Spirited Away is an anime film that makes the most of its form, pouring open the fountain of creative possibilities of animation.
The advantages offered through animation allow the film to go to places that live-action films cannot. And Spirited Away is filled with such compelling visuals that can even make one wonder why any movie would not be an animated one. Oozing with creativity in the same form that No-Face oozes goop, the beautiful anime of the film creates a host of visually striking moments. It will be hard to forget when Chijiro rides Hako, in elegant dragon form, gliding through the sky as if it were the ocean; or when Chijiro showers the Slime Monster, cleaning him of his pollution and revealing him to be a distressed River god.
Also present in the film is an ensemble cast of lovable characters. A person would be absent of any form of sympathy if he or she has trouble feeling for Chijiro when she loses her parents, or for No-Face when he is looking for a friend. Even characters that are inherently labeled as bad in the story are likable, from the talking frog to Yubaba’s three bouncing, limbless henchman . Even Yubaba evokes some sort of sympathy at certain times, especially when she worries over having lost her baby.
Filled with memorable moments, this timeless, coming-of-age story is one that anyone, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity, can draw lessons from. Chijiro’s classification as shojo makes her a character that is all the more unique and certainly fit to lead a narrative. Demonstrating that strength can come from anyone—even a barely-teenage girl—Chijiro is a character that evokes everyone’s emotional backing.
A creatively genius film filled with lovable characters, visually striking animation and memorable narrative moments, Spirited Away is more than just another children’s animated film.