Howl's Moving Castle, or Howl no Ugoku Shiro, is a captivating anime film released by Studio Ghibli in 2004. The movie tells a poignant story of love, loss, and the tragedies of war, making it a must-watch for anime enthusiasts. Throughout the journey, the two main characters, Howl Pendragon and Sophie Hatter, learn valuable moral lessons. Apart from the themes of facing life's problems and stepping out of one's comfort zone, there are five other moral messages in Howl's Moving Castle that are worth highlighting.
There is always wisdom in every loss
After being cursed and transformed into an elderly woman, Sophie Hatter is confronted with a frail and malfunctioning body. She no longer possesses her youthful beauty and quickly tires and experiences pain due to her aged bones. However, Sophie realizes that there is something good that can give her a better perspective on life. Despite losing physical functionality in old age, she gains wisdom that she did not understand before. From this tragedy, she learns the reality that there will always be replacements or even valuable lessons behind heart-wrenching losses.
Simple words of praise can inspire
When Sophie first encounters Calcifer, an irritable fire demon who feels underappreciated, she momentarily stuns him. However, she quickly expresses her admiration for his greatness and compliments him on the beauty of the sparks he produces. Upon hearing the praise directed at him, Calcifer is moved. He becomes inspired to perform his tasks with greater effort than before. This demonstrates that simple words of praise, even in their simplicity, can hold great value for someone.
There is no need to force oneself to fulfill someone else's dream
After visiting her sister Lettie, Sophie Hatter rushes back to the hat shop she runs. Despite not truly enjoying her current life, she never considers pursuing a different life that she might prefer. She also disregards Lettie's advice to leave their late father's hat shop. Driven by her respect and love for her father, Sophie forces herself to live in order to fulfill someone else's dream. While it is important to cherish the memories of a departed loved one, one does not have to follow in their footsteps.
Conflict affects the innocent
In an effort to protest the Iraq War, Hayao Miyazaki portrays a bloody tale of endless conflict triggered by two leaders who refuse to acknowledge their mistakes. He highlights that these leaders comfortably sit in their safe castles, while innocent people must endure the threat of danger. Innocent parties are subjected to propaganda, suffering from the fear of losing loved ones and having to abandon their destroyed homes due to merciless bombings. It becomes clear from their experiences that conflicts do not affect those in power, and it is better for the rulers to have the courage to listen.
Don't hesitate to seek something if it is worth having
After meeting Sophie Hatter in the past, Howl Pendragon spends at least ten years searching for her. As a result, he gains a bad reputation and is labeled as a heart-devouring demon who preys on beautiful women. However, he does not let the negative rumors hinder his quest. Deep within his heart, Howl understands that he will experience immeasurable happiness if he succeeds in finding Sophie. From his courageous actions, a valuable lesson can be learned: the best things in life are worth seeking, even if it takes a considerable amount of time or even a lifetime.
In every life story, whether real or fictional, there are moral messages to be learned. The moral messages of Howl's Moving Castle remind us that behind the hardships faced by Sophie Hatter and Howl Pendragon, there are valuable lessons to be grateful for. Instead of blaming difficulties, it is better to approach them with an open mind and find the wisdom within. The power of simple words of praise should not be underestimated, as they can inspire and uplift others. It is important to live life on one's own terms and not force oneself to fulfill someone else's dream. The consequences of conflict are far-reaching, impacting innocent individuals who suffer the most. Lastly, the pursuit of something worthwhile is worth the time and effort, even in the face of obstacles and negative judgments.
By embracing these moral messages, individuals can navigate their own journeys with resilience, empathy, and a willingness to seek happiness and growth. Howl's Moving Castle beautifully portrays these lessons, weaving them into its captivating story and endearing characters. It is through these messages that the film resonates with audiences and leaves a lasting impression.