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Voiced by: Yoji Matsuda (JP), Billy Crudup (EN)The last prince of the Emishi tribe. A prepossessed and earnest young man; he is as skilled in war as he is of strong moral fibre but one day his ethics and his soul will be tested from within as well as without. After his exile he journeys to the lands of the west in an odyssey to lift the curse that has befallen him and to see with eyes unclouded by hate.
- All-Loving Hero: The voice of peace between the humans of Iron Town and the animals/spirits/deities of the forest. Without him the film would have been much shorter and very bloody.
- Amazon Chaser: Ashitaka falls head over heels with the fiery, bonafide badass, slightly murderous San.
- Archer Archetype: While a skilled swordsman, his truly badass feats are performed with his bow. He also proves himself perfectly capable of living alone in the wilderness without other people.
- Badass Normal: Even before receiving the curse, Ashitaka manages to kill an enormous boar demon single-handedly.
- Beware the Nice Ones: A kind, heroic, and respectful young man. You do not want to make him angry.
- Big Brother Instinct: During the demon attack at the beginning of the film, Ashitaka the pacifist is initially very reluctant to attack and spends quite a while trying to pacify Nago. When he sees the demon boar charging towards Kaya, however, he doesn't hesitate to shoot it square in the eye.
- Bishōnen: An incredibly handsome (former) prince.
- Bow and Sword, in Accord: Though Ashitaka tends to favour his Bow.
- A Boy and His X: A Boy And His Elk. Yakul is his closest friend.
- Cassandra Truth: Continuously warns the people of Iron Town and the forest Gods that violence won't solve anything. They all ignore him.
- Chick Magnet: All of the ladies of Iron Town (sans Lady Eboshi) immediately take a liking to Ashitaka.
- Cursed with Awesome: His cursed arm sporadically causes him a deep throbbing pain and even made him an outcast from his own people. On the other hand, it gives Ashitaka a rather grim and definitely supernatural level of strength which he uses to both save others and maim men to pieces.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Inverted. Ashitaka alters his hair at the right at our story's beginning, due to being exiled from his village after becoming infected with a curse.
- Important Haircut: Cuts his hair at the start of the film to signify his banishment.
- Last of His Kind: The last prince of the Emishi.
- Leit Motif: ''The Legend of Ashitaka'. Which is sometimes played as a gentle melancholy tune or as an epic crescendo of passion.
- Love at First Sight: Towards San. He is overcome with awe and reverence when he first sees her, saves her life even when she tried to kill him in the dark and can only say she's beautiful when he passes out, on the cusp of death.
- Mark of the Beast: His curse manifests as a large, nasty blotch or tumour which starts on his arm and slowly spreads throughout his body.
- Martial Pacifist: Ashitaka is a pacifist in a world where humans and nature are at war. The funny thing is Ashitaka actually aims to be a Badass Pacifist, but what keeps him from reaching that is the fact that he will kill you if you leave him no other choice.
- Memento Macguffin: The crystal necklace that he gets from Kaya for good luck and so he won't forget her. He later gives it to the wolves, as a token for San.
- Morality Pet: Even though San still won't forgive the humans for what they did, she makes it clear to Ashitaka that she won't attack them for his sake and that they will always be close.
- Nice Guy: Doesn't want a war to start between humans and forest spirits? Check. Killed a boar spirit when it head towards his younger sister, Kaya? Check. Has a deep respect for the forest spirits, that may be only second to San? Check.
- One-Man Army: Takes out multiple samurai in skirmishes like the bandit chumps that they are.
- Red Right Hand: An aversion: Ashitaka has the physical indications and the power, but remains firmly dominant over The Corruption.
- Scars Are Forever: Ashitaka keeps one under his left eye, courtesy of San, even by the end of the film, when all his wounds have been healed. Miyazaki also made the decision to keep a tiny patch of Nago's curse scar on his palm to act as a reminder of what it cost to lift; stating that to remove it entirely would not only ruin the symbolism but be too condescending for the intended audience of teenagers who might think it will resurge in a sequel. The joke's still on us though.
- Shirtless Scene: Gets a few: when he crosses a river with Yakul, helps the women with the smelting bellows, and in the climax.
- Tranquil Fury: When striding slowly in to break up the fight between San and Lady Eboshi.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: While San does come to reciprocate his feelings, at the end, they realize that neither of them could give up their present life styles for each other, and the two part, promising to still meet each other every so often...
- Warrior Prince: The last prince of the Emishi Clan, and a skilled sword-fighter, archer, and... elksman?
- Weapon of Choice: His bow and arrows.
