Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away is truly a masterpiece. From its masterful skill in animation to its beautiful storyline, the film captivates both the minds and hearts of its audience. A coming of age story, Spirited Away shows its viewers how to find inner strength and courage through the eyes of a young girl. The plot follows a bildungsroman model of Chihiro as she learns to become independent of her family, gets a job and eventually falls in love. All be it anime, the film relates to audiences of all ages because every person at some point has to grow up. However, the film teaches the audience that although they grow up, they will always have their imagination. Although the film leaves it open as to if Chihiro will ever see Hako and the strange world again, the audience understands that what is most important is following your heart.
Whether hand drawn or computer animated, the setting and eccentric characters make Spirited Away truly mesmerizing. It is the attention to detail that makes the film seem so realistic. For example, the shadows add texture to the settings to the point that fools the eyes of the audience. Personally, I was amazed by the art behind the drawings of No Face as he is certainly one of the most visually memorable characters in the film.
Besides the film’s ultimate message of following your heart and finding inner strength, particular themes also played a role throughout the film, especially in a couple of characters. For example, the parents turning into pigs and No Face becoming ridiculously large heed the warning of overindulgence. Another theme to notice in the film is the way the workers of the bathhouse responded to No Face’s gold, especially those who let their guard down and were eaten. No matter the theme that influenced them the most, the film leaves the audience breathless. Ultimately, Spirited Away is an enchanting film that truly lifts the spirits of those who watch it.