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[Howl mainpage] Hauru no Ugoku Shiro
(Howl's Moving Castle)


  1. Japan Times - November 24, 2004
  2. Reuters/Hollywood Reporter - February 18, 2005

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1). Japan Times

The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at:

November 24, 2004

The majesty of 2-D

By Mark Schilling

4.5/5 stars

[. . .]

Based on a novel of the same title by the British children's author Diana Wynne Jones, "Howl" is less Miyazaki's attempt to wow shojo manga fans (though wowed they will be) than further proof of why his status as the world's greatest living animator is still secure.

It is also a powerful counterargument to the "2-D is dead" crowd. After all, did the computer and its electronic air brushes kill off the art of Van Gogh, Picasso and all those other oldies who mucked about with brushes and paints?

[. . .]

"Howl" reprises themes from Miyazaki's previous films, including the quest for identity and truth in a dangerous world, the beauty and ferocity of nature -- and the human urge to tame it. Its tone, however, is not as dark as that of "Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)," its story not as primal as that of "Sen to Chihiro." But rather than descend into heroine-meets-handsome-prince cliches, Miyazaki presents Sophie's journey as a spiritual quest, including a nightmarish climb up an endless flight of steps that recalls Dante's ascent to Purgatory and an idyll in a land of flowers that is a glimpse of Paradise. In the course of this quest, she learns that the heart can triumph over even wrinkles and rheumatism -- and that the spell is one she put on herself.

[. . .]

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2). Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at:

February 18, 2005

Film Review: 'Howl's Moving Castle'

By Richard James Havis

[. . .]

Miyazaki's most complex fantasy to date eschews straightforward narrative and moral reductionism for a multilayered and equivocal approach that reflects the contradictions of real life. Miyazaki exerts a strong command over a wide-ranging story line and skillfully seduces the viewer into deciphering the subtle motivations of the characters. Consequently, though it's difficult to work out what's going on, it's never boring.

[. . .]

Plotting is so multifaceted that it will confuse children, and it lacks the clear-cut heroes and villains typical of animation. Critics will find much to write about, but general audiences might be confused by the complexity. Although it looks splendid on the big screen, "Castle" might perform better on DVD, where viewers will consider it a less risky proposition.

[. . .]

When "Spirited Away" shared the Golden Bear at Berlin in 2002, it marked a step forward for the acceptance of anime as an art form. "Howl's Moving Castle" should continue the process.

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