“Howl’s Moving Castle” Classic Revisit on April 30th.

“Howl’s Moving Castle” is an animated film directed by Hayao Miyazaki, with screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki and Diana Wynne Jones, voiced by Etsuko Ichikawa, Takuya Kimura, and Mitsunori Isaka, and released in Japan on November 20, 2004, Taiwan on February 4, 2005, and China on April 30, 2024. It is based on Diana W. Jones’ “Howl’s Moving Castle” and tells the story of a young girl named Sophie who is cursed by the Wild Witch to become an old woman at the age of 90, and how she meets and falls in love with the magician Howl, who lives in a moving castle.

The film primarily tells the story of a young girl named Sophie who lives in a small town in a country that is on the brink of war. She is an unremarkable 18-year-old who works in her father’s hat shop, which he left behind when he passed away.

One day, Sophie meets the male lead, Howl, who takes her on a graceful walk through the sky and behaves in a very gentlemanly manner. In this encounter, Sophie falls in love with Howl.

However, that night, the Wild Witch pays a visit to Sophie’s house and curses her to become an old woman. Sophie left her home in such circumstances and found herself on a grassland, where she met the Scarecrow and saw the moving magic castle. Under the constant guidance of the Scarecrow, Sophie entered the moving magic castle.

In the castle, Sophie met Kasif and became friends with the little boy Maruk, who worked as a cleaner there.

During her stay with Hare, Sophie gradually learned about the infamous magician Hare, who was seen as a villain by others. Under the influence of Hare’s optimistic and kind-hearted Sophie, he began to change for the better.

In the end, the war spread, and Hare used his magic to join the war. Sophie was very worried about Hare’s situation and condition.

In the end, Hare, with Sophie’s help, resolved the crisis of the war. Sophie and Hare also lived a simple and happy life.

The story of Sophie and Hare is not only a fantastic adventure, but also an exploration of love, courage, and freedom. Their encounter allowed them to find the meaning and courage of life. Sophie gradually regained her confidence and beauty, which she had lost as an old woman cursed; while Hare, with Sophie’s company, gradually untangled his heart knots and bravely faced his past wounds. Besides captivating storyline, “Howl’s Moving Castle” also creates a fantastical world for audiences through its exquisite visuals and touching music. The moving castle, magical elements, and various strange creatures in the film make viewers feel as if they are in a dreamlike fairy tale world. And the music in the film also perfectly accentuates the atmosphere and emotions of the film, allowing audiences to immerse themselves more deeply in the charm of the movie.

From the genre classification, “Howl’s Moving Castle” is undoubtedly a love film. The most touching moment is when Sophie returns to Howl’s childhood, witnessing Howl’s agreement with Calcifer and her shouting to Howl before disappearing, “I’m Sophie, I will find you in the future!”

Sophie’s cuteness lies in her not being too bothered by whether she is lovable or not, but rather focusing more on actively loving others. Even if she is tearfully scolded by capricious Howl, she will still sit by the bedside after calming down, listening to Howl’s unease and vulnerability; even if she feels that she is not beautiful or talented, she will still firmly declare to Howl in the wind-swaying grassland, “I want to be his strength.” In addition, not exaggerating oneself also allows Sophie to have more tolerance, and she is willing to forgive the Wild Witch who once framed her, even taking care of her like a family member after the witch lost her powers.

Looking back at “Howl’s Moving Castle,” what we see are people who are far from perfect, even flawed, but who are willing to give each other a chance and try to love. When Sophie is self-pitying, Howl doesn’t deny her emotions, but firmly says, “Sophie is beautiful!” When Howl transforms into a monster and almost cannot regain his human form, Sophie is not afraid, but kisses him instead. They choose to love each other as they are, with all their flaws and imperfections being adorable in the eyes of their lovers.

Whether it is the good and evil of human nature, beauty and ugliness, fear, or greed, we need to be aware of them and face them bravely in time to truly overcome them and shine in the sun.

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