If, Miyazaki Hayao fan or no, after a viewing of his latest animation film Howl’s Moving Castle one detects a perceptible difference from his previous works, not so much with the style and visual treatment, but storyline, that’s because it is – the script is an adaptation of a children’s book by British author Diana Wynne Jones. Though this detail does little to hinder the film’s overall greatness, I cannot but feel a sense of detachment, as if the distinctive, Hallmark Miyazaki visuals are just one soul removed from the story. It is not typical of Miyazaki to center his theme and message on the romantic relationship of the protaganists, themselves usually contributing only a certain fraction to a bigger, broader subject that is the more important message he wishes to convey.
Of course, this simply isn’t a Miyazaki story to begin with. Certainly my deplorable level of japanese is also hindering my ability to understand the story fully. ( no, no subtitles for a Japanese film in Japan, it makes sense. ) Let’s hope I get to see the dvd soon with subtitles and personally no, nothing comes too close to Mononoke Hime , period.