Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (2001)

Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi

  • Spirited Away
  • by Hayao Miyazaki
  • Studio Ghibli

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Chihiro is a 10 years young girl with a stubborn and naive personality. On their way to their new house, her parents discover an abandoned amusement park, but Chihiro is not thrilled by the find. However, she dares to go inside and observes how a lot of strange things are happening just as the dusk starts to fall. Surreal stuff such as the apparition of ghosts and the sudden transformation of her parents into pigs brings Chihiro to the world of the spirits. She is trapped and forced to work and live with those spirits. One day, she meets a nice boy named Haku who seems to have the intention to help her.

The anime movie has a fascinating and easy-to-follow story: a young girl filled with many fears who has to get the courage to save her parents. A journey where she has to fight along to survive. The idea is very creative and amazing including many suspenses: The audience gets absorbed into the story from the beginning. The whole movie is an adventure and it feels like a dream where many surreal and unthinkable things happen.

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The main and obvious aspect are the fantasy and supernatural. Spirits of different kinds and many magic elements are the main part of the movie. Chihiro enters another and magical world which is reigned by a bad and fearful sorceress named Yubaba. Chihiro has to work in an ‘onsen’, where many Gods are taking baths. Gods and creatures have different forms such as dragons, flying ‘bird’ papers and the six armed old man named Kamaji. All these supernatural creatures do not even seem strange, in contrast they really fit into the movie.

‘Spirited Away’ has amazing characters especially Chihiro and Haku are very lovely. Both show a quite good character development throughout the movie. For instance, Chihiro used to be filled with many fears but afterwards she has gained more confidence. Another interesting aspect is that all characters seem to have both sides: an evil and a good one. Perfect examples are Kaonashi (No-Face) and Haku. Even Yubaba has both sides: she created a world where she has made all the rules reminding of a utopian city. However, she also has a more softer side especially towards her little baby. Spoiler Alert: Kaonashi is a really interesting creature/character. He is very lonely and seems to not have any emotions, therefore he eats people to gain and absorb their emotions and feelings.

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A further important element in the movie are the emotions which include fun, touching and sometimes scary. The fact that Chihiro is filled with many fears, one has the intention to feel with her and suffer as well. A further emotion is love, also parents love. Chihiro does everything to get her parents back. She has a very kind heart, she helps everyone even ‘Kaonashi’ and seems to even forgive him. Even creatures seem to show some kindness especially towards Chihiro. Firstly they act dissuasive against her, but during the end, some creatures such as Kamaji offers her his help.

One can say that ‘Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi’ contains an important message especially when it comes to greed. In fact, the movie perfectly shows that the act of greed will be punished. The best examples are Chihiro’s parents who ate as much food as they can without paying for it. Another example are the citizens of the magic world of the spirits: their enormous greed for gold makes Kaonashi to eat them. Indeed, Chihiro is the only one who does not want the gold and is therefore spared.

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The art and animation of the movie are stunning. It is very well drawn with many beautiful environment and nature elements. In fact everything is perfect which means there is nothing to complain about as one is used to Studio Ghibli works. We really like the beautiful coloring and the usage of the dark/black spirits makes the movie darker and scarier. One can really speak of a fluid successful animation. We are also very fond of the spirited world (Yubaba’s world).

All in all, ‘Spirited Away’ is one of the best Studio Ghibli movies we have seen so far. Including all these suspenses, one does not feel that it takes more than two hours. The movie is praised with many good critics and we really have to say that it definitely deserves them. It even got many accolades such as Japan Academy Awards, Tokyo Anime Awards and even an Academy Award. We totally recommend it because it is an anime movie which you must have seen. To conclude in one word: Masterpiece!

 

Cheers,

MikaYuu Hyakuya

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