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Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Month of Studio Ghibli Blog # 3: Howl's Moving Castle

 
By Counter Monkey Steve the Animeniac
 

After having captivated audiences around the world with their work for nearly 20 years and receiving an Academy Award for Spirited Away, Studio Ghibli released Howl's Moving Castle in 2004. This particular film, like many other Ghibli works, was an adaptation of an already existing piece, in this case of Diana Wynne Jones' novel. Hayao Miyazaki once again stepped in to direct, and Toshio Suzuki accepted the role of producer. Ghibli found itself with another instant classic.


The film focuses on a young woman named Sophie and her quest to restore herself to her proper age after having been cursed by the Witch of the Waste and transformed into an old woman. To do so, she takes a journey into the unknown. She makes her way through the Wastes and meets a living scarecrow. There appears to be more to this scarecrow than is known at the beginning of this tale, and he takes Sophie to a moving castle belonging to a man named Howl. Inside, Sophie introduces herself to a living flame named Calcifer. Calcifer agrees to assist Sophie in breaking the curse in exchange for his freedom, as he is unable to leave the castle. Howl returns home, and after some quick thinking, Calcifer is able to convince him that Sophie is his new cleaning lady.


As the story progresses, viewers are introduced to the king of the realm, Suliman, who uses Howl to assist in the war that is currently plaguing his country. Like in other Ghibli films, a romance enters into the picture, and this romance becomes the key to finding a way to resolve all of the conflict our characters are dealing with. I'll say no more. This film is yet another Ghibli masterpiece and must be seen for yourself.


Howl's Moving Castle is my third favorite Studio Ghibli film, behind Princess Mononoke and  Spirited Away. It's something I can view multiple times without ever losing interest. The story is very entrancing, and both the animation and score suck you in. Ghibli excels at making features that anyone can enjoy, and Howl's Moving Castle is not exception. If you have yet to experience it, it comes highly recommended. See you next time!

Howl's Moving Castle is currently available on DVD, but in May, it will receive a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo release, so be sure to support the studio by making a purchase!



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2 Comments:

At 3/05/2013 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And where else can one hear "Batman" lament: "I see no point in living if I can't be beautiful"?

 
At 3/31/2013 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a fan of Howl's Moving Castle, I think you'd like Oblivion Island!

http://www.shopmanga.co.uk/title.php?Ref=10467skus

"An animated romp for the young and the young at heart! This internationally acclaimed feature film blends Japanese folklore and storybook charm reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland into an exhilarating tale sure to amaze animation fans of all ages. Sixteen-year-old Haruka is on a mission to find her mirror—a precious childhood gift from her late mother that has disappeared. On her search, she follows a strange fox-like creature to Oblivion Island, a mystical world overflowing with once-cherished items taken from their neglectful owners. Trouble follows Haruka and her new friend Teo at every turn as they contend with the island’s overbearing ruler, who will stop at nothing to use the mirror for his own sinister plan!"

 

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