Howl's Moving Castle - Image Symphonic Suite
International Title
 Howl's Moving Castle
Music By: Joe Hisaishi
Record Label: Tokuma Japan Communications
Running Time: 48:49 Discs: 1
Release: January 2004 CD Number: TKCA-72620
Anthony Romero
I will make it no secret that I don't tend to care for Image Albums. For those unfamiliar with these types of releases, in layman's terms they could be called outtakes, as they are created from the storyboards and a lot of these early takes are either changed or dropped altogether. In general, they seem like very simplistic and much less interesting versions of what ends up in the final product. However, this disc is definitely an exception to the norm. I have heard five Image albums to date, and Joe Hisaishi's work on the early scoring for Howl's Moving Castle is far and away the best. The greatest aspect of this release is that Hisaishi had a good size orchestra to bring this early scoring to life. The ending result is a much more fleshed out effort, sounding more akin to a final score then what one has come to expect from earlier Image Albums. A couple of these themes sound dramatically different in parts from anything used in the film, such as "Mysterious World" and "The Secret Garden", yet the arrangement still feels like it would have made a natural addition to the final score and really works wonders as a stand alone experience.

To be blunt, though, this CD still doesn't compare with the final score. If it's a choice between this and the full soundtrack, the choice should be obvious. However, if one truly enjoyed the score for the film, than the Image Album is more than worth checking out for its slightly different take on the production's wonderful themes and the interesting portions which didn't end up getting used.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. Mysterious World
  2. The Magician of the Moving Castle
  3. Sophie's Tomorrow
  4. Boy
  5. Moving Castle
  6. War, War, War
  7. The Magician's Waltz
  8. The Secret Garden
  9. Temptation of Dawn
  10. Cave of Mind