and dad
  • Knows morse code 
  • Comforts mom
  • Ditched class to hang out with Ponyo
  • Gives gifts to all the old ladies
  • Patient with Ponyo
  • I think he had to grow up quickly 
  • Packs snacks
  • Forgot to lock the door 
  • Good navigator 
  • Seems to know a lot of the townspeople 
  • Pushes the boat when she falls asleep 
  • Cries since he can’t find his mom
  • Dragged Ponyo to shore 
  • Accepts Ponyo for who she is

Asbel

  • Will kill bugs for you
  • Survivor 
  • Covers you up if you pass out
  • Introduces himself and thanks you if you save him
  • Soldier 
  • From Pejite, a neighboring country 
  • Will grab your things for you if you forget them
  • Tries to comfort you while you cry
  • A prince
  • Eats your snacks
  • Doesn’t like healthy food (a mood)
  • Fiesty
  • Judgey about your weird thoughts 
  • Refugee 
  • Plots behind your back
  • Defends you
  • Gets knocked out 
  • Gets his mom to cover for you
  • Helps you escape a hostage situation on two separate occasions 
  • Guilt trips you into leaving 
  • Can do the dirty dancing dance move

The Baron

  • Helpful to everyone he comes across. Aka a fixer
  • Does a cheesy light show on purpose》 show off or wants to impress?
  • “Cool”
  • Polite
  • Asks open-ended questions
  • Will keep you out of fights
  • Makes his own tea blend 
  • Makes angel food cake
  • Inspirational
  • Encourages you to believe in yourself 
  • Has 2 BFFs you can count on even if not initially well received 
  • Will dance with you on the dancefloor 
  • Will call you out if you’ve lost yourself 
  • Protective 
  • Agile
  • Can prioritize what’s important (you)
  • Uses canes like Rapunzel uses frying pans 
  • Acknowledges when you do a good job
  • Will carry you up several flights of stairs
  • Cares about his appearance 
  • Patient 
  • Doesn’t give up hope
  • Won’t back down from a fight or challenge but won’t start a fight either
  • Precise
  • Knows how to skydive?
  • Optimist
  • Nosy?
  • Won’t play games, speaks honestly
  • Has a sweetheart (you learn this is Whisper of the Heart)
  • Gentleman
  • Will throw tea parties for you

Marco

  • Drinks & smokes
  • Highly skilled Pilot
  • Cursed 
  • Lazy
  • Late 
  • Compassionate
  • Bounty hunter
  • Protective of those he cares about
  • Uses self-deprecating humor 
  • Smart 
  • Has a sense of humor
  • Pig headed
  • Grump but a big heart 
  • A Lil sexist but has a change of heart after meeting Fio
  • Sucker for the puppy eyes
  • Wanted in Italy for deserting the Italian air force 
  • Even his friends are funny
  • Not forthright with his feelings 
  • Speaks Fio’s praises
  • Doesn’t go for the 17-year-old 
  • Competitive 
  • War veteran 
  • Thinks he’s unlovable 
  • knows morse code

Shun

  • JUMPED OFF A BUILDING TO PROVE A POINT  = stupid
  • He has a hypeman (actually several)
  • Hard worker
  • Appreciative
  • Funny
  • Generous
  • Thoughtful
  • Responsible 
  • Will feed you
  • Inviting
  • Cares about making people feel heard
  • Passionate 
  • Can read signal flags 
  • Empathetic
  • Dishonest
  • Will ignore you if he has a problem 
  • Patient
  • Sweet but not sensitive 
  • Athletic 
  • Protective 
  • Respectable

