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Howls Moving Castle Cast: A 2004 Japanese Anime Fantasy Film

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Howls Moving Castle Cast

Characters Japanese Voice Actor English Dubbing Actor
Sophie Hatter (ソフィー・ハッターSofī Hattā) Chieko Baisho Emily Mortimer (young)
Jean Simmons (old)
Howl (ハウルHauru) Takuya Kimura Christian Bale
Witch of the Waste (荒地の魔女Arechi no Majo) Akihiro Miwa Lauren Bacall
Calcifer (カルシファーKarushifā) Tatsuya Gashuin Billy Crystal
Markl (マルクルMarukuru) Ryūnosuke Kamiki Josh Hutcherson
Suliman (サリマンSariman) Haruko Kato Blythe Danner
Lettie (レティーRetī) Yayoi Kazuki Jena Malone
Honey (ハニーHanī) Mayuno Yasokawa Mari Devon
Prince Justin / Turnip Head (カブKabu) Yō Ōizumi Crispin Freeman
King of Ingary (国王Kokuō) Akio Ōtsuka Mark Silverman
Heen (ヒンHin) Daijiro Harada Dee Bradley Baker

About The Howls Moving Castle (Film)

Howl’s Moving Castle (, Hauru no Ugoku Shiro) is a Japanese animated fantasy movie from 2004. Hayao Miyazaki wrote and directed it. It is based on the English author Diana Wynne Jones‘s 1986 book of the same name. Toshio Suzuki made the movie, Studio Ghibli did the animation, and Toho got the movie to people. Chieko Baisho and Takuya Kimura did the voices in the Japanese dub, while Jean Simmons, Emily Mortimer, Lauren Bacall, Christian Bale, Josh Hutcherson, and Billy Crystal did the voices in the English dub.

The movie takes place in a made-up kingdom where magic and technology from the early 1900s are common, and there is a war going on with another kingdom. It tells the story of Sophie, a young milliner who is cursed by a witch who comes into her shop and changes her into an old woman. She meets a wizard named Howl, who doesn’t want to fight for the king. She gets caught up in his fight against the king.

howls moving castle cast

The strong anti-war themes in the movie come from the fact that Miyazaki was against the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Miyazaki said that he was “very angry” about the Iraq war, which is why he made a movie that he thought Americans would not like. It also looks at old age, showing it in a good light as something that gives the main character freedom. The movie also has feminist themes and messages about how important it is to be kind.

Miyazaki said in 2013 that Howl’s Moving Castle was his favourite work. He said, “I wanted to show that life is worth living, and I don’t think that’s changed.” The themes of the book and the movie are very different. While the book is about challenging class and gender norms, the movie is about love, loyalty, and how war hurts people.

Howl’s Moving Castle had its first showing at the 61st Venice International Film Festival on September 5, 2004, and it came out in Japanese theatres on November 20, 2004. It ended up making $190 million in Japan and $236 million around the world, making it one of the most successful Japanese movies ever. The movie was praised by critics, especially for how it looked and how Miyazaki presented the themes. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 78th Academy Awards, but lost to Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. It did, however, win several other awards, including four Tokyo Anime Awards and a Nebula Award for Best Script.

howls moving castle cast

The Music

Joe Hisaishi wrote the music and led the New Japan Philharmonic when they played it. The CD with the music was first put out by Tokuma Japan Communications on November 19, 2004. Hisaishi also wrote and led Howl’s Moving Castle: Symphony Suite, an album that came out on January 21, 2004, and has ten pieces from the original soundtrack that have been rearranged. He and Youmi Kimura also wrote Howl’s Moving Castle CD Maxi-Single, which came out on October 27, 2004. It has the film’s theme song, sung by Chieko Baisho (the Japanese voice actor for Sophie), its karaoke version, and “The Merry-Go-Round of Life” played on the piano.

The Box Office

The movie was shown for the first time at the 61st Venice Film Festival in 2004. It came out in Japan on November 20, 2004. Only in Japan did the movie make $14.5 million in its first week. The movie was put out by Toho in Japan, where it made $190,000,000. It was sold all over the world by different companies, and it made about $45,000,000 more outside of Japan, for a total of $235,184,110 worldwide. The movie was later dubbed into English by Pete Docter of Pixar, and Walt Disney Pictures released it in the US on June 10, 2005. It was one of the most successful movies ever made in Japan in terms of money. Soon after it came out, it was the third most successful movie in Japan, after Titanic and Spirited Away, in terms of money.

howls moving castle cast

Home Media

As of May 2007, Howl’s Moving Castle had sold 2.7 million DVDs in Japan, and as of April 2022, Blu-ray and DVD sales in the United States had brought in more than $18 million. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment put it out on DVD on March 7, 2006, and on Blu-ray on May 21, 2013. On October 17, 2017, GKIDS put the movie out again on Blu-ray and DVD.

The Studio Ghibli anniversary release of the movie was the eighth best-selling foreign language film on home video in the UK in 2015, and the fifth best-selling Japanese film (below four other Studio Ghibli anime films). In the end, it was the fourth best-selling foreign film in the UK in 2018. (below the Japanese films My Neighbor Totoro, Your Name, and Blade of the Immortal).

Critical Response

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an 87% approval rating based on 181 reviews, with an average rating of 7.47/10. The film also holds an 80/100 average on Metacritic, based on 40 reviews, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. USA Today critic Claudia Puig praised the film for its ability to blend “a childlike sense of wonder with sophisticated emotions and motives”. Critics have had mixed reviews of Howl’s Moving Castle, with some calling it a “disappointment” compared to other Miyazaki films. Stephen Hunter from The Washington Post criticized the plot of the film, saying “There is no story, or rather, there’s no force to the story”. However, he said that the movie also empowered young women, and was “beautiful beyond telling”.

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