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Quick Review - Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away

The tunnel led Chihiro to a mysterious town.

Spirited Away is a 2001 Japanese animated supernatural fantasy film directed by Hayao Miyazaki, written by Hayao Miyazaki, produced by Studio Ghibli, and distributed by Toho. The film stars Rumi Hiiragi and Miyu Irino, while the English version stars Daveigh Chase and Jason Marsden. It was nominated for and won Best Animated Feature.

"Once you've met someone, you never really forget them." - Master Haku


When ten-year-old Chihiro's parents stop at an abandoned amusement park on the way to their new home, they are turned into giant pigs and Chihiro is left alone, thrust into a mysterious and bizarre ghost world where she must work to save her parents.

My Favorite Part of Spirited Away

Spirited Away is one of the most unique and creative animated movies I have ever seen. This film is often referred to as a "modern fairy tale", and that phrase very much makes sense within the context of this story. This film is insanely creative. Spirited Away draws so much from Japanese culture and mythology, and, as an American, I've never really experienced any of that, so it's really interesting. The themes that are explored here are rich and deep. It's such an intriguing, fascinating experience in a world unlike any other ever put on film.

My Least Favorite Part of Spirited Away

If you've read my blog, you know that I don't always love movies that exchange allegorical meanings or thematic richness for plot. Spirited Away very much does that. I think that the animation is gorgeous. I think that the ghost world is extremely unique and interesting. But when it comes to the story, that really feels like it's put on the back burner. Things in this movie just happen. There's character dynamics and arcs, but there's not really one continuous thread that weaves this film together.

Why Spirited Away Works

This film very much feels like a work of art. Between the animation and the themes it explores, there's so much beauty in here. The exploration of Japanese culture through this movie is really interesting. The unique characters and situations are so thought-provoking. It's a movie that I have incredible respect for while not necessarily entirely loving it. I think it's good. I think it deserves all the praise that it gets. I love that this is one of the most popular animated movies of all time, because, as much as I love Disney, changing it up once in a while doesn't hurt.

Final Thoughts and Score

Spirited Away is a gorgeous, thoughtful, sometimes creepy adventure into an incredible world that has some very unique and creative elements. I appreciate it more than I actively like it, but I still think it's well done.

I will go Savory here. Age range is 8+.


Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)

"Spirited Away"

Fun Factor: 6.5/10

Acting: 7.5/10

Story: 7/10

Characters: 8/10

Quality: 8.5/10

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Rated PG for frightening themes and images, moderate violence, thematic elements

Released on July 20, 2001

2 hours and 5 minutes

Rumi Hiiragi and Daveigh Chase as Chihiro / Sen

Miyu Irino and Jason Marsden as Master Haku

Mari Natsuki and Suzanne Pleshette as Yubaba / Zeniba

Yoomi Tamai and Susan Egan as Lin

Bunta Sugawara and David Ogden Stiers as Kamaji

Akio Nakamura and Bob Bergen as No-Face


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