This was the first time I have ever seen Japanese animation and I was blown away. I had prior misconceptions of the genre and It changes the way I look at animation. I always looked at animation as a cheap substitute for a real story but this film engaged me.
Hayao Miyazaki is the director of Spirited Away and has made several academy nominated films, but Spirited Away held such and impact to me that I actually dreamt about it. I am absolutely in love with the story development and character development. The story development is circular and ends as the story begins except for the fact that a once spoiled little girl has developed by the pressures of her own being and the spiritual realm in which she was forced into living changed her into a more sufficient person.
Another thing I loved about this film was the contrast between good and evil. The twin sisters Yubaba and Zeniba show Sen/Chihiro that the powers of good and evil are within. Yubaba takes a very philosophical stance: Humans are inherently evil and must be watched. This view comes from the German philosophical tradition and specifically from Arthur Schopenhauer. However Zeniba believes the opposite and looks fro the good in mankind consistent with the vies of Henry Thoreau believing that humans are born good but are typically corrupted by social institutions or society.
A major theme in this film is the power of greed and its tendency to bring about destruction. Greed can be seen from the gluttonous behavior of Chihiro’s parents to the spirits actions to have gold. Another thought that comes to mind about this film is how close the story line is to The Wizard of Oz.