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Laputa: Castle in the Sky

A zeppelin-like airship flies through the clouds at night. On board are Sheeta and Muska. The latter is a government agent who has kidnapped Sheeta and taken a powerful family heirloom of hers, a necklace made of pure Aetherium. Suddenly, the ship is attacked by Dola and her gang of pirates, which coincedentally are her sons. In the confusion, Sheeta manages to knock out her captor and reclaim her crystal. In order to escape the pirates who have gotten wind of her amulet, she goes through a window and grabs the outer walls of the ship. She is unable to keep her grip and she falls to what appears at first to be her doom. However, while unconscious her amulet emits a bright blue glow and she goes from a free-fall to a float.

In a small mining town below, a boy called Pazu is working very late. While returning to the mine with a meal for his boss, he sees Sheeta slowly descending from the sky. She falls straight to the head of the mine excavation and Pazu rushes to catch her. To his surprise, she appears to have no weight… that is until the stone stops glowing and she almost drags them both down into the shaft. Narrowly he catches the girl and decides to bring her back home.

The next morning, Sheeta is awakened by the sound of Pazu playing the trumpet on the roof. After she awakens, Pazu asks to see the stone, inquiring about its mystical properties of which Sheeta has no recollection of. When he tries to test the levitation himself, he falls head first through the roof below but gets up without a scratch.

In the house, Sheeta notices a photograph of the legendary Castle of Laputa. The picture was taken by Pazu’s father, an explorer who snapped the photo during a harsh storm. Upon his return, nobody believed his discovery of the floating castle and he died in poverty. Pazu wants to prove his father’s honor and honesty so he has been working on a small ornithopter which should allow him to rediscover Laputa. Unfortunately, it does not take much time for pirates to trace Sheeta to where she landed. With the help of the villagers, Pazu and Sheeta manage to escape and board a train. Dola, having gathered her sons, was right on their heels. The hijacking of the ship did not go unnoticed and soon large military reinforcements were on their way: Muska and his men began to pursue two children. In order to escape the military force in front of them and the pirates on the track behind them, they take a turn and the two of them run across a third route. During this escape, the rail collapses and Pazu and Sheeta fall with the ruins into the darkness of the canyon below. But once again the stone takes action and the pirates and military look on in awe as the children float down quietly and out of their reach.

The two kids descend into an old mine and meet Uncle Pom, an eccentric old miner. Pom explains that he lives in the mines to escape the hustle and bustle of the outside world. When faced with the question of loneliness, he answers that he listens to the rocks. Pazu puts out his light and the cavern they are in lights up with the same blue glow that Sheeta’s necklace emits. The rocks contain Aetherium, a rare element that could only be refined by Laputan technology that was lost ages ago. At this moment Sheeta realizes that her pendant shines even more brightly then the other stones and we discover it is made of pure Aetherium. Pom says that only the people of Laputa knew how to create such crystals, which is what enabled them to build their massive floating fortress. Pazu is overjoyed as he is now certain Laputa exists.

When the children leave the mine, Sheeta tells Pazu her true name: Lusheeta Toel-ul Laputa, which shows she may have some connections with Laputa. They are then captured by Muska and his men. They are taken to a military base on the coast, the famous fortress of Tedis. Pazu is enclosed in a dank and cold tower, whereas Sheeta is escorted into a lavishly decorated room. At the fort, General Muoro, who leads the Army of the nation and wants to plunder Laputa’s riches, urges Muska to interrogate Sheeta instead. Sheeta is then taken by Muska to a room where a massive and broken robot is kept. Muska explains that this robot fell out of the sky and is almost certainly Laputan. The amulet Sheeta wears matches to an emblem on the soldier.