- The Wise Prince: He's an All-Loving Hero prince with a bad case of Cassandra Truth.
- Would Hit a Girl: Interposes himself between both Lady Eboshi and San, knocking the two of them cold when the former attacks him for his audacity.
- You Can't Go Home Again: After being cursed by a kami turned demon, Ashitaka is forced to leave his dying people, the Emishi, to find a cure, rather than staying to die in agony. After cutting off his top-knot, he is banished and can never return.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Along with the above trope, Ashitaka will eventually die from the curse imparted to him.
Mononoke Hime / San
Voiced by: Yuriko Ishida (JP), Claire Danes (EN)A beautiful young girl who was raised by the wolf gods of the western mountains and feels hatred for humans, as she was abandoned by her birth parents as an offering to appease the guardian of the forest, the wolf goddess, Moro. Who took her in as the last daughter she would ever have. Although the recent war with humans has blackened her once pure heart with loathing, she eventually comes to care deeply for Ashitaka and through that love, envision a future brighter than she can imagine.
- Action Girl: She was not only willing but hungry to take on an entire village of people armed to the teeth with swords and guns. And charges into battle in the front lines of the boar's last battle with humanity.
- Animal Motifs: Wolves. She was literally raised by them since infancy and models her mask, fur cape and hood in order to more closely resemble a wolf.
- Badass Adorable: She's only fifteen years old and can't quite help looking as cute as she actually is. No matter how fierce she strives to appear.
- Badass Princess: San doesn't control a human kingdom, but is the main representative of a great forest that is still revered in a holy sense by the common men who practice Shinto. She and her clan are the only one of two forces which have successfully held off human encroachment and continue to keep the vast majority of their territory secure; even as their numbers dwindle to near nothing...
- Because You Were Nice to Me: One of the main reasons San likes Ashitaka is because of his respectful nature towards her and the spirits, something that the humans she met before him did not endeavour to do at all.
- Boomerang Bigot: Hates humans even though she is one. Justified given how she was raised by her adoptive wolf family from infancy because her parents left her to be eaten by them.
- Boyish Short Hair: Her hair doesn't even reach her chin.
- Breakout Character: San pretty much stole the entire film. She probably stole the show for the animation team as well, because when Miyazaki took a vote on the film title; his favourite 'The Legend of Ashitaka' was outnumbered by those who wanted it to be titled 'Mononoke Hime'. And the rest is history.
- Cool Mask: Her first is a full Oni war mask which bears a distinct resemblance to the Forest Spirit's face by daylight. After that one is shattered she wears a half helm that is also lost or destroyed.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Her birth parents abandoned her to save their own skin. And while San's relationship to Moro and her two wolf brothers were good ones, she also had to see her home be destroyed by humans, which may have meant close friends and family members dying as well.
- Death Glare: Gives a mighty one to Ashitaka when she first spots him across the river, augmented by the fact that her face is covered in blood.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: The ape tribe accost a bloodied and battered San by throwing sticks down at her and her equally tired brother Ichi, during the retreat from the final battle. They even accuse her of bringing the death of the forest when the wolves have been the only ones who have been fighting smart; let alone proactively fighting at all after Nago's tribe was wiped out you ungrateful monkeys!
- Empowered Badass Normal: Being weaned by a god and raised in a place of magic has put her far ahead of what any fifteen year-old girl should be capable of. She endures head trauma that would bust a skull inwards, can leap incredible heights, slice a thumb-thick quarterstaff in half with a back-hand swipe of a sharp stone knife and endure falls that would kill an ordinary human. Even surviving Demon Corruption with little to no scarring until the decapitated head of the Forest Spirit's own exuding ooze touches her skin. May overlap with Charles Atlas Superpower.
- Facial Markings: San has three red "fang" markings on her forehead and both her cheeks. Since it is quite unlikely she could have tattooed them on herself they may actually be the signs of a lesser god blessed unto her by Shishigami.
- Forest Ranger: With her adoptive wolf family, San looks after and protects the forest from any humans who attempt to spoil their territory.
- Fragile Speedster: She moves very fast, to the point where none of Iron Town's riflemen can hit her, but gets knocked out fairly easily by Ashitaka, although that was with his cursed right arm. She's really only this compared to the other kami of the forest and would quite likely reach Lightning Bruiser status when she reaches her prime.
- Freudian Excuse: San's hatred of humans mainly stems from their destruction of the forest and the subsequent deaths of many friends and even implied close family members. She must also likely have been told the origin of her adoption from Moro, her parents abandoning her as a baby to save themselves from the wolf-goddess would be an extra point of contention.
