Is Castle In The Sky Steampunk?

Is Castle In The Sky Steampunk? Let’s have a look at some of the key elements of the movie in order to decide whether it meets the criteria in order to be classified as steampunk or not. If not, does it fit into one of the other punk aesthetics? Let’s find out. 

Before we get into whether Castle In The Sky is steampunk or not, let’s look at what the film is about to get a flavor as to whether it is steampunk or not. 

Movie Title: Castle In The Sky

Studio: Studio Ghibli, Tokuma Shoten

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Story By: Jonathan Swift, Hayao Miyazaki

Release Date: July 19, 1991 (United States)

Main Actors: Mayumi Tanaka, Keiko Yokozawa, Kotoe Hatsui

Synopsis: A young boy stumbles into a mysterious girl who floats down from the sky. The girl, Sheeta, was chased by pirates, the army, and secret agents.

In saving her life, they begin a high-flying adventure that goes through all sorts of flying machines, eventually searching for Sheeta’s identity in a floating castle of a lost civilization.

What Makes a Movie Steampunk?

Before we answer the question, is Castle In The Sky steampunk? Let’s have a look at some of the key characteristics of a steampunk movie.

There are a number of elements that need to combine in order to classify a movie as steampunk. 

Check out our in depth guide as to what makes a movie steampunk for more information on this. Whether something fits into the steampunk genre or not is a topic that is always up for hot debate in the forums. 

As steampunk sadly never existed, there is no history to check the validity against, however, there is some faux pas that means that something is clearly not steampunk. 

Things such as this we would class as being ‘steampunk inspired’, i.e. they don’t traditionally conform to the steampunk genre, but they have taken elements from it to inspire them. 

As a quick recap, we’ve lined up our top 10 elements to look out for in a steampunk movie.

If you’re interested in learning more about steampunk, check out our article, ‘What is Steampunk?’, which will take you through the history, influences, fashions, gadgets and much more. 

Top 10 Things to Look Out for In a Steampunk Movie

  1. The Use of Steam – In steampunk, electricity has never been invented, everything is mechanical and powered by steam. This means that if you can see digital machinery in a movie, it isn’t traditional steampunk, therefore it may be classified as ‘steampunk inspires’  
  2. Steam Powered Vehicles – In steampunk movies, as with the above, you will only see vehicles powered by steam, cars, ships, and even submarines.
  3. Airships – Airships are popular within the steampunk genre – again, mechanically powered.  
  4. Set In Victorian Era or an Alternative History – Steampunk is set in either the Victorian Era (19th Century), or in an alternative, future, occasionally depicted as a ‘wild west’ setting. 
  5. The Clothing – Clothing can vary, but is normally focused on the fashions of Victorian England, or that of a colonial explorer. 
  6. Augmented Mechanical Humans – In steampunk, persons can normally be seen with mechanically replaced elements to their body, sometimes these are full replacements, other times, a mechanical exoskeleton.
  7. Gadgets & Gears – futuristic (mechanical) gadgets are common place in the steampunk genre. A personal favorite is a gun that mechanically springs from up a sleeve to the user’s hand, ready and poised for use. Gears can be seen throughout the steampunk genre, emphasizing the mechanical theme that is central to the aesthetic.  
  8. Time Travel – Time travel is no an essential component of steampunk, however, it can be seen in some steampunk works. Just remember that the time travel device needs to be mechanical and not digital/ electronic.
  9. The Paranormal – The paranormal is not traditional steampunk, however, the crossover between the genres is common. The villain in steampunk is normally a man made creation as opposed to being a mythical creature, demon, vampire, etc. 
  10. Advanced Technology – Technology that is advanced for its time is a standard theme throughout steampunk. The technology must be mechanical in nature, such as the analog computer.

If you’re interested in steampunk movies, why not check out our guide to the best steampunk movies, and see if you can find a new favorite?

So, let’s take a look, is Castle In The Sky steampunk?

What Elements of Castle In The Sky Are Steampunk?

The aesthetic of the film is definitely in the steampunk genre. The level of detail which has gone into ever cell is phenomenally detailed.

The film is set in a vaguely European, Edwardian milieu, alternative history.

There are beautifully crafted airships, steam-powered mining equipment, and retro-futuristic robots, all of which are in keeping with what is communally associated with the steampunk genre.

Pazu lives in a mining town, which is very inductirial, weaving back to the industrial revolution, which is often the setting for steampunk movies, and books.

There are political undertones, warning of the dangers of putting destructive technology in the hands of the wrong people.

What Elements of Castle In The Sky Are NOT Steampunk?

Lupta, the castle, has been constructed by engineers who had mastered, and harness, the power of Ethereum, a mystical power source found deep inside the Earth. It glows bright and can make things fly.

Although this isn’t steam powered, it’s an alternative energy source.

So, Overall Is Castle In The Sky Steampunk?

Yes, Lupta, Castle In The Sky is most definitely in the steampunk genre. This can be see with the amazing vehicles, the robots, and the general aesthetics seen in the movie. If you haven’t watched it, it’s definitely one to add to your list.

What are your thoughts? Is Castle In The Sky steampunk, are there any elements that we have missed that you think we should have picked up? Let us know in the comments below what your opinion is and why.

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