Howl’s Moving Castle review

Howl’s Moving Castle (ハウルの動く城 Hauru no Ugoku Shiro) is a Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki (the same filmmaker who produced Spirited Away).

Plot summary

Warning: contains major spoilers!

Howl’s Moving Castle is about a young girl who becomes cursed by a witch after meeting a wizard, Howl, who helps her in the street. Sophie, the cursed girl, leaves her town in search for someone who can cure her curse. She stumbles upon Howl’s Moving Castle and assists by cleaning up the place. A war is ragging and the owner of Howl’s Moving Castle, Howl, is constantly going out to fight.  Sophie loves Howl but cannot explain that she is cursed because of the curse. Gradually throughout the movie, Sophie grows younger and younger and, by the end, she is almost to her original age and Howl and Sophie end up together.

What I liked

  • I absolutely loved the dog, Heen.
  • The entire film consisted of comical events that lightened the mood at times.
  • Most characters are just a joy to watch, like Turnip, the possessed scarecrow.
  • Beautiful animated scenery!
  • Great story line that was never had a dull or uninteresting moment.

What I didn’t like

  • Absolutely no complaints :)


  • In my opinion, this film deserves a 8. It was very entertaining!

How does this help my Japanese?

  • I love watching Japanese movies for the sake that it familiarizes you with how the language sounds and, possibly, a few vocabulary words! I watched Howl’s Moving Castle in Japanese with English subtitles.
  • Obaasan (おばあさん) – Grandmother – is heard quite often.
  • Helps clarify when it is appropriate to say Arigatou (ありがとう) and not Arigatou gozaimasu (ありがとうございます).
  • I’m pretty sure I heard Ja, mata (じゃま) at one point, which, again, shows when it is appropriate to use.
  • Also, I’m not exactly sure, but I think they used Kabu (カブ) – turnip – when referring to the scarecrow. It would make sense considering the translation said his name was Turnip, but, I mean, it could have translated as something else :)

I highly recommend you watch Howl’s Moving Castle!

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