My rating: 5 of 5
Young Chihiro is not only bummed out about moving, but is slightly scared as well. When her family gets lost taking a “shortcut” to their new home (thanks again, Dad), her life takes a serious turn for the scarier as Chihiro finds herself in an Alice-in-Wonderland-like world of Japanese spirits, her parents transformed into pigs, and herself quickly becoming translucent. Haku, a local spirit boy who seems to know her, takes Chihiro under wing, but when it turns out that he’s the head henchman under the evil ruler of this place, you have to wonder if he’s really looking out for Chihiro . . . ?
Spirited Away is a masterpiece of a movie. The story is complex and very Japanese–kind of a zen version of Alice in Wonderland, really. The character development in Chihiro is excellent; it’s fascinating to watch her grow from a whiny brat to a brave girl who is willing to work hard and risk a lot for others. The animation in Spirited Away is incredible–there’s an intricate attention–to detail, light, texture, and even the way people actually move–that is absolutely breathtaking. Seriously pay attention to the water . . . it’s not just some puddle of blue, but actually looks like real water! The creativity and detail put into the plethora of side characters and settings is remarkable as well. Might I also mention that the soundtrack is wonderful–great for setting the mood, plus just absolutely beautiful. And the English dubs are actually good too, which is a shocker; usually anime dubs are terrible (in my personal opinion). Basically, Spirited Away is one of my favorite movies ever, possibly my absolute favorite. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out.
Written & Directed by Hayao Miyazaki/Produced by Toshio Suzuki/Music by Joe Hisaishi/Starring Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Takeshi Naito, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Tsunehiko Kamijō, Takehiko Ono, & Bunta Sugawara