Spirited Away, or "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi" is an Anime film created by Hayao Miyazaki in 2001 about the adventure
of a little girl (Chihiro) who moves to the country with her parents. The story goes that the family gets lost on the way
and ends up at a mysterious tunnel which they didn't realize was the entrance to the spirit world.
This bathhouse is the place where all the spirit gods come to relax and rest. The family ends up at an abandoned theme
park at the end of the tunnel. As they continue on they find a place which Chihiro's parents satisfy their hunger. Chihiro
refuses to eat the food that her parents were eating from a seemingly deserted restaurant but the food was still hot.
Chihiro wanders around while her parents are eating. She arrives at a bridge with a bathhouse on the other side. A long
way down below the bridge is a railway track.
She meets a boy on the bridge who warns her to leave before it got dark. Chihiro runs back to her parents who have turned
into pigs. Dark shadows and spirits come out of the earth. Chihiro tries to escape but a small stream she passed on the way
had already turned into a giant lake with the tunnel on the other side.
The boy she first met, Haku, helps her and tells her what to do. She must find a job or she will have no way of turning
her parents back to their natural form and escaping from the Spirit World.
The main character of Chihiro seems like a typical ten -year- old girl who is spoilt by her parents. When the family is
moving houses, Chihiro is visibly upset and stubbornly refuses to think of the journey as an adventure. Although she has these
childish qualities she also has respect for the rules.
One example of this is when her parents eat at the abandoned restaurant and she refuses to eat. Chihiro has a wise respect
for the rules which keeps her out of trouble in to bathhouse.
Haku appears at the beginning to be a young boy but the viewer eventually finds out that he is actually a River Spirit,
which can also take the form of a white dragon.
The dragon's movements are flowing and graceful like a river. Haku demonstrates bravery in trying to help Chihiro although
he knows he will probably get into trouble for it. He also shows great sadness when trying to remember his real name and home.
At the end we find out that his real home was the Kohaku River which was drained and paved over to make way for homes.
Yubaba is the owner of the spirit bathhouse who demonstrates both good and bad qualities. The bad qualities include being
quite scary and threatening. The good qualities include being honest when doing business (At the end when Chihiro's contract
is destroyed), and giving jobs to anybody who requests one, therefore recognizing the dignity of the individual. Although
Yubaba is very greed and spends most of her time examining her jewels and locking them in safe boxes, she also can also love.
Yubaba adores her baby and does everything she can to make his room as comfortable as possible. She also protects him
from the outside world. The moral probably is that for every bad trait there is a good one.
Some of the themes in Spirited Away include: The power of words and names and the blurred line between good and evil.
Names are really important in Spirited Away because it demonstrates that when you lose your name you lose yourself or
your soul. This is shown when Yubaba decides that Chihiro should be called Sen.
Chihiro is from then on called Sen and forgets her real identity. Luckily Haku helped and kept a card for her with her
real name on it. Haku was not so fortunate; when Yubaba took his name he never remembered it again. At the conclusion of the
movie, Chihiro discovers that Haku was actually the spirit of the River Kohaku.
The blurred line between good and evil. This idea shows up a lot throughout the film. The characters all have a good and
bad side to them. Some good examples would be Yubaba, Zeniba, and No-face.
There is also the theme of environmentalism. The whole idea of Haku losing his home to make way for human homes makes
us think about the effect of our presence on the environment around us. Another part in the movie that talks about environmentalism
is when the stink spirit comes in for a bath and then turns into a river spirit. The scene that the rubbish shoots out of
the stink spirit demonstrates to us the amount of rubbish dumped into the river. Old bikes and random bits and pieces of meatal
Spirited Away also has a strong link with the culture of Japan as it reflects a lot of aspects of life in Japan, including
the use of trains, bathhouses, Sake, dumplings, Japanese mats, shrines, and spirits such as Haku the River Spirit.
The idea of Yubaba turning into a crow is also actually part of the religion of the Japanese. Also the dragon and spirits
that wander around the bathhouse, they all represent what the Japanese people believe in.
Camera angles and film techniques play a large part of making Spirited Away a successful film. Camera angles can convey
to the viewer many things about the scene or character. One example of a camera angle is towards the end of the film when
the family is walking back to the car in the tunnel. The camera zooms in on the feet and the confident steps that she makes.
This is a contrast to the beginning when she was scared in the tunnel.
The music also plays a large part in the success of the film. The music conveys the feelings of fear, joy, and relief
to the audience. One part where music plays vital role is at the beginning, just after she discovered her parents have turned
into pigs and she is alone surrounded by dark spirits rising out of the earth. The music conveys the fear from the 10-year-old
into the audience.
In conclusion, Spirited Away is an Anime film that uses all these vital elements to convey its message to the audience
and make the film such a success.
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