19 Must-Watch Movies Similar to Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle invites you to embark on a whimsical journey through a world of magic and adventure. Delve into this captivating tale of a young woman cursed with an old body, as she joins forces with a self-indulgent yet insecure wizard and his unique companions. Get ready to dive into a list of 19 enchanting movies that will transport you to fantastical realms, stirring your imagination and leaving you spellbound.

1) Spirited Away

Spirited Away, just like Howl's Moving Castle, takes us on a magical journey that captivates the heart. In this film, we follow a 10-year-old girl who stumbles upon a world governed by gods, witches, and spirits, where humans are transformed into animals. The vivid and imaginative characters in Spirited Away are truly a sight to behold, and the stunning visuals will leave you in awe. The music is equally enchanting, adding another layer of beauty to the story. While the run time may seem a tad long, the film's charm and creativity make it well worth the watch. Spirited Away has garnered numerous nominations and wins, a testament to its remarkable storytelling. So, if you've enjoyed Howl's Moving Castle, I highly recommend immersing yourself in the mesmerizing world of Spirited Away.

Release date: April, 2003
IMDB Rating: 8.6
20 Must-Watch Movies Similar to Spirited Away

2) Ponyo

Ponyo, also known as Gake no ue no Ponyo, is a delightful film that will surely make you smile from ear to ear. Released in 2008, this movie shares a lot of similarities with Howl's Moving Castle. Both films are creations of the renowned Hayao Miyazaki and fall under the genres of Animation, Adventure, Family, and Fantasy. While Howl's Moving Castle takes us on a journey with a young woman cursed by a witch, Ponyo tells the story of a five-year-old boy who forms a bond with a young goldfish princess longing to become human. Both films explore themes of magic and transformation, captivating us with their imaginative worlds. However, Ponyo has a more innocent and lighthearted feel compared to the slightly more complex and intricate plot of Howl's Moving Castle. With its stunning hand-drawn animation and nuanced character expressions, Ponyo offers a refreshing change from the generic children's films that dominate the market.

Release date: July, 2008
IMDB Rating: 7.6

3) Kiki's Delivery Service

Kiki's Delivery Service is reminiscent of Howl's Moving Castle in its enchanting animation style and magical storytelling. Both films are creations of the brilliant Hayao Miyazaki and capture the essence of Studio Ghibli's charm. While Howl's Moving Castle takes us on a journey with a cursed young woman and a self-indulgent wizard, Kiki's Delivery Service follows a young witch as she navigates her year of independent life. The similarities in their key topics of witches, magic, and a strong female protagonist create a sense of familiarity between the two movies. However, Kiki's Delivery Service stands out with its simpler, more wholesome storyline that focuses on the importance of friendships. The film's stunning visuals, reminiscent of beautiful paintings, transport viewers to a world filled with vibrant colors and picturesque scenes.

Release date: July, 1989
IMDB Rating: 7.8

4) The Secret World of Arrietty

The Secret World of Arrietty is a charming film that is reminiscent of Howl's Moving Castle. Both movies are delightful creations from Studio Ghibli, known for their visually stunning animations and captivating storytelling. While Howl's Moving Castle takes us on a magical journey through a world of witches, wizards, and a walking castle, The Secret World of Arrietty introduces us to the Clock family, who live secretly in another family's residence, borrowing simple items to make their home.
What makes these films similar is not just their shared studio, but also their ability to transport the audience into a fantastical world. They both capture the beauty of everyday life, whether it's the enchanting scenes of the moving castle in Howl's Moving Castle or the wondrous depiction of the miniature world in The Secret World of Arrietty. The hand-drawn animation in both films adds a touch of nostalgia and adds to the overall charm.
However, there are some differences between the two.

Release date: July, 2010
IMDB Rating: 7.6

5) The Cat Returns

The Cat Returns is reminiscent of Howl's Moving Castle in its enchanting and imaginative storytelling. While Howl's Moving Castle takes us on a magical journey of a young woman cursed with an old body, The Cat Returns follows the story of a girl who finds herself engaged to a cat prince in a magical world. Both films captivate us with their stunning animation and artistry, creating a dream-like experience that leaves us wanting more. The characters in both movies are well-developed, with Haru in The Cat Returns and the young woman in Howl's Moving Castle being relatable and lovable protagonists. The voice acting in The Cat Returns, especially from Cary Elwes as Baron and Anne Hathaway as Haru, is exceptional and adds depth to the characters. However, one difference between the two films is the length; The Cat Returns feels slightly shorter than it should be, leaving us craving more of its enchanting world.

Release date: July, 2002
IMDB Rating: 7.1

6) The Sword in the Stone

The Sword in the Stone is reminiscent of Howl's Moving Castle in many ways. Both movies belong to the Animation, Adventure, and Fantasy genres and feature magical elements such as wizards and castles. While Howl's Moving Castle takes place in a steampunk-inspired world, The Sword in the Stone is set in medieval England. However, what truly connects these films is their heartwarming stories about young protagonists who discover their true potential with the help of wise and eccentric mentors. In Howl's Moving Castle, a young woman must break a curse with the assistance of a self-indulgent wizard, while in The Sword in the Stone, a poor boy named Arthur learns important life lessons from the wizard Merlin. Despite their differences in animation style and setting, both movies capture the magic of personal growth and the importance of love, kindness, and bravery.

