Follow TV Tropes

Following

Characters / Kubo and the Two Strings

Go To

    open/close all folders 

Main Characters

    Kubo 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kubo1_kubo.jpg
Voiced by: Art Parkinson (English), Akiko Yajima (Japanese)

The titular protagonist, a young Paper Master who lost his left eye as a child and is very skilled at origami, which he controls (and weaponizes) via a magical shamisen.


  • Adorably Precocious Child: He's very mature and serious for an twelve-year-old due to having to take care of his invalid mother.
  • Adorkable: Absolutely. From walking through a field with his paper Hanzo doll above his head to freaking out over obtaining the Sword Unbreakable, Kubo is just great to watch.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: The youngest of the main trio.
  • Badass Adorable: He's a cute, sweet 12-year-old who also has powerful magic and knows his way with a sword.
  • Badass Pacifist: He defeats his grandfather by using his shamisen powers and The Power of Love.
  • Bad Liar: Hits Monkey with one of his origami birds… then tries to blame it on mosquitoes. They are in the middle of a barren, icy land.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Kubo is a pretty well-mannered kid, but he's not a pushover. He ultimately kills his second aunt and defeats his grandfather.
  • Children Raise You: Because of his mother's brain damage, it fell to Kubo to take care of her, even having to feed her.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: His grandfather took away his eye when he was a baby. He's been taking care of his mother who's catatonic during the day and suffers memory loss. Also, his father was murdered by his aunts and grandfather.
  • Deadpan Snarker: At times, he can be snarky when dealing with Monkey's seriousness.
  • Divine Parentage: His mother is basically a moon goddess.
  • The Dutiful Son: Despite being a child, he takes diligent care of his ill mother.
  • Eyepatch of Power: To cover up the eye he lost as a child, and has the magical abilities to make up for it.
  • The Gadfly: At times, towards Monkey. While inside the whale, he loudly slurps his soup when she is about to drink hers. Later, during the encounter with Beetle and he asks Kubo's connection to his master Hanzo, Monkey quietly tells him that he shouldn't let Beetle know Hanzo is his father. Still looking directly at her, Kubo instantly says "Hanzo was my father" with the slyest smile on his face.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: A sketch of 19-year-old Kubo shows that his hair really didn't change from when he was 12.
  • Handicapped Badass: His left eye was removed as a baby, but he's learned to handle himself.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Kubo is a sweet and lovable person, whose mother is killed by the start and father who was already dead before then. Double subverted, in that both his parents are alive but as Monkey and Beetle, respectively. However, both are killed in the battle with the last Sister.
  • Kid Hero: Only 12 years old and the hero of the story.
  • Kid Hero All Grown-Up: Shannon Tindle posted a video of him sketching a grown-up Kubo, and told a commenter on an Instagram post of the same video that he would be 19.
  • Magic Music: He primarily channels his magic through his shamisen.
  • Meaningful Name: In Japanese, "kubo" can be written with the kanji "凹", which refers to a dent, hollow, or a similar kind of space that should be full, but is lacking. The fact that Kubo is missing both his eye and his father are central to his character.
  • Nice Guy: He's sweet, thoughtful, and kind.
  • Paper Master: Can create complex origami and constructs out of paper using his shamisen. This also extends to paper-like objects such as leaves and later on cloth, which Kubo uses to fly back to his village in the finale.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Covering up his missing eye.
  • Prepare to Die: In response to the Moon King's "And how does this story end?": "I kill you."
  • Protagonist Title: His name is a part of the movie's title.
  • Quirky Bard: His abilities involve performances and origami.
  • Red Is Heroic: Kubo wears his father's red robe and is the main protagonist.
  • Semi-Divine: Kubo is the demigod son of the human Hanzo and the celestial being Sariatu, as well as the grandson of the celestial lord of the heavens The Moon King.
  • The Storyteller: Kubo busks in the middle of the village, spinning a fantastical tale of Hanzo, the Moon Kingdom, and the three treasures. To assist him on this end, he employs his shamisen and his paper-folding abilities (a possible nod to the Bunraku tradition). Too bad he can't quite find a good ending.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The ending shows that Kubo looks a lot like his father. The only differences are Kubo's eyepatch and his father is older looking with a beard.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Kubo goes from running away in fear from the Sisters to taking on the Moon King with his father's armor and sword, and defeating him through weaponizing The Power of Love.
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • He wears his father's red robes. Double subverted, since he turns out to be alive, but cursed as Beetle... until he is killed by one of the Sisters.
    • After his mother's sacrifice, he keeps a bracelet made out of a strand of her hair around his wrist. Double subverted, since she is alive as Monkey, but is later killed in a battle against the last Sister.
    • After the battle with the last Sister, Kubo takes Beetle/Hanzo's bow string and makes another bracelet out of it.
  • Tranquil Fury: To the Moon King right before their fight. By the time he hits "I kill you" he can barely hold it in.
  • Weak, but Skilled: He doesn't have as much physical strength as Monkey or Beetle, but makes up for it by being a skilled shamisen player and continually growing in said skill.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Kubo killed the last Sister.
Advertisement:

