The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Spirited Away

Title: Spirited Away aka Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
Company: Studio Ghibli
Genre: Drama
Format: Movie; 124 minutes.
Dates: 20 Jul 2001

Synopsis: Appearances can be deceiving. A simple shortcut off the beaten path towards their new home, leads Chihiro, her mother and father to a seemingly harmless abandoned train station and eventually to what is thought to be an abandoned amusement park. Then everything changes. She meets a strange boy named Haku who warns her to leave the place but when she tries to find her parents, she discovers they’ve turned into pigs! Will Chihiro be able to save her parents and herself from this mysterious and fantastical land she’s gotten into?

The Highlights
Characters: Interesting.
Plot: Appealing.
Ending: Leaves some unanswered questions.
Music: Extraordinary.

Never underestimate an anime film at the Academy Awards. In 2003, one won the award for Best Animated Film. Care to guess which? It was this film, Spirited Away. And for good reason: it is an excellent piece of work.

My love for the music of Hisaishi Jo has no limits. Every soundtrack that he has been credited to have been claimed “perfect” and “amazing.” He composed the score for Spirited Away, and it is no exception. For example, the music used at the very beginning of the film is absolutely stunning. There is definitely quite a bit of emotion expressed through the music. So much to the point that at times, when I had first watched the film, I would start to tear up. The ending, “Itsumo Nando Demo”, is a spectacular song, and a perfect ending to Spirited Away. The musical aspect of this film was definitely a high point.

The plot of Spirited Away was quite appealing. Parents who turn into pigs, a wicked witch who runs a spirited bath house, a mysterious boy with a magical talent and a girl mixed up in it all, who wouldn’t have their interests somewhat piqued? There is even some romance in the plot if one reads between the lines. And all of this should amount to something good, which it does.

But all masterpieces have flaws. One thing that perhaps got to me was the ending. It was not that the ending was bad, it just seemed to leave some unanswered questions. For example, questions concerning the futures of Haku and Chihiro, what was going to happen after that? And then some scenes throughout just seemed to also have some questions attached to them that could not be easily be answered by just watching the film.

Was Spirited Away a good movie? Oh yes. Was it the best Miyazaki film? Debatable. Should you go out and watch this film? Definitely.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: Genkisakura

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