Release date: September, 1969
IMDB Rating: 7.1

7) Hui Buh: Das Schlossgespenst

Hui Buh: Das Schlossgespenst" captures the essence of "Howl's Moving Castle" with its own unique charm. While "Howl's Moving Castle" takes us on a magical journey through a fantastical world, "Hui Buh: Das Schlossgespenst" offers a delightful mix of adventure, comedy, and fantasy, all set in a German castle. Both films share the theme of a castle as a central element, but the similarities don't end there. They both feature captivating stories that revolve around supernatural beings and their interactions with humans. However, "Hui Buh: Das Schlossgespenst" adds a comedic twist with its portrayal of the ghost Hui Buh and the funny situations he gets himself into. The movie's clever use of German clichés and old-fashioned sets adds an extra layer of charm.

Release date: July, 2006
IMDB Rating: 4.8

8) Princes and Princesses

Princes and Princesses is an enchanting film that will transport you to a world of old-style fairy tales with a modern twist. Reminiscent of Howl's Moving Castle, this French gem uses the same silhouette animation format, creating a unique visual experience. While Howl's Moving Castle takes us on a magical journey through a walking castle, Princes and Princesses presents us with six funny fairy tales for not-so-old-style people. Both films share common themes of princesses, witches, and castles, but Princes and Princesses adds a touch of comedy, romance, and sci-fi to its storytelling. The clever and witty tales will captivate you, just as Howl's Moving Castle did, and the nominations and wins it garnered are a testament to its brilliance. So, if you're a fan of Howl's Moving Castle, Princes and Princesses is a must-watch for its captivating storytelling, beautiful animation, and unique take on classic fairy tales.

Release date: January, 2000
IMDB Rating: 7.6

9) Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke, released in 2000, is reminiscent of Howl's Moving Castle in its immersive world-building and complex characters. Set in an imaginary time, the film blends ancient gods with the settlement of humans and the conflict between industry and nature. The protagonist, Ashitaka, must find a cure for a curse while navigating a war between forest gods and a mining colony. Along his journey, he encounters San, the enigmatic Princess of the story, who has been raised by wolves. Like Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke is not a simplistic tale with a clean resolution. It delves into the depths of good and evil, showcasing the complexities of human nature. The animation in Princess Mononoke is spectacular and unique, with elements that mark a new departure in Miyazaki's style. The film's soundtrack, especially the original Japanese version, is a masterpiece that draws upon the best talent for voices and features amazing singing.

Release date: September, 2000
IMDB Rating: 8.3
9 Movies Like Princess Mononoke – Discover Similar Films

10) Tales from Earthsea

After watching this film, I was pleased with the overall feel and look of the production. While the artistry and animation quality may not entirely measure up to other recent Ghibli studio films, it still creates a rich and colorful setting in which the story unfolds. The solid score also helps shape the vibrant world that the movie conveys. However, I wouldn't consider this to be a faithful representation of Ursula K. Le Guin's literary Earthsea, but rather something unique unto itself. One notable difference is the absence of the sea, which seems to mostly be in the background. As for the story, it may not stand out as anything great, but it still holds up thanks to the setting. Despite its flaws, I enjoyed this picture because of its look and feel. For once, I could see winged dragons clash and wizards face off in a Ghibli film.

Release date: May, 2007
IMDB Rating: 6.3

11) Winx Club

Winx Club, released in 2004, is reminiscent of Howl's Moving Castle. While the former lacks the depth and emotional resonance of the latter, it still manages to captivate viewers with its magical world and fantastical elements. At Alfea College, fairy warriors from all over the universe gather to study and enhance their magical abilities, an engaging premise that draws viewers in. Although the characters in Winx Club may initially come across as one-dimensional, they gradually reveal more layers as the series progresses. However, the show falls short in terms of character growth and maturity, often focusing on superficial aspects like fashion and boys. Despite these flaws, the show's action-packed sequences and mythical themes make it an enjoyable watch for those who appreciate the genre. The vibrant animation and imaginative storytelling in Winx Club are reminiscent of Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece, providing a similar sense of wonder and escapism.

Release date: July, 2004
IMDB Rating: 6.1

12) ParaNorman

Release date: September, 2012
IMDB Rating: 7

13) The 7D

"The 7D" is a delightful animated series that shares some similarities with "Howl's Moving Castle." Both movies feature magical elements, with "Howl's Moving Castle" showcasing a cursed young woman and a self-indulgent wizard, while "The 7D" brings us a septet of dwarfs who help defend their kingdom from an evil sorcerer couple. Despite the different formats (a movie versus a series), both stories capture the imagination with their whimsical and fantastical worlds. While "Howl's Moving Castle" has a more intricate and emotional plot, "The 7D" entertains with its humor and playful characters. If you enjoyed the enchanting world-building and magical themes of "Howl's Moving Castle," you'll find "The 7D" to be a charming and fun-filled adventure worth watching.

