Welcome to our Reference Degustation where we take you through a 5 course menu of Miyazaki masterpieces. Fifth and final course: Howl’s Moving Castle. Secure your hearts and work on your sense of self.


Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Music Composed By: Joe Hisaishi
Adapted from book by: Diana Wynne Jones
Budget: $24,000,000
Worldwide Gross: $236,212,992

Themes/Tasting Notes

  • Planes/Flying: Airships and well as Howl. It felt like most of the flying was used for evil. Even with Howl he was fighting in the war too.
  • Anti War: Fighting a war not really sure why they are fighting. A prince is kidnapped. It’s all a bit ambiguous. Even the resolution of the war was a little too resolute.
  • Environment: We get a lot of landscape shots. Howl makes Sophie a meadow with gorgeous flowers.
  • Female lead/kids: Sophie was an interesting characters and had  a lot of layers to her. She is the most human character of all the protagonist we have covered in the series.
  • Ambiguity between good/evil: Was weird to have Witch of the Waste so wicked that she stole young men’s hearts but they all become best friends at the end. In no other world does it make sense to invite Witch of the Waste in. People can change. At the start, people were gossiping about Howl. In the book, he makes women fall in love with him and as soon as they do, he loses interest. The character development of Howl was a delight to watch.
  • Pigs: Unfortunately not.
  • Whimsical/Fantasy: Moving castle. Magic. Wizardry. Witchcraft. Transporting to different dimensions. On one hand the castle can be an ex machina but on the other hand it can denote to Howl’s immense power. It is also whimsical because it is a visual and visceral experience of what it is like to enthrall and fall in love.

Breakdown and Analysis

  • The age of the protagonist denotes to the complexity and maturity of the themes.
  • A book with hundreds of pages cannot be covered a 2 hour film. But the film certainly kept the essence of the book. There is more space to breathe within a book. And some key moments not in the film include Sophie having 2 sisters and Sophie being a witch. A lot of how Sophie was feeling was covered more in the book.
  • Watching the film after reading the book has changed KT’s feeling about the film.
  • KT always just enjoyed watched this film but this time round she had a critical lens.
  • In the film there were soldiers creeping on Sophie was actually Howl in the book. Might have been a conscious decision
  • The romantic elements weren’t as pronounced in the book. KT allows herself to indulge in the score. In many cases it frames the happenings of the scene.
  • One of the most beautiful pieces of music. Like being in a ballroom in your most extravagant of dresses and dancing with the one you have been waiting to dance with all night. It sweeps you off your feet but you still know where you are in the world.

Unrelated but vital points

Can you call a woman strapping or is that just for men? Oti calls KT handsome all the time.
Nintendos in Kenya seem to have been different to the ones in Australia.
First Saved by the Bell reference.
KT is on the boulevard of broken references