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The first Deuteragonist of the story, Sheeta is a young girl who used to live on a farm with her grandmother. Although living an ordinary life, she secretly holds a mysterious amulet connected to the legendary city of Laputa, making her a target of the army and sky-pirates wishing to locate the city for themselves. Luckily, she meets up with Pazu, who helps her make her own search.
Voiced by: Keiko Yokozawa (JP), Lara Cody (US '89), Anna Paquin (US '03), Ester Sjögren (SV)
- Badass Adorable: The badass part becomes gradually clear, unlike the adorable part.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted in the very end when Muska shoots off her pigtails.
- Blessed with Suck: She's the legitimate heir to Laputa and possesses incredible powers courtesy of her crystal. Unfortunately, this makes her a seemingly endless number of enemies who all wish to use her to find the city and the treasures found within.
- Bonding Over Missing Parents: With Pazu, obviously.
- Break His Heart to Save Him: Sheeta makes a deal with Muska to save Pazu's life. It involves telling Pazu to return to his home town and forget about her and Laputa, which he reluctantly does. Until Dola points this out, at which point he opts to rescue her.
- Broken Bird: She's a little cold and hesitant around other people after losing her grandmother and being kidnapped by the military, not to mention everything that happens afterwards.
- Combat Pragmatist: A bottle will do just fine to knock out the technically defenseless man with his back turned to her.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Her mother and grandmother are established as having both passed on, and it's never stated what became of her father.
- The Cutie: The photo speaks for itself. Her behaviour makes her qualify even more though.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Her spells, but mostly the destruction spell.
- Declaration of Protection: She is immediately very protective of Pazu, although it takes her a while to put words into action.
- Defiant Captive: People may complain she is a bit more "whiny" than other Ghibli heroines, but she did knock out Muska in her first scene and later stood up to him quite epically in the throne room.
- Establishing Character Moment: She's introduced as a kind of Damsel in Distress, but quickly manages to free herself when opportunity strikes.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Deconstructed - Sheeta is the legitimate heir to the throne of Laputa, but this brings her a lot of unwanted attention from those who want to get their hands on its fabled riches and power.
- Expressive Hair: Her braids tend to stand out to the side whenever she's afraid for Pazu's safety.
- Girl in the Tower: She's briefly seen in a lavishly decorated room in a tower after being recaptured and brought to the army base.
- Hair Decorations: Her headband.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Using the destruction spell to stop Muska and destroy Laputa. She knew it was most likely going to kill her, but she did it anyway. together with Pazu. Subverted when they live through it.
- I Am Who?: She's a descendant of the Laputian royal family, making her a princess.
- Important Haircut: Muska shoots off her pigtails when she defiantly refuses to cooperate with him.
- Improvised Weapon: She uses a bottle to hit Muska over the head and later a shovel to knock out two of Dola's boys.
- Memento Macguffin: Her necklace. It's an heirloom of the Laputean royal family from which she is directly descended.
- Overly Long Name: Her full name. LuSheeta Toel Ul Laputa.
- Puppy Love: With Pazu.
- Royal Blood: She's actually a Laputian princess.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Especially in her first scene and the climax.
- Sleep Cute: She isn't any less cute when she is awake.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: She disguises herself as a boy to escape the Dola gang.
- Taking You with Me: To Muska. "We will die here together."
- Tragic Keepsake: Her crystal necklace, which was passed down to her by her deceased parents and acts as her protector in times of need. However, upon witnessing the kind of death and destruction it is capable of she is determined to rid herself of it.
- Troubled, but Cute: Considering her past and the fact that both the military and pirates are after her.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Alone in her room after being recaptured by the army, she absently recites a spell her grandmother taught her to use in times of trouble. This awakens the robot, which proceeds to inflict devastating damage on the army base as it tries to get to her. What's worse, she doesn't realize the robot is trying to protect her until just before the army manages to destroy it. The poor girl is left in horrified tears after the fact.
The second Deuteragonist of the story, a young boy working in a mining town whose father died after a lifetime of fruitlessly seeking the legendary flying city, Laputa. Wishing to clear his name, he jumps at the chance to find Laputa after rescuing a girl named Sheeta, who possesses a connection to the city.
