A Spirited Analysis

Miyazaki’s Spirited Away is a wonderful piece of Japanese animation, and truly in animation in general, that exudes and exhibits the creative mind that created it.

The animation is top notch and the visuals breathtaking. Most notable is the fact that majority of the film is hand-drawn with added digital effects. Through multiple techniques of shading, shaping, lighting, and movements, the animation is very life-like and believable with highly detailed and elaborate backgrounds and smooth movements. An astounding trait as much of the characters and visuals are so fantasy-driven, from Yubaba’s and Zeniba’s bulbous head, the colorful palette and form of spa house staff and customers, to Haku’s stoic look and dragon form, and of course No-Face’s deep and meaningful expressions.

Characters are varied and lively – almost eccentric – with a plethora of traits that brings the audience to enjoy their presence. Even the protagonist Chihiro, while altogether quite unassuming and plain, makes up for in her sheer character and progression of character.

The underlying tones and themes really stand out from the onscreen visuals. From the ravenous hunger of Chihiro’s parents and turning into pigs, to Yubaba’s and her staff’s most evident greed. Greed and Overindulgence leads to severe consequences, the search of purpose from No-Face,  or the want of home from Chihiro.

Spirited Away is a mesmerizing and timeless animated film that stands out in its visuals, characters, and themes.


3 thoughts on “A Spirited Analysis

  1. I could not agree more that the animation and visuals are beyond spectacular. When you note the majority of the film being hand-drawn, it makes Spirited Away that much more impressive. A lot of time, effort, and work went into this film. Several techniques go into the film to give it that “real” appearance. The detail within each background, and shot in general, is aesthetically pleasing. The accuracy and perfection is what gives the film a fanciful feeling.
    The characters are somewhat unconventional. However, characters are usually abnormal in fantasy films, making the odd creatures not so farfetched. There are an extremely wide variety of characters when considering the film as a whole.
    In terms of all the themes relating to the visuals, it is interesting to consider how several of the characters have an alternative form. For instance Yubaba can become a bird, Haku a dragon, and Chihiro’s parents pigs. All of these transitions go with the idea that Chichiro is in the midst of the transitional stage of life from childhood to adulthood.

  2. This film is rich in every way.
    The animation was brilliant, and that fact is vastly emphasized given that it is hand-drawn. Equally rich is the outstanding story, with its mature themes yet child-friendly narrative. Along with the dynamic, three-dimensional characters, Spirited Away is an enlightening film that enthralls.

  3. When I found out in class that the majority of this film was hand drawn I was in awe. I couldn’t believe how much detail was in the movie and that someone sat down and drew it. From the characters shadows, the glistening of the water, the facial expression, even the characters clothes. I was impressed that even with all this detail it did not take away from the story and the purpose behind the film. I think my favorite part was how big the spectrum of characters was and relaly appreciate the time it must’ve taken to come up with all these names, faces, character traits, and especially how they all fit together.

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