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Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
"Hauru no ugoku shiro" (original title)

8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 156,349 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 308 user | 203 critic | 40 from Metacritic.com

When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking home.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chieko Baishô ...
Sofî (voice)
Takuya Kimura ...
Hauru (voice)
Akihiro Miwa ...
Arechi no Majo (voice)
Tatsuya Gashûin ...
Karushifâ (voice)
Ryûnosuke Kamiki ...
Marukuru (voice)
Mitsunori Isaki ...
Koshô (voice)
Yô Ôizumi ...
Kakashi no Kabu (voice)
Akio Ôtsuka ...
Kokuô (voice)
Daijirô Harada ...
Hin (voice)
Haruko Kato ...
Sariman (voice)
...
Grandma Sophie (voice)
...
Howl (voice)
...
Witch of the Waste (voice)
...
Madame Suliman (voice)
...
Young Sophie (voice)
Edit

Storyline

A love story between an 18-year-old girl named Sofî, cursed by a witch into an old woman's body, and a magician named Hauru. Under the curse, Sofî sets out to seek her fortune, which takes her to Hauru's strange moving castle. In the castle, Sophie meets Hauru's fire demon, named Karishifâ. Seeing that she is under a curse, the demon makes a deal with Sophie--if she breaks the contract he is under with Hauru, then Karushifâ will lift the curse that Sophie is under, and she will return to her 18-year-old shape. Written by Sophie Ball

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

castle | witch | demon | spell | fire | See All (83) »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for frightening images and brief mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 November 2004 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Howl's Moving Castle  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$29,133 (Chile) (19 May 2006)

Gross:

$82,187 (Chile) (2 June 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mamoru Hosoda was selected to direct the film but he abruptly left the project. Hayao Miyazaki then took up the director's role. See more »

Goofs

When Howl gives Sophie the ring, right before his line "Don't worry, I will follow behind in disguise," Howl's eyes are brown, not his normal blue. See more »

Quotes

Howl: This war is terrible, they bomb from the southern coast to the northern border. It's all in flames now.
Calcifer: I can't stand the fire and gunpowder. Those dopey guys have absolutely no manners.
Howl: My own kind attacked me today.
Calcifer: Who? The Witch of the Wastes?
Howl: No, some hack wizards who turned themselves into monsters for the king.
Calcifer: Those wizards are going to regret doing that. They'll never change back into humans.
Howl: After the war, they won't recall they ever were human.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in AniMat's Reviews: The Wind Rises (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Sekai no Yakusoku
Written by Youmi Kimura
Performed by Chieko Baisho
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
My favourite Miyazaki!
23 February 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

What an amazing achievement! This is by far the best example I have ever seen of animated characterization. The expressions and the nuances and the emotion captured in this film are truly breathtaking. I love all of Miyazaki's work, but in Howl's Moving Castle he has managed to take it to a level that to me sets the standard.

It has all of the classic stunning Miyazaki panoramas, rich settings, exciting and unusual machinery, and brilliantly conceived creatures that are often humorous and fanciful. The characters are all very expertly crafted and developed, but what really enchanted me were their expressions and the subtle but powerful ways that he chose to elaborate on their connections and emotions. It is very difficult to describe, but they come to life in such a powerful way as to seem entirely real and unique.

He achieves this within the medium - not by really imitating or parroting film or live action, but by artfully exploiting the medium to enhance and capture the subtle interactions that make up relationships. He shows his audience what his characters are thinking and feeling by carefully chosen gestures and facial expressions, rather than relying always on dialog, etc. I was completely swept away by this skillful use of animation - I have never anywhere else seen anything that begins to come close to it.

The story is fantastic - I haven't read the novel, but it had all of the elements I have come to enjoy in Miyazaki's work - there is the humour, the lighthearted moments, the strong, insightful, loyal, and honourable characters, the lyrical drama and action sequences. The pace is perfect - it flows nicely and is always exciting, suspenseful - I got very caught up in the characters and their struggles and hopes. The themes were expertly handled with Miyazaki flair - and always richly meaningful and perceptive.

I can hardly wait to see what this brilliant artist creates next!


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