- Friend to All Living Things: San definitely qualifies since she's a Nature Lover and Forest Ranger. But she also has definite exceptions - any and all humans are off her list. In the beginning...
- Happily Adopted: San casts away her human heritage in favour of being a wolf and considering the nature of her adoption. Such a stance is entirely understandable.
- Human Sacrifice: How her parents gave her up - after Moro caught them violating her forest, they threw the infant San at her feet and fled.
- Intimate Healing: When San feeds a wounded Ashitaka, who is too weak to even chew, by softening up the meat for him with her own jaws and then transferring it from her mouth to his.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Has a strong hatred for humans, but she deeply cares for her adoptive wolf family, the denizens of the forest even if they insult her to her face and later Ashitaka.
- Jungle Princess: She is referred to by the people of Tataraba as "The Princess of the Vengeful (forest) spirits". She dresses the part.
- Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Despite living in a forest all her life, she sure knows how to look damn good in a fight. Both of the film's battles she takes part in she not only wears a purple dress, her white wolf fur pelt, upper arm bracelets, a diadem inset with a single pearl and rather large bone disc earrings, but two types of ornamental masks, an animal-tooth necklace and later a gifted crystal dagger amulet as well.
- The Lady's Favor: Subverted. Ashitaka gives Kaya's crystal dagger to one of her brothers to deliver to San when he's about to leave their realm.
- Leit Motif: Not only does she have both an instrumental and a vocal track iteration of the same piece of haunting music to her name but she also has a personal sound effect, which is of her ivory disc earrings chiming together off her canine tooth necklace myriad times during her first few appearances.
- Le Parkour: Even Ashitaka with all his prodigious cursed strength has to clamber up some timbers to chase San on the roof-tops of Tataraba. She leaps up first in a single crouched bound.
- Like a Daughter to Me: To the Wolf Goddess, Moro. Despite being a human, Moro deeply loves and cherished San just the same as her two biological wolf cubs.
- Meaningful Name: "San" is Japanese for "three". She is the only daughter (adopted and human) of Moro's three children. The other two are biologically related to her.
- Morality Pet: To the Wolf Goddess, Moro. San is probably the sole human that Moro loves.
- Nature Heroine: Provides the page image.
- Nature Lover: Has a deep respect for the forest and those who live in it.
- Not Good with People: Has a distrust of other humans due to being raised in the forest.
- One Woman Army: Mounts a solo attack on Iron Town for the sole purpose of assassinating Lady Eboshi, and gets far enough to duel Eboshi herself one on one at the centre of town.
- Parental Abandonment: Her parents literally threw her to the wolves.
- Physical God: In the same manner as the rest of her family she is immortalized as a Shinto concept of animism; a representative of the hunter-gatherer spirits when they still walked the earth before the rise of agriculture and an embodiment of nature's mystery. She also possesses one of the most apparent dualistic aspects of personality that permeate nearly every character in the film. Namely: love and wrath. As a kami; San is not so much a deity in the Shintoist sense as she is a force of mind and presence, one that Ashitaka is so smitten with that he will risk all to appease her.
- Pint Sized Power House: She sometimes fights nearly on all fours, making her even smaller against experienced, battle-hardened adults.
- Raised by Wolves: She was adopted by the wolf goddess Moro while still in swaddling clothes.
- Red Baron: "Mononoke Hime" means "the princess of vengeful spirits". Not knowing her real name, the villagers call San "Princess Mononoke" out of fear.
- Red Is Heroic: The red fang markings on both her face and blades. Not to mention her mask. Although, she's more of an Anti-Hero: while Lady Eboshi and her followers are desecrating the forest and the spirits, San's solution (general murder and terror) isn't actually fixing the problem.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: On the day Moro is shot by Eboshi, she and her brothers make a play to take her down once and for all that very same night.
- Secondary Character Title: San's nickname is the name of the film, but she's the deuteragonist.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Ashitaka is a pacifistic man who has a great respect for the spirits, and was the first human San encountered who treated her nicely. San does return Ashitaka's affections but the film ends before we can see where they go from there.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Naturally, due to her upbringing, Ashitaka is surprised to learn this when she tells him she has been talking to Yakul.
- Suicide Mission: She fully expected to die when she went into Iron Town alone to kill Eboshi.
