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Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) September 3, 2005

Posted by ayasawada in Anime.

Miyazaki’s latest is a typical Miyazaki film i.e. an incredible adventure with a story you cannot predict (unless maybe you’ve read the original book), a magical score, loveable characters, breathtaking animation and all the loose-ends of the plot annoyingly resolved in the last two minutes. For the first time based on a story that is not Miyazaki’s own (but that of the English author, Diana Wynn-Jones) Howl’s Moving Castle is the story of Sophie, a reserved hat-shop girl who is aged to 90 years by the (wicked) Witch of the Waste. She finds her way to the wizard Howl’s castle and begins work, hoping to break the spell but instead finding her true place in life. In true Miyazaki fashion it’s a love story with an an anti-war message attached (though no less environmental campaigning). There isn’t really any other word to describe any Miyazaki film except “magic”. The whole package just draws you in in the way fairy tales used to as a child. Everything is luscious, everything is interesting, the characters are like nothing you’ve ever imagined (and somehow not like that of any other Miyazaki film either) with a Joe Hisaishi score to dream to. It loses it’s way somewhat towards the end and there are a few things that neither make sense nor are fully explained. Not his best work, but in my opinion even Spirited Away doesn’t compare to his more rounded early work on Nausicaa or Laputa. Still, the work of a master it clearly is and even moderate Miyazaki is a gateway to a world you long left in your childhood.


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