Animation International: Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)


Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Released: June 17th, 2005

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family

Director/Writer: Hayao Miyazaki

Spoiler Warnings Below

Opening Thoughts:

Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli produce beautiful films and Howl’s Moving Castle is no exception. Still, it is often one I forget about when discussing Miyazaki’s films. While there is no shortage of quality about the film, I can see why I can overlook it so easily.


When a young woman named Sofi is cursed by a witch, her only chance of breaking the spell comes in the form of a self-indulgent and insecure wizard upon a multi-legged walking castle.


I don’t love the humor in this film. It is very simple and definitely directed for a younger audience. There also may be cultural aspects I’m overlooking.

Beautiful as it may be, I feel like I’ve seen something like it before. It is a very Ghibli film. It kind of reminds me of Kiki’s Delivery service meets Castle in the Sky.

I find the characters bland. They are pleasant, and some even eccentric enough, but I didn’t care to see more about them. Nobody drew into the story. Where are the compelling elements?

Nothing wrong with a happy ending, but sometimes when they are too happy, they oversaturate the moment. (Too much glee can be a bad thing.) Everything is beautiful and perfect. Wars are over and everyone is in love. Everyone comes back together.  It’s too much happiness. Yes, it’s not perfect, but so close it loses some of its power with me.


Much like any Miyazaki film, there is a lot of great things to say. However, you’ve heard them before, so let me just list them this time.

The animation is spectacular. (Some of the best you will find anywhere.) The detail to the animation and character design is unmatched.

the musical score is outstanding. It fits so well into the film and never misses a beat.

It is a film filled with whimsy and such vivid fantasy. There is few who can even compare to Studio Ghibli works.


I find that Howl’s Moving Castle is beautiful in almost every way. I do see a lot of relation to previous Miyazaki films.  I don’t find the characters as interesting or relatable as the others.  Still, a magical film.



The Animated Ladder-

Princess Mononoke (1997)

The Lion King (1994)-

Toy Story (1995)-

The Iron Giant (1999)

Spirited Away (2001)

Finding Nemo (2003)

Mulan (1998)

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

Akira (1988)

Monsters Inc. (2001)

Aladdin (1992)

Toy Story 2 (1999)

The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

Shrek (2001)

The Jungle Book (1967)

The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Prince of Egypt (1998)

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Ice Age (2002)

South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut (1999)

Castle in the Sky (1986)

Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

Antz (1998)

A Bug’s Life (1998)

Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (1992)

Bambi (1942)

The Land Before Time (1988)

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

101 Dalmatians (1961)

Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Pinocchio (1940)

Tarzan (1999)

The Road to El Dorado (2000)

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

An American Tail (1986)

The Last Unicorn (1982)

Hercules (1997)

Chicken Run (2000)

Cats Don’t Dance (1997)

Pocahontas (1995)

Robin Hood (1973)

A Goofy Movie (1995)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Cinderella (1950)-

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2000)-

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)

Titan A. E. (2000)

Rescuers Down Under (1990)- No link.

Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Shark Tale (2004)

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003)

Brother Bear (2003)

Hoodwinked (2005)

Anastasia (1997)

Treasure Island (2002 ) No Link

Sword in the Stone (1963)

Fox and the Hound (1981)

The Black Cauldron (1985)

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

The Rescuers (1977)

The Sleeping Beauty (1959)-

Dumbo (1941)-

The Aristocats (1970)-

Peter Pan (1953)-

The Swan Princess (1994)

Home on the Range (2004)


3 thoughts on “Animation International: Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

  1. I’m in the complete minority when I say Howl’s moving castle and whisper of the heart are my favourite Ghibli films, I can’t even our my finger on what it is about then either but something keeps me going back to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I’m happy you enjoy them. I think they are wonderful films. Even if I don’t put them at the top of the list. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. May you continue to be enamored with Howl’s Moving Castle for years to come!


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