This is the most popular Ghibli movie, along with My Neighbour Totoro, and I was wondering if I would also love it. I didn’t want to follow the crowd, I like to be unique, as this post highlights, but I followed the crowd. I like this movie. It deserves the hype it gets!
It is well written and well-paced and the characters are great, even her stupid parents. To this day I am mad that they forget everything by the end of the movie but I’ll get to that later.
But seriously, how did they have no juju radar? How did they not sense something was wrong. They walk into an abandoned village with a warning statue in front of the entrance and they still go in even when they know what it means.
They see food sitting out there and eat it, they just eat it! Do they have no juju radar! Mine was going off like crazy and I was with Chihiro one hundred per cent! I was like, “Listen to her!” But they brushed it off as her being a coward, which she was, but hey! Sometimes cowards are right!!
Then Chihiro’s whole journey in the spirit world starts and it starts because of them. At first she is scared and terrified. Luckily Haku finds her and helps her.
At first I thought he was a human being also trapped in the spirit world. I kept wondering how they hated the smell of humans and yet didn’t mind Haku. Of course it was because he wasn’t human.
Anyway she stuck to him and then she had to leave him and branch out on her own. I got her fear, I mean wouldn’t you be scared in the same situation?
So it was very satisfying to watch her gain courage and confidence without Haku. She was able to grow away from him. I mean she took his advise but she also showed her own initiative.
She had to work hard to earn her place and to save her parents and she was earnest. She was so very earnest and that was probably her best quality. Her earnest nature was what saved them from No Face and her hard work and determination was what helped clean/purify the Guardian of the River spirit.
Her earnest nature is also what helps Bo. Bo gets to see that he won’t get everything just because he wants it and actually gets to have an adventure and see the world outside of his four bedrooms walls.
Side note: How did Bo get so big? Such big children always horrify me, it’s the same with Shirahoshi. I mean, how did their mothers give birth to them? Unless they have other ways of procreating then I’m not so horrified. It’d be fine if their mothers were also big but they’re not… anyway biology aside, let’s move on.
Speaking of No Face, what was he? I know he’s an original Miyazaki creation but like what was his purpose? Where did he come from? Are there more of him? People knew what he was so he wasn’t new to their world (the spirit world).
He was mostly kind though and seemed to reflect the character of the people he dealt with. The white spirit in the elevator was also kind, and of course Lin and Kamaji. Plus I saw Spirited Away before My Neighbour Totoro so I was introduced to the soots here. They were so adorable!!
Anyway, back to what I was saying. Chihiro’s earnesty. It also helped her when dealing with Zeniba. She was able to see she was a good person just trying to help Haku.
Chihiro was also selfless giving the Marimo she got from the Guardian of the River to No Face and Haku, meaning she couldn’t give it to her parents to turn them back. She knew that but Haku and No Face needed her immediate attention and so she gave it to them first.
She went from being an annoying and whiney character to being this brave girl, trying her best and growing into the best version of herself.
Then there’s her relationship with Haku, I loved them. Honestly if I had watched this movie when I was younger I would have had the biggest crush on Haku, the biggest! They looked out for each other and cared for each other and made an honest connection, plus they’d met before as Haku was really Kohaku a river guardian spirit, guardian of a river Chihiro fell into as a child.
It was like they were meant to met and she was meant to tell him his true name. Up until that moment I kept trying to guess who he was. I thought he was going to be like Howl, a wizard who lost some humanity whilst doing magic but no he was a guardian spirit.
Side note: his eyes are the same when he’s a dragon, did you notice? His eyes are my favourite feature of his.
Most people see the ending as sad or bittersweet as they think Haku was going to die or that he would never meet up with Chihiro again. I didn’t though. He doesn’t seem like the guy who lies to make you feel better. If it was the end he would have just said bye.
Also I do believe he had business to sort out before he could leave. He had beef with Yubaba and needed to end his contract with her. I don’t think that confrontation ended badly as Chihiro gave him back his name and that’s all he needed for freedom. She also took out Yubaba’s bug from within him that controlled him.
Other fans are sad because they want a sequel, I agree with this. I’d love a sequel. I can imagine they’ll meet again as adults as time in the spirit world passes differently or it may take time for them to find each other but they will.
One thing I do think will not go well is Chihiro’s family showing up at their “new” house. Their car was overgrown, clearly more time passed in the spirit world than we thought. The movers probably showed up to find no one. The police were probably called. They probably thought they were dead or missing or something. So for them to show up not having aged a day?
It’s also going to be difficult for her parents because they don’t remember a thing. *sigh* oh how I wish I could watch that *smirks* it’d serve them right!
Anyway that’s my own theory on what happens when they go back “home” *sinister smile*.
What do you love the most about Spirited Away? What is your hot take from the movie?
Ps: it seems Miyazaki shares my love for flowers.
One thought on “A Story of Growth – Spirited Away”
Spirited Away is a great film. Not the best in my opinion, but still totally worth watching. It certainly was creative and the animation still hold up to this day.
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