Spirited Away  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Spirited Away is a 2001 film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Its original Japanese title can be translated as The Spiriting Away of Sen and Chihiro or Sen and the Spiriting Away of Chihiro.

Themes

Miyazaki characters have negative and positive traits in different situations.

Some suggest that the film is an allegory on the progression from childhood to maturity, and the risk of losing one's nature in the process. The theme of a character being lost inside a (fictional/different) world if he/she forgets his/her real name is reminiscent of Michael Ende's The Neverending Story, although true names frequently have magic power in folk tales (see Rumplestiltskin); an idea central to the magic featured in Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle and Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant. Similarly, Chihiro and Haku stay under Yubaba's control forever if they forget their real names and consequently their real identities.

The main character could also be seen as a sullen, spoiled, and very modern Japanese ten-year-old being forced to grow up when faced with more traditional Japanese culture and manners. Miyazaki himself has said that there is an element of nostalgia for an older Japan in the film.

Another interpretation holds that the film advocates the prevention of greed: those swallowed by No Face were attempting to receive the gold he made. Similarly, in a monomyth format, Yubaba's rich accommodations and interest in gold dominate the "road of trials" portions of the film, while Zeniba's rustic home and grandmotherly demeanor arguably mark Chihiro's gain of the "boon" in her quest. Also, Chihiro's parents' grotesque transformation after consuming too much food not meant for them is another representation of human greed.

Another theme in the movie is that of environmental awareness. The most obvious examples of this are the river spirit's dramatic and beautiful transformation once he has been freed from the material dumped in him by humans, and Haku's discovery that the reason he cannot go home is that the River Kohaku, whose spirit he was, had been filled in by apartment buildings.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Spirited Away" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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