- Tsundere: Has elements of it. For example, when Moro comments that Ashitaka wanted to share his life with her, San angrily responds that she hates him like she hates all humans. A few seconds later, one of her brothers comes to give her a necklace from Ashitaka. San puts it on.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: By the end of the film, San admits that Ashitaka's love means so much to her but she cannot quit her home to live with him in Tataraba; there's too much bad blood between her and the settlers; not to mention Eboshi. Where their relationship will go from there... Her final smile suggests that it will hold hate at bay for many years to come.
- Weapon of Choice: Utilizes a spear or knife in combat.
- When She Smiles: That final close-up... *sniff*
- Wild Child: A strong love for nature combined with a fierce looking appearance? She definitely qualifies.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: San's hair appears to be green under certain lighting.
A mighty boar god of the forest steppes. He and his clan were the first to retaliate against Tataraba's lumber operations. Until the day Lady Eboshi planted a bullet in him and her warriors burned his territory to the ground. He fled far to the east, refusing to die from his shattered bones, blistered insides and the memory of his slaughtered people. His odium turns him into an abomination.
- Annoying Arrows: He literally shakes off about three-score flaming arrows to the face from Tataraba's first settlers.
- Body Horror: Completely covered in writhing, demonic black worms.
- The Call Knows Where You Live: Not intentionally, but it is his actions that catapult Ashitaka's story into motion.
- Combat Tentacles: He can send out writhing arms of his corruption as flails and extend his own legs to increase his sprinting speed.
- Eldritch Abomination: As a demon of blind vengeance.
- Evil Sounds Deep: The only time he speaks, it's in a deep and distorted growl.
- Eye Scream: Ashitaka shoots him twice in the eye, which finally kills him.
- Fallen Hero: Used to be a noble boar spirit, before being shot.
- Physical God: One of the guardians of the deer god's realm.
- The Power of Hate: It is so virulent that anything in his path will die. Plant-life quickly, humanoid matter slowly and painfully with just minor contact.
- Talking Animal: He despises the human race enough to actually curse them vocally as well as physically. Notable, in that his elder, Okkoto went completely mad while he retained some monstrous intelligence.
- Walking Wasteland: He curses everything he touches.
Moro-no-Kimi / Moro
Voiced by: Akihiro Miwa (JP), Gillian Anderson (EN)A four-hundred year old, two-tailed giant wolf goddess and San's adopted mother. She's protected the Forest Spirit's realm since time immemorial and is as wise as she is fearsome.
- Action Mom: Mother of three and will fight when necessary.
- Arch-Enemy: With Lady Eboshi.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Unsurprisingly, her goals aren't concerned with human concepts of good and evil. And though she has fought for the forest all her life, she is content to let what will be, be. Even if that is the doom of her kind and the misfortune of her offspring.
- Canis Major: She's almost the size of a small elephant. She's so large that she can break an oxen's spine with a single snap of her jaws. Her eyes are the size of dinner plates!
- Contralto of Danger: In the English dub.
- Crossdressing Voices: Has a male's voice in the Japanese dub, despite being female. This is due to how Shintoist belief portrays the kami of canines in a masculine context regardless of gender and why feline kami are always portrayed in a feminine light regardless of gender.
- Dented Iron: Although she survives a close-range blast of a fire cannon, a jet of Greek fire and falling about three hundred feet off a massive cliff, clipping the side at least once and being swept downriver; Eboshi's bullet condemns her to be greatly weakened and eventually paralyses her hind legs.
- Face Death with Dignity: In sharp contrast to Nago and later Okkoto, who went insane and turned into a demon after being shot by a bullet, Moro is calm and accepting of her inevitable demise. Even when San begs her to go to the Forest Spirit to be healed of the bullet wound, Moro replies that she's lived long enough.
- Intellectual Animal: Moro is probably the wisest and most rational of the forest spirits.
- Killed Off for Real: She receives the touch of death from the Forest Spirit near the end of the film.
- Last Breath Bullet: Her decapitated head leaps forward and snaps off Eboshi's arm as her final act.
- Made of Iron
- Mama Bear: "Give me back my daughter, demon!"
- Multiple-Tailed Beast: Has two tails as opposed to her birth children who only have one each.
- Noble Wolf: She is a protector of her pack, of the forest, and adopted San when her parents abandoned her.
- Not Afraid to Die: She calmly accepts her eventual death.
- Not So Stoic: While she is calm and collected (for the most part), she only bears her teeth when she is in combat or when she is really ticked off.
- Physical God: A Wolf Goddess... and a very big wolf at that.
- She's a Man in Japan: Kind of. In both versions she's the mother wolf. However in Japan she has a male voice, because in Japanese tradition all wolves are treated in a very masculine context.
