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Hayao Miyazaki, Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
Hayao Miyazaki, Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Studio Ghibli celebrates the holidays with a cosy Calcifer Yule log

The iconic fire demon from Hayao Miyazaki’s 2004 film Howl’s Moving Castle returns via HBO Max

In 2020, Studio Ghibli made its entire back catalogue available to stream in the US via HBO Max. Now, the iconic animation studio has shared a new, festive treat for fans via the streaming service.

Cast your mind back to Hayao Miyazaki’s 2004 film Howl’s Moving Castle, and you might remember the sassy fire demon named Calcifer (voiced by Tatsuya Gashuin in Japan, and Billy Crystal in the English dub), who fuels the massive walking castle and helps cook hearty meals for its inhabitants. 

If you were left wanting your very own fire demon after watching the film, then you’re in luck, because Ghibli has shared a Calcifer-themed Yule log to crackle away in your living room. The cosy, 30-minute clip joins the rest of the Studio Ghibli library on HBO Max just in time for the holidays.

In February this year, the studio’s latest feature-length project, Goro Miyazaki’s polarising full-CGI film Earwig and the Witch, also premiered on HBO Max. The same month, it was confirmed that Hayao Miyazaki is coming out of retirement to make one last film, titled How Do You Live?.

Questioned on why he wanted to return to make another film in a rare interview with the New York Times last month, the legendary director simply replied: “Because I wanted to.”

Though details on How Do You Live? are still scarce, producer and Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki describes it as “fantasy on a grand scale”. Noting the titular question, Miyazaki adds: “I am making this movie because I do not have the answer.”

Elsewhere, Ghibli is still working on its large-scale, IRL theme park in Japan (which, incidentally, is set to include a large replica of Howl’s castle). In the meantime, you can invite Ghibli into your home with the Calcifer Yule log via HBO Max.

Revisit a scene from Howl’s Moving Castle, in which Calcifer helps prepare breakfast for Howl, Sophie, and Markl, below.