There’s something special about Studio Ghibli films. They’re the perfect blend of nostalgia, childhood innocence, and lighthearted adventure. The world of Studio Ghibli is one that we all wish we could visit. Pair one of these 16 magical Studio Ghibli tattoo ideas with your No Face Bong and you’ll feel like you’re there.
She Likes My Spark
Plenty of iconic characters have been birthed by Ghibli. And while the leads are beloved, it’s the side characters that often end up finding a larger fandom.
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) may be about the wizard Howl and the cursed Sophie, but it’s Calcifer the talking blaze of fire that really adds the spark to this film.
Howl and Sophie
Nonetheless, Howl and Sophie must get a mention. Romance might not seem like the overarching theme of most Ghibli films. But it exists in every breath, with every film offering a true appreciation for the romance inherent in life itself.
But as far as traditional romance goes, Ghibli delivered one of the best with Howl and Sophie. If you’re a hopeless romantic, this one’s definitely for you.
Castle in the Sky
Ardent fans of Ghibli will be well-versed with Laputa. But it isn’t one of their more famous works. Nonetheless, it’s sure to be a hit with anyone who discovers it, no matter when.
Blending themes like the concept of lost cities that were technologically advanced with environmental conservation, Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986) is an early Ghibli film that beautifully captures the essence of what would become the studio’s trademark style. It would also inspire movies that followed, such as Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001). And it can also serve as the perfect inspiration for Studio Ghibli tattoo ideas.
Speaking of characters that steal the spotlight, Spirited Away’s (2001) soot sprites have become a fan favorite despite being largely background characters. And despite being largely known from this film, they originally made their debut in My Neighbor Totoro (1988).
They’re essentially living dust bunnies that leave behind a trail of dust as they scurry around. In Totoro, they are brushed off as a trick of the light, with an aside stating they’ll leave if they see the house is now filled with good people.
In Spirited Away, however, the lore is expanded. The sprites work in the boiler room where Kamaji tells Chihiro they dissolve back into dust if they don’t have something to do.
This, as it turns out, is a pretty good life lesson to carry around.
The Echo of a Kodama
As far as spirits in Ghibli’s universe go, Kodama are another show stealer that say a lot while saying nothing. The little creatures are thought to be the echo one hears in a forest. Based on various mythology around forest spirits, Kodama are a sign of a happy forest.
Ghilbi films put a lot of focus on the environment and its preservation. This extends to mythological beings, whose presence is a sign of a world that is good, kind, and at peace.
A Kodama tattoo, therefore, is a reminder every now and then to take a moment to remember what makes life beautiful.
A Teeny Tiny Chibi-Totoro
Despite being named after the titular ball of fluff, My Neighbor Totoro is a deeply moving story about a family dealing with a mother’s illness and her subsequent absence. It’s a whimsical tale, nonetheless, that follows the two daughters as they explore a new world and grapple with their troubles.
This little Totoro is an adorable reminder to always carry an umbrella with you. You never know when it’s going to rain. But when it does, at least you’ll be able to enjoy the view.
Three Totoros in a Row
A fun fact about this film is that Totoro isn’t the creature’s name – it’s his species. The main character is Oh-Totoro or Big Totoro. But there are a few others in the film, including the blue Chuu-Totoro, or Medium Totoro, and the white Chibi-Totoro, or Little Totoro, often seen holding a leaf as an umbrella.
This tattoo throws in a soot sprite for good measure. After all, they did debut together. It only makes sense to keep them together when putting together Studio Ghibli tattoo ideas for your next session.
No-Face Minimalist Tattoo
One of the best things about Ghibli’s work is that it relies on simplicity to tell complex, nuanced stories. No-Face is a character that captures that perfectly.
Kaonashi, or “Faceless,” more commonly known as No-Face, is a lonely wandering spirit in Spirited Away. He has no identity of his own. Or so it seems. As the movie progresses, it becomes evident that No-Face isn’t quite devoid of emotion. On the contrary, he absorbs the emotions and identity of those around him. And in a world full of excesses, what this creates is a monster that consumes everything in its path. Yet, when his path is interrupted by Chihiro’s gentle soul, No-Face finds peace.
This tattoo wonderfully details No-Face’s identity. It uses the bare minimum details necessary to fully draw out No-Face’s, well, face. And it works perfectly.
The Hermit Face
As wonderful as Ghibli’s characters are, there’s always room for imagination. And this take on No-Face is genius.
In reality, you could pair so many characters from the Ghibli-verse with Tarot cards to humorous effect. But No-Face as a Hermit definitely works. A little too well, considering where his story ends.
Three Ghiblis Walk Into a Bathhouse
As far as creativity goes, this one takes the cake. Or the tea. Whatever floats your boat.
Haku Takes Flight
Spirited Away’s journey of self-discovery is layered and nuanced. As Chihiro works to find her way back home, she’s also tasked with saving the lives of her parents and liberating the bathhouse from a tyrant’s grasp.
But it is ultimately her connection to her own inner child and the memories within that break her shackles. And when she soars, we soar right up with her.
Ponyo and Sosuke
Each Ghibli film comes with its own unique flavor. But one thing that they all have in common is that they are adorably heartwarming. And Ponyo (2008) is up there as one of the studio’s best.
Sosuke’s innocent yet deep friendship with Ponyo, the fish girl he happens to find, is one of the cutest things you will ever see. The duo’s relationship and care for one another will have you invested right from their first interaction.
And this tattoo is the perfect reminder you need to rewatch the movie anytime you need a good pick-me-up.
Jiji Rides Stick
Director Hayao Miyazaki’s work always comes with deep philosophical meditations. But unlike a lot of other such works, his movies tend to find meaning in the quiet moments. It isn’t about ultimate heroic goals. It is simply about living in the pauses between them.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) is a simple story. A young witch and her cat Jiji travel to the city to start her journey of self-discovery, and along the way, find more than they bargained for. But in the moments between these major story beats, we get glimpses of what Miyazaki is best at.
We see what burnout can do to a young heart. We see what true freedom can look like for an artist. And we see how kindness, friendship, love, and nurture can heal a broken soul. Kiki’s journey is ultimately one of healing. And fans return to it every time they need to remember what living is all about.
Of course, Jiji’s sass is the ultimate cherry on the cake that is this film.
As one of Ghibli’s earlier films, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) helped shape the studio’s direction for decades to come. It features everything from a strong, nuanced female protagonist to deeply environmental themes.
This tattoo includes characters from across the movies that all have a connection to the environment and forests in particular. Including a precious baby Ohm.
The Miyazaki Starter Pack
If Nausicaä is your ultimate jam, you’ll appreciate this tattoo. The fierce warrior’s face is an unforgettable experience. The fearless defense of her forest and its inhabitants is as inspirational as it gets.
But this wonderful tattoo pairs her fierceness with the softness of Totoro, the whimsy of Soot Sprites, and the gentleness of the Kodama. An all-encompassing piece that reminds us of everything worth protecting.
The Ultimate Ghibli Tattoo
Whether you’re a fan of Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, or My Neighbor Totoro, there’s a Studio Ghibli tattoo out there for you. But if you’re unsure of which one to get because you love them all, you could try a tattoo that blends them all into one masterpiece.
Hearts Change, But Tattoos are Forever
Anime-inspired tattoos are perfect for stoners. And Ghibli ones are wonderfully artistic and perfectly suited to a stoner’s aesthetic. If you’re in the mood for some new ink, these Studio Ghibli tattoo ideas are sure to spark some inspiration.