Studio Ghibli’s many creatures are already pretty cute in the hands of Miyazaki and company, but sometimes fan art can make them even more adorable.
Most Studio Ghibli films feature at least one cute creature that spawns a massive amount of fan devotion, complete with plush backpacks and a plethora of other merchandise, which means there’s never been a better time to be a fan. But some fans take it even further, creating more adorable versions of the characters with their own kawaii fan art spin.
From sweet new takes on the grouchy, less-than-cute characters to depictions of everyone’s favorite adorable creatures, but with larger eyes, fuzzier bodies and kinder demeanors, these fan artists hold nothing back when it comes to infusing these Studio Ghibli beasties with the “Aww!” factor.
10. Ghibli Squared
From soot sprites to the eerily sweet kodama, Studio Ghibli’s creatures really don’t have to work too hard to be cute on their own. Those big eyes and wobbly heads elicit adoration across the fandom. But when an artist puts them all together and includes some not-so-cute characters, like Porco Rosso, and still makes it cute, it’s pretty much magic.
Tamberella’s adorable patchwork quilt design features traditionally cute creatures, as well as some that are less conventional, like Rosso and the Forest Spirit. Everyone from Haku to Baron makes an appearance here, making this a wonderful collection of Ghibli delights.
9. Cutie Haku
Artist SeviYummy created a cute commission of the famous Haku River water spirit from Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, which removes the harshness of Haku’s demeanor. In its place is an almost catlike creature, with doe eyes and a spirit gentle enough to be surrounded by none other than a bunch of soot sprites.
From his rounded tail and shadows to his subdued horns and more organic edges, SeviYummy’s Haku is less of the monster that might intimidate someone as a servant of Yubaba and more of a huggable monster, ready for a snuggle. He’s almost too cute for the movie.
8. Teto Meets A Fox Squirrel
Artist Miss-Barker introduced Nausicaä’s feisty sidekick, Teto, to a new friend in this fox squirrel, causing fans to squee in reaction to the cuteness overload. Teto is a fox squirrel too, but he’s the Miyazaki kind that’s more people-friendly and adventurous, ready to ride into action and save the Ohms by her side – or while on her shoulder.
This face-to-face moment that Miss-Barker has created not only shows how different Teto is from a fox squirrel in the real world, but it also depicts him as a curious critter interested in meeting his cousin.
7. Cute Totoro
The titular character from Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro is both cute and a little intimidating. Many of Miyazaki’s characters are like this, which is one of the reasons why he’s so beloved in the first place. He presents his characters as multi-faceted beings with both positive and negative traits, and when it comes to creatures, they all have to have at least some wildness mixed in with their sweetness.
This version of Totoro, created by artist TsaoShin, is much gentler than the original. With his pudgy face and downright docile expression, he looks much more like a pet than a roaring forest spirit.
6. Adorable No-Face
No-Face, one of the many monsters in Studio Ghibli’s masterpiece Spirited Away, is both a kind and cruel creature, assisting Sen when she needs bath tokens and becoming a gluttonous, all-consuming monster when he’s inside the bathhouse. In a way, he represents a lot of what’s wrong with our society.
When kept outside the bathhouse, he’s a much more grounded character, and artist Chibi-Joey has shown what he might look like if he were allowed to remain outside all of the time – or perhaps with Zeniba, who seems to manage him pretty well in her much more down to earth home.
5. Ponyo Playing With A Friend
Ponyo of the titular film is already adorable on her own, so this artist just makes her even more kawaii and joyful, as she plays in the ocean with a furry friend.
The interesting thing about Kamivicious’s Ponyo is that it appears to depict the fish girl cavorting with Moro of Princess Mononoke in a manner in which the she-wolf would likely never do. It’s actually the artist’s friend’s dog, who has the same name as Ponyo and happens to look a lot like a cuter version of Moro!
4. A Huggable Forest God
Artist Escaron has taken one of Studio Ghibli’s most terrifying and creepy creatures, the Night-Walker or Forest Spirit, and made him into a 3D stuffed animal! In this art piece, the Great Forest God is fluffy, huggable and cute. Fans might argue over which version of the spirit is more menacing: the deer-faced god or the giant, more humanoid figure.
Either way, the Forest Spirit is the god of life and death, which already makes it pretty scary. Leave it to a talented artist to transform it into something much more adorable for fans to enjoy.
3. Adorable Ohmu
When The-Spikey-Mouth created this version of an Ohmu, the artist truly took a face that only a mother could love and made it stuffed plush worthy. The-Spikey-Mouth actually helps us witness the Ohmu as Nausicaä saw it: a beautiful creature worthy of protection. This is another lovely recurring theme in Ghibli productions – the worthiness of all creatures to exist, no matter how they look or what they do, or don’t do, for human beings.
Many fans might already consider the Ohmu as an adorable creature, but The-Spikey-Mouth has definitely made it super cute in this tribute piece.
2. Chibi Nekobus
Who doesn’t love the famous Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro? The fuzzy living transportation is a favorite from many a childhood, and it’s already pretty cute as it gallops across the countryside to deliver passengers safely to their destinations. Artist Kiara-CecilVenes has taken the cute cat even further, with this adorable interpretation in chibi form.
The original Catbus is a little on the menacing side at first, even next to a character as big and loud as Totoro, so this rendition, complete with more animated, friendly eyes, makes it much more welcoming to passengers waiting for a ride in the night.
1. A Tender Moro Moment
In artist Noctualis’s take on “Bath Time”, Moro is seen as a much more tender creature than we witness in the film Princess Mononoke. In this piece, the 300-year-old wolf god isn’t ripping into flesh or scaring away humans but cleaning her daughter like a little pup. It’s so sweet that it’s almost out of character, yet the two had to have had moments like this as Mononoke was growing up.
Both characters don’t look much like their fierce selves from the film, which is more violent than many of Studio Ghibli’s other productions, but without humans bothering them, it could be completely canon for the mother and her daughter.