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The Best Anime Like 'Howl’s Moving Castle'

Updated May 31, 2019 1.1k votes 259 voters 11.7k views13 items

Howl's Moving Castle is a Studio Ghibli film that's often ranked among the greatest anime films ever made. It follows Sophie, a young woman who is cursed with rapid aging. To get back to normal, she'll have to follow Howl, a strange wizard who lives in a flying castle. While the movie provides a uniquely delightful experience, there are other anime worth watching that offer a similar experience.

Among the best anime like Howl's Moving Castle are other Studio Ghibli masterpieces like Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away, and The Secret World of Arrietty. But there are also anime by other studios that fans of Howl will appreciate. If you're looking for an anime about a level-headed girl forming a relationship with a dramatic and intense boy, you'll probably dig the relationship between Haruhi and Tamaki in Ouran High School Host ClubIf you're looking for another anime about flying castles, check out Steamboy, a movie from the director of Akira. There's plenty more where that came from.

Which anime similar to Howl’s Moving Castle do you think fans of the film will most enjoy? Vote it up to help guide your fellow fans, and let the world know what you think. 

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  • One of the major themes of Howl's Moving Castle is finding joy in everyday life, and overcoming a reluctance to take risks. The reason that Sophie is cursed to become an old woman is that despite being young, she never allows herself to enjoy her youth, and spends all of her time working. Chihiro, the child protagonist of Spirited Away, is a serious little girl who has trouble getting along with her parents and accepting an impending move. Through her experiences working in a bathhouse located in the spirit realm, Chihiro becomes more comfortable with change and more appreciative of what she has. 

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  • Most anime is based on manga, light novels, or video games - either that or they're an original production. A few are based on novels, but those novels are typically by Japanese authors. Howl's Moving Castle, is based on a fantasy novel of the same name by Welsh-Anglican author Diana Wynne Jones. The same is true of The Secret World of Arrietty, another Ghibli film based on a novel by a Western author. In this case, it's based on The Borrowers by British novelist Mary Norton. The book follows a very tiny person named Arrietty who lives with her family in the shadows of the human world. Arrietty isn't content to live such a confined life, and seeks out adventure - but could that adventure do her harm?

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  • Just like Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke is a Ghibli film, so you already know that it's artistically similar. Aside from aesthetics, the two movies both focus on the relationship between one seemingly ordinary person whose life has been disrupted by a curse, and one who lives outside the margins of society. These two characters grow closer as they deal with political and supernatural conflict from forces larger than themselves.

    In Princess Mononoke, Ashitaka is cursed by an enraged boar god. On his quest to break the curse, he arrives at Iron Town, a city that is creating environmental chaos. San, a human raised by a wolf goddess, seeks to dismantle the town and save the forest. Can Ashitaka broker peace between the two forces and break his curse?

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  • Sophie is a calm, sensible person who needs to loosen up a little bit, while Howl is totally extra. If you enjoy his outlandish reactions to everything that happens combined with her pragmatic responses, you might also like Ouran High School Host Club. Just like Sophie, Haruhi is a practical person who winds up dealing with Tamaki, a dramatic and wealthy boy whose behavior often baffles her. As they work together as members of the host club, she begins to find him less overwhelming and more charming. 

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