Shon

  • Seems tired
  • Startled easily 
  • Curious
  • Ill. Not sure if it’s terminal or not but it’s heart problems. 
  • Will stare
  • Awkward 
  • Observant and smart since he was able to figure out where the borrower’s home was 
  • Pets cats
  • Wears PJs all-day but I would too if I was sick
  • A reader
  • Never sees his dad and mom doesn’t have time for him? Bad family life. Also, his parents are divorced. 
  • Just wants to talk to you and get to know you
  • Will fight a bird for you
  • Will write you letters and give you flowers
  • Likes being outside
  • Not allowed to get excited 
  • Will keep you a secret from his family 
  • Boring 
  • Will give you thoughtful gifts (even if you initially freak out)
  • Not a good listener since he ignored her request to leave them alone
  • Will give you compliments and will find you fascinating
  • Takes responsibility for his mistakes 
  • A know it all/insensitive since he said Arrietty is a doomed species
  • Apologizes for insulting her 
  • Faced death since he was a child
  • Couldn’t play with other kids
  • Gets locked in his room
  • Will comfort you while you cry
  • Admires you for your accomplishments
  • Plays dumb to cover for you
  • A hot milk kind of guy
  • Checks in to make sure you’re ok
  • Will defend you
  • Will race to say goodbye even though it’s detrimental to his health
  • Follows cats
  • Will hold your hand 
  • Human so in arriety’s position no bueno

Spillar

  • Mostly grunts, not very verbal 
  • Show off
  • Eats cricket legs
  • Helps other borrowers in need
  • Man of the land
  • Can hang glide
  • Survivor 
  • Has a teapot boat
  • Protective 
  • Will give you food to cheer you up
  • Shy
  • Borrower so in Arrietty’s position, might be the only eligible bachelor

Ranking the bachelors from worst to best & why

Magical Bachelors:

  1. Howl: he literally starts the movie heartless. He has a shiny, exterior but I feel like dating him would be toxic. He’s nice which is a step up from Haku but fake nice and I rather someone be unkind than fake.
  2. Haku: I would like to work with him but I think dating him would be frustrating constantly being out of the loop and just expected to follow orders without complaint. I don’t think I’d ever feel like his equal.
  3. Marco: yes he’s not forthright with his feelings and that would be frustrating but he’s got more potential than the other two.
  4. Ashitaka: I thought about having tied with Marco but I think I’d like to be friends with Marko more than I’d like to date him. Also, Ashitaka has a lot more pros in my mind.
  5. The Baron: really his only downside is he’s taken by a long-lost lover so technically disqualified but if Louise wasn’t in the picture…

Non-Magical Bachelors:

  1. Asbel: he’s not a great person until the last ~10 minutes and I don’t want to babysit.
  2. Spillar: some girls love roughing it, I’m not one of those girls.
  3. Shon: I think I would like to be friends with him more than I’d like to data him.
  4. Sosuke: He’s 5 so he might change his mind about Ponyo but being able to accept her for who she is is something some people can’t do at a much older age. So I give him props.
  5. Shun’s worst qualities are recklessness, dishonesty, and problem avoidance. He has a lot of good qualities and he’s 17 so he has room for growth. However, the people at the top are younger and in my mind have better qualities.
  6. Tombo and Seiji tie for second.
    1. Tombo’s worst qualities are his persistence and his friends. Seriously, his friends are jerks, I wouldn’t hang out with any of them. Kiki tells him to buzz off several times and he doesn’t. I will say, Kiki is a jerk to him but it would be weird having a strange 13-year-old boy wanting to ask you a bunch of questions first thing without introducing himself.
    2. Seiji’s worst qualities are coming off as a jerk and his timing. He confesses to Shizuku when he’s about to leave which would be hard. At 14/15 years old, he’s slightly better than Shun.
  7. Pazu: I knew this from the start but after watching it all, it just reassured me.

Originally…

I thought it would be Pazu first, Tombo second easy money but Seiji is also quality boyfriend material but neither of them is better than the other. In my rough draft, Shun was also tied for second but when I started listing out their bad qualities, I had two clear winners. Yes, I broke my three-way-tie by listing their worst qualities, sorry.

Final Thoughts:

Not going to lie, this was one of my more difficult projects. A lot of Ghibli bachelors share some of the same qualities but it’s interesting how some of those qualities can play out differently in different circumstances.

Thank you for reading Ranking the Romance Studio Ghibli Bachelors, I appreciate it. Comment below who your favorite from the list is and if you agree with me. If you like my content, consider subscribing to my mailing list and if you want to read my last Ghibli review, click here.

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