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10 Movies like Howl’s Moving Castle For Fans Of Ghibli Style Films

movies like howl's moving castle

Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl no Ugoku Shiro) is a masterpiece created by Hayao Miyazaki that premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2004 winning several well-deserved awards and nominations including the Oscars. If you are looking to watch more fantastical movies like Howl’s Moving Castle, check out our recommendations below. In this uniquely compelling film, the story is set in a warring town in Ingary, revolving around Sophie, a shy and soft hat maker who earns the wrath of the Witch of the Waste and is turned into an old woman., right after Sophie’s meeting with the childish, vain but kind wizard Howl who takes her in, and thus begins her magical adventure. Everything about this movie screams magic, even amidst the evident anti-war theme running a wonderful story of self-discovery and romance. The characters Sophie, Howl and even their iconic moving castle are as memorable as they are inspiring. The musical score by Joe Hisaishi adds so much character to the otherworldly and fantastical element of the film.

List of Movies Like Howl’s Moving Castle

  1. Spirited Away
  2. Hotarubi no Mori e
  3. Princess Mononoke
  4. Kimi no Na Wa
  5. Arrietty
  6. Bubble
  7. Laputa: Castle in the Sky
  8. Nausicaa of The Valley of the Wind
  9. Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
  10. Children Who Chase Lost Voices

1. Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away is another Miyazaki masterpiece from Studio Ghibli that tells the story of Chihiro Ogino, a 10-year-old who accidentally crosses over into an alternate realm with ancient spirits and mysterious entities. She journeys through the realm along with Haku, to help break an unknown curse by a witch named Yubaba that turned her parents into pigs.

What makes both Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away my favourites is the transformative journey of the characters as they find themselves through experiences in the fantasy realms. Sophie and Chihiro are both ordinary characters that provide reliability for viewers in fantastically magical worlds. Since both are Ghibli Studio films, they share Miyazaki’s magic along with Joe Hisaishi’s dreamlike music. If you are looking for animated movies like Howl’s Moving Castle, this should be your first pick.

2. Hotarubi no Mori e (2011)

This one is a personal pick, as it was the first Japanese animated movie I watched. Hotarubi no Mori e is a romantic supernatural movie like Howl’s Moving Castle, that revolves around a young girl Hotaru and her accidental friendship with Gin, a young youkai who always wears a mask and avoids all physical contact with her.

In a way, both Howl and Gin are similar, because they are both lonely supernatural characters who go through an emotionally enlightening journey as they befriend the female protagonists. If Howl’s Moving Castle helped Sophie learn to love herself, Hotarubi no Mori e helps Hotaru learn the true meaning of love. The plot is pretty simplistic, but what draws you in is the light emotional atmosphere as well as the fresh feel of the art style. Surely, give this a watch if you’re looking for movies similar to Howl’s Moving Castle.

3. Princess Mononoke (1997)


Another Ghibli fan favourite is Princess Mononoke set in the feudal period of Japan. This story follows Emishi prince Ashitaka who gets involved as man and nature grow increasingly at odds as man continues to infringe into the territory of the beasts. As Ashitaka ventures out into the world, he realises just how dangerously close the world is to waging a full-blown war.

While environmental concerns are not necessarily the point in Howl’s Moving Castle, destruction of the world and anti-war are very strong themes throughout both these films. Miyazaki is an icon when it comes to presenting mature themes through children’s stories and it is brilliantly presented in Princess Mononoke. This is totally a film for you if you enjoy the underlying strengths in Ghibli movies like Howl’s Moving Castle

4. Kimi no Na wa (2016)

Kimi no Na Wa, better known as Your Name is a romantic fantasy film that had people clutching their tissues with its heart-wrenching story. This movie is an excellent experience set in modern Japan that follows the story of a young girl Mitsuha Miyamizu and a boy Taki Tachibana who inexplicably end up swapping bodies. This film pushes the boundaries of eternal love and is by far one of the best pieces of media out there.

Both Howl’s Moving Castle and Kimi no Na Wa have stunning visuals, and share elements like strong female protagonists who are not the happiest with the lives they lead. Both the films also explore the idea of time and age and how their lives get tangled in them. This movie is an excellent pick for someone looking for great anime movies like Howl’s Moving Castle.

