Known for projects like Coraline, Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings, LAIKA is one of the most groundbreaking animation studios today. Characters in LAIKA feature films are complex and far from perfect, and the struggles they face often end in unexpected twists. Villains are almost never what the seem in LAIKA films and neither are heroes.
Like any good story, the character is the heart of a LAIKA movie, and the company has given fans some of the most interesting, relatable characters over the years. While many animated films portray the hero in a purely positive light, LAIKA isn't afraid to embrace a little bit of darkness, which is why their features are so much fun to watch.
10 Mr. Link, Missing Link
Many of LAIKA's best characters are also brought to life by strong voice actors, and Zach Galifianakis does not disappoint in this role. He fully commands the audience's attention as the refined Sasquatch of the movie.
9 Fish, Boxtrolls
Fish is even captured himself, so his son has to save him. The curious inventor, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, isn't a typical leader, but he's kindly and caring, qualities we often see in LAIKA heroes.
8 Courtney, Paranorman
But it's cheerleader Courtney, who is annoyed by her little ghost-seeing brother, who turns out to be his most fierce supporter. She pep talks him, holds his hand and scolds the entire town when her own parents can't protect Norman and helps save the day. The characters' bodies in the film are also fantastically different, destroying the perfect shapes and sizes cartoon characters often have.
7 Beetle, Kubo And The Two Strings
Cursed to take the form of a beetle and lose his own memory, Beetle is heroic and loving, and when his true identity becomes clear, it is nothing short of goosebump-inducing. It's one of the best love stories in animation, even if the film isn't a love story itself.
6 The Other Mother, Coraline
The Other Mother takes our deepest desires and turns them into a horrible reality, which kind of ruins the entire world. That's the whole theme of Coraline as her fake world crumbles around the heroine, demonstrating that real life can never be perfect and the stuff of our dreams may not be what we really want in the end.
5 Neil, Paranorman
Neil is representative of every kid. He deserves friendship and fun no matter his eccentricities, as do all children, and he's portrayed in such a sweet way that he reminds us that everyone is worthy of love.
4 Winnie Portley-Rind, The Boxtrolls
Winnie Portley-Rind is not all that likable as a character, which is why she's fantastic. She's everything moviegoers see in a standard boy child, from her assertiveness to her rebelliousness. She's not the "feisty girl," but almost abrasive, even aggressive, demonstrating that these qualities aren't only for male heroes.
LAIKA doesn't make the same trite characters, but they go beyond that, creating highly imperfect people with whom audiences can relate. They don't need saccharine-sweet girls who make an inspiring remark here or there when they're happy to portray the humanness of each character with a multi-faceted approach.
3 Sariatu, Kubo And The Two Strings
As more of Sariatu's story is revealed, particularly through her alter ego, and the audience realizes what sacrifices she has made, a seemingly simple animated feature becomes an incredible epic journey worthy of its 97% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It's good storytelling with amazing characters, with Sariatu at the top of the list.
2 Coraline, Coraline
Coraline knows she has to rescue her real mom and dad even when the Other world seems too good to be true, as she soon discovers. She has to be brave, tricky and wise in order to solve the puzzle and stay alive, and it's more refreshing than most animated features about girls.
1 Norman, Paranorman
Norman's sense of responsibility, ability to live with how poorly his own family misunderstands him and positive attitude toward the ghosts he encounters every day make him a wonderfully complex character. Even though he's scared, and he owes the town who has judged him nothing, he sets things right with compassion in a way none of them could have done. He's also BFFs with his dead grandma, which is heartwarming.