- Shipper on Deck: She makes subtle hints that she thinks San will be happy with Ashitaka.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: All full-blooded wolves have eye colour that ranges from light brown amber to gold but since she and her brood are the spirits of the gods...
- Talking Animal: A very de-whimsified version. She talks through some type of telepathy, since her lips don't move in sync with her words.
- Voice of the Legion: She seems to have an ethereal background rumbling growl whenever she talks.
Ichi and Nii
Moro's last two male cubs born to her. They were reared alongside their human sister and cherish her just as deeply as if she were both wolf and god. An affection that she returns to both her siblings just as strongly.
- Big Damn Heroes: When Ashitaka tries to save San from Okkoto's demonic influence; they charge in and begin rending Jigo's hunters apart; guarding their new friend's back.
- Canis Major: Not quite as big as their mother but still large enough for San to ride them as mounts.
- Guttural Growler
- Meaningful Name: Their names refer to being the first (Ichi) and second (Nii) children of Moro.
- Noble Wolf
- No Name Given: The elder, deeper sounding brother is named "one" in Japanese by the fan community, you have two guesses for the middle child of Moro and the first doesn't count.
- Physical God
- Talking Animal
- Those Two Guys: Even their own mother doesn't name them in the film when addressing them!
The Kodama / Wood Sprites
Tiny, innocent spirits that inhabit the forest, appearing as small white humanoids with mask-like facial features. They are birthed from the trees, and their lives are inextricably linked with the forest. Should the forest die, so do they.
- The Fair Folk: Averted. Kohroku fears them to be this, but in reality they mean no harm at all.
- Hope Springs Eternal: After it appears that they all died during the final battle, a single kodama appears in the rejuvenated forest at the very end.
- Kill the Cutie: Occurs en masse during the final battle. As the Forest Spirit begins to go berserk after being beheaded, thousands of them are seen falling from the trees like dead leaves and dissolving on the ground.
- Plucky Comic Relief: They are this for the forest gods, being innocent and playful creatures who help the heroes out in what small ways they can.
- Mascot: They are pretty much this for the movie, showing up everywhere in merchandise from bumper stickers to garden ornaments.
Shishigami / The Great Forest Spirit
Shishigami, or the Great Forest Spirit, is an ancient god who watches over what is now Japan's Shirakami-Sanchi mountain woodland. During the day, the spirit resembles a great stag qilin creature with many tree-branch antlers, the feet of a strange ungulate bird and the face of a baboon. During the moon rise, however, the spirit becomes the Didarabocchi (Nightwalker), a two hundred foot tall god resembling both a human man and his original form, sculpted out of stars with a long pointed face and nebulous spines protruding from his back.
- Above Good and Evil: In this case, justified. The Spirit won't or can't aid directly in Moro's fight to save the forest: it has a very alien kind of intelligence.
- Beware of the Nice Ones: Once beheaded, he becomes a full on spirit of destruction.
- Big Bad: All depending on your point of view within the movie's Grey and Grey Morality. While possibly being the Big Good, if you shoot his head off, he'll quickly become the latter.
- Big Good: All depending on your point of view within the movie's Grey and Grey Morality. While possibly being the Big Bad, the Forest Spirit is beloved by all and seen as a sort of guardian.
- Blob Monster: After it gets beheaded, it turns into an amorphous mass of black sludge that congeals into a vaguely humanoid shape.
- Blue and Orange Morality: As a higher being governing life and death, it shows little concern for the conflicts that surround it.
- Dark Is Evil: It's not evil, but when it gets decapitated, its body becomes a filthy black sludge that kills whatever it touches.
- The Dreaded: The people of Iron Town fear it for its status as the enigmatic lord of the forest spirits trying to kill them.
- Eldritch Abomination: Although Jigo's hunters fear him to be one of these, daring not even to look at his night-time form at first. This is revealed to not be the case. At least, up until the point he's decapitated; then he becomes a walking Armageddon.
- Fertile Feet: Although the plants that sprout up where he steps will immediately die afterwards, representing his role as a god of death as well as life.
- Healing Hands: While he can take away life with a mere touch, he can also restore it.
- Kaiju: His Nightwalker form, a gigantic creature whose body appears to be made of water and the night sky.
- Killed Off for Real: San believes so, but Ashitaka points out that, as a god of life and death, Death Is Cheap.
- The Marvelous Deer: The form he takes during the day, in keeping with his mysterious and elusive nature.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: He's a stately hart with strange chimera-esque factors during the day, and a translucent invincible entity called the Nightwalker during the night.note
- Nature Spirit: His title is the Great Forest Spirit.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Very hard to kill. And becomes harder to kill once wounded.