    Monkey 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kubo1_kubo_4.jpg
Voiced by: Charlize Theron (English), Atsuko Tanaka (Japanese)

A monkey who was brought to life by Kubo's mother to protect him.


  • Action Girl: She has more than enough combat skill to take on The Sisters or any other monster.
  • The Comically Serious: During the more comedic parts of the movie. Beetle's jokes/puns usually result in a mental and/or verbal Face Palm from her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Every other line out of her mouth is some sort of snark. Especially the ones directed at Beetle.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Over time, she becomes less cold towards Beetle.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": A monkey called Monkey. Subverted as she's really Kubo's mother and her name is Sariatu.
  • Guardian Entity: She claims to be one, having been brought to life to protect Kubo. She's actually Kubo's mother having taken a different form after her human body died.
  • Inexplicably Tailless: She's a monkey, but lacks a tailnote .
  • Interspecies Romance: Gets a lot of Ship Tease with Beetle throughout the movie. It's later revealed Monkey is Kubo's mother and Beetle is her husband in a cursed form. So they fell in love and married when they were both still human.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Her cold and blunt attitude is necessary given the fact that Kubo is being hunted down by ruthless people.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She may be a serious, hardened warrior, but Monkey's gentle voice and motherly actions speak volumes of how caring she truly is towards Kubo.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Her and Beetle's relationship is equal parts bickering and displaying affection for one another. With the reveal that Monkey is really Kubo's mom, and Beetle is a memory-wiped Hanzo, they literally are an old, married couple.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Kubo finds out that Monkey is actually Sariatu inhabiting a different form.
  • Mama Bear: She takes her job to protect Kubo very seriously. Since Monkey is Kubo's mother in a different form, this makes a lot of sense.
  • Not So Above It All: When Paper Hanzo comes to life the morning after she talks to Kubo, she talks aside to him while noticeably freaked out:
    Monkey: (quietly) He's been standing there for hours, quietly judging us.
    • And while we're on that topic, she's not even sure Kubo's paper magic counts as origami; she swears scissors were involved. This is a little weird, considering Kubo got his magic powers from her as Sariatu, but perhaps she never knew its fullest extent.
  • Opposed Mentors: With Beetle in regards to on how to train Kubo — She wants to keep him out of battle, Beetle wants to do the opposite.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Kubo always called his charm Mr. Monkey. But when the charm comes to life, it reveals that it's actually a Miss. This is because Kubo's mother has moved what's left of her soul inside of it.
  • Secretly Dying: Above and beyond the duration of the spell animating her, the wounds suffered during the battle on the boat were far more serious than she let on to anyone.
  • Straight Man: She plays the straight woman to Beetle's wise guy.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: She's sarcastic, blunt, and cold at times. But, a decent person at the end. Implied to be how Kubo's mom was prior to her head injury.
  • Take Care of the Kids: Sadly subverted. In her final moments, Monkey/Sariatu asks Beetle/Hanzo to take care of their son. Tragically, he's killed by her sister too and Kubo loses both his parents again.
  • Talking Animal: She's a monkey (specifically a Japanese macaque) who's capable of speech.
  • Team Mom: Since Beetle acts rather headless due to his amnesia, Monkey takes on the role of a mother to both him and Kubo.
  • Tough Love: She's strict and cold to Kubo because she wants him to stay strong now that they are in mortal danger. She also wants to prepare him to handle himself on his own because she knows that he will be left all alone once she disappears.
  • Tsundere: She has little patience to Beetle and argues a lot with him, but it's clear she quickly becomes fond of him.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: The reason she didn't tell Kubo that she was his mother was because the magic keeping her alive is fading, and she didn't want him to have to deal with the knowledge of losing his mother twice.
  • Reincarnation-Identifying Trait: The scar on the right side of her face, the fact that she and Sariatu have the same voice, and how much she cares for Kubo.