According to Muska, the amulet can show the way to Laputa, but it requires a spell which only Sheeta knows; however Sheeta insists she doesn’t know such a spell. Muska then reveals that he knows Sheeta’s true name, and explains that she is the direct heir to the throne of Laputa. In an effort to discover the spell, Muska threatens to kill Pazu She gave in and tells Pazu to stop searching for Laputa and go home. Shocked, Pazu leaves the fortress with three gold coins given to him by Muska, in “recognition of his services”. Pazu arrives home at nightfall where he is greeted by Dola and her sons, who have infiltrated the house. After being tied up and questioned, Pazu is told by Dola that Sheeta was forced to tell him this in an effort to protect him. She also stresses that once Muska has what he wants from her, he will most likely kill her. They managed to intercept a military coded message which called for the battle cruiser Goliath to be taken to the fort and that Sheeta will depart by dawn. The pirates decide to leave as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, in her room, Sheeta recites a charm that she had learned from her grandmother as a child. In response to these words, the stone begins to emit mysterious rays. These rays awoke the robot from his slumber and it begins to cause significant damage to the fortress, while trying to locate Sheeta. Back in his home, Pazu asks to join Dora and her group to save Sheeta. Dora accepts and they immediately fly to the fortress of Tedis.

There, all attempts to stop the robot have failed. The carnage continued as the robot noticed Sheeta and attempts to reach her. A frightened Sheeta ran to the top of a tower. The stone began shining and emits a light beam toward the sky, that Muska interpreted as the direction to find Laputa. Muska terminated the communication between Goliath, on which General Muoro is abroad, and the Fortress. Assuming emergency control, Muska ordered the Fort defenses to target the robot and avoid hitting Sheeta.

Sheeta is ‘cornered’ by the robot but then discovers that the robot is friendly to her. The Fort defenses, however, fired a large projectile, denting the robot’s armor. The robot is temporarily disabled, and the blast knocked Sheeta’s amulet off of the tower. The soldiers thought they had succeeded and attempted to grab Sheeta. The robot reactivates, to the shock of the soldiers, as it retaliates against the fortress.

Shocked by the carnage, Sheeta tried to stop it by covering its head. The robot then moves Sheeta away from it before being destroyed byGoliath. Pazu and Dora, arriving in the flapter, attempts to snatch Sheeta amidst the flames. The pirates escaped with some difficulty, however unharmed. The amulet pointing to Laputa, however, went into the possession of Muska..

Sheeta and Pazu, aboard one of the flaptops, return to the pirate’s ship, the Tiger Moth. Through calm observation, Sheeta deduces that the amulet had pointed near due east and the ship routes eastward, accelerated by the trade winds. Dola assigns the two as cook and engineer assistant respectively. Soon, the pirates begin to take a liking to them.

At night, Sheeta expresses her concerns to Pazu. In fact, she does not want to go to Laputa. She is afraid of the power of the stone and wished they never find Laputa. Pazu thinks that with the advancement of airship technology and engineering, Laputa will be discovered, sooner or later. Sheeta recalls that she had learned a large amount of spells in her youth, including one destruction spell she should never use.

Suddenly, Pazu sees the silhouette of Goliath. The crew is awakened and the Tiger Moth dives into the clouds to avoid confrontation. Sheeta and Pazu is instructed to use the glider that is part of the post to watch for Goliath. Pazu tells Dola that they are headed into a gigantic cloud system, which Pazu later recognizes as the Dragon’s lair, the cloud in which lies Laputa, which his father had discovered.

Goliath suddenly appears and attacks Tiger Moth. The wire connecting the glider and Tiger Moth is broken as a result, Sheeta and Pazu are dragged into the cloud system consequently. Pazu attempted to steer the glider with limited success. The clouds, however, begin to dissipate and they successfully reached Laputa, crashing on a floating pedestal.

They cannot find any person on the ruins. Pazu and Sheeta are then greeted by a lonely robot gardener. They follow the robot to discover a tombstone in the central garden. Suddenly, there was an explosion. It turns out the Goliath has landed on the other side and its soldiers are plundering the riches. Pazu and Sheeta sees that Dola and her son were captured. Trying to rescue them, the two are seen by Muska and his men. Sheeta is quickly captured and taken inside a hidden passageway. Meanwhile, Pazu frees the pirates and Dora gave him a gun and two cartridges to help rescue Sheeta. Pazu begins climbing the vines that lead to the centre of Laputa

Muska arrives at the palace and control centre of Laputa, which contains a giant Aetherium crystal that keeps Laputa afloat. Muska is revealed to really be Romuska Palo-ul Laputa, and is the descendent of one branch of the Laputan royal family.