- Off with His Head!: Lady Eboshi shot off his head with her rifle.
- The Old Gods: He is both life and death personified and a force the other kami treat with deserved respect.
- One-Winged Angel: He becomes an Eldritch Abomination after Lady Eboshi shoots his head off.
- Physical God: When he transforms into his deer form.
- Pulling Themselves Together: After being decapitated it needs its head back and nothing save the coming dawn will stop him.
- Rasputinian Death: Ashitaka explicitly states that after all that the Forest Spirit has been through, he will still live on.
- Super Power Lottery: Has numerous abilities, can give or take life from a god, demon, or human, walk on water, plants bloom wherever he walks, then wither and die as quickly as they came. An ability that he can also direct with his gaze on even the dead wood of Eboshi's rifle.
- Touch of Death: How he kills Okkoto and Moro, when he knows that it is their time to depart from the world...
- The Voiceless: The only nature god to never speak, not that it ever really needs to.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Can switch from a deer form to a shadowy humanoid figure called the "Nightwalker".
- Walk on Water: In his deer form, he is able to do this.
- Walking Wasteland: Turns into this after being decapitated. The uncontrolled spirit no longer brings life, only death - anything it touches is killed.
Okkotonushi / Okkoto
Voiced by: Hisaya Morishige (JP), Keith David (EN)A six-hundred year old albino boar god from the southern islands of Japan. After the death of his younger tribesmen, Nago, and the destruction of the forest he guarded; he swims the ocean straits with the entirety of his own hundreds-strong clan to bring a final war on Tataraba; to whatever end.
- Ax-Crazy: As a demon. He isn't even capable of speaking any-more when he turns, wanting only to mindlessly kill.
- Badass Baritone: He's voiced by Keith David in the English dub.
- Blood from the Mouth: Vomits up a great deal of blood after being shot, stabbed, burned and poisoned by Eboshi and Jigo's men.
- Body Horror: When he is slowly being demonized, and San is trapped between the masses of wriggling tendrils... gah.
- The Determinator: Continues trying to fight the humans even after all his people are slaughtered and he himself is covered in wounds and drenched in his own blood.
- Eldritch Abomination: His despair and fear turns him into a mindless monster that will melt the flesh from your bones with a mere touch.
- Empty Shell: After becoming a demon, he loses all his former reason and intelligence and becomes a mindless, rampaging monster.
- Face Death with Dignity: Subverted and even deconstructed. He realizes he has no chance of defeating the humans in battle, yet goes to war anyway because he wants a dignified death for himself and his people. However, his actions only end up bringing more suffering for everyone, because his people die screaming and aflame in a futile charge against the entrenched and heavily armed humans, who easily slaughter them, and the mere presence of his army before that brings great suffering to the forest. The lead up to his death is even worse.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: When he reaches the horrific conclusion that he's the only boar god left.
- Killed Off for Real: Killed by the Forest Spirit's Touch of Death.
- Last of His Kind: The only boar spirit remaining after the fight with the humans.
- Made of Iron: The mere fact that he's still alive after all the rest of his tribe are massacred by the humans is a testament to this. It takes no less than the Forest Spirit itself to finally put him down.
- Mercy Kill: The Forest Spirit euthanizes him with its Touch of Death, releasing him from the agony of his wounds and becoming a demon.
- The Nose Knows: He is able to ascertain the truth of Ashitaka's story by way of his keen snout. Unfortunately this gift is later used against him when Jigo's monks and hunters disguise themselves with the skins of his slaughtered tribe.
- Old Soldier: He's ancient, but still leading his boars into battle.
- Physical God: A spirit in the form of a boar.
- Prophet Eyes: His eyes are misty with cataracts and stuffed with sleep but he is certainly the most introspective of his tribe despite his blindness.
- Rasputinian Death: A very horrific example, especially once his mind goes and he becomes a demon.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Unlike the other boars who are ready to kill a wounded Ashitaka for being a human and ready to jump to conclusions about Nago's death even accusing the wolves of eating him, Okkoto listens to Ashitaka's story and accepts it after Ashitaka shows him proof, namely the cursed mark on his arm. He then allows Ashitaka to leave the forest in peace though he does warn him that he will kill him if he sees him in the forest again, if only because they'll meet under different circumstances.
- Sanity Slippage: His mind snaps completely after his devastating defeat at Eboshi's hands, and despite San's attempts to talk sense into him he becomes a demon.
- Talking Animal: Like Moro, his power of "speech" is not played for laughs. He talks telepathically, and when he does it's always serious.
