Movie Review: Spirited Away

Ysabella Vasquez, Staff Writer

Spirited Away was released on August 31, 2002 by the beloved animation studio, Studio Ghibli. They’ve produced many animations that people loved. They made My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castles and Ponyo. Spirited Away is one of the many they created and probably one of the most popular ones too. Spirited Away is about a young girl named Chihiro Oginio who is moving away with her family but on their way to their new home they took a shortcut and came across a temple and went off to explore it. In the temple they come across multiple food stands and her parents eat the food leading to them turning into pigs. The sun started to set and she got warned that she cannot be there or be seen by the spirits. She was warned by Haku. 

Chihiro wants her parents back in their human forms. Haku tells her that when she sees her parents she should remember how they look. On her first day working it is known that no one likes her, especially her boss Yubaba who was reluctant to let her work there because she was human. The only people there that actually liked her or helped her out are Lin, Kamaji, and Haku. Haku works personally for Yubaba and not for the guests in the bathhouse like Lin and Chiharo. Kamaji looks like a spider with six long arms. He works in the furnace of the bathhouse as a boiler man. He works in the furnace room with lots of little spiders that carry soot to the furnace and likes to play around with Chihiro when she goes down to visit Kamaji for advice. Lin and Chihiro are yuna workers or bath women that work and live in Yubabas Bathhouse. Yunas do more than just waiting customers; they also prepare and serve food while also cleaning out the baths.

Later on the story starts to take off. It is later revealed that Haku is a lost water spirit that can take the form of a white dragon. Haku is being controlled by Yubaba and is constantly being chased by her twin sister, Zeniba. Zeniba is after Haku for taking something of hers. Haku took her powerful Magic seal because of an order from his boss , Yubaba. Yubaba wanted the seal because she needs both of the seals to break an oath but it needs the sisters to both agree to it. She took the seal to break these oaths on Zeniba’s behalf. Haku ends up getting a curse that was placed on the magic seal leading him into being attacked and gets sick. While Haku was being attacked the bathhouse was dealing with issues involving a kaonashi spirit that was let inside by Chihiro. No face (the kaonashi) latched onto Chihiro and is believed that no face was attracted to her because of her sincerity and represents Chihiros fears of abandonment, loneliness and identity. The kaonashi reacts to others emotions and gets exposed to the workers of the bathhouse’s thoughts and adopts their personalities making him greedy. Once chihiro managed to get a hold of the situation she goes and saves Haku. She cares deeply for Haku and goes to the house of his attacker with tickets to a train that is hard to get by Kamaji to beg for forgiveness and return the magic seal to its right owner. During her stay there for a little while she learns that Zeniba is actually very nice and is nothing like her sister. 

When She returns to the bathhouse she breaks Hakus’ contract with Yubaba and sets him free. 

This is my little brother’s favorite movie to watch that he always asks me to put on for him. This movie isn’t only found enjoyable by kids though, the animation is really popular in the anime community along with other movies from Studio Ghibli. Many people enjoyed watching it along with me and my brother. I recommend this movie to watch during movie nights.