For DashFUN editor Benjamin, “Howl’s Moving Castle” is not only one of the best films by Anime Studios Ghibli but also unfolds more fantasy magic than the popular films of the “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” sagas.
This Friday, April 1, 2022, at 8:15 p.m., “The Moving Castle” will be shown on the ProSieben MAXX TV station. Alternatively, you can stream the film on Netflix. Like so many productions by Studio Ghibli and director legend Hayao Miyazaki, this anime from 2004 is also an enchanting fantasy fairy tale that spoils you audiovisually with lovingly animated optics and a virtuoso composed film music and at the same time a heartwarming story with bizarre Characters whose sometimes somber fates together with the cheerful nuances play the entire range of emotions and thus ensure a grandiose film experience.
For me, “The Howl’s Moving Castle” has a special place in my heart. Then When I saw the anime for the first time, I realized that the magical worlds of Ghibli simply fascinate me more than western fantasy film series like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings does.
That’s what “Howl’s Moving Castle” is about
Howl’s Moving Castle is about the kind-hearted hatter Sophie, who one day meets a mysterious young man who is secretly the powerful magician Hauro. However, a jealous witch has already had her eye on him, which is why she puts a curse on Sophie that makes her age extremely.
With the frail body of a 90-year-old, Sophie searches for a way to break the curse and ends up in Haruo’s Howl’s Moving Castle, an awe-inspiring construction whose doors serve as portals to faraway places. All this against the background of war, the outcome of which Sophie will have a major influence on…
That’s why Howl’s Moving Castle is so magical
When I think of a film that exudes pure fantasy magic, I think of Howl’s Moving Castle. By fantasy magic, I mean the feeling of going into an imaginatively designed alien world that works according to its own magical rules, but which still touches you deeply as a human being and thus totally absorbs you. Ghibli movies generally have a lot of that magic, but Howl’s Moving Castle stands out.
Because the world staged by Hayao Miyazaki is just completely crazy always surprises you with likable-strange characters, imaginative designs, and surprising twists, but still feels completely harmonious. In addition, the story also works excellently as a reflection of inner conflicts that we humans carry around with us in reality.
My personal highlight in the whole film is Calcifer: A fire demon that just consists of a flame. Not only is Calcifer really outstandingly animated and therefore very likable, but he also has a very unusual personality: At first he is completely selfish, ruthless, and impulsive, but in the course of the adventure he also shows other unexpected sides. Just that “The Howl’s Moving Castle” managed to move me to the heart of the fate of fire never ceases to amaze me.
But Calcifer is just one of the many creative highlights in this enchanting film: There are, for example, these bulky black wobbly creatures that attach themselves to Hauro’s heels at the beginning of the film, the living scarecrow who harbors a great secret, or the castle itself, whose design and animation quality are simply stunning.
All of this is paired with a story in which magic and curses play a major role, but these are not an end in themselves, but always say something about the users and those affected by magic, making the Ghibli hit one Fantasy film that really deserves the title “imaginative”.
With “Harry Potter” & “Lord of the Rings” the spark does not jump over
Compared to the Ghibli productions, the Western fantasy high-flyers “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” just don’t trigger that much for me.
While “Lord of the Rings” made me cry mostly because of the heartbreaking friendship between Frodo and Sam, the world of Middle-earth doesn’t draw me in comparatively much. It’s too conventional a hero’s journey for that and the setting is too medieval with typical Western mythical creatures, while hobbits, orcs, dwarfs, and elves are all just modifications of humans. Despite their technical brilliance, the films simply have…