This review has been long awaiting post. I originally did this review after the film came out in English. However, I've done some editing based on new opinions and watching it many more times. I believe it's a must to watch a Studio Ghibli film at least twice before reviewing it; you'll get a much better opinion that way (especially if you grew up on them).
Studio Ghibli films leave an everlasting impression. You fall in love. Howl's Moving Castle certainly is no exception. This is a movie you will want to watch over and over again. When times are rough, you'll watch it to escape into this world of witches and wizards.
Sophie is a girl who works at a hat shop that was owned by her father. She's very ordinary in appearance compared to her beautiful sister and their mother. When Howl, a wizard with a bad reputation, saves her from a couple of indecent soldiers on her way to see her sister, she is thrown into a feud betwee Howl and The Witch of the Wastes. The Witch then casts a spell on Sophie making her very old. Sophie's only option is to leave. She travels out into the Wastes and ends up taking refuge in Howl's Moving Castle as a cleaning lady.
Not only do you fall in love with the story, but you fall in love with the characters. Each character is so different. Howl is a handsome wizard with a bad reputation for eating the hearts of lovely girls, but he's really a kind and loving person. Sophie, who eventually begins to love Howl, is full of courage and bares no hate for anyone. You'll love the other characters, too, like Calcifer, the fire demon, & Markl, Howl's young apprentice.
Usually, I have at least a couple problems with any anime, but with Howl's Moving Castle and any other Studio Ghibli film, I have none. Even the voices for the English version are fantastic. I'm not a Christian Bale fan at all, but he was perfect for Howl. And as with all the films, the artwork is exceptional.
Ultimately I can say nothing bad about this movie. I may be a Studio Ghibli fan who was raised on Totoro, but I can honestly say that there's nothing bad about this movie. Watch it!!!
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