Many cultures around the world have different views of what the spirit world would appear as if seen by humans. In Japanese culture, it is believed that the realm of spirits co-exists in the human world. That spirits must have a purpose to stay in the human world, otherwise they will fade from both worlds.
Spirited Away is written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki showcases the beauty of the paranormal world while also explaining the culture and customs that surround Japanese Lore.
Passing Through the Barrier
Chihiro is moving to a new town with her parents when a shortcut brings them to an abandoned amusement park. While exploring the park her parents find free food and helps themselves to it, while Chihiro continues to explore. She soon discovers that the park is a portal to the spiritual world keeping her trapped inside its realm. Now, she must work to free herself and save her parents from the spiritual realm.
Spirited Away (2002) official trailer on YouTube
Chihiro Sen (Rumi Hiiragi) is a spoiled ten-year old girl that is considered lazy and scares easily. After being trapped in the spiritual world, she gets work at the bathhouse and befriends other spirits that works there. Over time, she becomes courageous and risks her own safety to help those she cares about. She also wants to prove there is good inside Haru.
Haku (Miyu Ironi) is the apprentice to Yubaba and can takes the form of a water dragon. He is kind to Chihiro and protects her from the other spirits, thus ensuring that she doesn’t forget her parents or her own name knowing that a person’s name grants them freedom.
Yubaba (Mari Natsuki) is the bird woman in charge of the bathhouse which is a spa resort in the United States. She has the power to turn humans into animals and has a twin sister named Zambia. She is cold and ruthless caring only about making money from the customers that visit her establishment.
Kamajii (David Oden Stiers) is the spirit in charge of the boiler room ensuring that the bathwater is always hot. He sees Chihiro as a Granddaughter and cares about Hako. He seemed guarded yet stays focused on his task but is also kind helping those that have earned his friendship.
Memories create Spirits
The first thing you notice when watching the film is the breathtaking scenery making you feel as though you’re a part of the movie. So much attention to detail is focused on the monsters and backdrops that you want to watch the movie a second time to ensure you seen everything. The movie made sure to keep its two main ideas in the forefront of the viewers mind that memories are what keep us tied to the living world and that a name has power.
I would rate this film an eight out of ten due to using scenery and music to tell the story using actions instead of words. It did take a while to get to the main part of the story and not much was explained about the spirit world besides the workers for the bathhouse. It showed that contracts were based on a person’s name yet there was no explanation on why it was important unless you were already familiar with Japanese lore.
Spirited Away explores the idea that meeting a person once will tie your fates together ensuring that you meet again even if you don’t remember the person. It’s interesting that the lore behind the film is focused on how an individual interacts with the world around them and how their actions can save others. By remembering who we are in life with ensure that our spirit will hold on to those emotions even when we arrive in the spirit world.
Now, shush, I’m trying to read