Muska gains control of the island by using the amulet on a Black Stone Tablet, on which Laputan symbols are engraved. Meanwhile an enraged General Muoro attempts to break into the control centre with explosives, because Muska has destroyed all radio equipment on Goliath. He then tells General Muoro and his men to go inside the control centre, opening a hole for them. It turns out to be an observation deck and a hologram of Muska, Sheeta and the Black Stone Tablet descends. Muska demonstrates the power of Laputa with an explosion of undescribable proportions conducted in the ocean below. The General tries to kill Muska, who calls himself King of Laputa, but fails due to it being only a hologram. Muska then removes the floor of the deck, causing the General and numerous soldiers to fall from Laputa. A large amount of robots are released as the soldiers attempt to escape, and the soldiers quickly board the Goliath and steer it away. While the pirates managed to remain undetected hiding in the ruins of Tiger Moth, aboard the flaptors. Pazu manages to get into one of the openings in which a large amount of robots are stored, as Muska releases them, the robots destroy Goliath and Pazu gets into the palace via the opening, using 1 of the cartridges in the process. Sheeta is disturbed by Muska’s actions and steals the amulet. She then runs in the palace attempting to avoid the following Muska.

Pazu and Sheeta found each other by voice, albeit separated by a wall with only a tiny hole in it. Out of desperation, Sheeta passes the amulet through the small gap and askes him to get rid of it. Muska arrives and shoots Pazu, but misses. Pazu uses his last cartridge to widen the hole and squeeze through it, following Sheeta and Muska.

Arriving in the throne room, Sheeta realizes she is trapped. Muska arrives and orders her to surrender. Sheeta realizes that the reason Laputa was abandoned was that it was detached from Earth, where the humans originated. Muska refuses to believe and shot her hair, stating that Laputa will rebirth from then on. Pazu arrives just before Muska shoots Sheeta’s ears and said Muska will never have the amulet back if he hurts Sheeta.

Given three minutes to talk privately, Pazu convinces Sheeta to teach him the spell of destruction. The two hold their hands and uttered the spell of destruction. The amulet emits extraordinary light and flings the two deep into the roots. The light temporarily blinds Muska and the giant Aetherium crystal is freed. Dola and the pirates witness the destruction and are forced to escape on their flaptors. The foundations of the palace begin to crumble and fall into the sea, bringing with them a large portion of the ruins of the city above. The pirates thought the two are dead, instead the two are saved by the roots. They find the glider, also stuck in the roots, and escape from Laputa. The giant Aetherium crystal is stuck in the roots and causes the remaining parts of Laputa along with the tree to rise to high orbit above Earth.

The pirates spot the glider and the two and pulls them towards their flaptors. They are overjoyed to see them alive. It is also revealed they had managed to grab some of the riches of Laputa before it fell to Earth and flew above the skies. Seeing land, the two says goodbye to the pirates for the last time and glides towards it.

Info & Credits

Title Laputa: Castle in the Sky
Japanese Title 天空の城ラピュタ
Japanese Title Tenkuu no Shiro Rapyuta
Release Date 1986
Rated PG
Duration 2 hr 4 min

