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3 Unlikely Castles From the Great Hayao Miyazaki


Miyazaki conceived spaces that have inspired the imaginations of generations.

The great Hayao Miyazaki, the artist who transformed the course of traditional animation, has given the world 5 decades of impeccable work in films that very much reinterpreted the world of animated cinema. In well-known films like The Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, and in his lesser known manga illustration work, the creative mind of the master doesn’t fail to amaze even audiences accustomed to computer animation and virtual reality.

The expressiveness of Miyazaki’s characters, simultaneously complex and simple, is surpassed only by the worlds they inhabit. Dreamlike realms, they provide the perfect setting for initiatory travels and the most fanciful of adventures. They’re worlds where stereotypes of good and evil are broken down into lessons fresh in wisdom.

But of all the recurring motifs in Miyazaki’s most foundational work – nature, dreams, animals and childhood – castles are perhaps the most notable in their always impressive surrealism.
We’ve chosen just three of these castles, essential in their rarity and their beauty.

illustration of a floating island with a castle on top


The Castle of Cagliostro

This 1979 film, Miyazaki’s directorial debut, takes place in a small country that seems a mix of European regions. The enormous, dark castle, set in the middle of a large lake and reachable only by bridges, might remind one of the royal residence in a fairy tale or, perhaps, one inhabited by a vampire count.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky

This 1986 film tells the story of Sheeta, a young woman pursued by both the government and by pirates. The bearer of the keys to Laputa, an imposing kingdom that floats in the air, within it is a beautiful Castle surrounded by trees.

Howl’s Moving Castle

Hayao Miyazaki’s ninth film, made in 2004, confronts viewers with an overwhelming construction, somewhere between an enormous ship and a motorized castle. It’s home to the great magician, Howl.

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