- Trauma Conga Line: This movie is not nice to him.
Residents of Iron Town
Voiced by: Yuko Tanaka (JP), Minnie Driver (EN)The de-facto ruler of Tataraba (Iron Town). With help from the Emperor's religious sect she gained the firepower that secured the fledgling outpost against Nago and his tribe; wiping them from the face of the earth. Her men clear the forest back inch by inch to further mine the ore needed for weapon production in order to protect her burgeoning community; made up of the disenfranchised as wars between the Daimyo ravage the country.
- Action Girl: Matched San blow-for-blow when the latter attacked Iron Town on her own as well as being at the fore of battle against forest gods or samurai.
- Affably Evil: Quite affable most of the time. The "evil" part becomes clearer whenever she's with Jigo.
- Anti-Villain: She is overall a rather considerate leader, kind to lepers, prostitutes and the disenfranchised and has her town's best interests at heart. Her violence, arrogance and antagonism are rather understandable when you consider how she is being proverbially roasted by wild animal gods on one end and by other warlords on the other.
- An Arm and a Leg: Gets her arm bitten off by Moro.
- Badass Boast:Eboshi: Now watch closely, everyone. I'm going to show you how to kill a god. A god of life and death. The trick is not to fear him.
- Badass Normal: Able to buy up the bond of every brothel girl she meets and gives them a new and better life in Iron Town. Also, she will attempt to assassinate gods.
- Big Bad: Depending on your point of view in the film's Grey and Grey Morality. While possibly being the Big Good, she's also the one after the Forest Spirit.
- Big Good: Depending on your point of view in the film's Grey and Grey Morality. While possibly being the Big Bad, Lady Eboshi genuinely cares for the people of Iron Town and they in turn look to her as a beacon of hope.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Or rather "Lost Your Arm Shooting at the Forest Spirit."
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Gradually comes to warm up to Ashitaka over the film, ending with her asking to see him so she can apologize for everything.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: She blows the Forest Spirit's head clean off with her rifle. Though it only ends up making things worse.
- Evil Brit: Voiced by English Minnie Driver (who also played Jane Porter from Tarzan).
- Heel Realization: After seeing the destructive result of her actions post-climax, she promises to change for the better and rebuild Tataraba without resorting to military industrialization and the whole-sale clearing of all natural resources.
- Hime Cut: When she's in her battle wear, her hair is right above her eyebrows
- Iron Lady: A non-royal, power-wielding, tough-as-nails woman.
- Ironic Echo: "Cut off a wolf's head and it still has the power to bite."
- Kick the Dog: Deciding to continue hunting the Forest Spirit rather than heading back to defend Iron Town during the climax can be seen as this.
- Lady of War: She's elegant, calm, calculating and has an arsenal of rifles at her disposal that can pierce samurai armour like paper. This is in contrast to the more primal and savage San.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After using her rifle to shoot the Forest Spirit and kill many other animals and people over the course of the movie, Moro's last act of defiance tears her arm right off, ensuring she can never fire one again.
- A Mother to Her Men: She's shown to care deeply about the men and women of Iron Town, even knowing the names of random ox-cart drivers. Even when she chooses to keep hunting the Forest Spirit rather than defend them, it seems to be because she has faith that they can continue to stand strong rather than You Have Outlived Your Usefulness.
- Noblewoman's Laugh: She does this, befitting a refined lady like her.
- Pet the Dog: She's a Noble Demon who takes in lepers and prostitutes and people who have nowhere else to go, and defends them against the greedy ambitions of the local samurai.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: One of the palest characters in the film.
- Silk Hiding Steel: She's always stately and composed, and is also personally responsible for killing at least two gods. Especially notable when she fights San in her Kimono and nearly manages to stab her with a hidden needle.
- Weapon of Choice: Utilizes a Chinese fire cannon to mortally wound both Nago and Moro, then later a more advanced flintlock rifle created by her leper gunsmiths on both Lord Asano's samurai generals and the Forest Spirit.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Has to sell her soul to the Emperor and his new Buddhist sect to secure enough power to keep her people safe.
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Lady Eboshi never breaks a sweat. Even after she loses her arm.
Voiced by: Tsunehiko Kamijô (JP), John DiMaggio (EN)Eboshi's bodyguard and her major-domo. He is also the official captain of the guard and the head of Iron Town's contingent of rifle-men.
- Butt Monkey: The guy cannot get a break. For starters, he's called an idiot by Toki, gets his face stepped on by San and has his sword bent by Ashitaka.
- The Brute: To Eboshi. He's huge and aggressive, but not very bright.
