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.