Howl film

M Elizabeth Parks meparks at
Wed Aug 22 01:11:35 EDT 2001

now I'm wondering how precisely Howl learned the language of Ingary, which
I had sort of assumed to be English, as the book is written in English,
Ingary sounds sort of like England, and other places in the books seem to
parallel other places here (I can't remember if anything is said about
Abdullah and Flower in the Night speaking a different language in Castle,
and all the princesses understood each other, didn't they?  Unfortunately,
I don't have a copy, so I can't check).  Only as I think about it, I come
to the conclusion that it's not English, exactly, but it is given in
English as a whole, with the characters speaking in the same language that
the narration is given in.  Which is why I can see the whole thing
happening quite easily completely in Japanese.  I can't see Ingary looking
like Japan, but as someone (sorry!) mentioned, Miyazaki has been known to
have European-y settings, like in Kiki's Delivery Service.  As for Howl
having a Welsh accent--I sincerely doubt that will work in Japanese--can
you imagine Japanese with a Welsh accent?  I think that, in anime, the
most common accent you hear is the Osaka dialect, usually spoken by men
who are sort of, well, rough, or manly (Tasuki from Fushigi Yugi,
anyone?).  And my friend who speaks Japanese vocalizes u's that are often
silent, which is also a dialect thing, but I can't remember where from.  I
guess what I think is this--if everyone in the Ingary universe understands
each other, or if Howl learned the language there by magic (but Sophie
understands when he's speaking English to the people there. . . .), he
could get away with not having an accent.  It'd be nice to have a Welsh
actor do his voice in the English-speaking version, but the only actors I
can think of who I know are from Wales are Rhys Ifans (is that his
name?  The roommate from Notting Hill?) and Catherine Zeta-Jones.  I think
I'll be okay as long as they don't, during the Americanization process
(yeah, Disney!) make Howl from Brooklyn or something, just for. . . just
because they're Disney.

. . . I'm also curious as to how Miyazaki picked Howl to make into a
movie, and what kind of changes he might make. . . and I'll have to wait a
few years to find out, won't I?


Lizzie, who loves anything animated.  Except Pokemon.


On Tue, 21 Aug 2001, Hallie O'Donovan wrote:

> Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2001 19:38:35 +0100
> From: Hallie O'Donovan <hallieod at>
> Reply-To: dwj at
> To: dwj at
> Subject: Re: Howl film
> Fiona wrote:
> >Perhaps I'm a purist but I don't want Japanese, American or English. Howl is
> >*Welsh*, I think he should be played by a Welsh actor. Regrettably I doubt
> >they'll do that, despite there being a number of actors capable of fitting
> >the bill.
> >
> >It doesn't really matter to me who voices Sophie or Calcifer, Ingary after
> >all is it's own place but Howl is Welsh and I'd be disappointed if the story
> >was altered to facilitate the voice of a foreign actor
> Funny, I'd never thought about it until you wrote this, and then had 
> to go check.  Sophie never says anything that I could find about 
> Howl's having an accent.  When they go to Wales he talks in a foreign 
> language, which she recognises as probably being the same as The 
> Saucepan Song, but nothing else.  I'm far from being an expert (Ania 
> will be here tonight and can correct me), but everyone I've heard 
> from Wales had a really noticable accent - rather like a Cork or 
> Kerry accent here.  You'd never fail to notice one of them.  But the 
> absence of comment about this in the book made me wonder what DWJ 
> would choose for Howl's accent, if she had free rein.
> Hallie.
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