Spirited Away is a classic Studio Ghibli movie that pretty much everyone knows and loves. I think it’s fair to say that when Hayao Miyazaki and Joe Hisaishi join forces, a beautiful masterpiece is guaranteed every time.
So the plot very briefly: Spirited Away follows a young, 10 year-old girl Chihiro (voiced by Rumi Hiiragi) on a journey to rescue her parents, who have been turned into giant pigs. Along the way she meets certain key characters, Yubaba (the main antagonist), Haku (the adorable love interest), Zeniba (the essentially identical but considerably nicer twin of Yubaba), No-Face, Boh and Yubaba’s Bird. After, a load of name taking/giving back, curse breaking and a surprising reveal of No-Face’s spinning talent, Haku takes her back to the now dry riverbed and vows to meet Chihiro again. There, she reunites with her now human parents (who don’t remember anything) and they go back to their car and drive away to their new home…
So. My thoughts.
Well, I fall in love with this movie every single time I watch it; there’s just something about Hayao Miyazaki’s plots and Joe Hisaishi’s composing that I feel really make the majority of Studio Ghibli’s works stand out from the crowd.
*The reason as to why I have rated it a 9.9/10 is mainly due to the fact that I don’t think I could ever rate something 10/10 for absolute perfection, simply because there is always room for improvement (despite how hard that is to believe in this case). However, the 0.1 is due to the voice acting of Chihiro in the dubbed version (the version I think the majority has seen) by Rumi Hiiragi. Overall, I think that she was fine, but considering how a lot of Chihiro’s lines are of her screaming/yelling, her voice does sometimes test my tolerance levels. But other than that, the Spirited Away is (and always will be) amazing.*
For me, Spirited Away is centred around having self-confidence and courage. At first, in the Bathhouse, we see vulnerable Chihiro as quite terrified and overwhelmed, but as the story progresses, through a series of mentally/physically challenging events (and the addition of a major crush), she manages to conquer her fears and transform into a fearless, strong-minded young girl.
This especially hits home when her dad says to Chihiro at the end:
“A new home and a new school; it is a bit scary.”
To which she replies:
“I think I can handle it.”
Having these lines to end the movie really gets to me every time. To be honest, I think it really sends out a truly positive message to anyone who watches it, that:
in order to be the best version of yourself, you have to find your inner courage and strength.
For me as an innocent 5 year old watching this for the first time, the only message I received was a deeply scarring memory of how screwed up and terrifying Yubaba was.
But aside from her creepiness, I think that this is an empowering movie for children (preferably over the ages of 5) and adults alike to relate and aspire to, even though such a fantastical series of events may never happen, but who knows…