Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes #8: Castle in the Sky

As with any great storytelling, music plays a huge role in a lot of the appeal of Japanese animated features.  More than anyone, I think that Hayao Miyazaki’s understands the power of a good musical score.

The man who Miyazaki trusts with that job is Joe Hisaishi, who has done the composition work for all of Miyazaki’s films except one.  Basically, these two are the  Steven Spielberg and John Williams of Japan’s anime film industry.  Hisaishi’s work with Miyazaki began in 1984, and was the big break to his overwhelming success as a film composer.

Hisaishi has a buttload of work under his belt, including upwards of 82 music soundtracks, but today I’m going to narrow it down to just one track from 1986.

Castle in the Sky

If you weren’t already aware, Studio Ghibli Fest is currently running, which involves six classic Miyazaki films returning to the big screen for a limited engagement.  This month was Laputa: Castle in the Sky (shortened to Castle in the Sky for western distribution, since “la puta” is Spanish for, “whore”.  That would’ve made for a very different film).


If you haven’t seen Castle in the Sky before, it follows an orphan named Sheeta who, in her attempt to escape a gang of air pirates as well as her kidnappers, falls from a military air ship.  Thanks to the magic crystal hanging around her neck, Sheeta floats safely down into the arms of Pazu, a fellow orphan.  The two join forces in order to protect Sheeta from those hunting her for her necklace, and to find the lost floating city of Laputa.

In a Japanese poll taken in 2007 concerning the top 100 animated films, Castle in the Sky placed third, and on Rotten Tomatoes it currently holds a 95% Fresh rating.  It’s a freaking fantastic movie.

Castle in the Sky was released back into theatres for only August 27 and 28.  Thus, what just-so-happens to be my favorite Miyazaki filmed landed right around my birthday, which was, of course, it was divine work right there.  (Meant to be.)


I went to see the film last night as a birthday date with Bradley and it was the greatest experience ever.  Not only do I love the plot and characters of Castle in the Sky, the music literally had me crying in joy as I sat in my theatre seat, inhaling my giant tub of popcorn yesterday evening.  Seriously, I’m not joking, I was crying like a baby.

The music of this film is incredible.  If you’ve yet to really experience Joe Hisaishi’s work, Castle in the Sky is a great place to start your obsession.  Hisaishi is known for a distinctive style that combines a lot of genres in a very beautiful way, and “The Girl Who Fell from the Sky” is the most gorgeous example of that.


“The Girl Who Fell from the Sky” is widely considered as Castle in the Sky‘s theme, and is a soaring piece filled with beautiful strings.  It encompasses the beautiful imagery of the film as well as the fantastical story of Sheeta and Pazu’s adventure to find Laputa.

Everything about is just so epic and so demonstrative of Hisaishi’s music prowess that it had to be shared.  Seriously, the end crescendo will give you chills.

What’s your favorite Miyazaki film?


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