Spirited Away in a Nutshell
Spirited Away is about a little girl named Chihiro and her family are on their way to their new house in the suburbs when her father decides to take a shortcut along a lonely-looking dirt road. After getting out of the car and walking along a path for a while, they discover an open-air restaurant filled with food but with no workers or customers present. Mom and Dad don’t hesitate to sit down and dig in, but Chihiro senses danger and refuses. As night falls, she is terrified to see the area fill with faceless spirits, but when she runs to find her parents, she discovers that they have been turned into pigs. She is found by a mysterious boy named Haku, who promises to help her. He gets her a job working in a nearby building, which turns out to be a bathhouse for the thousands of Japan’s gods and spirits. Though the work is hard and the people strange, she does as well as she can. Her parents, however, are still waiting in the hotel’s stockyard.
The Spirited Away Movie Trailer
The Spirited Away Movie Breakdown
Who is in it? Nobody famous.
Genre: Anime – Adventure – Fantasy
Was it adventurous? Yes.
Would this movie be for every adventure anime fan? Yes.
Should you see it? If you dig anime yes.
Run Time: 125 minutes
I find it exceedingly difficult to explain anime movies. Sometimes its cultural differences and sometimes its just so effing crazy you simply cant fit it into a nutshell what you just saw, because its so different from anything you have seen before. Anime is one of the last places in the movie, comics (manga), or television circuit that boundless creativity is plentiful. The stories are so creative, the characters have great depth, and most times you have no idea whats going to happen next. These movies don’t follow the ‘safe’ Hollywood formula that dictates how a story should end or be told, and for that reason I really really dig anime. Admittedly I don’t watch it much anymore, but when I was a teenager I was head over heals in love with it and this movie I’m about to review was one of the better ones. Like my review of ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters‘ it will be somewhat hard to understand unless you have seen the movie. Another note too on Anime reviews, I won’t focus on the abstract messages and will instead focus on what the film is physically showing you.
First lets set the scene, we start out in a car. Inside that car is a little girl and her parents and they’re heading for their new home. The young girl ‘Chihiro’ is sad about moving and her parents are telling her that it’s all going to end up ok. They take a wrong turn and end up facing a tunnel and they get out and wander inside. On the other side of the tunnel, the parents smell some delicious food and they set out to find it. They sit down and start eating like pigs while Chihiro wanders off and meets a boy. The boy tells her to get out as fast as she can and she runs to the restaurant where her parents where to find they turned into pigs and she runs away scared. She runs back to the entrance of the tunnel to find it’s flooded and she can’t leave. The boy helps her by getting her a job doing manual labor in the bath house where the movie takes place. She starts out stoking the fires that heat the water and eventually works inside the bath house cleaning the place.
As the film progresses we find out that the leader of the bath house Yubaba, steals your name which basically makes you forget about the real world and forces you to stay in the magical one. A creature named ‘No Face’ is mistakenly let into the bath house and goes crazy and eats most of the staff but Chihiro feeds it some nasty pellet and it pukes them back up. The boy she met earlier is a dragon too, (thats normal right?) and she finds him being chased by paper birds. The paper birds are totally kicking his ass and he barely escapes to Yubaba’s room and Chihiro follows to help him. Once in the room we find that Yubaba is going to let him die and leaves. Soon after Yubaba’s twin sister shows up and demands her magical seal back, the boy/dragon had taken it and ate it. The dragon/boy destroys the last remaining paper bird which makes Yubaba’s twin leave and Chihiro and the dragon fall down a shaft and end up in the boiler room. She helps the dragon by making it eat some of of that same nasty pellet crap and the seal pops out of the dragons mouth and Chihiro sets out to Yubaba’s twin’s house to return it. So she takes a train to the house, returns the seal, and leaves to see the Dragon sitting outside waiting for her.
Chihiro rides the dragon back to the bath house but on the way there she says that she remembers the boy from a time she had almost drowned in a river. Long story short, the boy was the spirit of a river and when she says his name he turns back in to a boy. The fact that they were hundreds and hundreds of feet in the air doesn’t matter I guess, because they float gently down to land unharmed. After passing Yubaba’s final test, Chihiro is allowed to leave with her parents that had no idea what happened at all. The End.
Official Nutshell-Movies Explanation
Spirited Away (2001): A girl enters a magical world and has to perform menial tasks to return to humanity and save her parents.
- Executive Producer John Lasseter of Pixar supervised the English-language dubbing of the film and tried to match the actors’ English-language dialog with the mouth movements of the animated characters.
- This is the first film to earn US$200 million in grosses before opening in the U.S.
- In the scene during which Chihiro squashes the small worm like thing that inhabited Haku with her foot that, Kamaji tells Chihiro to “Cut the line!” Cutting the line is a Japanese good-luck charm performed by making a chopping gesture through another person’s connected index fingers. This is done whenever someone is affected by some impurity. During footage of the dubbing process in the “Spirited Away” Nippon-TV Special, Rumi Hîragi, playing Chihiro, was not aware of this concept and had it explained to her by Hayao Miyazaki. One of the sound engineers commented “The young don’t know it these days.”
- The song over the closing credits (“Itsumo Nando Demo”/”Always With Me”) was intended for a Hayao Miyazaki film that was never made. Miyazaki played it relentlessly while making this film and decided to include it in the end credits.
- The cleansing of the river spirit is based on a real-life incident in Hayao Miyazaki’s life in which he participated in the cleaning of a river, removing, among other things, a bicycle.
- The voices were looped in after the animation was completed. This is typical procedure for Japanese animation.
- To do the voice of Chihiro’s mother talking while eating, actress Yasuko Sawaguchi actually spoke the dialog (in the original Japanese-language version) while eating a piece of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Actress Lauren Holly did the same thing in the English version with an apple.
- First anime film to be nominated for (and win) an Academy Award. It also has the longest runtime of any other film nominated or winning in that category (125 minutes).
- The star-shaped treats the Susuwatari (black soots) were carrying are called kompeitô, a type of traditional Japanese candy.
- In 2006, this film was still the highest-grossing non-US-produced film in the world. It still holds that record to this date.
- Chihiro’s father drives a first-generation Audi A4 sedan.
- This was the first film directed by Hayao Miyazaki in which a child character was actually voiced by a child.
- The theme of not looking back is a reference to the famous Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.
Many people consider Spirited Away to be one of the best anime movies of all time, and I can’t disagree.