Also Read: Anime Like Noragami

5. The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)

This movie follows the young but sickly Shou, who after being sent to his aunt’s house discovers Arrietty, who is a “borrower”, a miniature species who live off of tiny human possessions. Despite the dangers, Arrietty and Shou begin a heartwarming friendship between two different species of humankind.

Arrietty is a wholesome story of friendship and courage, the most important theme being the willingness to step out of your own comfort zone for something worthwhile. This is a theme Howl’s Moving Castle also shares, alongwith their courageous and curious female protagonists. You can never go wrong with a Ghibli choice when you’re looking for films like Howl’s Moving Castle

6. Bubble (2022)

This Netflix post-apocalyptic film might be the most surprising pick in this list. Set in Tokyo,the world is overcome by bubbles and is inhabitable; however, people still live there and use parkour tournaments as a means to barter supplies. Young Hibiki meets Uta, who clearly is not human and they together win competitions but their lives are in danger. This movie is loosely based off of Han Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, as the ending proves.

Bubble was highly acclaimed for its beautiful animation and that is mostly why you might be drawn to watching this. Besides, the dreamlike atmosphere and the beauty of human relationship at its core make this a delightful watch for a film similar to Howl’s Moving Castle.

7. Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

As you have probably noticed, Miyazaki sort of rules this part of the animation scene. Laputa was the first film produced by Studio Ghibli, and is set in the late 19th Century, as it follows the adventures of Sheeta and Pazu who try their hardest to keep a powerful crystal safe from a host of other people attempting to attain it; all the while searching for a legendary floating castl

Apart from being films by Miyazaki and including fantasy castles, Laputa and Howl’s Moving Castle both films involve a quest to unravel mysteries and include wholesome character arcs, trials and adventure. Laputa gave me some very wholesome nostalgia, so this is definitely a family pick.

8. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

Nausicaa is a post-apocalyptic film by Miyazaki and was his first collaboration with Joe Hisaishi who composed the score. Set in a futuristic world, the plot revolves around Nausicaa, a young princess who gets tangled in a struggle with a rival kingdom, Tolmekia, who wishes to use an ancient weapon to wipe out a forest full of giant insects.

This movie also focuses on the themes of conflict between man and nature, and the impending atmosphere of war. Again, like Howl’s Moving Castle, this movie showcases strong themes of anti-war sentiment. Much like most Ghibli anime films like Howl’s Moving Castle, this pick will take you down a pleasant nostalgic trip.

Also Read: Animated shows like Adventure Time

9. Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (2018)

This fantasy drama film tells the story of Lorphs who live hundreds of years and keep their youthful appearances throughout their lives, but when the calm of this community is disturbed by others who wish to learn the secret to their longevity for themselves, Maquia is forced to flee. She then finds a lonely infant while trying to escape war and decides to raise him as her own.

This is Okada’s directorial debut set in a fantasy realm and details themes of relationships between different species of people. It is a good recommendation for people who like adventures and conflicts set in fantasy worlds, similar to movies like Howl’s Moving Castle.

10. Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011)

Also known as Journey to Agartha, this movie is packed with adventure, action and romance. It takes place in an extremely well-designed world of fiction, contrary to his other directorial ventures like Your Name and Weathering With You. This fantasy film revolves around Asuna, a young girl who meets Shun from Agartha, and together they embark on an adventure to unravel a mystery.

The animation style is beautiful and a little reminiscent of Ghibli Studio. Add to that the adventure in the fantasy world and it gives you vibes very similar to Howl’s Moving Castle. If you are a Miyazaki fan and are looking for similar movies like Howl’s Moving Castle, then you should check this one out.

Honourable Mentions:

Here are a few anime movies like Howl’s Moving Castle that didn’t make the list, however be sure to check them out as well:

  1. My Neighbour Totoro
  2. Kiki’s Delivery Service
  3. Whisper of the Heart

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.

Lost

The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTu8iDynwNc

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLT3YUALJno&t=8s

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake


The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1hNAIzkQWY

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfWrECLnFYU

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwn9ou_nf-I

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan


The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JrNr85fPms

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnYsf2Yv8i8

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLeG0w3kL8k

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29bSzbqZ3xE

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V514ACIGp_k

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Y5YeYrqUk

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrwycJ08PSA

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward