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Sophie is another wonderful Miyazaki female protagonist. Like the others, she has agency, and drives forward her own story. Howl’s name may be in the title, but he’s a secondary protagonist to her. Her character arc is centred around her low self-esteem, and is a commentary on how women are pitted against each other in the interest of attracting men. She’s shy and relatively plain compared to her glamorous mother and sister, so she dresses dowdy and keeps telling herself that she’s not beautiful (even though anyone who sees her would disagree).
But it’s not easy..