Having really enjoyed reviewing the film Howl’s Moving Castle, I have decided to review some other major Studio Ghibli titles. Therefore, I feel it would be proper for me to start with my most favorite of Ghibli’s films, Spirited Away.
Spirited Away is about a young girl named Chihiro, who is with her parents on their way to their new home. They all stumble upon an abandoned amusement park that, at night, magically comes to life with mythical creatures. And through an unfortunate turn of events, Chihiro’s parents are magically turned into giant pigs. The only way she can get them back is to take a job working at a bathhouse that serves these mythical creatures.
Spirited Away showcases the always amazing talents of Studio Ghibli and their ability to put even the slightest details into their animation. You could pause the film at any moment in time to analyze and admire every little component of the animation. Each and every image is awe-inspiring, and all together they create a visually gripping story.
Throughout this magical journey that the audience gets to experience, we meet a wide variety of imaginative creatures that have now become cultural icons of their own. The biggest is probably No-Face, a semi-transparent spirit that can absorb the personalities of others when he eats them. Not only are characters like No-Face interesting and complex, but they leave a lasting impression on the viewer. Even minor characters you don’t see for more than a few seconds I remember ever so vividly (like the giant yellow ducks with leaves on their heads).
I feel that Spirited Away takes a very relaxed and laid back tone to its storytelling. Even at its most intense or sad points, Spirited Away still manages to maintain a happy mood. It’s the kind of film that I can watch at any point in time and not have to be in any particular emotional state to view it.
The soundtrack of the film creates a fun and adventurous mood that draws the viewer into the magic. The music is very similar to Howl’s Moving Castle, both in sound and how they create a lighthearted mood. Spirited Away’s soundtrack is among my favorite soundtracks to any kids film and is worth checking out on its own.
All in all, Spirited Away remains one of my favorite animated movies. It has everything that a film should have and more. The characters are fantastic, the story odd and adventurous, and the animation is some of the best I have ever seen. If you have never gotten a chance to experience the magic of Spirited Away, by all means I implore you to see it immediately. Spirited Away affirms Studio Ghibli’s place as one of the greatest animation companies of all time and will continue to astonish audiences around the world for many years to come.
The Verdict: A