Howl's Moving Castle

12 Days of Anime 2020: Howl’s Moving Castle

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Yo! Sirius here!

For the sixth day, I am going to discuss a popular and loved studio Ghibli film, Howl’s Moving Castle.

Unlike Spirited Away, I haven’t seen this movie, though I am aware of its existence. People I know raved about this movie, pretty much saying all of the good things about it. That’s why I can’t help but have a bit of expectation for this movie. I mean, this was Hayao Miyazaki’s follow up to the amazing Spirited Away, so this should be really good.

(Author’s Note: I am so sorry for this delay. This post was supposed to be posted yesterday, but because I was so busy yesterday, I forgot to edit this one and post it. At least it’s here now.)

That jumbled piece of architecture, that cacophony of hissing steam and creaking joints, with smoke billowing from it as it moves on its own… That castle is home to the magnificent wizard Howl, infamous for both his magical prowess and for being a womanizer—or so the rumor goes in Sophie Hatter’s small town. Sophie, as the plain daughter of a hatmaker, does not expect much from her future and is content with working hard in the shop.

However, Sophie’s simple life takes a turn for the exciting when she is ensnared in a disturbing situation, and the mysterious wizard appears to rescue her. Unfortunately, this encounter, brief as it may be, spurs the vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste—in a fit of jealousy caused by a past discord with Howl—to put a curse on the maiden, turning her into an old woman.

In an endeavor to return to normal, Sophie must accompany Howl and a myriad of eccentric companions—ranging from a powerful fire demon to a hopping scarecrow—in his living castle, on a dangerous adventure as a raging war tears their kingdom apart. (MAL)

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Bruh, this movie was a spectacle to watch. I really enjoyed watching this one.

Howl’s Moving Castle didn’t just live up to my expectations, it exceeded them. Now I understand the hype and love behind its success. It definitely deserves it.

However, that doesn’t mean this was better than its predecessor, nope, definitely not. Spirited Away is too good to be surpassed.

If I were to point out immediately where the movie lacked, it would be its story. The premise is very interesting, don’t get me wrong. The problem was it’s all over the place? While most of the characters introduced struggled with their own curse and issues, there’s also a war breaking out. As we only follow the main crew, we didn’t get much about what the hell was going on with the war. It’s in here where the story collapses as it seemed the war was just used as a reason to rile up Howl and make him use too much of his powers. It would have been better if it was discussed better? Or at least give us an idea of why there was a war in the first place.

Other than that issue, I’m pretty much satisfied with the movie.

What I really like about Howl’s Moving Castle would be its diverse set of lovable characters and its beautiful art and animation.

Each of the characters introduced in this movie left an impression on me, from the supposed antagonist to the dog. Yep, the weird-looking dog. Each one of them had enough personality to wow me every time they are on screen. The scarecrow turnip doesn’t even have lines but he’s always solid whenever he’s on-screen.

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My favorites would be Sophie and Howl, not because they are the main protagonists, but because they are really interesting beings. Sophie was the only normal person in the cast. At first, I find her a bit bland, but the more she interacts with the other characters, her personality shines through. She gets along well with everyone. She knows how to talk and interact with them. I really enjoyed listening to her banters with Califer, it’s full of teasing and fun. However, I do admit she’s a bit too perfect, I couldn’t find any flaw in her other than her low esteem in her looks.

For Howl, he’s pretty flawed from the get-go. For a handsome young lad, he sure was a coward and loves his appearance too much. He also acts like a kid, sometimes, which is kinda interesting if we compare him to other Male protagonists in other Studio Ghibli movies. However, it’s because of his flawed self that made me like him. Even though he is a coward and sometimes throws a tantrum, he tries to overcome them as long as he could protect the people he loves. Though, it would have been better if we saw more of him in the movie.

For its art & animation, damn, it’s so good. This movie was so beautiful, I couldn’t count how many times I paused the movie just to be mesmerized by its still shots of different frames of the movie. You know what, I’ll just share the screenshots I got for you guys to understand.

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Yep, the shots speak for themselves.

All throughout the movie, there was something that sparked my interest. I had expressed before while watching the other Studio Ghibli films that the movies don’t have legit antagonists in them. However, in this movie, I think there was one. Suliman was a weird old lady. When she was first introduced, I really thought her intentions seemed to be pure and good purpose, but as the movie goes on, she turns out to be the enemy. But then in the ending, the moment she sees everyone getting a happy ending, she just waved the flag and ends the war. Uuuhhh, did she start the war just for Howl to change in the end? Bruh, people might have died because of the war. The fact that she has the power to end the war and she was just there sitting doesn’t sit well with me. So yeah, she’s an antagonist in my eyes.

Okay, enough of this negativity. Before I end this review, let me express how much I love the OST of this movie. I never gave many opinions about the OSTs of the other studio Ghibli movies because they are pretty much what I expect them to be. But this OST, this movie’s OST, man, it’s so good. I admit I had heard about some of its tracks before, all thanks to my friends, but seeing it used in the movie, along with the spectacular visuals, uuuggghhhh, it elevated my watching experience.

It’s so good.

Okay, overall, this movie is so good. Howl’s Moving Castle definitely deserves its recognition and fame. The story might be lacking, but its characters and stunning visuals definitely make up for it. Definitely worth to watch.

Another studio Ghibli film added to my all-time top favorite animes list, I see. Hahahah.

This has been Will Sirius and thanks for reading.

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