Title: Castle in the Sky (天空の城ラピュタ)
Released: 1986

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Class Superlative: The Ambitious Trendsetter, Redux

In a Land of Pure Imagination

The title says it all! Or, OK — backtrack. The story starts with a young girl named Sheeta falling from the sky. She’s in possession of a crystal amulet that both the military (under Colonel Muska) and sky pirates (led by Captain Dola) are both after. And hey, it’s a crystal plotline that doesn’t suck! (Hint hintSecret Circle.*)

Anyway, Sheeta also befriends a boy named Pazu; together, they’re on a quest to find the legendary Laputa, aka the castle in the sky, and they must keep the crystal from falling into the wrong hands.

*I will never stop contriving ways to bring up the terribleness of that show.

Adorable Child Alert

There were some cute kid villagers, but no standouts.

Lovable Anthropomorphic Sidekick

The robots! They’re totally the precursor of The Iron Giant.

Wait, WTF?

I submit this moment, without commentary.

Another thing that weirded me was how the henchmen — grown-ass men — were, like, in love with Sheeta. She’s a cool chick and all, but she’s supposed to be a pre-teen in the original Japanese version, Humberts.  

Castle in the Sky also endured a lot of behind-the-scenes shenanigans (so says Wiki, anyway). I’m pretty sure I watched the 2010 re-release, thankfully. 

Famous Voices

Class Superlative: The Ambitious Trendsetter, Redux

Actual start of Studio Ghibli now! Castle in the Sky touches on some similar themes as Nausicaä, but they’re still completely different entities. Sheeta and Pazu are just ordinary kids in extraordinary circumstances. (Well, as ordinary as a girl who fell from the sky and the boy that found her can be, at least.) And she’s not a grandma, but Dola has all the makings of a kickass gram! Castle in the Sky is a lot of fun, but it also has a sneaky amount of depth. It’s easy to see how Studio Ghibli had captured the audience’s imagination right from the start. 

Exploring the Studio Ghibli Vault


Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.