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Weirder stories have been told by the Japanese wizard company. But: without doubt an average Myiazaki production shows so much more serenity and ability in story-telling that it is basically without its like anywhere in the American pixel industry. Even though the stories are set in the most mysterious and magical surrounding, I like to think that these characters are the most real of all: humble little-old Sophie, for instance, who happens to be in the way of a ghastly witch and learns that not doing anything wrong is sometimes not enough. Or pride Howl, who almost falls apart after his carefully dyed hair acquires a bit of a red touch. Or the named witch, who needs all her magic powers just to remain stable on her feet and to keep every layer of double chain – with interesting effects after she is rid of these powers. They are all very human, even the little fire demon whose name I forgot, but who is a so much more subtle sidekick compared to Disney’s tea kettles and the like. (Which gives a chance to mention the dubbing: I don’t know about the Japanese original, but Lauren Bacall as the Witch of the Waste and Billy Crystal as the fire demon are definitely worth switching from Japanese to English at least now and again). Judging from the unanimous enthusiasm at, I should now buy the book…

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