10-year-old Chihiro and her parents stumble upon a seemingly abandoned amusement park. After her mother and father are turned into giant pigs, Chihiro meets the mysterious Haku, who explains that the park is a resort for supernatural beings who need a break from their time spent in the earthly realm, and that she must work there to free herself and her parents.
Classic story for all-age audiences, with subtle meaning that using kanji words. The plot may similar with Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz, but it has own purpose. It has right pace, not rushed, and thoughtfully made. I heard Miyazaki-san made the story based on his trip with his friends, and see what if he made story of 10-years old girl who aren’t subject of “romance”. He wants something that will be held dear in his young friends’s heart. Surprisingly, it can relate to any ages, as if it part of their childhood.
Since there’s so many references using kanji to reveal the meaning of film, I need to re-watch for two times to fully understand it. But it doesn’t take a good part of this film. Even if you can’t understand the kanji references, you still can enjoy the story.
At the beginning, we see a sullen, stubborn child named Chihiro. But after things gone wrong with her parents turns into pig, her character slowly grow up, becoming determined and brave young girl. This part is really heartwarming for me. In 2009, we see a Hollywood film had similar female character act like Chihiro, but somehow Chihiro feels more grounded and relatable.
Also I love how Miyazaki add some quiet scenes into his film. Most of adventure-theme add too much intense scenes, leaves no time to take a breath, but Spirited Away isn’t afraid to take some quiet, serene scenes so audiences are able to enjoy the beauty of Miyazaki’s works.
To conclude this review, I would say Spirited Away is best classic film that can be entertainment for all-age. It also remind us, to have great animation (particularly in Japanese animation world), you don’t have to put too much fans-service.
Released : 2001
Studio : Ghibli
Author : Hayao Miyazaki