Blog Assignment Week 13

Spirited Away is both thematically refreshing and visually dynamic in so many ways. Instead of the classic strong, adult male or female lead we see in so many films, the central character in this film is an ordinary young girl with no special abilities. While most films today value a lead character that is special or different in some way, Spirited Away instead places a totally commonplace girl in a totally imaginary and magical world. Chihiro starts the film as a normal, whiny child, but following the life-changing experience in which she had to take responsibility and save her family, she is more appreciative and reflective on her life.
The animation in the film is simply flawless. Deciding to do hand drawn illustrations is an extremely taxing and time consuming undertaking for filmmakers, but the use of cels and some computer animation takes some of the weight off. The hand drawn characters and their stiff movements are true to other Japanese animation, but integrating computer animation shows how animated films are moving into the future.
Overall, Spirited Away takes on several underlying messages, but they are not the most central focus of the movie. First of these is that Chihiro’s parents gorge themselves on food and subsequently get turned into pigs. This seems to be an offhanded commentary on how overindulgence and laziness takes away people’s humanity and reflects more animalistic traits. Also, greed plays into the parents being turned into pigs to some degree, but the subtle message about greed is much more evident in the No-Face episode. No-Face simply wants companionship and while he gives away gold to the workers in the bathhouse, they are all helpful and kind to him. As soon as he gets out of control and stops offering gold, the workers all flee from him, causing No-Face to become angry and start destroying things. Both of these somewhat subliminal messages reflect how greed and overindulgence generate not so pleasant results, and that hard work and self-control are important to success.

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