"In order to grow your audience, you must betray their expectations." -Hayao Miyazaki "...And that's why he won the Oscar." -Adult Swim This man is the only reason why I still watch anime after the last four years of disappointment. So, which title's the one that betrayed your expectations and why? For me, Princess Monoke. Ashitaka is like a younger, archery-prone version of Gregory Peck. Hear me out: He's an incredible badass, but he never brags about it. He doesn't even fight all that much. He acts with integrity and purpose, always seeking the path of peace. He's also the wisest Miyazaki character so far (argument for Nausicaa taking that, but if she's so brilliant at botany, I'd argue she's more of an intellectual than a wise archetype). He's soft spoken, polite, competent. He's warrior, diplomat, and messiah all in one. Save the messiah part, that pretty much describes Atticus Finch: he's the deadest shot in Maycomb but never brags about it. He is a peaceful man who listens to all sides of the story, much like Ashitaka. He ends confrontations with that sexy Gregory Peck scowl. So yeah, Ashitaka is my favorite of the Miyazaki heroes. The titular Princess Mononoke. This is what Pocohontas should have been, though I was very surprised how the normally anti-violent Miyazaki made such a firebrand for a heroine. I have to admit, out of the gallery of Miyazaki heroines, she's not the highest on my list. I still think Nausicaa is the iconic one of the bunch and an argument could be made that Ashitaka and San are basically Nausicaa split in two (the peacekeeper and the environmentalist; hell, Ashitaka's got Nausicaa's color scheme and San's powerset of being the equivalent of a D&D ranger). When it comes down to it, I just like a good old adventure tale over slice of life. Though when it comes to slice of life, Kiki takes the whole damn cake: she's just such a sweet, responsible, mature kid. I really hope my kids end up even half as good and not-headache-inducing as that.