The number of times I have seen the movie? Around 20 I suppose. Actually I have no idea due to it being my „illness movie“ - whenever I have caught a cold or feel otherwise bad I watch Howl’s Moving Castle that carries me away into another world where kindness and love solve all problems. This last may create suspicion in a person since when this technique is employed the result usually is over-the-top cheesy nonsense. That is not the case this time however.
The story begins by introducing the world packed with witches, wizards and magic as seen through the eyes of Sophie, a girl working in a hat shop who on one encounter goes dancing in the sky and on another gets turned into ... well you will see for yourself. What follows is a story about a journey on which we encounter a moving scarecrow and a castle run by a fire demon, lots of cleaning up, a somewhat special dog, pretty flowers, war, time travel and evil adversaries. And last but not least Howl himself who will certainly make the eyes of most adolescent females sparkle.
All in all Howl’s Moving Castle is definitely a must see for all anime fans regardless of age, gender or any other parameters. Suggestion: try to watch the English dubbed version, the voice actors have improved the characters quite a bit (coming from a fan of Japanese language this means a lot). Warning: if you have ever read the book this story is based on, do not expect many similarities, these are quite different two stories.