Portrayal of Female Characters within Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli Films Pt.2

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Howl’s Moving Castle 

  • A female protagonist, with self-confidence issues and who is not above average in attractiveness
  • Who is turned into an old woman. And abandons her family in the belief of finding the person to fix her
  • She is very self-sacrificing and throughout the film, especially at the beginning.  She also has this sense of just getting on with things as a contrast to the idea that she would be unable to do anything without someone else’s (particularly a males) assistance.
  • Like real life Sophie does not have the classic build up of self confidence and self worth but goes through a series of highs and lows which are subtly and sometimes more dramatically shown in her physical appearance.
  • There are moments where it feels that she relies on howl and begins the cliché of falling in love with a man she can help “fix”. There are moment’s towards the end that make it feel like the relationship has become a crutch for the film.
  • However in comparison to a Disney film, for example Beauty and the Beast, The Beast has to fall in love and make her love him to save himself, also Belle has to be beautiful to be seen as this angelic saviour and she must always sacrifice for the Beast and her prize at the end isn’t that she gains a sense of self worth and is seen and accepted for her flaws and all, Its that she gets to marry a prince because she is ‘kind’ and ‘beautiful’. Whereas In howl’s moving castle, yes he does need love to help break his curse but that’s not the plot of the film. The focus of their relationship is excepting each others faults and growing together both of them gain self-worth though building a relationship with one another. And that sense of equality makes Howl’s moving castle a positive portrayal of female character’s. Specifically Female characters within relationships.

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