Things I like about Howl's Moving Castle

1. It's an animated film for children/young adults that wasn't boring or obvious. In some ways, the plot is just ridiculous*, but it's fun and exciting to see where things are going next. I'm not familiar with the source material, but Miyazaki delightfully animates a fun and interesting fantasy world.

2. The anime style brought me back to my Sailor Moon obsession days. Dubbed over cartoons are the best since the lips never exactly match up anyway. I saw Howl's Moving Castle in its original Japanese with subtitles, but I've heard the English dubbing is fantastic**.

3. A gorgeous and romantic film score written by Joe Hisaishi. The 3/4 time signature gives it levity and the feeling of an ever-turning Viennese waltz. A good soundtrack can get me through any film, but in this case the score made the film even more magical.

3. The side characters/animals are neither obnoxious or overwhelming. I appreciate that. They also fit into the group regardless of what form they are in (most are bound by a spell in some form) which I think is a fantastic message.

4. The main character is a young woman who looks old for most of the film because of a curse. The animated films I grew up with (Disney) glorified in making the princesses as pretty as possible, but Howl's Moving Castle is more interested in how Sophie gains confidence in herself and makes do with what she has (even if that's a decrepit old body).

5. The love interest, Howl, also has a character arc and has to grow up and be responsible in the course of the film. And even when he does step up to protect Sophie, Sophie's the one that solves everyone's problems in the end. I love movies that loves spunky women. And I love it when the male lead has a personality and grows as a character***.

6. Anyway, this is my first Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki film, and I enjoyed it immensely. I don't usually seek out animated movies, but I'll have to check out more if they're all this fun, lovely, and magical.

*I'm still not sure if everything even makes sense, but I'll go with it.
**And has Christian Bale voicing the role of Howl. Yum.
***Edward Cullen is not an interesting or appealing character since nothing ever changes. Yeah, I just went there again.


  1. I loved this movie too and have seen it a few times - but at the end of every time I'm still not quite sure I understood everything. Its a bit confusing,no?
    Have you seen many of his other movies? I think Miyazaki can *almost* do no wrong. I think the best are Spirited Away, Totoro, and Nausica (or Castle in the Sky or something like that), Kiki's Delivery Service is also really good.

    These are the only anime I watch. Generally I can't get into cartoon characters. Buy Miyazaki's are so beautiful and dreamlike and have such gorgeous music accompaniment. I guess another one came out this year but I haven't seen it yet - should get on that!

  2. Oh, I love Miyazaki. If you ever want to watch another one, my roomate has them all. I'm always game for Prince Mononoke, Nausica of the Valley of the Wind or Castle in the Sky. All a great time, and just as gorgeous (for when they were made) as Howl's.

  3. I saw this last summer! I, too, quite enjoyed it. I was always hesitant about this type of animation but it's such a cute movie. And I agree with you on the nice way the heroine is represented, etc. Refreshing change. I love Disney, but as I've gotten older I like the more recent movies less due to the female characters (I stand by my opinion that Ariel is emaciated, aside from her chest region...swimmers don't look like that).