Tuesday, 16 May 2017

World Animation | Film Review | Spirited Away

Studio Ghibli has managed to produce a large array of timeless classics that have always stood out in our minds. Their special style of creating detailed animations with complex characters and themes to go with the complexity, has been some of the main reasons why Studio Ghibli is so beloved inside of Japan and the rest of the world. In term's of popularity in the western world Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away (2001) was the biggest success out of any of the film's created by this company.
Fig 1. Spirited Away Film Poster

It can be agreed that some of the success that followed Spirited Away was down to the mixture of both Eastern and Western influences, The western influences helped make western audiences be able to approach Spirited Away in a way that they could relate to unlike some other animes that might be otherwise confusing to a western viewer. "it's undoubtedly in a class and genre of its own: its alien, exotic qualities, all the more intense for a non-Japanese audience, are part of how extraordinarily pleasurable it is to watch" (Bradshaw, 2003)

"the fact that Miyazaki and his team hand-draw the images before they're digitally coloured and animated gives them an artistry that has been woefully lacking from so many recent American features." (Peters, 2015) Studio Ghibli itself proves over and over that there conventions for animating gives us beautiful and elegant animations. The elegance comes from the amount of effort and patience poured into each animation by Studio Ghibli's team.

Spirited Away doesn't just look incredible on screen, but also addresses a variety of different moral lessons that would align with the Japanese culture more than anything. The Moral lessons that stand out in Spirited Away is certainly that working hard and staying dedicated pays off, family come first and should always be cared for, others should be cared for too and that respect should be given to everyone especially those older than you. Chihiro is at first ignorant to all of the vital moral lessons and is impolite to everyone (Including her parents). She is also extremely stubborn at the start of the film. As the film progresses Chihiro learns to overcome any fears and becomes determined to rescue her parents from staying as pigs. Ultimately maturing and proving that love and respect are the foundations of growing up.

Fig 2. Chihiro Disappointingly looking at her Parents 

Not only does Spirited Away home in on moral messages but it also teaches one main moral message that resonates throughout Spirited Away. That moral message is that being greedy badly affects everyone. Throughout this film there is several clear metaphors of greed "Chihiro's parents fall eagerly upon the counter jammed with food and stuff their mouths...they eat so much they double or triple in size." (Ebert, 2012) This is the scene where Chihiro's parents become pigs after eating much like one. Greed in Spirited Away, when using the parent pigs as an example is clearly contagious. Anyone who partakes gets swallowed into darkness. Other examples throw themselves at us, one clear one that exists is No Face. No Face is a character in Spirited Away who absorbs the energy of his environment, be it bad or good. He becomes embodied by greed and hands out gold to everyone as the bathhouse where it contains several greedy people including Yubaba, The Evil Witch. Yubaba is responsible for stealing her employee's names so that they are bound to work in the bathhouse forever.

Fig 3. No Face (Greed Version) Offering gold

Overall, the tone and visuals of Spirited Away certainly marks a point in everyone's memory. It is a well-rounded masterpiece that acts as a eastern/western style hybrid animation. It can certainly be treasured with all ages and cultures.


Fig 1. Bradshaw, P. (2003) Spirited Away At: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2003/sep/12/spirited-away-review Accessed 14/05/2017

Fig 2. Peters, P (2014) Spirited Away Review Athttp://www.empireonline.com/movies/spirited-away/review/ Accessed 14/05/2017

Fig 3. Ebert, R. (2012) Spirited Away At: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-spirited-away-2002 Accessed 14/05/2017

Image Sources

Fig 1. Spirited Away [Poster] At: http://www.filmandtvnow.com/blu-ray-review-spirited-away-its-an-adventure/ Accessed 14/05/2017

Fig 2. Spirited Away Film Review [Film Screenshot] At: http://omohide.com/1732/spirited-away-review/ Accessed 14/05/2017

Fig 3. Spirited Away [Film Screenshot] At: http://mefavoriteposts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/spiritrd-away.html Accessed 14/05/2017

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