Spirited Away!

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.

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3 thoughts on “Spirited Away!

  1. If any movie is going to change your mind about animation from bad to good, it is no surprise that Spirited Away has done that. The close attention to detail and surrealism illustrated throughout the film makes it thoroughly enjoyable and very impressive. It is interesting that the movie draws such a sharp contrast between good and evil by using two twin sisters. The fact that they share DNA emphasizes the message Thoreau states by showing that society has corrupted Yubabba, but she was born a good person. Behavior is a choice which is an idea strongly stressed in this movie through the twins and especially through Chihiro. It is also interesting how you point out the overall similarity this movie has to the Wizard of Oz, only I argue that despite this movie being animated, it is a little bit darker. The Spirit World is not a place of friendly munchkins but rather a place where Chihiro must stay in line in order to survive. That being said, I believe Spirited Away suggests a stronger message than “There’s no place like home”.

  2. Along with many cornerstones of animation in film, this story is appealing to all audiences. It is no surprise that you’re opinion on animation was swayed.
    Spirited Away’s exciting narrative is exciting for children and adults alike, but it is arguably more rewarding for someone who can grasp its mature themes. This story about a young girl who needs to grow up can teach valuable lessons to many a viewer, given that he or she is old enough to grasp the lesson.

  3. I was also very fascinated by the ability to bring such depth in characters and storyline to the viewers via Japanese animation. I too had previous misconceptions that were completely disproven by Spirited Away. The observation that you made about the contrast of good and evil was also a very strong theme in the film. And also like you said, this proves Thoreau’s point. The twin sisters definitely portrayed this idea very vividly, but so did a lot of the rest of the film. Chihiro often seemed torn between good and evil because of the things going on around her, but ultimately she seemed to want to do the “right” thing. By letting in the no face, she made a decision to do the right thing and then got in trouble for it (even though everything turned out okay). It was a very interesting look at how corrupted a system can be just because of the atmosphere and the people in power, which was not a theme that I expected at all.

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