Howl's Moving Castle
“Dazzling…an organic, childlike wonder, fabulously unpredictable and seethingly inventive.”-Michael Atkinson, Village Voice
(Hauru no ugoku shiro). In an intricately rendered European storybook land of seaside villages and windswept valleys (inspired by Alsace and the Welsh seacoast), magic lives in the skies above, and sometimes in the towns below. Our doe-eyed heroine Sophie is the village hatmaker, but an encounter with the wicked Witch of the Wastes (the voice of Akihiro Miwa, a famous transgender performer who also infamously starred as a cross-dressing jewel thief in Kinji Fukasaku's Black Lizard) forces her into the clouds, and a world where fires talk, dogs spy for their wizard owners, and a ramshackle castle flies through the air. Home of the mysterious magician Howl, this moving castle soon becomes Sophie's home, as she struggles to regain her youthful identity and help Howl end both his own curse and an all-too-real war. Brimming with Miyazaki's customary visual wit and imagination, Howl's Moving Castle is based on a English children's book, and was Japan's top-grossing film of 2004.