Well, I’ve watched these animes a while ago, but I just recently re-watched them to put up reviews: Whisper of the Heart, The Cat Returns, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland.
First off, I’ll make these reviews short and sweet, since there’s so many of them. I’m re-doing Myazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle right now.
Howl’s Moving Castle, a girl’s dreamland, right? It really is. From the director of Spirited away comes a beautiful piece written from a novel by Diana Wynn Jones. Myazaki made this story his own. He changed many of the characters personalities to become more lovable. But he used his same graceful and magical touch when executing it.
Howl’s Moving Castle is about a girl named Sophie, who is ordinary, she’s not so pretty, neither is she very glamorous. She works in a hat shop. One day, while going to visit her beautiful sister at the bakery (who btw gets all the guys), she meets Howl, a handsome wizard, who gets her out of a sticky situation with the king’s soldiers so he can get out of his own situation. But Howl gets Sophie involved with him, and magical creatures attack them, sent by the Witch of the Waste. When Sophie returns to the hat shop, she is then attacked directly by the Witch of the Waste, who puts a spell on her, turning Sophie into an old woman. Sophie travels to the Waste to find the Witch, but is too old and can’t move very fast or far. Looking for a cane, she meets a scarecrow with a Turnip head, who is called Turniphead by Sophie. He leads her to a resting spot: Howl’s Moving Castle.
This movie is excellent. Though many things are different from the book, it still manages to grab the audiences attention. I’m also impressed with Disney’s version. The voice-overs are excellent. Nothing less from Disney. The characters, like most of Myazaki’s movies, are all given depth, no matter if they can talk or not. He gives inanimate objects a purpose and personality. For instance, the scarecrow with the Turnip head. The character had a personality all his own, though he was not a human (at the time). Another character was the fire demon, Lucifer, my favorite character. He was given so much personality that I fell in love with him. And only Myazaki could give an old woman like Grandma Sophie so much charm. She had more charm than the younger Sophie. The story is also well-developed. It reaches a climax and takes you on a magical voyage. Howl’s Castle isn’t typical. Neither is Howl himself. He isn’t a perfect guy, neither is his home. Which is what I like about this story. No one is perfect or perfectly made, but all of the characters seem to fit into this puzzle. All characters had unexpected parts to them, even the Witch of the Waste.
I also like the fact that the real villain was unknown in this story. It seemed the true villain was the fleshly desires of the witches and wizards themselves. It left such a mystery, but it was the best part of the story.
The musical score also gave it a magical appeal, that seemed to mesmerize the person watching it. It whisked you away into it’s story and left you caught in it’s magical trap and idealistic storyline.
Throughout it all, the story is far from realistic. But that is what makes the story so great. It’s meant to blind you to what is real in this world and enchant you. Quite a magical story, don’t you think? I hope I made it sound that way.
The design is even a magical part of the whole anime. The design is glossy, and colorful, giving it beauty. But at certain moments, the coloring becomes dark and sinister giving feeling to each moment of the anime. When it is a sad or dark moment, the coloring becomes blacks and red, with fire. When it is a joyous or magical moment, it is filled with colors of all shades. The drawings of the characters that are human are pretty realistic. Not too off-balance. Of course, the magical creatures are the most oddly formed or shaped, like Lucifer. But for a fire, he is pretty normal, with character given to him.
So overall, I recommend this anime to any age. It will enchant any age and is a great film for the whole family. If you are into romance, fantasy, magic, sorcery, happy endings, and Disney movies, you’ll definitely be into this. I give this movie a 10/10 for it’s well developed story, it’s magical character development, beautiful and rich design, giving feeling, originality in story and in the adaptation approach, and musical score that gave it a beautiful cherry on top.
~Over and Out~