- Dirty Coward: As implied by Toki, the first thing he does when faced with danger is flee and hide like a pansy.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: He is a bit of a hot-head.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Acts opnely hostile to Ashitaka, but he does thank Ashitaka for bringing back two men deemed killed, and has every reason not to trust him seeing as he came through the forbidden forest.
- Undying Loyalty: To Eboshi.
- Walk, Don't Swim: In-universe, he's told by Ashitaka to walk along the bottom after the Forest Spirit loses his head and goes berserk seeing as he can't swim himself.
Voiced by: Masahiko Nishimura (JP), John DeMita (EN)An Iron Town cattle driver who is nearly killed en route by the wolf clan's attacks. Ashitaka rescues him from certain death in the wilderness.
- Butt Monkey: Nothing goes right for him, but its all played for comedy.
- Happily Married: To Toki.
- Henpecked Husband: He's this to Toki. She berates him after coming back alive from what was believed to be near certain death before hitting on another man in front of him. He raises no objection to this.
- Nice Guy: Koroku is polite and kind man.
Voiced by: Sumi Shimamoto (JP), Jada Pinkett Smith (EN)Koroku's wife, a former prostitute, and the leader of Eboshi's circle of fiercely loyal ladies.
- Affectionate Nickname: Called "little flower" by her husband.
- Big "SHUT UP!": (To the panicking people of Iron Town) "THAT'S ENOUGH!"
- Dark and Troubled Past: Implied. She was a prostitute in the past and mentions that she (along with other women) were never treated fairly.
- Deadpan Snarker: She has her moments.
- Establishing Character Moment: Her chewing out Koroku and Gonza.
- Happily Married: To Koroku.
- Hidden Depths: Despite her constantly yelling at Koroku, she really does love him.
Ashitaka's red elk. A mount and friend of considerable loyalty.
- Amplified Animal Aptitude: Subverted. Yakul shows no unrealistic abilities - just the natural athleticism of a mountain beast and the affection of a well-trained domesticated animal. It might be argued that he's awfully smart for a member of the deer family, though.
- San does say he is "wise" for not setting foot on a sacred island in the middle of the Forest Spirit's grove, and he is apparently able to tell her his name and relate stories of his and Ashitaka's home life to her as well. Whether this is true sapience, or simple instinct and the use of a more vague animal language that San can decipher, is left open to interpretation.
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": An elk is a large North American deer with antlers almost as large as a moose. These "red elks" of which conveniently there are none in Japan, or in any other part of the world now for that matter, much more closely resembles a three-way cross between a yak, a pronghorn and a gazelle.
- Cool Pet: A swift, agile, exotic antelope who follows Ashitaka around with quiet devotion.
- Horse of a Different Color
- Undying Loyalty: No matter what, whether it was being shot at or treading on sacred ground or even threatened with being eaten by wolves, Yakul always stuck by his master.
Jiko-Bou / Jigo
Voiced by: Kaoru Kobayashi (JP), Billy Bob Thornton (EN)A cynical yet buoyant Buddhist monk and mercenary who encounters Ashitaka on his journey to the west. He brings both a new religion from the Indies to his birth country and a technological promise from China that will allow him to fulfil his new convert's ambitions.
- Acrofatic: Shown to be very fast and agile, especially in his fight.
- Affably Evil: He just never stops being so pleasant and personable, even when he's vaguely threatening you. Or trying to kick your ass.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Jiko's much stronger and faster than he first appears.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has shades of this, like when he remarks that the soup he's eating "tastes like donkey piss."
- Evil All Along: He doesn't appear to be a bad guy when we first meet him.
- Gonk: A fat, short man, with a huge mole on his face.
- Karma Houdini: He indirectly assists the genocide of two boar tribes, nearly kills both our protagonists, cripples an ecosystem and tries to profit from deicide but doesn't die from any of his wrongdoings. In fact, nothing bad happens to him at all by the film's end; apart from the fact that the Emperor may be after his greasy hide now for failing to acquire the Forest Spirit's head.
- Nothing Personal: Reflecting the banality typical of environment-destroyers. He doesn't hate his enemies: they're just inconveniently willing to fight to the death to stop him.
- Punch Clock Villain: Jigo's harmless off the job, he just does it because the The Powers That Be ordered him to.
- Smug Snake: Shows shades of this when he talks to his lackeys - he claims that the best way to get what one needs is to let someone else do the dirty work.
- The Man Behind the Man: Or rather woman. It was his contacts with the Son of Heaven that allowed Eboshi to combat Nago and secure the foundations of Tataraba.