The characters

image001 Sheeta
A 13-year-old farm girl. Sheeta’s parents and grandmother died before the movie started, making her an orphan, just like Pazu. She has been chased by the government and the Dola gang due to her crystal necklace, which she always wears around her neck after her mother gave it to her shortly before her death. She is brave, compassionate, and smart. Since she’s a farmer, she knows all about the sun, earth, and animals.
image002 Pazu
A 13-year-old miner. Pazu is an orphan. He now works for Boss in a metal mine. He owns his own house and cares for a flock of pigeons. He loves flying as much as his father, and his dream is to build his own plane and find Laputa to prove his father’s story is true. Pazu is kind and hardworking, although a little headstrong. He is also a skilled mechanic.
 image003 Dola
Dola is the head of the Dola air pirate gang and the mother of 3 of its members: Charles, Lui, and Henri. She has a solid command of her gang and is an excellent leader. She knows all the secret military codes and uses them to intercept government messages and use them to her advantage. She stays calm in emergencies, sees through plots, and is a decent fighter, despite her age.
 image004 Colonel Muska
The government’s secret agent and General Muoro’s superior. Colonel Muska is cunning and persuasive. He is in charge of the government’s search for Laputa. He has a breadth of knowledge about Laputa and its secrets. He is after Sheeta’s crystal because he thinks it can direct him to Laputa’s location and its treasures. He dislikes anyone who can’t serve him somehow.
image005 Uncle Pomme
Uncle Pomme is a miner who wanders the abandoned mining caves. He has been around for a long time and knows about the nature of Sheeta’s crystal. He also knows legends about Laputa. He is nearly blind.
image006 General Muoro
The commander of the government’s army in the location of the story. General Muoro is loud, commanding, and reckless. He uses the brute-force approach to problems. He hates Colonel Muska, but must follow his orders.
image007 Mr. Duffi
Pazu’s boss has become sort of a father figure for Pazu since Pazu’s real father died. He manages the boiler in the mines which melts whatever ore the rest of the miners find. He is slightly strict but he cares for Pazu and helps him out whenever he’s in a tight spot.
image008 Okami (Mrs. Duffi)
As Boss has become a father figure to Pazu, Boss’ wife has become his mother figure. She is more rational than her husband.
image009 Dola Gang Mechanic
Dola’s mechanic is a long-time friend of Dola’s. He keeps Dola’s flagship, the Tiger Moth, in working order. He has grown attached to the ship from working on it for years.
image010 Charles (Dola’s 1st Son)
Dola’s three sons are all good fighters, but are also silly and dim-witted. Charles is the most intelligent of the three (which isn’t saying much), and is a sort of leader among them.
image011 Lui (Dola’s 2nd Son)
Lui is Dola’s strongest son. He likes to stretch his shirt with his muscles until it breaks.
image012 Henri (Dola’s 3rd Son)
Henri, Dola’s third son, is something of a wisecracker. He jokes about their situation from time to time.
image013 Laputa Robot
This particular Laputian robot fell from the sky several years ago. It broke into pieces and stopped working. It now lays in General Muoro’s fortress.
image014 Pazu’s Father
Pazu’s father died a long time before the movie started. He had a passion for flying and airplanes. In one of his trips, he saw Laputa, the flying island, and took a single picture of it. Despite the picture, no one believed him, which, according to Pazu, caused his death.
image015 Sheeta’s Grandma
Sheeta’s grandmother had an intricate knowledge of Sheeta’s crystal and how it works. She taught Sheeta secrets about it, but Sheeta thought her grandmother was just making things up.
image016 Train Operator
The train operator is a personal friend of Pazu. He operates his train in Pazu’s town. He likes adventure.
image017 Muska’s Sidekicks
Colonel Muska’s two closest companions. They both wear black coats, black bowler hats, and dark sunglasses. They rarely speak.

Production Credits


Director Hayao Miyazaki
Screenplay Hayao Miyazaki
Producer Isao Takahata
Executive Producer Yasuyoshi Tokuma
Associate Executive Producer Hideo OgataTatsumi Yamashita
Original Music Joe Hisaishi
Art Director Toshio NozakiNizou Yamamoto
Film Editor Yoshihiro KasaharaHayao MiyazakiTakeshi Seyama
Production Management Toru Hara
English Translator John Semper

Voice Casting

Character English Japanese
Sheeta Anna Paquin Keiko Yokozawa
Pazu James Van Der Beek Mayumi Tanaka
Dora Cloris Leachman Kotoe Hatsui
Musca Mark Hamill Minori Terada
Grandpa Pomu Richard A. Dysart Fujio Tokita
General Mouro Jim Cummings Ichirô Nagai
Oyakata Duffi John Hostetter Hiroshi Ito
Okami Duffi ??? Machiko Washio
Charles (Shalulu) Michael McShane Takumi Kamiyama
Henri (Anli) Andy Dick Sukekiyo Kameyama
Louis (Lui) Mandy Patinkin Yoshito Yasuhara
Madge Duffi ??? Tarako
Underling ??? Eken MineMasashi Sugawara
Train Operator Matthew K. Miller Ryuuji Saikachi
Narrator Peter Fernandez ???

Laputa: Castle in the Sky Trailer

Screenshots from the movie





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