    Beetle 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kubo1_kubo_2.jpg
Voiced by: Matthew McConaughey (English), Pierre Taki (Japanese - Cinematic dub), Junpei Morita (Japanese - In-flight dub)

A cursed samurai beetle who joins Kubo and Monkey on their journey.


  • Amnesiac Lover: He's Hanzo who had his memory wiped by the Moon King. He and Monkey/Sariatu don't discover the truth until the end, but they still had a lingering attraction to each other.
  • Bad Liar: When he and Kubo touch the rock formation that looks like a skull (despite Monkey's warning), a piece breaks off in Beetle's hand. He blames Kubo for it, even though he still has said-piece in his hand!
  • Baleful Polymorph: He was a member of Hanzo's Beetle Clan that the Moon King turned into a beetle man. Specifically, he's Hanzo himself.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Despite being a Cloud Cuckoolander and a bit of a ditz, he's a magnificent archer and swordsman.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: A rare benevolent example.
  • The Big Guy: Of the trio, he offers the greatest strength.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Modeled after Toshiro Mifune.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Ignoring the memory-wiping part of his curse, becoming a beetle man a tough armored shell, is Multi-Armed and Dangerous whether wielding four swords at once or using his extra arms to rapid-fire arrows and can both hold his breath for huge lengths of time and fly.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: He's big, black, spiny, and has horns. But deep in his heart, he's every bit as human as he was before his curse. He's friendly, kind, good-humored, and helpful. He cares very much for Kubo and Monkey.
    Kubo: A samurai, even a cursed one that looks like a bug, could be helpful.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": He's a beetle man named Beetle, which he lampshades at one point. His real name is Hanzo, but he can't remember it because of his curse.
  • Flight: Thanks to being a beetle, he can fly. He didn't even know he had wings initially.
  • Forgetful Jones: Part of his curse is his inability to remember anything.
  • Genius Ditz: He can come off as an idiot because of the amnesia curse, which makes it easy for him to forget things and hard to remember. But he is an incredible warrior with both his bow and, the few times it comes up, with swords, and he's not actually unintelligent per-se.
  • Gentle Giant: Beetle is huge, but is quite docile.
  • Identity Amnesia: When it comes to his life before being transformed, the most Beetle can say is that he's mostly sure he was a samurai in Hanzo's army. It turns out Beetle is Hanzo himself, and the Moon King took away his memories as payback. Since Hanzo took his daughter and grandson away from him, he took their memories away from Hanzo.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Beetle is absurdly skilled with his bow and arrow. In the first demonstration of his skill he fires an arrow at the wall, splits it in half with another arrow, then splits those other arrows in half repeatedly!
  • Interspecies Romance: He and Monkey get a lot of Ship Tease as the movie goes on and Beetle sure likes to flirt with her. Then it turns out they fell in love and married when they were both still human.
  • In the Back: Near the end of the film, he's stabbed in the back by one of the Sisters and dies instantly.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: His interactions with Monkey come off as this, the two of them alternating between bickering on how to treat Kubo and displaying affection for one another. Since it's revealed that Beetle is a mind-wiped Hanzo and Monkey is Kubo's mom in a different form, they literally are an old, married couple.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: As befitting a beetle-man, he has an extra pair of arms and can put them to good use quickly firing multiple arrows from his bow. Later, he wields four swords at once during a battle with one of the sisters.
  • Nice Guy: He's a pretty decent guy, even if he is a bit of a ditz.
  • Opposed Mentors: With Monkey in regards to on how to train Kubo — He wants to have him in battle, Monkey wants to do the opposite.
  • Papa Wolf: He kills an eye monster to protect Kubo, and later promises Monkey to keep him safe when the magic keeping her in the world runs out.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Due to his quirky and eccentric personality, like a mix of Pixar's Dory and Mater, plus the fact that irritates Monkey, he provides the funniest scenes in this quite tragic and dark story.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Not long after saving Kubo's and Monkey's bacon during the fight in his ruined castle, Hanzo is stabbed to death by the second Sister. The fact that Kubo only just found out who Beetle really was makes the shock and pain of the moment even worse.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Beetles can hold their breath for extremely long periods of time.
  • Undying Loyalty: Even when all else had faded due to the memory-curse, Beetle remembers who Hanzo was and that he was eternally loyal to him. Of course, it turns out he is Hanzo.
  • Walking Spoiler: Beetle's true identity is Kubo's father, Hanzo.

