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YMMV / Castle in the Sky

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is the General really having an Even Evil Has Standards moment when he tries to kill Muska after seeing him test fire Laputa's superlaser? Or did he just decide that Muska had outlived his usefulness?
  • Ass Pull: Both Sheeta and Pazu survive an entire castle-city falling on top of them! Even the giant tree is unscathed, not even its roots are torn or damaged by the falling debris and resulting chaos. Its even lamp-shaded by Sheeta, saying the tree is "protecting them".
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  • Awesome Music: The entire soundtrack, in both the original Japanese version and the longer, more extensive rescore for the Disney dub (can also count as Woolseyism). Both composed by Joe Hisaishi. Special mention goes to the main theme.
  • Complete Monster: Romuska Palo Ul/Ur Laputa, known as Colonel Muska, is a ruthless government secret agent who tried to take the flying city of Laputa by force, being actually a descendant of the Laputean monarchy just like Sheeta. Along the way, he commits many heinous crimes such as kidnapping Sheeta and Pazu, threatening to kill Pazu if Sheeta didn't give him the amulet that held the power to control Laputa. When he finally conquers Laputa, however, he becomes mad with power and proceeds to toss his own henchmen from the floating city, all while laughing about it, and intends to use the flying castle's power to wipe out everything in his way so that he can become ruler of the world. He also threatens to shoot Sheeta's ears off after she tried to convince him that the people left Laputa because it was uninhabitable, and when Pazu arrived on the scene, Muska threatens the lives of both children unless they surrendered the crystal back to him. Throughout the film, Muska showed manipulative and emotionally abusive tendencies, a sense of entitlement, greed, hunger for power, revulsion of "disgusting" natural wildlife that he wanted to have burned down, and a willingness to hurt or even kill children if it got him closer to what he wanted.
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  • Genius Bonus: The 1964 black comedy film Dr. Strangelove also contained a ragtag bunch of misfits in a plane trying to reach Laputa (in Russia) which was also the location of a Doomsday device, a comically-over-the-top choleric general, and a mad scientist with dark glasses who was hiding his allegience to a defunct evil empire behind an assumed name.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • I Liked It Better When It Sucked:
    • The first Spanish dub, which replaced "Laputa" with "Lapuntu" (as, famously, Laputa is a homophone for "the whore" in Spanish), was divisive enough at its time to grant a new dub keeping the original name years later. The problem? While the new dub retained the damn word and was more faithful to the original, it came with a completely different cast, which was instantly noted to be extremely poor both in cast choices and voice acting. The fans's reception for this new dub was so overwhelmingly negative that they soon switched to the old one and the Lapuntu controversy was pretty much forgotten.
    • Ironically, some people who disliked the Streamline dub initially switched opinions after hearing the Disney one! (Can count as Nostalgia Filter.)
  • Magnificent Bastard: Colonel Muska, at least before it's revealed how completely insane he is.
  • Memetic Mutation: Nico Nico Douga goers often use Muska walking around blinded, screaming "My eyes!" in their Stupid Statement Dance Mixes.
    • In fan art, Muska is seen to be able to do literally- freaking -anything.
    • Fountain of Memes: Muska is regarded as one of the most quotable anime villains - in Japan, at least. His line "Look! The people are like garbage!" (said while watching soldiers fall to their deaths) is a fan favorite.
    • "Balse!", the Spell of Destruction used by Sheeta and Pazu.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Muska causing the General and his men to fall to their deaths, followed by his straight up Evil Laugh as he tells them to "enjoy the ride." That is if threatening and attempting to kill Pazu didn't do it for you.
    • General Muoro and his lackeys showed their complete willingness to torture Sheeta to squeeze the secrets out of her and also tried to kill Pazu. Which also makes Muska's massacre of them a case of Kick the Son of a Bitch.
  • Narm: The older JAL dub, despite not being as loosely adapted as Disney's dub and making the leads younger, is still very much this. It really is hard to take seriously when the pirates and Uncle Pom sound like cartoon caricatures, and especially when Muska says "Now say bye-bye!" as he aims at Sheeta during the fateful showdown. (The latter moment, in particular, disrupts the tension with unintentional humor.) And this is supposed to be more "accurate" than the Disney version!
    • The JAL dub is also riddled with dialogue that sounds very unnatural and awkwardly written as well:
      • "I'm built as hard as a brick moppet, if moppets were made out of bricks!"
      • "How very dumb, these earthlings." "Not many shows better than THAT one!" "There's no WAAAAAY you can escAAAAAAAAPE!"
      • Rather bizarrely, a pirate says "just like in the movies!" in the JAL dub. This is line is both out of place with the rest of the film's atmosphere and isn't even in the original script.
    • Muska is kind of hard to take seriously as a villain when he looks like evil Elton John.