Voiced by: Mayumi Tanaka (JP), Barbara Goodson (US '89 dub), James van der Beek (US '03 dub), Oliver Åberg (SV)
- Ace Pilot: He takes after his father in that regard, flying a number of vehicles under extreme stress.
- Adorably Precocious Child: He's a skilled mechanic despite his age, earning him the respect of the Dola gang's mechanic.
- Badass Adorable: He does a pretty decent job of holding off pirates pretty much single-handedly, not to mention surviving an entire army's attempts to kill him.
- Big Eater: Which makes him a fitting dinner partner with the pirates.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Seems to get it from his Boss, even standing the same way before a fight. But he's still a kid so he can't do quite as much damage.
- Bonding Over Missing Parents: With Sheeta, obviously. "We orphans gotta stick together."
- Break the Haughty: He takes Muska's money, somewhat realizing it's wrong and upset over Sheeta telling him to forget about Laputa. Cue Dola rubbing it in his face, resulting in a short Heroic B.S.O.D..
- Cassandra Truth: The existence of Laputa, even more so for his father.
- Children Are Innocent: He is quite precocious for his age, but also quite naturally ignorant of many things.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: In the climax, where he refuses to leave Sheeta alone even though it could mean a swift resolution of Muska's entire gamut. Muska plays him like a fiddle because of this.
- Clear Their Name: He is trying to clear his father's, who was ridiculed for his belief in Laputa.
- Conveniently an Orphan: His father died after being ridiculed and there's no mention of his mother. Consequently, no one in his life to stop him from going on a quest to discover an ancient flying city.
- Dawson Casting: Rather eccentrically, a then 21-year-old James van der Beek is cast as this character in Disney's dub, resulting in him sounding considerably more mature than his intended age.
- On the flipside, both Mayumi Tanaka and Barbara Goodson were in their thirties when they voiced this character in the Japanese and JAL dubs, respectively. It remains debatable on whose take on this character is preferable.
- Determinator: In his quest to find Laputa. Up until the moment he takes Muska's bribe, of course - but after he gets in with Dola's gang, it comes right back up.
- Didn't Think This Through: His escape plan from the mines.
- Generation Xerox: Not unlike his dad, he builds flying machines and has an obsession with Laputa.
- Hard Head: The reason he doesn't get any lasting injuries from his fall early in the movie.Pazu: If my head were any harder, you could use it as a cannonball.
- Heroic Sacrifice: With Sheeta in the end, saying the spell knowing it'll most likely end in his death. It doesn't though.
- Honor Before Reason: Attempts to take on the entire military by himself for Sheeta.
- Hot-Blooded: Is willing to stand up to and fight of sky pirates and the military alone for Sheeta.
- Indy Ploy: His plan to escape from the pirates and the military by catching on to the collapsing train rails, counting on the chance that Sheeta's crystal will save them.
- Jumped at the Call: "Are you kidding? This is the most exciting thing that's ever happened to me!"
- Made of Iron: He falls straight through a brick floor and sustains no injuries whatsoever.
- Nerves of Steel: Being shot at and nearly killed doesn't slow him down at all.
- Parental Abandonment: There is no mention of his mother. His father is implied to have gone missing during attempts to prove Laputa's existence.
- Le Parkour: He moves like a frickin' monkey, and he's definitely not afraid of heights since he leaps large distances, swings from vines and clings to ledges on Laputa pretty high in the sky.
- Puppy Love: With Sheeta.
The captain and mother of the sky-pirates; she's another of the people on the hunt for Sheeta and her amulet, pursuing her along with the military.
Voiced by: Kotoe Hatsui (JP), Rachel Vanowen (US '89), Cloris Leachman (US '03), Annica Smedius (SV)
- Action Mom: All of the other pirates call her mom, likely all being her actual sons—she's still a badass captain though.
- Anti-Hero: While still a pirate and reckless with other people's safety to get what she wants, she and her sons are not nearly as bad as the actual military.
- Apron Matron: She keeps all her 'boys' close at hand to serve as pirate crew. Not that most of them can be trusted with even the simplest tasks on their own.
- Big Bad Ensemble: At the beginning of the movie, Dola VS Muska. Until it becomes clear Dola is really a good guy.
