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Poll: Howl no Ugoku Shiro Episode 1 Discussion

May 25, 2019 9:59 AM

Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 936
Film that enhances the fantasy-like atmospheres to the maximum, and the magic exudes in every moment of the narration. The pace is never slow, always lively with even frantic moments, never seen before in a Ghibli film. The theme is that of war, and of the consequences that it brings to those who make it and those who suffer it. Not all the themes dear to the director Hayao Miyazaki, are gathered here, but those that are there are enough and are advancing to make them say that this creature of his was well born. Soundtrack that once again makes use of the sounds of Joe Hisaishi, so success is assured on this front. Very beautiful and opulent backgrounds and drawings of colors, not the best ever, when compared to other feature films by Studio Ghibli. The protagonists are perhaps the best ever seen, taken together, but taken individually, speaking of the female protagonist, she is on a par with the best protagonists so far encountered in the Ghiblian films.

Aug 2, 2019 3:33 PM

Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 666
The movie was simply amazing, 8/10
Signature removed. Please have a positive iq.
Sep 14, 2019 7:05 PM

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 1442
This one is my third favorite Studio Ghibli movie.

Princess Mononoke blows almost all of the other films out of the water with 9/10.
Spirted Away is a close second with 8/10.
Howl's Moving Castle sits comfortably at a 7/10 for me due to second half of the movie not being nearly as strong as the first half story telling wise.

But as always, Ghibli has one of the most top quality animation around and general dream-like atmosphere.
Dec 7, 2019 4:17 AM

Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 7183
The animation and artstyle just gorgeous to me... as always
I like the characters, but the story seems so incomplete.. which is a shame
"Signature removed"
Dec 23, 2019 7:11 AM

Joined: May 2016
Posts: 11397
The main theme of Howl's Moving Castle was one of the most magical and cherished memories of my childhood but I only started listening to it again after seeing a copy of the original novel on sale a few months ago in a bookstore. Despite having seen the movie on Disney a good 4 or 5 times, I never really got to watch it in its entirety nor understand the story as a whole since I didn't pay much attention to it. So, here I am, finally having watched it like it's my very first time doing so~

The art really is masterful with all those intricately gorgeous details in every single backdrop and the music was perfect for amplifying the magic of the more fantastical scenes in the film. The characters were really likable too, with nearly every single silly moment with them never failing to get a chuckle or a smile out of me. The story was very intriguing as well around the first half but it kind of stirred towards an unknown direction when things started to get really intense.

Like most Ghibli films, the movie is slow for the most part and it accelerates really quickly once the final act arrives but this case in particular was especially rushed. It definitely felt like another 30 minutes or an hour would've helped make things happen at a more reasonable pace while establishing the more details about the plot points like the whole war and how the curses worked. What threw me off about the finale was that it just looked like Sophie made one dumb move after another but everything worked out all too easily in the end anyway. Turnip Head being the lost prince that was restored after a kiss and Solomon calling off the war where they bombed everything just like that was the most ridiculous part of the movie but that didn't mean that this whole thing was bad by any means.

I more or less got a gist of the more subtle details of the movie and I know that this was based on a novel but it would surely be a lot better if it didn't hold back on explaining why this and that came to be because it's already on the source material. This movie was legendary in front of my rose-tinted glasses of childhood nostalgia but even without it, it's still a really good and engaging watch.

Mar 17, 10:54 AM
Joined: Nov 2019
Posts: 133
Art and animation were beautiful! But the story was pretty boring. 5/10
May 17, 2:35 PM

Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 591
Well, I think this movie might be one of the best examples of what I would call "underwhelming".
But before talking about the flaws, I must talk about what I did like.
First of all, the setting and attention to details was absolutely amazing. I loved everything about it. The animation as well was stunning.
Also, the whole part at the beginning with Sophie as a very old granny was pretty fun.
Uh... That's it. Well, not entirely, but let me explain.
First of all, despite what the movie wants to make it look like, the characters aren't developed at all.
Sophie didn't change in the slightest despite what she's been through, and that's because she clearly didn't need to actually change. She started off as very responsible, mature and compassionate, and she remained responsible, mature and compassionate. This is exactly why I don't like MCs that are established since the very beginning as strong, mature and responsible : because by showing us how "amazing" they've always been, the story prevents them from growing. We can argue Sophie has flaws : she has a rather bad temper, she can get carried away when she works, she is insecure (I know that's not really a flaw but I'm trying to find something okay ?)... But that's not enough, especially since none of it played a real role in the story. And consequently, not only did it make her come off as a stagnant character, it also made her come off as a flat one because her "depth" was ironically very superficial, and finally, it made her come off as a character you can't relate to.
I didn't sympathise with her because aside from a few scenes thrown here and there, she didn't give me any reason to. Not that she was unlikable, but by being able to handle EVERYTHING in a very mature way, she didn't make me have concern for her and I couldn't at all relate to her. The only real mistake she did was throwing water at Calcifer and that wasn't even a real mistake since she reacted accordingly to the Witch almost getting burned to death. So really, I really liked Sophie as a very old woman (and I just mean how she was at the beginning) because she was very fun, but other than that I really didn't care about her. When I think about it she kinda reminded me of Umi from From up on Poppy Hill, but even Umi who I didn't like that much due to not having much depth was way more developed and likable than her.
Now let's talk about Howl. Uh... I don't know what to say because I happen not to know Howl. Yes, I've seen Howl throughout the movie, he did quite a lot of stuff indeed, but do I KNOW him ? Nope. Oh, the movie tried to convince me that I do. It tried to give me informations about him. But at the end, the thing is : I don't know Howl. And not only don't I know Howl but the movie didn't even make me want to know him. He barely has a personality, I can't even tell what kind of person he really is despite what the show told me.
And his relationship with Sophie was apparently supposed to be very deep and moving but we've barely seen them interact. I facepalmed when the movie started saying that Sophie was in love with him because it never showed that, it just told me that she is. And I think we can all agree that the "tell, don't show" kind of narrative is a very flawed one.
Honestly Sophie had more chemistry with Turnip than with Howl, AND TURNIP IS A SCARECROW !
And I think it just shows that the main issue with this movie is that it looks like it's missing parts. It's like they cut all the important scenes that were there to develop the characters. So we're left with moving speeches, epic "I'll save you" scenes, heartbreaking moments, a heartwarming happy ending... But all that didn't have any impact because the movie forgot to make me care about the characters. Take Turnip for exemple, why should I care about him turning back into a human ?
That's the kind of narratives that really makes me frustrated. I feel like the potential is here, but at the end nothing, because the story didn't establish any connection between the viewer and the characters.
But that's not the only issue. I don't feel like there was an actual engaging story. I can't tell what the plot really is because very few important things actually happened. And once again, the movie made it look like there was something incredibly epic going on but I think I missed the part where I was supposed to care.
The ideas were there. There were right there, I could see them. They could've done amazing things with them, but at the end, nothing.
I must admit though, I did like Calcifer despite him barely having gotten any development, and the Witch was kinda cute (though that's another issue, since when was I supposed to find an evil witch "cute" ? And why was Sophie so nice to her ?! Let's also not forget that the Witch cursing Sophie was totally random, she just came, called Sophie lame, and then cursed her. Wow.), but overall... I can't say I didn't feel anything watching this movie, scenes like the Witch trying to keep Calcifer actually touched me (I'm weak when it comes to cute old people), but I was expecting so much more. It could've been so much more.
(Also, I didn't get it, what was up with Calcifer being bonded to Howl's heart ? And why was Sophie's curse working so randomly ? Did it have something to do with her love for Howl ?)
Modified by Fafette, May 17, 3:12 PM
Jun 24, 10:18 PM

Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 686
Why did she go from middle aged to old women every now and then? Was it explained? I wish there was more closure at the end as well.
Jul 23, 7:56 AM

Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 5924
Not a big fan of that kind of story but the realisation and animation managed to make it looks great and interesting, especially with that end which I loved.
Aug 25, 5:55 PM
Joined: Aug 2020
Posts: 103
that was so freaking beautiful dude :') that old witch is a bitch i hate her!!! she barely did anything
Sep 16, 1:34 PM

Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 455
This is where it all started for me. If I hadn’t seen this film more than a decade ago I would’ve probably never became interested in studio Ghibli itself. Absolutely beautiful film with breathtaking animation, memorable characters and as always fantastic Joe Hisaishi music. Its as good as I remember it being first time I watched it. Of course it can be confusing at certain times but it just makes it so much better. I never heard about the book this was based on but heard that there are quite a few differences here and there. Honestly a book would not be able to give same outstanding and memorable expierence I got from re-watching this.

This is definitely my favorite animated film of all time, but not the best I’ve seen
This film started my interest in Ghibli and for that I’am forever grateful.
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