Thursday, December 1, 2011

Aurora's Awesome Anime List! Episode 1 - Howl's Moving Castle

Yesterday started the Manga recommendations, so today must be anime! Again, the selections are presented in a completely random order. We're starting off with Japan's answer to (and in my opinion, better version of) Walt Disney - Hayao Miyazaki, and his work Howl's Moving Castle.

Anime #1 - Howl’s Moving Castle

Oddly enough, this is the only work on my list by the famous and prolific Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. I love his other works, like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, but the list can only be so long. I selected this one because it really is my favourite of all his works. While Spirited Away is like the epitome of the Japanese fairy tale, Howl’s Moving Castle is like Miyazakai’s interpretation of the Western fairy tale. Witches, curses, mysterious heroes, wizards, and princes all populate a village that has a very industrial European feel.

It goes without saying that it is a good movie, since it is by Hayao Miyazaki, and contains many of his usual messages surrounding environment, war, and repentance. We follow Sophie, a young lady who is leading a simple life, until one day when she overhears the Wicked Witch of the Waste talk about something she wasn’t supposed to hear. The Witch curses Sophie, aging her 60 years and rendering her physically unable to speak about how it happened. She ends up eventually in the magical home of Howl, the wizard. In Howl’s home she meets magical characters like Calcifer, the spirit in the fire. It has everything a fairy tale needs!

This film also happens to be one of the only titles I will also recommend with the English dub! Really! Once Disney stepped in to license the Miyazaki films they were able to get big names to do the dubbing. In the case of Howl’s Moving Castle we have the likes of Christian Bale as Howl, Billy Crystal as the fiery Calcifer, Jean Simmons as the cursed “Grandma” Sophie, and Lauren Bacall as the wonderfully wretched Wicked Witch of the Waste.

And so, one evening, sit down with the kids, or nieces and nephews, or friends’ kids, or just your adult friends, and put on this incredibly moving piece. If you’ve never discovered the world of Miyazaki, let this one start you on your journey.

What’s your favourite Miyazaki film? Often a good debate, so I’d love to hear your votes!

Matta ashita!


  1. Wow, that's some star studded cast! Never watched it in English but Bale and Crystal? I wouldn't mind, it is a good movie after all.

  2. _Howl's Moving Castle_ is my absolute favourite Miyazaki film. So glad it made your list! I agree that everyone should sit down to watch this incredible work of art.