Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Howl’s Moving Castle


Once more I will acknowledge that Hayao Miyazaki is an unquestioned genius, with the one of the most stunning visual imaginations I’ve ever encountered. For him, I overcome my objections to anime because he’s simply a blast to take a trip with. And again, I don’t have any problem with dubbed anime, since the lips don’t synchronize with anything, anyway. There are a lot of big western names doing the voices here, like Billy Crystal, Emily Mortimer, Jean Simmons, Blythe Danner, and Christian Bale. I have to admit I never had a very clear idea of just what was going on in this alternate universe of steam-powered aerial battleships and Ruritanian costumes, but I didn’t much care that it seemed to jump here and there and pull plot rabbits out of a lot of magic hats along the way. There was a little girl who had a curse put on her so that she became a 90-year-old woman, and there was Howl, who had a curse on him that made him change into a giant raven, and there was a door which led to different places depending on how you set a dial in the jamb. It never made a whole lot of sense. And I didn’t care at all. It was one visual marvel after another, with the most marvelous thing of all being the moving castle, an impossible jumble of shacks and smokestacks, gears and gewgaws, rooms that changed sizes … impossible to describe without seeing it, all of it heaving and pulsing and steaming and creaking as it moves along on spidery legs.