For the next few weeks I’ll be watching all the Hayao Miyazaki films. Some again, some for the first time.

Castle in the Sky, 1986 — [subtitled]

This is probably the best first Miyazaki film for any newcomer.

I’m sad I didn’t see this when I was a kid. Because I utterly adore this film now. I can’t imagine what a splash of nostalgia would have done. It very well may have ended up my favorite film of all time.

Resurrected robots, giant airships, levitation stones, magical caves, flying islands, train chases, dastardly pirates, a ton of explosions, and a brilliant relationship between two fantastic characters. This film is an absolute must-see, a delightfully magical and wondrous film, perfectly paced from beginning to end, vast in imagination and splendor.

I fell in love with Pazu and Sheeta. Their pureness, innocence, of friendship makes any viewer ache with envy. They are the movie. And so is the wonderful cinematography, brilliant direction, and utterly fantastic animation; the film is simply gorgeous and truly a visual pleasure to watch.

One thing that really got me, what touched me, was the guardian robot, covered in moss, after 700 years, still lays flowers at the graves of great tree in honor of its creators. Not to mention, that it is now the caretaker/friend of a group of fox-squirrel (same as Teto from Nausicaä.)

The theme of ‘power and greed are bad’ is blunt and simplified. The main villain, Muska, embodies this, especially in contrast to Sheeta. Another theme is that any civilization can fall no matter how pure and wonderous. We don’t know why Laputa was abandon, there are hints to an ‘isolation from nature/earth being problematic’ but it’s never really explored. But I’m not sure it matters. The biggest theme here is friendship. We see an amazing friendship grow from our two leads. And we see villains become friends in the pirates. It’s heartwarming and uplifting. An utter joy to watch.

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy being transported.