    Paper Hanzo 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/11544645_kubo_and_the_two_strings_why_this_exquisite_tdff84e1e.jpg

A Paper Samurai that Kubo uses to entertain the people at his village. He subconsciously brings it to life later on and it serves to guide Kubo to the pieces of armor.


  • Baleful Polymorph: A variation. Washi demonstrates the spell that they performed on the real Hanzo by forcibly unfolding and refolding him into a beetle. Unlike the real Hanzo though, this proves fatal.
  • Dying Clue: Before he expires he manages to point Kubo in the direction of the helmet.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Paper Hanzo's size and silent serious mannerisms peg him as the comedy relief character alongside Beetle whom he was coincidentally made in the image of.
  • Red Is Heroic: He is made out of red paper and helps Kubo on his journey.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: His role is the most comedy orientated of the four and he's ultimately killed in the climax.
  • Silent Snarker: The comedy is mostly at his expense, but there are a few times where he quietly gets some jabs in.

Advertisement:

Kubo's Parents

    Sariatu 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/maxresdefault_98.jpg
Voiced by: Charlize Theron

Kubo's ill mother.


  • Action Mom: If Kubo is in danger, she will not hold back. She gets to put this trope into play a lot more as Monkey.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Her backstory reveals she used to be the Moon King's finest warrior, sent to kill Hanzo when he challenged his power. However, amazed by both his strength and humanity, Sariatu fell in love with Hanzo.
  • All There in the Script: Her name is revealed in the script.
  • Battle Couple: With Hanzo when they were together.
  • Broken Pedestal: Her sisters greatly admired her once. They became highly disappointed when she betrayed the heavens to marry Hanzo, seeing this as a sign of her becoming weak.
  • Defecting for Love: She abandoned her family and her cold world of the heavens in order to live as Hanzo's wife and Kubo's mother.
  • Divine Date: She's a moon deity who fell in love with a human man and ended up having a son with him.
  • Empty Shell: During the day, when she barely reacts to outside stimuli and needs Kubo to care for even the most basic of her needs. She comes a little more alive at night.
  • Fallen Angel: She fled the heavens after hooking up with Hanzo.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: She wears a beautiful junihitoe.
  • Handicapped Badass: Despite having memory problems due to head trauma, she proves to be a very skilled and magical warrior.
  • In Love with the Mark: She and Hanzo first met as enemies, her being sent by her father, the Moon King, to kill him. Instead, they ended up falling in love and producing a son.
  • Love Redeems: She wasn't exactly wicked, but she had an inhuman value system that she abandoned when she fell for Hanzo.
  • Magic Knight: She was once a very skilled warrior, and she had supernatural powers.
  • Magic Music: She can work wonders with a shamisen, like splitting a tidal wave.
  • Mama Bear: She would die for Kubo. In fact, she does so. Twice.
  • Mortality Ensues: She still has reserves of magical power, but when she married Hanzo she became mortal (and therefore subject to things like concussions).
  • Our Gods Are Different: She's essentially a moon goddess.
  • Paper Master: It's implied that the mother was also this, given that she made sheets of paper move in her sleep.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: After falling in love with Hanzo, she decided to do this to live with him as a mortal.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Her hair reaches past her waist.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: She's the daughter of the Moon King and his best warrior, even willing to descend from the constant heavens to scour the ever-changing world of the mortals.
  • Scars Are Forever: The scar on her face hasn't faded in eleven years.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She fell in love with Hanzo because he showed her something she never knew in the world of the heavens: love and humanity.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: She betrayed the realm of the heavens to marry Hanzo. Their love was doomed by her father and Hanzo was killed shortly after the birth of their son. When they are briefly reunited as Monkey and Beetle, they don't realize the truth until it's too late and both die again.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Seemingly sacrifices herself to let Kubo escape from the Sisters, though in actuality she transferred her spirit into a charm that Kubo had.

    Hanzo 
Click here to see Hanzo's face. 

Kubo's deceased father.


  • Amazon Chaser: He fell in love with Sariatu after being impressed by her fighting skills, in the middle of a duel to the death with her, no less.
  • Badass Normal: Hanzo was able to fight Kubo's mother to a standstill and she was the most powerful of her sisters.
  • Battle Couple: With Sariatu when they were together.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Also modeled off of Toshiro Mifune, though it's more apparent when you realize that he and Beetle are the same person.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: According to his wife, he was a master swordsman and archer.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Sariatu has nothing but good things to say about her late husband, mostly that he loved their son very much.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kubo never knew his father, as he died when he was a baby. His mother tells stories about him from time to time about his exploits against the Moon King. Kubo does get to know his father a bit better as Beetle, though it's not very clear how strongly Beetle exemplifies the qualities of Hanzo.
  • Divine Date: A human man who married a moon deity.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He sacrificed his life to protect his wife and son.
  • Love at First Punch: He met and fell in love with Sariatu during a battle with her.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Named after the sixteenth-century ninja Hattori Hanzō. This also overlaps with Names to Run Away from Really Fast.
  • Nice Guy: Sariatu describes him as a decent man like his son under all the warrior bravado.
  • Papa Wolf: As stated under Heroic Sacrifice, Hanzo protected his family at the cost of his own life.
  • Posthumous Character: Hanzo is already dead by the movie's start. Subverted in that he was cursed to become Beetle and lost his memories.
  • Samurai: He was the head of a whole samurai clan.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: He was killed because his marriage to Sariatu was seen as the ultimate betrayal to her realm in the heavens. They meet again, but fail to recognize each other until it's too late.

Advertisement:

Antagonists

    The Sisters 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/8375187_the_kubo_and_the_two_strings_trailer_is_a79fa031_m.png
Voiced by: Rooney Mara (English), Rina Kawaei (Japanese - Cinematic dub), Sayaka Ohara (Japanese - In-flight dub)

Kubo's aunts, Washi and Karasu, who work for his grandfather. They will kidnap him and cut out his eye at any cost.


  • All There in the Manual: Their names are given in the artbook.
  • Animal Motifs: Crows. They're clothed in black, their capes greatly resemble bird wings, and their names can translate to eagle and crow.
  • Big Sister Worship: Both of them once loved and respected Sariatu, regarding her as the best of them. Once Sariatu betrayed her family to live amongst mortals, that admiration quickly soured.
  • Broken Faceplate: Both of them, when killed.
  • Cain and Abel: They're both the Cains to Sariatu's Abel.
  • Chain Pain: Karasu wields a kusarigama.
  • Co-Dragons: Both of them are equal in enforcing the will of their father, the Moon King. Formerly including Kubo's mother until she fell in love with Hanzo.
  • Creepy Monotone: Initially, but dropped once they get angry.
  • Creepy Twins: They wear all black, conceal their faces with black-eyes masks, usually speak in synchronized voices, float instead of walk, and can attack with shadowy smoke powers. Everything about them seems to have been designed to be unsettling.
  • Dark Action Girl: They're deadly assassins of their father, the Moon King.
  • Dark Is Evil: Vicious pursuers who wear black, have black hair, only attack at night, and attack with a cloud of black smoke.
  • Dual Wielding: One of the sisters wields a pair of swords.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Washi has the bottom half of her mask broken off during a fight, revealing that her skin is as pale as a corpse's.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: They're both really hurt by Sariatu's turn to live with the humans and raise Kubo as a mortal instead of living in the Heavens. Washi even states at one point all they wanted was all of them to live among the stars as a family, though Monkey certainly disagrees with their warped notions of what family is.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: According to Monkey, they're not hunting down Kubo because they hate him, but because they love him. They just have a twisted way of showing it because they can only take him to live with his family in the heavens if he's rendered blind to the mortal world.
  • Evil Aunt: They're hunting down their nephew on their father's behalf so they can steal his eye.
  • The Evil Princess: They're the wicked daughters of the Moon King out to steal Kubo's other eye.
  • The Faceless: We never see what they look like fully unmasked, only the lower half of one of them after Kubo shatters it. Given their appearances with the masks on, we probably don't want to.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: All we see is her mask sinking into the ocean, but the cleanly divided halves of her mask implies that Monkey sliced Karasu in half. Vertically.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Very evil. Washi smokes on a magic pipe containing a fire demon that creates a moving miasma which obeys her will as long as the pipe is intact.
  • The Heavy: While the Moon King is the Big Bad, the Sisters are the ones actively doing the legwork of hunting down the heroes on his behalf. He doesn't confront Kubo himself until both of them are dead.
  • Hero Killer: They're both incredibly powerful and more than a match of Kubo, Monkey and Beetle. Together they can effortlessly fight Kubo's mom and destroy an entire village, but even separately they can pose a challenge. Monkey barely succeeds in killing Karasu and ends up gravely wounded in the process. Later, Washi succeeds in killing both Beetle and Monkey on her own.
  • Knight of Cerebus: When they show up, any humor in the scene immediately goes out the window. Washi gets huge bonus points for shooing out all three clowns at once.
  • Malevolent Masked Women: They're never seen without their sinister masks. It's just one of their many disturbing features. One does have the lower segment broken off, exposing her mouth and chin. The corpse-pale skin and deranged scowl makes it no less scary.
  • Nice Hat: Both Sisters wear classic witch hats.
  • Our Gods Are Different: They're immortal but they can still be killed off.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Both of them have masks with a smile on it.
  • Power Floats: Almost never walk.
  • Shinigami: The Sisters have the look with their masks and hats, and both are extremely scary.
  • Siblings in Crime: They're deadly assassins of their father, the Moon King.
  • Sibling Team: The Sisters are a pair of highly competent antagonists. They do bear a resentment that they're a duo and no longer a trio as Kubo's mother has left them.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Technically not specified as twins, but they are outwardly identical and usually act in unison.
  • Slasher Smile: Their masks have a perpetual smile that gives shivers and an unpleasant presence. Also, they are quite good at slashing with blades.
  • Speak in Unison: They speak and act in unison when together.
  • The Un-Reveal: Their faces are never revealed. When Kubo battles at Hanzo's home with one of the sisters, her mask is partially broken revealing only her mouth.
  • White Mask of Doom: The evil aunts wear Noh masks.
  • Wicked Witch: They have familiar black hats and fly around at night.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Neither one has a problem with attacking their young nephew.

