Not sure if I'd seen this one by Japanese animation superstar Hayao Miyazaki. Based on a book by British author Diana Wynne Jones, the story is set in a world of magical realism on a backdrop of war (think 20th century coal-powered machinery but also magic), and follows young hatter Sophie as she is turned into an old lady and crosses the path of a wizard named Howl (Hauru in the Japanese version).

I really liked the animation and story although they've both aged a bit, but what set this apart was the lightness of the plot, that didn't take itself very seriously. I haven't read the book but it seems that it errs more on the sober side—for example Calcifer is a fearsome demon—whereas the film is playful, almost silly—Calcifer is a likeable demon with a high-pitched voice.

The music was great and I'm looking forward to maybe recognizing a couple of pieces at the Miyazaki film scores concert that we're going to on Saturday!

I really want to (re-)watch the rest of Miyazaki's films! And others in the Studio Ghibli canon. There's quite a few so maybe chronological order is the way to go, or starting with films listed on this Vox article.