Release date: July, 2014
IMDB Rating: 5.7

14) Dobrinya and the Dragon

Dobrinya and the Dragon is reminiscent of Howl's Moving Castle in its enchanting storytelling and captivating animation. Both movies transport the audience to magical worlds filled with witches, wizards, and fantastical creatures. While Howl's Moving Castle is set in a steampunk-inspired universe, Dobrinya and the Dragon takes us on a quest through a classic fairy tale landscape. The main characters in both films embark on journeys to save someone dear to them, facing challenges and meeting unexpected allies along the way. What makes Dobrinya and the Dragon unique is its exploration of Russian folklore and the infusion of national values into its narrative. The film beautifully combines childhood memories, classic fairy tale elements, and a touch of irony to create a heartwarming experience for viewers of all ages. So if you've enjoyed the magical storytelling of Howl's Moving Castle, Dobrinya and the Dragon is definitely worth a watch.

Release date: March, 2006
IMDB Rating: 7

15) Brave

Brave, released in 2012, shares similarities with Howl's Moving Castle. Both movies fall under the genres of Animation, Adventure, Family, and Fantasy, and they both feature strong female protagonists who defy societal expectations. In Howl's Moving Castle, a young woman cursed with an old body relies on a self-indulgent wizard and his companions to break the spell. Similarly, in Brave, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom and must rely on her bravery and archery skills to undo a beastly curse. While Howl's Moving Castle is a poetic journey that explores themes of friendship and the value of life, Brave focuses more on the mother-daughter relationship and the empowerment of its female lead. The animation in both films is visually stunning, but while Howl's Moving Castle showcases the distinct style of Studio Ghibli, Brave impresses with its incredible textures, colors, and depth.

Release date: August, 2012
IMDB Rating: 7.1

16) From Up on Poppy Hill

From Up on Poppy Hill takes us back to a simpler time, just like Howl's Moving Castle. Both movies transport us to a different era, showcasing the beauty of the past. While Howl's Moving Castle enchants us with its magical castle and fantastical elements, From Up on Poppy Hill captures the essence of everyday life in a seaside town. With its charming romance and lack of typical Hollywood clichés, From Up on Poppy Hill reminds us that love can be found in the small moments. The movie's simplicity and relatable characters draw us in, making us care about their journey. If you enjoyed the heartfelt storytelling of Howl's Moving Castle, you'll fall in love with From Up on Poppy Hill. So sit back, relax, and let this delightful film transport you to a nostalgic world of love and friendship.

Release date: July, 2011
IMDB Rating: 7.4

17) The Tale of The Princess Kaguya

The Tale of The Princess Kaguya takes us on a captivating journey, just like Howl's Moving Castle. Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo, the tiny girl in The Tale of The Princess Kaguya grows into an exquisite young lady, captivating all who encounter her. Similarly, Howl's Moving Castle tells the story of a young woman who is cursed with an old body and finds herself in the company of a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle. Both movies beautifully depict the transformative power of love and self-discovery. However, while Howl's Moving Castle is a fantastical adventure, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya is a more introspective and poetic tale. The animation in both films is stunning, but The Tale of The Princess Kaguya stands out with its unique and mesmerizing visual style.

Release date: November, 2013
IMDB Rating: 8

18) Whisper of the Heart

Whisper of the Heart is a delightful movie that reminds me of Howl's Moving Castle. Both films capture the magic and wonder that Studio Ghibli is known for. While Howl's Moving Castle takes us on a fantastical journey with witches, wizards, and a walking castle, Whisper of the Heart tells a heartwarming love story set in the everyday world. The characters in both movies are incredibly charming and relatable, drawing us into their stories. What makes Whisper of the Heart reminiscent of Howl's Moving Castle is the attention to detail and the beautiful animation style that Studio Ghibli is famous for. The simple yet enchanting artwork creates a captivating atmosphere that transports us into the story. If you loved Howl's Moving Castle, you should definitely watch Whisper of the Heart for its endearing characters, heartfelt story, and the magical feeling that only Studio Ghibli can deliver.

Release date: July, 1995
IMDB Rating: 7.8

19) SMG4

SMG4: Whether it's having Mario in his birthday suit, teaching guides, or being idolized by a cloak, SMG4 is filled with endless possibilities! Reminiscent of Howl's Moving Castle, SMG4 takes us on a whimsical adventure through the Mushroom Kingdom. While both movies share the themes of castles and fantasy, SMG4 adds a hilarious twist with its parody and anti-hero elements. From the spaghetti-loving plumber to the quirky situations he finds himself in, SMG4 offers a unique and entertaining take on the familiar world of Mario. So if you've enjoyed the magic and charm of Howl's Moving Castle, don't miss out on the laughter-filled journey of SMG4.

Release date: May, 2011
IMDB Rating: 8.3

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