    The Moon King 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_moon_king_kubo_and_the_two_strings.jpg
Voiced by: Ralph Fiennes (English), Michio Hazama (Japanese)

Kubo's grandfather, who wishes to cut out his remaining eye to destroy his humanity.


  • Abusive Parents: He has no problem asking the Sisters to kill his oldest daughter (Kubo's mother).
  • All There in the Script: Named as "Raiden" in the cast.
  • Amnesiacs Are Innocent: In the end, when he becomes human and gains Kubo's long-lost eye, and with it, mortal perspective, he is convinced he is a generous and admirable person by the townspeople, and so becomes one for real.
  • Amnesiac God: After he's defeated by Kubo, he loses his memories, starting to live as a normal human.
  • Big Bad: The Moon King's desire to cut out Kubo's remaining eye is the driver for the movie's conflict. He is also responsible for defeating Kubo's father Hanzo and orders The Sisters to kill Kubo's mother.
  • Cool Old Guy: His first appearance is that of a mysterious spiritual advisor that tells Kubo where the helmet is. It is a lie. After he is defeated, he forgets who he is and the villagers tell him that he was a kind elderly man that helps everyone.
  • Cold Ham: Just listen to him speak to Kubo once the act begins slipping/is dropped.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Quite literally. His death at the hands of Kubo reforms him into an old man who loses all his memories, allowing him to live the rest of his days with a clean mind.
  • Dream Walker: He appears in Kubo's dream to tell him about the location of the Helmet Invulnerable. Of course, it's a setup.
  • Elderly Immortal: He may be immortal, but he sure looks the part of Kubo's grandpa. That is until Kubo defeats him and becomes human, presumably becoming a mortal too.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He simply can't comprehend why anyone in his family would prefer living in the 'Hell' that is the mortal world instead of his 'perfect' kingdom. This is symbolized by the fact that he's literally blind to the good of the world. Ultimately, it takes being turned into a human and losing his memories for him to be able to see it.
  • Evil Cripple: His blindness symbolizes his Lack of Empathy, which he wishes to bestow upon Kubo by taking both of his eyes. His Heel–Face Turn was partially based on gaining use of Kubo's stolen eye to finally see others as people. It does not, however, affect his actual ability to fight in the slightest.
  • Evil Old Folks: The Moon King has no qualms in doing anything to make Kubo forfeit his humanity, to the point of torturing his own grandson during the final battle.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The first two times he speaks with Kubo, he tries to act as a loving, affectionate grandfather. During their second conversation though, the veneer keeps slipping, showing his inner selfishness and cruelty. Eventually he drops all pretense and starts torturing his grandson in their fight.
  • Grandpa God: As if being an Omniscient immortal wasn't enough, this ancient, wrinkled grandfather can transform into a dragon-like demon.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Thanks to Kubo transforming him into a human and wiping away all of his memories, the Moon King ends the movie as a far kinder person than he ever was before.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Moon King and his daughters. They look human, but their powers and alien manner of thinking make it clear they're not. More pronounced with the ones other than Kubo's mother, who have strange skin tones, with the Moon King having a constant blue glow surrounding him.
  • I Will Show You X: When he realized Kubo will not stop fighting him, he turns himself into the monster he thinks Kubo sees him as.
  • It's All About Me: He claims to want to give his grandson a glorious life in the heavens, but his actions, and lack of grief over the deaths of his two loyal daughters, makes it appear that he regards family as more like possessions than actual people. He had Sariatu killed specifically because she disrespected him, and when Kubo rejects all of his offers, he just opts to flat-out torment his grandson until he gives in, taking obscene joy in the task.
  • Jerkass Gods: He acts as a tyrant to the mortal realm, sending his equal jerkass daughters to kill anyone he sees as a threat to his rule like Hanzo. He shows no mourning or regrets after all three of his daughters die, gouges Kubo's left eye when he was a baby with the intent on taking the other so that he can blind him to mankind's goodness. Yet he has the gall to call humans and the world they live in petty and cruel and below them.