- Boobs of Steel: She has remarkably large breasts.
- Braids of Action: Wears her hair this way.
- Cool Airship: Her ship, Tiger Moth.
- Cool Old Lady: She's a sky pirate, aged about 70.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Once Pazu manages to outrace Dola and her boys, she respects him enough to take him onto her crew.
- Drives Like Crazy: In the chase scene while in the automobile. Holy cow.
- Enemy Mine: Teams up with Pazu and Sheeta because of their mutual enemy, Muska, as well as their mutual interest/need for Laputa.
- Girlish Pigtails: A trait she shares with Sheeta, which is why she empathizes most that Muska shot Sheeta's pigtails off. The photograph of her when she was younger shows that she's kept this hairstyle for a long time.
- Good Is Not Soft: She's gruff, doesn't go out of her way to help other people, and steals whatever she can get her hands on, but she is a good person at heart.
- Insistent Terminology: She's a captain, not just Dola or "mom."
- I Was Quite a Looker: Take a look at the photograph of her inside her personal quarters. She looks exactly like a red-haired Sheeta.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Pazu even points it out, she isn't as mean as she pretends to be.
- Large Ham: Very loud and very upfront. At one points she is even eating a very large ham, which would count as a Lampshade Hanging had this film been made later. Cloris Leachman's voice acting in the Disney dub takes it Up to 11.
- Lovable Rogue: A pirate, but in the bottom she is nicer than you think.
- A Mother to Her Men: Quite literally, since she is their mother.
- Never Mess with Granny: She is one of the most capable and tough as nails adults in the film.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: She only wanted to loot Laputa.
- Pet the Dog: Taking Sheeta under her wing, giving her clothes and letting her sleep in her room.
- Pink Means Feminine: Her hair is pink and, despite her gruffness, she does play up her femininity occasionally.
- Sky Pirate: She's the leader of a band of sky pirates.
- Smart People Play Chess: With her husband.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Most of her sons are pretty goofy or easy to distract. She lampshades it in the car chase scene.
- Took a Level in Kindness: She gets a lot nicer when it's made more apparent that Muska's the true Big Bad.
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: She stuffs a lot of jewelry in her bra.
A colonel who acts as a covert operative in the military; he takes control of the government's effort to discover Laputa. He's the movie's Big Bad and another person trying to use Sheeta to find the city, having lead the soldiers who kidnapped her before the start of the plot. Unbeknownst to the rest of the military, he seems to have his own motives for finding Laputa.
Voiced by: Minori Terada (JP), Jeff Winkless (US '89), Mark Hamill (US '03), Jakob Stadell (SV)
- Ax-Crazy: By the end he is reduced to this, once subtlety isn't really a necessity.
- Big Bad: He is the head villain here. The one with the Evil Plan that Sheeta and Pazu have to stop.
- Drunk on the Dark Side: The massive violent episode he goes through after gaining control of Laputa's powers.
- Evil Is Hammy: Especially with Mark Hamill's hammy voice work.Muska: The same technology that kept Laputa airborne also made it A MAJOR POWER THAT ONCE DOMINATED THE ENTIRE planet.
- Evil Laugh: Especially with Mark Hamill as his voice.
- Evil Plan: Using Laputa to rule the earth once again. Which is unfortunately an entirely plausible plan due to the enormous capabilities of the Laputean machinery and technology.
- Fantastic Nuke: How he uses Laputa, especially after he gains control of the (usually benevolent) robots.
- Faux Affably Evil: As Sheeta's captor, he is quite corteous and polite, also toward Pazu. Once he gains control of Laputa, however, he sheds the facade.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Never without his shades, and is every bit as evil as they come, and more.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: "Your ears are next", he tells Sheeta after shooting off her pigtails.
- Ink-Suit Actor: An accidental and somewhat prophetic example, as he actually looks a bit like Mark Hamill.
- Disney Villain Death: He's blinded and stumbles around the crumbling Laputean floors. We don't see it, but he obviously dies falling down with the palace floors.
- Knight of Cerebus: A particularly notable case for a Hayao Miyazaki film. Colonel Muska has no comical traits, being a Faux Affably Evil government agent treated very seriously by the protagonists. But Muska gets much worse after he massacres an entire army that helped him conquer Laputa, laughing maniacally at their deaths.
