Ghibli movies. For me, they are the ultimate comfort movies. Whenever I feel low myself the first thing I do is hop onto Netflix and zap on either “Howl’s moving castle” or “The castle in the sky”, why? I will tell you right now.
If you haven’t heard of these movies or Ghibli in general (Hey! You’re really missing out!)I would advise to do that right now, because the amount of warmth and satisfaction I have attained from these films is unbelievable.
Before we get going: spoiler alert! Go watch the movie and come back to this post with some fresh ideas planted in your head! (But don’t forget to come back!)
There are multiple things I would love to say about Howl’s Moving Castle (HMC for short), so I really have to restrain myself! To really pinpoint the most interesting things about this movie and (sadly) keep it short, I will divide my thoughts in a couple of categories.
Ghibli movies are known for their absolutely gorgeous animation, snagging one after the other trophy and becoming some of the highest grossing film worldwide. Still, something that I personally will never be able to shake is the breathtaking animation.
Howl’s Moving Castle takes place in a industrialized town at the borders of war, with streetcars and automobiles puffing black smoke into the air, dozens of people marching over the paving stone with their clacking heels resonating in the distance. We can see bakeries with fresh bread, soldiers holding parades and old women buying vegetables in the market. This occurs only in the first seconds of the movie, and if you like that kind of vintage atmosphere, HMC is your movie.
If nature calls out for you more than anything else, don’t fret! The endless wasteland next to the city with the creaking Castle wandering about will not disappoint you, as well as the beautiful flower fields Howl gifts to Sophie later on in the film.
Right, who doesn’t like a nice soundtrack to listen to in a good movie? Better yet, most good movies have those really exhilarating tracks in the action scene and even sadder one’s when your favorite character dies, but let me tell you right now! Ghibli songs never disappoint.
You will listen to multiple versions of “Merry-go-round of life” from the start to the finish of the movie, and If you’ve never really thought about the soundtrack in the background before, I strongly recommend you to check it out now! The music feels calm and beautiful, but always has some sort of sad nostalgic feeling behind it.
And don’t get me started on the music box themes. I find them absolutely heart drenching, but hey! Sometimes one needs to be a little sentimental.
Oh I could write novels on the relationship between Howl and Sophie. I won’t, don’t worry! Still, my love for those two is unmatched, if I had to rate them they would be my second favorite Ghibli-relationship next to Sheeta and Patsu (Oh my God, don’t let me start) and they really have my heart imprisoned.
Get it? Heart imprisoned? Calcifer? Okay whatever.
Sophie is a young woman that has always lived in other people’s shadow. No one dislikes her, she’s always diligent and hardworking and we sadly don’t know much about her past. She doesn’t regard herself as beautiful, telling her sister Lettie that Howl only goes for beautiful women and keeps herself low to work in her father’s hat-shop.
Howl is a coward, a scared man who has the heart of a child and goes only after the beauty of a woman (supposedly), shackled to his past and only living at the edge of life he finds no purpose in anything other than mundane things.
Now I am about to blow your mind.
Sophie and Howl are unconsciously looking for something, and they find each other in the end. But do you remember the first encounter between those two? Howl saves Sophie from being harassed by two soldiers and says, “I’ve been looking everywhere for you”. A sentence that sound like a diversion tactic to help Sophie, right? Consider this though, Howl has seen Sophie in his childhood, and she screams to wait for him in the future. We find that out later in the movies but now this sentence means so much more.
He has been looking for her everywhere. They’re soulmates through and through, both cursed in a way that only the other could help them through.
Okay do you need some tissue? I’ll wrap this up now, don’t worry.
There’s so much more to say about this, but this is just a small blog entry. I can say one final thing. This movie has always had a piece of my heart and it always will. It’s a beautiful love story, it has amazing and zany characters you won’t find somewhere else and is accompanied by beautiful music and animation. If you just read this whole thing and are about to watch it again, try to think of these small details and enjoy it in a whole new way.