  • Karmic Transformation: He wanted to turn his grandson from a one-eyed mortal to a blind immortal. Instead, the exact opposite happened to him.
  • Kick the Dog: During the final battle, he taunts Kubo for wanting to keep his humanity and how pathetic it is.
    The Moon King: You want to be human?! Then share their weakness! Suffer their humiliation! FEEL THEIR PAIN!
  • Lack of Empathy: He is literally blind to the feelings of others, and even his concern for his family seems limited to how they can glorify his name.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Loses his memories after being defeated by Kubo. The townspeople convince him he's a good person.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Not only does Kubo end up repaying the favor for taking one of his eyes, he also wipes away all of his grandfather's memories and transforms him into a human, a similar fate to the one the Moon King bestowed on Hanzo.
  • Light Is Not Good: Apart from being a literal Physical God, he dresses all in white. This does not make him saintly.
  • Motive Rant: The more intense his conversation with Kubo gets, the more unhinged he sounds while trying to paint himself in a positive light. The fact he has one of his grandson's eyes hidden away shows him to be more envious of humans than he says.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: His monster form to battle Kubo is like a mix of an Eastern dragon, a koi carp fish and has arthropod-like legs.
  • No-Sell: When Kubo holds the Sword Unbreakable out, the Moon King walks right into without being cut or slowed down, pushing back the sword and Kubo's entire body. It takes Kubo's shamisen to bring him down.
  • The Omniscient: He can see anything under the moon, which is why Kubo must never stay outside at night. The first time he does, the Sisters are sent to his location in seconds.
  • One-Winged Angel: Since Kubo views him as a monster to be vanquished, he gives him his wish and transforms into a giant serpentine/centipede being for their battle.
  • Our Gods Are Different: Obviously.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: All three of his daughters are dead by the end of the movie.
  • Precision F-Strike: While trying to convince Kubo to give up and join him, he calls mortality hell.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: He's named "Raiden" in the script. In Japanese Mythology, Raiden is the god of lightning and storms. Functionally he appears to be closer to Tsukuyomi, the Japanese god of the Moon; even his characterisation in mythology is closer to the Moon King's, as a haughty douchebag, rather than as a carefree drummer as Raiden usually is.
  • Scaled Up: The form he does battle in is a cross between a dragon, a Koinobori, and head and teeth similar to the prehistoric fish Dunkleosteus.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Despite Ralph Fiennes getting top billing and being the Big Bad, his character does not get as much publicity as say the Sisters or the Gashadokuro did. In fact, he actually does show up in one of the trailers but it's so brief that it's easy to miss.
  • Spirit Advisor: Subverted. The Moon King first appears onscreen as a ghost in Kubo's dream in order to trick him into a trap set by the remaining Sister, claiming that the helmet was in his father's fortress.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: He is first seen in Kubo's dream, telling him that the helmet is in his father's old fortress, where the remaining Sister is waiting for them.
  • Tautological Templar: The Moon King claims that the horror and pain of the mortal world justifies his attempts to convince Kubo to leave it behind, while ignoring that the reason it's a place of horror and pain for him is the Moon King's own actions.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He ripped out Kubo's eye when his grandson was a baby and wants to take the other so Kubo can rule with him in his realm as an immortal.

    Gashadokuro 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gashadokuro_kubo.jpg

Guardian of the Sword Unbreakable and first obstacle on Kubo's journey.


    Garden of Eyes 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/garden_of_eyes_kubo.jpg

Guardian of the Breastplate Impenetrable and the monster of Long Lake.


Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback