Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Myazaki’s “Spirited Away” (2001) follows a young girl, Chihiro, through a magical process of self-realization and growth. Themes of greed, capitalism, and evil are paralleled with friendship, perseverance, and love in a spiritual realm of ghosts, creatures, and witches. 

At the beginning of the film, Chihiro is selfish and cowardly. She is afraid to move to another town away from her childhood home. A wrong turn along the way leads Chihiro and her parents to what seems to be an abandoned amusement park. 

Chihiro’s parents coax her to explore the abandoned town despite her reluctance. As her parents fill their stomachs with food from a deserted market, Chihiro wanders upon a particularly intriguing mansion. She is immediately confronted by a young boy, Haku, who warns her to leave the village, before it’s too late. 

Stumbling down the steps to retrieve her parents, she is confronted by two pigs sitting in their place. Spirits and creatures fill the streets as Chihiro begins to slip away. Haku finds her as she transitions into the spirit world and helps sneak her into the village to find work with Yubaba, the ruling witch. Chihiro unknowingly signs away her name and is appointed a new identity, Sen. 

“I have known you since you were very small”
— Haku

Haku takes Sen to see her parents, who no longer remember their human existence. Haku explains the importance of Sen’s true identity; If she forgets her real name she will be trapped in the spirit world forever. As they part ways, Haku flies away into the sky as a white dragon. 

Haku takes Sen to see her parents, who no longer remember their human existence. Haku explains the importance of Sen’s true identity; If she forgets her real name she will be trapped in the spirit world forever. As they part ways, Haku flies away into the sky as a white dragon. 

“I remember too, how you fell into me as a child.”
— Kohaku (Haku)

Sen begins making unexpected friends along the way as her kindness, persistence, and determination blossom. She is no longer the cautious young girl of the past.

One day, as Sen looks out over the flooded landscape, she notices the white dragon struggling in battle. Bleeding and injured, Haku escapes to Yubaba’s quarters. Sen follows to ensure Haku is safe. 

When Sen arrives to aid unconscious Haku, a paper crane that had been following her transforms into Zebiba, Yubaba’s twin sister, who has come to retrieve her gold seal. After turning Yubaba’s baby, Boh, and pet bird into a mouse and fly, Zeniba disappears. 

Sen takes the train to Zeniba’s quarters to convince her to cure Haku. Zeniba explains that Haku has already been healed through the power of love. Meanwhile, Haku secures a deal with Yubaba to retrieve Boh, as long as she will free Sen and her parents to the real world. 

“I think I can handle it.”
— ChihiroChihiro

Chihiro and her parents are released back into their world. Before, a selfish and fearful little girl, Chihiro finally realizes her true potential.  

Spirited Away
director HAYAO MIYAZAKI
year 2001
director of photography ATSUSHI OKUI
cast RUMI HIIRAGI, MIYU IRINO, MARI NATSUKI, TAKESHI NAITO and YASUKO SAWAGUCHI

 

 

words KELLEN MULCAHY

 

Arthur Avellano SS18

Arthur Avellano SS18

Boniface Wandera

Boniface Wandera