Confronting Coming of Age and War in Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)


Author: Xinnia Ejaz, Lahore School of Economics, Pakistan
Published: October 28, 2022

Citation: Ejaz, X. (2022). Confronting Coming of Age and War in Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle (2004). IAFOR Journal of Literature & Librarianship, 11(1).


This research paper evaluates how Hayao Miyazaki’s film Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) does not reaffirm or condone the celebration of the kidult but rather solemnizes confronting reality and growing up by the infantilized adult. By placing the narrative of war as a major subject matter within the film, Miyazaki allows the child to step outside their safe space while also contextualizing the actions of the characters Howl and Sophie. On one hand, Howl acts as a vain and powerful wizard who avoids choosing sides in the war and attempts to protect civilians. His maturation is explored through several symbols such as the castle, his hair and appearance, his heart, and the concept of staying human. Simultaneously, Sophie who skips the awkwardness of maturation and acts as a wise and heroic figure with agency and intellect becomes an active agent in ending the war. The characters thus echo Miyazaki’s other narratives of psycho-social maturation, combining elements of both Western and Japanese traditions in animation, and fashioning a transnational piece of work that appeals to a diverse audience.


coming of age, kawaii, kidult, Howl’s Moving Castle, shojo, young adult fiction