'Howl's Moving Castle' by Hayao Miyazaki
Japan Today reposts that Howl's Moving Castle' sets 2-day box-office record (1.48 billion yen in box-office revenue and an audience of 1.1 million people), a record for a domestic film.
Hayao Miyazaki is best know in North American for his film "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi" (Spirited Away) in 2001. Looks like the Japanese region DVD will be out January 19, 2005. No current Northern America distribution date for the cinemas.
Here's the offical website, (Japanese) : http://www.howl-movie.com/ and a (english) review from The Japan Times.
Sophie Hatter, the eldest of three, is apprenticed to make hats for the people of Ingary, a place where spells, magic cloaks, and seven-league boots exist. She and all the young girls are warned to stay inside or be taken by Howl, the evil wizard whose black castle can be seen moving through the hills. After an encounter with a witch and with a spell cast on her to make her an old woman, Sophie goes to seek adventure. She heads towards Howl's moving castle where she will encounter things she had never imagined.
update : The Animated Life, Hayao Miyazaki, (Howl's Moving Castle' & Spirited Away ) in The New Yorker, Jan 16 2005