Re-Watch: Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi [Spirited Away] (2001)

Monday, 16. November 2009

Spirited Away is Hayao Miyazaki‘s biggest success so far and the movie he got the Oscar for.

Sen Chihiro is moving with her parents. On their way to the new house, they happen upon an abandoned theme park. Curious, they go to look at it. When the parents find plates of food, they dig in. Sen doesn’t as she’s afraid. When night falls, her parents are turned into pigs and Sen Chihiro, turned Chihiro Sen, finds work at a bath house for gods, with the help of the mysterious Haku.

Spirited Away is just plain wonderful. (Depending on my mood, it fights for the favourite Miyazaki movie spot with Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbour Totoro.) Visually, it’s definitely the most beautiful of Miyazaki’s movies. And I love Haku.


But it’s not only Haku I love – I also love Chihiro and pretty much all the characters.

And I think it’s a fascinating look into the mythology of Japan – all the gods and creatures running around. I bet somebody who knows their Japanese mythology could tell you about each and every one of them – what they mean and represent and so on.

[I'd love to hear that, btw. So if anybody wants to get into it, I'm totally available.]


The story is absolutely amazing. And while it should be really scary – and there are a lot of threats flying around the place – you’re never afraid. I’m not sure how Miyazaki accomplishes that. Maybe you’re just lulled by the beauty of it all. Or maybe his sense of humour does the deed… anyway, it is done.

Oh and the score… Joe Hisaishi is awesome… I probably should have mentioned him in the Miyazaki movie posts before this one because he wrote the score for all of those and they’re all great, but for Spirited Away, he outdid himself. [And then again for Howl's Moving Castle.]

spirited_away2The cute, it is lethal.

Summarising, as most of Miyazaki’s stuff, definitely a must-see.

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  1. The girl’s called Chihiro. Youbaba steals her name and calls her Sen.

    Shame on you!!!

    Now we have to watch it again ^__^

    • Oy vay… I shouldn’t write reviews after midnight anymore… It seriously screws my higher brain functions. Anyway, corrected the mistake. My bad.

      I will punish myself by watching it again today.

      • Good call :)

        I’ll be watching Ponyo, I think.
        I sucked it off the internetz in revenge for the stupid not-showing-it-in-Austria-anytime-soon policy. It’s a fansub version, just like my first Miyazaki-movie-experience with Chihiro (good times!).

        • So, did you see Ponyo? What’s your verdict?

          • I didn’t get to it yesterday…watched it today.

            And I’m going to have to watch it again, I think, because I didn’t get it. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it really is all over the place…or both? Anyway, there was a whole lot of it that didn’t make any sense. At all.

            But Ponyo (the character) is absolutely adorable.

          • This sounds kind of disappointing… (is there an emoticon for frowning?)

        • Hi!

          You must be really surprised to find a reply to a comment you posted more than two years ago.

          I’m doing my graduation thesis on the difference between DVD subs and fansubs and really want to use spirited away as an example, but I can’t find a fansub version of spirited away anywhere.

          Is the version you have/had a digital version or VHS? If you still remember could you tell me where you got it?

          Sorry for bothering you and Thanks in advance.

          • Sorry but I never had a fansubbed version of this film – can’t help you there.
            But I sent your comment to the friend who wrote about the fansubs – maybe she can help you.

          • Bad news, my friend doesn’t have the fansubs anymore. Sorry that we couldn’t help you!

  2. Ich mag das Ohngesicht.

    Überhaupt ein entückender Film.
    Wie war das mit dem Drachen? Er ist eigentlich ein Junge, der eigentlich ein Fluss ist… (?) lang isses her.

    • Genau, das mit dem Drachen hast du dir richtig gemerkt…

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