I never knew an animated film as good as Spirited Away can ever come to life. Thanks to the genius that is in Hayao Miyazaki.
Spirited Away is a 2001 Japanese Animated Film with fantasy as its main theme. This was written and directed by the critically acclaimed moviemaker Hayao Miyazaki and was produced by Studio Ghibli, one of the few remaining Japanese studios which still uses hand drawing in creating their masterpieces.
July 20, 2001 was the release date of Spirited Away. This became the most successful film in Japanese history earning about $270 to $350 million (USD) worldwide. In addition, this film surpassed Titanic, which at that time is the top grossing film in Japanese box office records with a total earning of 30.4 billion in Japanese Yen.
Aside from the fact that this was a box office hit, this was also recognized by international critics- “considered one of the best films of the 2000s decade and one of the greatest animated film of all time.” This masterpiece bagged the Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards, the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival (tied with Bloody Sunday) and is among the top ten in the British Film Institute’s list of the 50 films you should watch by the age of 14. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirited_Away)
With all these credits and recognition, you can just imagine how great Spirited Away is. As for me, I was only able to realize it when I watched this film yesterday for the first time.
For some reasons, I noticed my heart was beating faster than normal while watching this film. Perhaps because of the very unique and bold characters that Director Miyazaki created. The story itself is one of a kind. Having watched a lot of Hollywood and Japanese animated films before, this is the first time I have seen a story like this- exceptional and definitely thought provoking. The fact that there are countless of really good Japanese animated films and series is enough proof that only Japanese artists can beat the standard they have already set for their works. No one and nothing else compares.
One of my favorite parts in this film was when Chihiro, the female protagonist, was trapped in a mysterious world while travelling with her parents. Haku, the male protagonist, came to help her survive in this world in order to find a way to save her parents who were turned into pigs.
Chihiro Ogino, a ten-year old girl was then forced to work in the bathhouse run by Yubaba, the greedy witch who ruled other creatures in their world by stealing their names. She may be a klutz, but she was smart and brave. I think she learned how to be courageous in the course of her stay in this mysterious world. She had to be brave for herself, for her parents and for Haku as well.
There was this part of the movie where Haku, in the form of a dragon, almost died because of too much wounds. Chihiro strived to help Haku get back to his senses with the help of the ‘cake’ that the River God gave him. She then decided to go to Zeniba, Yubaba’s twin sister to ask for forgiveness in behalf of Haku. She was with the Baby, the assistant of Yubaba, and No-Face. Zeniba accepted them in her place wholeheartedly.
Zeniba can only do so much for Chihiro. It was still up to Chihiro to save the people that she loves. Haku went to Zeniba’s place as well and there he met with Chihiro. This scene was also one of my favorites because it showed just how these two characters love and care for each other.
Haku, who is the henchman of Yubaba, came to this mysterious world in order to learn sorcery. It was a big risk but his eagerness to learn was so strong that no one else was able to stop him. Haku and Chihiro’s first meeting in the unknown world was already full of adventure and affection. I liked how Haku looked out for Chihiro. Haku’s character is that of a resilient and firm young man. He fought his way out of difficult situations and was eventually able to break the ‘curse’ with Chihiro’s help. Turned out his real name was Nihigayami Kohaku Nishi.
Together, they went back to Yubaba’s place and successfully saved Chihiro’s parents. Having his identity back, Haku decided to quit being an apprentice to the witch and promised to meet Chihiro again in their own world. The film ended with Chihiro reuniting with her parents and travelling back to the human world.
This movie not only gives the viewers the benefits of witnessing such unique characters and story but also teaches values. Even with fantasy as its theme, Director Miyazaki was still able to put bits of human values that we all should be practicing in real life.
Unselfishness. Be more of a giving person than a receiving one. Be content with what you have and strive that others be satisfied with what they have as well.
Courage. This world is full of obstacles, scary situations that you wish you could just escape from anytime. However, most of the time, things get unsolved because we just choose to run away from it. We can only solve problems, overcome frightening situations if we will be courageous enough to face them. Yes, a patch of fear may still be in there but the most important thing is fighting off that fear for as long as you can.
Kindness. They say be kind to everyone you meet because you don’t know what they have gone through or going through at the moment. This is definitely true. I admire Chihiro’s character because even if she was In the middle of all these unknown and bizarre creatures, she still managed to treat them with all kindness and not mock them because of their appearances.
Love. The power of love. Chihiro and Haku were both successful in their feats because they truly care for each other. Their genuine affection kept them going amidst all the hard situations that they have been put into.
Enchanting, magnificent, masterfully created, thought-provoking! This film is a must watch! If you have 124 minutes to spare for a day, watch it!
(Photos not mine, credits to their rightful owners)