Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (2004)

Aside from a couple years' dose of Astro Boy as a child, I haven't been exposed to anime. I try to stay away from too many new things because I don't have time to get obsessed with new art forms that I see a lot of people getting obsessed with. So I started watching Howl's Moving Castle without even knowing that it was going to be animated, let alone anime.

Wow! It blew me away. Within the first single minute I was hooked.

I'm not suggesting that there was a powerfully overt message to the film. There wasn't. It was about being strong in the face of adversity. It discussed vanity and obsession to an extent.

What was powerful was the actual story telling. With the exception of Calcifer's identity, I never knew what was going to happen next and this made the experience so positive.

The story telling and the superb animation. Some of the background sets were absolutely breathtaking, the way animation should be. The moving characters were quite simple and very expressive.

I said the message wasn't overt. I want to take issue with some of the undertones concerning the use of characters called wizard and demons, but I really can't. How would I be able to defend the Lord of the Rings? We see flaws in all the characters, and that's fair enough for me.

The most disappointing portion of the film was the conclusion. It quickly wrapped things up as though they ended up at 115 minutes and the producers made an executive decision that they could only go 2 more minutes and then roll 2 minutes of credits. This is too bad.

Now I want to see Spirited Away. Who knew I'd ever want to?

Official Site | IMDB

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