SPIRITED AWAY

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
FEBRUARY 10, 2014

Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar-winning animated film “Spirited Away” tells the story of a little girl who follows her parents into a strange amusement park and gets lost in the world of the spirits. Following the helpful young man, Haku, the young girl takes refuge in a bathhouse, run by a witch named Yubaba. In trying to free her parents from the spell that casts them into a living, breathing livestock, and in trying to keep herself out of danger, she must brave the being known as No-Face, Yubaba’s giant baby, and Yubaba’s twin sister, Zeniba. The animation matches the quality of Miyazaki’s previous work and contains a much more entrancing story that “Howl’s Moving Castle”. Miyazaki has a way of developing large amounts of characters in all his films, which makes them so entertaining to watch. He creates these fantasy worlds that are fully formed, with their laws and rules, and then brings these worlds to life through the stories that are told in them, often filled with heroes and adventures, an unsuspected damsel in distress and evil ugly witches that can be conquered through friendship rather than destruction. “Spirited Away” is my favorite Miyazaki film yet, with “Howl’s Moving Castle” being the only other film of his that I’ve seen, but already I enjoy the story-telling much more than I anticipated and even though I have zero affinity for anime, these films transcend that styling and create a genre of Japanese animation all its own.

RELEASE DATE
September 20, 2002

DIRECTOR
Hayao Miyazaki

WRITTEN BY
Hayao Miyazaki

STUDIO
Studio Ghibli

PG
(for some scary moments)

ANIMATION
ADVENTURE
FAMILY
FANTASY
MYSTERY

125 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Atsushi Okui

COMPOSER
Joe Hisaishi

EDITOR
Takeshi Seyama

JAPANESE CAST
Rumi Hiiragi
Miyu Irino
Mari Natsuki
Bunta Sugawara
Yoomi Tamai
Tsunehiko Kamijō
Takehiko Ono
Akio Nakamura
Tatsuya Gashūin
Yō Ōizumi
Ryūnosuke Kamiki
Takashi Naitō
Yasuko Sawaguchi
Koba Hayashi
Ken Yasuda

ENGLISH CAST
Daveigh Chase
Jason Marsden
Suzanne Pleshette
David Ogden Stiers
Susan Egan
Paul Eiding
John Ratzenberger
Bob Bergen
Rodger Bumpass
Tara Strong
Michael Chiklis
Lauren Holly
Jim Ward
Jack Angel

PRODUCED BY
Toshio Suzuki

BUDGET
$19.2 million

5 Comments on “<span class="hpt_headertitle">Quick Review: Spirited Away (2003)</span>

    • It had a Japanese release in 2001, but it’s USA release was in 2003. Have you seen any of Miyazaki’s other animated films?

      • I’ve only seen “Ponyo”, “The Secret World of Arrietty”, “Kiki’s Delivery Service”, and “Castle in the Sky”.

        I’m not an anime fan and these are pretty much the only anime things I’ve ever watched. I found “Ponyo” weird, “Arrietty” boring, “Kiki” great, and “Castle in the Sky” good.

        But “Spirited Away” just blew me away! It’s probably one of my favorite films ever (not just animated)!

      • I’m not an anime fan either. All of those films are next on my list, but I have seen and strongly suggest “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “The Wind Rises”. If you loved “Spirited Away” I really feel like you’ll enjoy both of them.

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