There is no better film to introduce oneself into Japanese anime than Hayao Miyazakis’ Spirited Away. The first time I saw this film, I instantly noticed the similarities between it and Alice in Wonderland. That means that the film is filled with themes of being on your own. This film is often overlooked in terms of its thematic brilliance, because of its stunning visuals, but the motifs and symbols in this film are really what make it great. One thing that I noticed this time I saw the film was how Chihiro is wearing the headband that Zeniba made for her when she walks off with her parents at the end. This shows how that even though her parents have no recollection of it, Chihiro went on an incredible adventure. Going back to the “being on your own” theme, when Chihiro first enters this new strange world, she is utterly on her own. Her parents are turned to pigs, and she is still able to rise above this and eventually save her parents and escape. I think Spirited Away is really a tale of resilience and adventure in its purest form.
Another difference I noticed from the first time I had seen this film was the stunning animation. I remember it being fine, but considering the film is hand-drawn animation, the image of the film is flawless. The motion is always in sync, and the film just looks better than most other animation I have seen.
All in all, Spirited Away is a tale of pure adventure and fun. It will blow you off your feet and make you feel like a kid again with its themes of self-reliance, resilience, and confidence. These themes are easy for viewers to identify with, and maybe that’s why everyone seems to love Spirited Away, oh and don’t forget the stunning animation.