Funnily enough, I didn’t watch this movie until my freshman year of college- I hadn’t seen any Miyazaki films really- and only then at the behest of my blockmate, who counts it as one of her favorite movies ever. When I first watched it, I have to admit I was super skeptical. The first few minutes of the movies seemed to raise an impossible amount of questions- although I liked that they didn’t really bother explaining how magic worked in their world (some things are better as secrets). To make it worse, a girl suddenly has her youth snatched from her and is transformed into an old woman- I teared up at that. Obviously, I was taking this movie way too seriously. Its sad beginning made the rest of the wonderful whimsical movie all the better- its ended up as my favorite Miyazaki film (of course, I watched the rest of them soon after finishing Howl). The spunk of Sophie, the sass of Calcifer, and the adorableness of Markl- it forms a perfect balance that I can’t keep from re-watching every so often.