The World of Howl’s Moving Castle
It is amazing that in today’s world, online media subscription services like Hulu have a separate genre category just for anime. It was not long ago when watching Japanese anime on a foreign television meant staying up late or looking for a lesser-known show meant scouring the internet for hours just to find even a synopsis in your language. But lucky for us, animation has managed to find its way into more and more everyday conversations.
However, even if you do not partake in anime television series, a beginner may find animated film features to be an easier start.
Made popular by film director Hayao Miyazaki-san, Howl’s Moving Castle (or Il Castello Errante di Howl in Italian), is a fantastical adventure with magic as a norm, and at the center of it all is a protagonist named Sophie Hatter. Don’t worry, you can read further because we offer no spoilers here.
The film adaptation in 2004 was a success in Japan and has since been published in many other countries as well. However, long before this story was a beautiful film, it was an adventure novel written by British author Diana Wynne Jones in 1986.
But make no mistake– both publications, both novel and film, work together in many ways, making a lot of the smaller details that may be different, complimentary to each other. Even though both adaptations are from the point-of-view of Sophie Hatter, the protagonist, the story in its written form serves best to explain the world’s rules and happenings more explicitly, and this makes the magic element seem like it comes from a different planet. In the film adaptation, magic is normalized to the viewers by creating connections with it and images from our world (both good and bad,) like technology and irresponsibility.
Come visit the magical kingdom of Ingary in Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle, and see where the adventure all began!