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The Spirited Away Animated Film

Film Summary

The animated film, Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi), by Hayao Miyazaki is of Japanese origin and was released in the year 2001. The animated film is based on the story of a girl called Chihiro Ogino who is ten years old. As Chihiro and her parents were on their way to a neighborhood, she transitions into a spirit world alongside her parents. The parents became pigs after Yubaba cast a spell on them. As the only possible way of freeing her parents and herself from the spiritual bondage, the young girl decides to take a job offer by Yubaba in the frightening bathhouse. Despite the hurdles she has to overcome alongside her friends, Chihiro succeeds in her mission of freeing her parents and herself from Yuhaba’s spell.

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The film, Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi), can be classified as an adventure motion picture. The adventure is based on the main character called Chihiro is on a journey to break a spell, which has held her entire family in bondage. Through a series of challenges and drawbacks, the young girl rediscovered herself, established friendship, and was able to rescue her family. Reflectively, the film can be described as fantastic since it creates a continuous theme of indecision among the audience and characters alike. For instance, the main Protagonist Chihiro has to face indecision at the very beginning of the film when she finds herself in a dark bistro in the spirit world. Further, the uncertainty worsens when she witnessed her beloved parents transform into pigs (Miyazaki scene 4).

Caught in the cycle of disbelief, the young girl fumbles, “What? I’m dreaming. I’m dreaming. Come on, wake up. Wake up! It’s just a dream. It’s just a dream. Go away. Go away. Disappear” (Miyazaki scene 5). Chihiro’s body transformed into a spirit and she was able to see through walls and her body. Yubaka then handed Chihiro some spiritual food as an antidote for staying visible (Miyazaki scene 8). Basically, the scene where Yubaka gives Chihiro food of the spirits is a clear reminded of the legendary Japanese tale of Inzanimi and Inzanagi. The former, who was the feminine maker of Japan, succumbs in the process of delivering a baby. Her husband, Inzanagi was depressed by her demise and makes a journey to the spirit world to revive Inzanimi. However, Inzanagi is reminded by his dead wife that she had consumed the food of the spirits and it was not easy for her to return to the land of the mortals.

Across the film, the ten year old girl is hopeful that her parents would be rescued from the spell cast by her employer in the bathhouse. The audience can quickly pick the same hope and live within the dilemma of Chihiro. The film, which is rich in Japanese legend elements, revolves around the dynamic imagination of rites and traditions. For instance, Kamikakushi, which can be translated to hidden by deities, was a common reference word used by the Japanese to explain disappearance of young girls and women as a result of having met the deities called the Kamikakushi. Besides, the characters are symbolic of the roles of each member of a traditional Japanese society. For instance, the character of No-Face represents mystery, which is a common Japanese phenomenon of explaining the unknown occurrences from inscrutable spirits.

Works Cited

Miyazaki, Hayao. Spirited Away. DVD. Walt Disney Home Video, 2003. Film.

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