Today marks ten whole years since Studio Ghibli first shared Spirited Away with the world. Thus far it is the only foreign film to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, which says a lot about it and its success with foreign audiences. Spirited Away is one of my favourite films for the simple reason that it has a lot going for it. A great coming-of-age story, a quirky yet layered set of characters, fantastic animation that stays true to traditional methods while incorporating digital technology and a superb score by Joe Hisaishi all combine to make it a very enjoyable film yet at the same time remain an emotional tale. Its hard to believe its now 10 years old but it is. A true testament to the deftness and skill of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. John Lasseter also deserves an honourable mention for handling the better than usual English dub. Oliver Good over at The National has a nice write-up on how Spirited Away helped break the mould for Japanese movies.
Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi) is a 2001 film by the Japanese anime studio Studio Ghibli, written and directed by famed animator Hayao Miyazaki. Its original Japanese title can be translated as The Spiriting Away of Sen and Chihiro or Sen and the Spiriting Away of Chihiro. However the name also forms a pun, with "Sen to Chihiro" sounding like "Sentou Chihiro", which means "Bath-house Chihiro". In Japan the film is commonly referred to simply as "Sen". The film received many awards around the world, including the second Oscar ever awarded for Best Animated Feature and the only winner of that award to win among five nominees (in every other year there were three nominees).
Chihiro is a sullen little girl moving to a new home, in a new town. While travelling to her new house, with her parents, she seems sad. After taking a wrong turning, they enter a strange tunnel and find themselves lost in an empty town with restaurants everywhere. They're hungry and find some food. Chihiro's parents decide to eat, but Chihiro didn’t even try to touch the food. She goes elsewhere and when she gets back, her parents became pigs. Chihiro will discover that she's stumbled into another world: a place where the spirits and gods come to relax in a big bathhouse, managed by the witch Yubaba. Chihiro will have to free her parents and herself from this world, while growing mentally from the little girl she was.
Chihiro Ogino / Sen
Chihiro Ogino is the protagonist in the animated film Spirited Away. She has a very sullen, shy, and no-nonsense personality. She is none too thrilled about the move her family makes at the beginning of the film, nor the subsequent detour her father makes into what appears to be an abandoned amusement park. Her misgivings about the "park" are confirmed when her parents are transformed into pigs after eating enchanted food, which Chihiro herself refused to eat. She drops her more serious persona at this point and behaves like the frightened child she is. After discovering, from a mysterious boy-like spirit called Haku, that the park is in fact a resort for Japanese gods, Chihiro gets a job at the resort's bathhouse, which will be the backdrop for her own story of emotional growth. Chihiro was voiced by Rumi Hiiragi in the original Japanese version, and by child star Daveigh Chase, best-known as the voice of Lilo Pelekai in the Disney film Lilo & Stitch, in English-language dub.  Akihiko Ogino
Chihiro's father. Akihiko's impulsive behaviour catalyzes the unfolding of events in the beginning of the movie, climaxing in his transformation into a pig. Voiced by: Takashi Naito (Japanese), Michael Chiklis (English)  Yumiko Ogino
Chihiro's mother who, along with Chihiro's father, is turned into a pig, at the start of the movie. Voiced by: Yasuko Sawaguchi (Japanese), Lauren Holly (English)  Haku / Nigihayami Kohakunushi
(ハク, Haku/Nigihayami Kohakunushi) A young boy who helps Chihiro after her parents have...
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