  • Signature Scene: Pazu's first encounter with Sheeta, with Sheeta slowly floating down towards him while unconscious, is the most well-known scene in the film.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • Whenever a character yells in the Japanese dub (Ex. Pazu), there's an audible echo to the line.
    • In both the JAL dub and the Japanese version, the scene with Pazu's boss fighting with the pirates, specific sound effects like a punches and the crowd's auditory reactions are eerily absent. The Disney dub, predictably, adds more chatter and crowd reactions to the scene, arguably making the situation more realistic. There are added in punch sound effects as well. (Complaints from purists caused Disney to dial back some of those added in lines, however, as well as the additional punches.)
    • The JAL dub, more embarrassingly, is devoid of any soldiers shouting during the scene where they are being chased in the climax by the robots. Both the Japanese version and the Disney dub clearly have walla sound effects (and in the latter, a longer, more drawn-out Evil Laugh from Muska echoing over the solders' screams).
  • Squick: Although the clumsy overtures of the Sky Pirates towards Sheeta once she dresses like a pirate are Actually Pretty Funny, it doesn't quite distract from the fact that we have a group of men, the oldest looking like they're well in their thirties, trying to court a girl of twelve or thirteen.
    • Granted, Sheeta is the only woman they've met apart from their mom, so it could be justified.
      • Their mother is a domineering, broody sort who has kept them all in a sort of perpetual boyhood: that doesn't make the crushes appropriate, but it does make them comprehensible.
    • Also, an important note: This relationship was apparently only true in the Disney Dub - In the original version, the pirates treated her more like a mother figure (though that doesn't stop one of them from bringing her flowers).
      • Buying a mother figure flowers isn't that weird - people do it all the time on mother's day.
  • Subbing vs. Dubbing: This is not the only Disney-Ghibli dub to receive such an atmosphere (Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro also qualify), but it seems as though viewers can't really seem to unanimously agree if the Disney dub is an entertaining experience in its own right, better than the Japanese in many ways, or even a watered down travesty of a great film. Purists strongly claim it is the latter (often stating that the Japanese version is the ONLY way you should watch the film, to a lesser extent the JAL English dub), but there are still many fans of the Disney dub. In an even more ironic case, when the now extinct Streamline dub was released, it too received a similar split reaction. But when Disney's dub was released, the atmosphere quickly changed for some into a They Changed It, Now It Sucks! attitude. Some still even resent the Disney version for replacing the older dub, period. All the more ironic because Carl Macek thought the original '80s dub didn't turn out so well.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • As mentioned, the '80s dub of Laputa wasn't well received upon its initial release, but when Disney's came along, many longtime fans of that version excoriated both the dub and rescore.
    • Purists loathed the new orchestral score and extra chatter in Disney's dub, to the point where Disney omitted both in home media releases post-2003. This ended up backfiring, as that created a camp of fans who were furious at Disney for removing them (even if others applaud Disney for trying to be more faithful). Ironically, removing the rescore has only caused some recent reviews to recognize its own greatness and lament its loss from the dub (e.g. Jacob Hope Chapman's review at Anime News Network).
      • That said, the Disney dub has since been reviewed more favorably and accepted, mostly by newer fans, and the sentiment only became greater once Joe Hisaishi's open preference of the orchestral soundtrack was made clear (he considered the 1986 score a rushed job, which explains its unusually sparse, synth-driven sound). Even better, Gkids has reissued the film with two English dub options, providing viewers with the opportunity to see Disney's dub with either the rescore, or the original.
    • The reaction elicited in Spain by the second dub, which was supposed to be an improvement over the old one because it kept the amusingly unfortunate word Laputa. The new voices of Pazu and Sheeta were panned for the strange feat of sounding both annoying and flat at the same time, and that goes without mentioning the rest of the cast.
  • Toy Ship: Obviously Pazu and Sheeta; there are lots of moments where we see them holding hands and/or hugging each other. They roll around in the grass together, tied together by a rope, arm around waist, for quite a while upon arriving in Laputa.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: The original "Laputa" was a floating island of idiot-savants, named for a vile Spanish epithet and intended as a scathing Take That! satire against scientists and British royalty. (The satire was so very dire that part of that chapter of Gulliver's Travels—in which Laputa went around dropping rocks on nations it didn't like—had to be censored on its original publication. When Isaac Asimov did an annotated version of the book, he was so nettled by it, centuries later, that he felt the need to spend much of a page in fine print coming to scientists' defense!) But the book was centuries old and in another language when it inspired Miyazaki to make his movie. Whether or not Miyazaki knew about the work's satirical origins, his version of "Laputa" was played straight as a place of higher science and learning—and he also titled his movie after that island's unfortunate name. (See Unfortunate Name on the main page.) Though oddly enough, whether intentionally or not, the "dropping rocks on nations it didn't like" thing made it (more or less) into Miyazaki's version as well.


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