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Spirited Away

Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Quiz

full title · Spirited Away

director · Hayao Miyazaki

leading actor/actresses · Voiced by Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden, and Suzanne Pleshette

supporting actor/actresses · Other voices by David Ogden Stiers, Lauren Holly, John Ratzenberger, and Susan Egan

type of work · Japanese anime

genre · Adventure/Fantasy

language · Dubbed in English. Considered an excellent translation by anime experts.

time and place produced ·  2001, Japan

awards · Best Animated Feature Film, 75th Annual Academy Awards. Best Film, 2001, Japanese Academy Awards. Golden Bear (tied), 2002, Berlin International Film Festival. Many other lesser-known awards.

date of release · U.S. release date Sept. 20, 2002

producer · English version: John Lasseter

setting (time) · Late 1990s

setting (place) · A traditional Japanese bathhouse

protagonist · Chihiro, also known as Sen, a spoiled ten-year-old girl

major conflict · After Chihiro and her family accidentally wander into a spirit world and her parents turn into pigs, Chihiro struggles to stay focused on her goal of freeing her parents in the face of numerous otherworldly distractions involving greed and consumption.

rising action  ·  Sen is tested by No-Face, who offers her gold to keep her in the bathhouse and distract her from her goal of freeing her parents and saving Haku.

climax ·  Sen gets on a train to go see Zeniba, who holds the key to helping Sen reclaim her identity as Chihiro, saving Haku’s life, ameliorating the loneliness of No Face, and determining the fate of Chihiro’s parents.

falling action ·  Chihiro and her parents find their car covered with dust. The parents think someone has been playing a joke on them. Chihiro shows she’s now resigned to her new life.

themes ·  The power of words and names; the blurred line between good and evil; the shock of entering adulthood and the world of work

motifs ·  Greed; food; environmentalism; rules

symbols ·  Water; flight; gold

foreshadowing

 · Chihiro’s dad telling Chihiro and her mother not to worry that he’s driving dangerously because he has four wheel drive. Along the same lines, a few minutes later he says not to worry about eating the food because he has credit cards and cash. Both of these events foreshadow Chihiro being left to rely on her own character and devices.
 · Chihiro’s parents grunting as they begin eating, which foreshadows them turning into pigs.
 · The stink spirit/river spirit turning into a white dragon. This is a key foreshadowing of the true identity of Haku, who is himself a river spirit/white dragon.
 · Haku vomiting up the slug. This is a foreshadowing of the purging of No-Face, which leads No-Face to peace.

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An excerpt from Tumblr by cering

by LunarFox, September 10, 2012

I’ve noticed that several of my followers are Miyazaki fans, so I thought I share this little tidbit of information with you about Spirited Away.

I always wondered why the symbol “ゆ” (said “yu”) was on the door to the bath house. I asked my Japanese teacher, and he wasn’t too sure so I did a little research.

The symbol is used on the entrance to 温泉 (onsen) and 銭湯 (sento), or Japanese bath houses. The word “yu” is translated to “hot water”. So, makes sense to be on a bath house, yes?

Then I d... Read more

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118 out of 122 people found this helpful

About Haku and Chihiro

by bbluecheese, April 25, 2013

Although this page puts it that Chihiro and Haku share a purely platonic, brother/sister love, this is not true. For one thing, it just doesn't seem like it in the movie. For another, and more importantly, when the movie is played in Chinese, the boiler man (or Zeniba, I forget who) refers to Haku as Chihiro's 男朋友 which means boyfriend. So definitely, romantic relationship there.

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3 out of 4 people found this helpful

The train

by MadClairvoyant, September 15, 2013

I always wondered why Kamaji told Chihiro that the train used to go two ways, yet it only goes one way now. He could have just told her that it goes one way, right?

Does the conjecture; the train symbolises going to the afterlife, and that our lack of belief has caused it to become a one way trip, make sense?

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