- Long-Lost Relative: In a dark version of this trope, Muska is one to Sheeta.
- Meaningful Name: Musca is the Latin word for "fly", an insect often associated with the dead, which it feeds off of. Muska is obsessed with the long-dead civilization of Laputa.
- The Neidermeyer: Not openly as obnoxious as other examples but one of the most uncaring and disloyal towards his subordinates.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Makes one to Sheeta. Albeit with his Faux Affably Evil facade still going, but the threat is still there; either she helps them find Laputa or they will kill Pazu.
- Overly Long Name: His full name is RoMuska Palo Ul Laputa
- Overt Operative: He acts as one in the military, and has a higher authority over general Mouro.
- Person of Mass Destruction: When he takes over control of Laputa.
- Royal Blood: Like Sheeta, he is the heir to the Laputean throne. Although it's likely he's from a lesser branch, considering it was Sheeta's family that inherited the royal crystal.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Doubles as an example of Sinister Shades.
- Social Darwinist: Which means that he deems everyone else apart from himself as too weak to be worthy to live, even Sheeta who's also Laputian.
- The Sociopath: Possibly the most monsterous Hayao Miyazaki antagonist. He is manipulative, greedy, vicious, power hungry and boy does fly of the chain when he goes mad with power.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Having a higher status above General Muroro's military and in control of their operations to find Laputa, he's single-handledy responsible for all of the grave danger in the film, in contrast with the comical Dola Gang who never pose a threat to anyone's lives.
- Villainous Breakdown: Moments before the collapse of Laputa.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Having governmental ties and being above a General hierarchically is a good start.
- Would Hurt a Child: Toward Sheeta and Pazu.
- Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness: One of the hints that something's off about him.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The general tries to pull it on him. He then proceeds to kill the general and his men.Muska: I have really had enough of your incredible stupidity.
A general in the army who is one of the leaders behind the effort to find Laputa. He works with Muska only reluctantly, suspicious of his covert operations.
- Armies Are Evil: He's brutal and even advocates torturing Sheeta to get her to show them how to use the amulet. Despite all that, he's still not as bad as Muska.
- Disney Villain Death: An Asshole Victim along with many other soldiers.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Probably led to his decision to try and kill Muska.
- Evil Is Hammy: Not as much as Hamill and Leachman in the Disney dub, but Jim Cummings does get to have fun with the character in places.
- Fat Bastard: Fat and a cruel general.
- Glory Seeker: And he's easily distracted by glitter to see any further.
- Too Dumb to Live: Shooting bullets at a projected image of Muska.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The other reason he likely tried to kill Musuka at the end, considering that he demonstrated Laputa's true potential. Unfortunately, Musuka feels the same way, and has him and his men promptly killed via a massive trap door.
An old man living in the caves beneath the city. He possesses knowledge of Laputa and its resources, such as the aetherium that helps it to fly.
Voiced by: Fujio Tokita (JP), Ed Mannix (US '89), Richard Dysart (US '03), Johan Hedenberg (SV)
Dola's crew, composed almost certainly of all her sons. While occasionally bumbling and incompetent, they're all incredibly loyal to her and a formidable force in numbers.
- Badass Beard: One of them has a long beard and is quite strong.
- Big Eater: They need much to sustain themselves after all.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Especially the one that can make his shirt explode by flexing his muscles.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Some of them are pretty competent in spite of their goofiness.
- The Ditz: Some are a little better about this than others—the ones with beards are the goofiest.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: "All good pirates listen to their mom."
- Eyepatch of Power: The one member with darker complexion sports one.
- Five-Token Band: There are more than five, but they fit the trope. Some of them are black-skinned, others have distinctly Asian features. Most of the other characters look Caucasian (which figures since the movie is set in a fantasy version of Wales). There is some debate as to whether the different-looking pirates are crew instead of family, Dola's adopted children or her children by different fathers. They all call her Mom.
- Jabba Table Manners: They don't bother with savoir vivre.
- Large Ham: Mandy Patinkin, Mike McShane, and Andy Dick were clearly having a lot of fun with their roles.
- Punch-Clock Villain: In the first act.