A summary of Howls Moving Castle

Howls Moving castle directed by Hayo Miyazaki was based on the book by Jones published in 1986. I can see that this story is a perfect setting for a Studio Ghibli production. The original story itself lends many attributes commonly seen in many anime/mange films produced today; such as a complex & multi layered plot through out the narrative and highly cultured characters. It also delves into issues such as identity and morality, a common theme in anime. There are also huge cultural mixes, producing a broad stylisation seen in much Manga.

The film sticks mostly to the original text, slightly deterring, mostly among the stylisation of the characters; most likely bought about by director Miyazaki to add a his own unique vibe that really brings out the fantasy feel seen in all of his productions, to put lightly as a ‘Ghibli twist’. This can be seen to the fullest extent with the protagonist Sophie the young hat maker. Throughout the film she is mostly an old woman, which is basically unseen in todays cinema. To make this narrative choice more appealing she morphs between ages, scene to scene, but like at the start, she turns back to being young at the end of the film, only to have her grey hair as a reminder of the turmoil lived through. This was put in place because Miyazaki wasn’t sure wether it was ok for a popular entertainment movie to have 90 year old woman as its centre from beginning to end, but with confident backing from female members of staff, compromises were placed to ensure a popular aspect to non conventional narrative.

Even though the film doesn’t stick to classical Hollywood structure, it came to huge success. The typical layout of this anime sticks to convention within the normal manga structure, making the most of fantasy, really giving off the impression of a childlike view; the hard ship of making sense of life but really bringing out the magnificence of what we adults would see as everyday life.


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