Howl’s Moving Castle
Wizards, witches, scarecrows, spells, war, and romance! Sounds like a wonderful and magical potion for a delightful romp in the world of anime. And it is! I’ve watched Howl’s Moving Castle several times but did not know until last year that it was a book. I’m sure if I had paid attention to the credits in the movie, that little note would have been available to me but I didn’t. As is the case for many movies I watch that I find out are from a book, I ventured out to find the book. Hayao Miyazaki turned this book into a charming film that was Academy Award-nominated and I wondered if the book was just as enchanting. I must say that I was not disappointed. Diana Wynne Jones‘ book was more enjoyable to me than the film!
There are some differences which is usually the case with books to movies. Studio Ghibli has a way of making even ugly aspects beautiful (see: Grave of the Fireflies). Hayao Miyazaki did a wonderful job of turning what was for me a bit scary (as well as Sophie Hatter), the scarecrow into a more endearing character from the start. Jones’ book gives the reader a more inside look at Sophie Hatter’s thought process and you get a little more background about her. You learn about her family including her place in the family and what it has to do with luck, her beautiful sisters (who had no roles in the film). It paints a bigger picture for the film and has other elements that really made for a more intriguing story. Howl, that lovable yet impish character has a background that made me stop and reread a chapter because I was so amazed.
I actually requested that my used bookstore order this book because I wanted to read it. I know I could have gone to Amazon but I wanted to support the local business. I had not read any reviews on the actual book, only the film. However, I figured it must be a pretty good book for the film to be as magical as it was for me. And remember Michael from the film? There is more to his story, too! He’s more than just Howl’s little apprentice; he’s also a bit older in the book. If you like to read and you enjoyed Howl’s Moving Castle, heck, even if you didn’t enjoy the film but enjoy reading, give this a gander. Are there any more anime films/series that you know of that are based off books (ones written in English)? If so, did you enjoy them and what would you recommend?
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (lifeofanldsotaku.wordpress.com)