“Miyazaki’s Spirited Away” is an award-winning animated picture released in 2001. Dubbed in English and beautifully drawn, “Spirited Away” captured the eyes of people of all ages. As with Miyazaki’s other works such as “Ponyo” and “Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Spirited Away” gave the greatest taste of imagination and adventure through the eyes of a young girl who has yet to mature in an emotional and mental state.
Chihiro is a young girl who moved from her favorite hometown to a newer, quiet and different place in Japan. While she and her parents were in the car, they glanced up at a hill to see their new home and tried to find a way up. Chihiro’s father took a shortcut, and it ended up leading to a dark cave. Chihiro’s enthusiastic and adventurous parents slowly walked through the cave and reached the other side, not realizing that they ended up in the spirit world. Her parents wandered around searching for help, only to find a stand with prepared food, where they soon gobbled up the spirits’ meal. As night started to come, dark spirits have wakened, and Chihiro begged her parents to leave, then realizing they both have turned into pigs.
Frightened, she tried going back through the cave to leave, but as she stepped into that grassy field that was once land during the day, it turned into an ocean at night. Chihiro then spontaneously meets a friendly spirit named Haku, who guided her through the spirit world, helping her get a job in order to save her parents from being turned into food. Throughout the film, Chihiro begins to get along with other spirits, made new friends and helped others. At the very end, Chihiro, a young girl who started out to be very whiny and constantly in the state of distress of new events, learned throughout her adventure to be stronger, braver and more mature.
Miyazaki’s depiction of the spirit world was quite admirable. Not to mention the beautiful landscapes and imagination he used to create a place that is not too exaggerated for a spirit world, but it looks like a world that is peaceful, calm and respectful to nature. His creativity also developed a number of characters that are all unique and all drawn in very thoughtful ways. The use of East Asian culture through arts, patterns, designs and furnishing in the movie was greatly represented, floral and elegant.
His animation is nicely illustrated, and the anime-like drawings bring interest toward children while his storyline interests adults. The film, about two hours long, carried great action and excitement, and also tells a heart-warming tale. The entire idea was well brought up, creating solid personalities for each of the characters and creating a calming environment throughout the film.
The voice actors, mainly for Disney’s English version, all did a great job, as all the voices, emotions and the performances themselves suited each character almost perfectly. Not to mention the music from the film combined with the environment of the spirit world, giving a great sense of relaxation that was very soothing to the ears.
With Miyazaki’s animation and composer Joe Haisaishi’s music score, the film is adventurous, exciting and thoughtfully made, and is well worth the two hours to watch.