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Transcript of Spirited Away
Written & Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki
Japanese film director, producer, screenwriter, and animator.
Often referred to as the Japanese Walt Disney.
Co-founder of Studio Ghibli.
Most well known for his work on;
- My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
- Princess Mononoke (1997)
- Spirited Away (2001)
When the film begins, ten year old Chihiro and her family are traveling to their new home when Chihiro's father takes a wrong turn. Sure he can find a way out, he continues to drive down the wrong path until a large statue appears in his way. Chihiro's parents realize that the statue is blocking the entrance to a long, mysterious tunnel and decide to do some exploring. Frightened, Chihiro begs them not to go into the tunnel, but they do anyway, and she is forced to follow along. When they get to the end of the tunnel, they find that it opens up to a seemingly run down and deserted amusement park. That is, until they smell food cooking somewhere in the distance. Following their noses, Chihiro's parents come across a massive buffet. Starving and unable to find anyone to ask, they decide to eat some of the food and pay later. Chihiro feels uncomfortable with this and decides that she'd rather do some more exploring than risk getting in trouble. She happens upon a beautiful bath house and meets a boy, Haku, who tells her that she needs to return where she came from and get back across the river before sunset comes and all the lanterns are lit. Scared, she does as she is told, but realizes that she is too late as the world around her begins to transform. As spirits and creatures begin to appear, she runs to find her parents. However, when she gets to the buffet, she sees that her parents have been changed into pigs. Terrified, she finds a place to hide, and stays there until Haku finds her again. He tells her that, in his world, she is the only real human and everyone can tell. In order to blend in, she must find work. Haku sends her to a spider-like man named Kamaji, but he is unable to give her any work and sends her to the evil runner of the bath house, Yubaba. Yubaba agrees to give her a job in the bath house, renames her Sen, and makes her sign a contract that, unbeknownst to Chihiro, states that if she ever forgets her real name, she will never be able to leave the spirit world. Haku warns her of this after he finds that Yubaba has given her a job, and Chihiro is very careful not to forget who she really is. Her job at the bath house is very grueling, though she has great success with her first client. He gives her a vomit-inducing dumpling to thank her, and she keeps it in case she might need it. From the back door of the bath house, she sees a spirit named No-Face standing out in the rain and invites him in to get warm. He acts as a client and tempts many of the workers with gold. He becomes a gluttonous monster and begins eating many of the bath house workers. Later that night, Chihiro sees a distressed dragon being chased through the sky by paper shikigami and recognizes him as Haku. Badly injured, he crashes into the bath house and a shikigami suddenly transforms into Zeniba, Yubaba's twin sister. She tells Chihiro that she needs to get a golden seal from Haku because he stole it from her, and it is infecting him with a deadly curse. For fun, Zeniba turns Yubaba's baby, Boh, into a mouse before she leaves. Chihiro feeds a part of the dumpling to an unconscious Haku who immediately spits up the seal Zeniba was looking for, as well as the black slug containing the deadly curse. She stomps on the slug and, with Boh in tow, makes her way out to Zeniba's to return the seal. On her way, she feeds the remaining portion of the dumpling to No-Face who proceeds to vomit up everyone and everything he had eaten all over the bath house. Yubaba is furious with the mess he made and blames it on Chihiro since she was the one to let No-Face into the bath house in the first place. She orders for Chihiro's parents to be slaughtered. Haku hears this and reveals to Yubaba that Chihiro has Boh, and makes her promise that if he can get Boh back to her safely, she will not kill Chihiro's parents. Chihiro gives the seal to Zeniba, and Haku shows up in dragon form to take her and Boh back to the bath house. On their way, Chihiro remembers a story from childhood about falling into a river and being safely washed ashore. She remembers that the river was called the Kohaku River, and relates it to Haku. Suddenly, thanks to Chihiro's memory of him, Haku remembers his real name and his history as the Spirit of the Kohaku River and Yubaba's control over him is lifted. They return to the bath house to give Boh back and save Chihiro's parents, but Yubaba decides to make one last deal; if Chihiro can correctly identify her parents out of a group of identical pigs, she can take them and go home. If not, she must stay in the spirit world forever. Chihiro tells Yubaba that her parents are not in the crowd, and the curse on her name is broken. Haku helps her leave and vows to meet with her again someday, but that for now she must go back through the tunnel and never look back. She goes, and although she wants to look, she does not, and she is suddenly back with her parents, who claim to have been looking for her for a very long time. They go back to the car, which is overgrown as if they have all been gone for a very long time, and go back to trying to find their new home.
Passage from Childhood to Adulthood
"Critical Commentary on Modern Japanese Society"
"Miyazaki's drawing style, which descends from the classical Japanese graphic artists, is a pleasure to regard, with its subtle use of colors, clear lines, rich detail and its realistic depiction of fantastical elements. He suggests not just the appearances of his characters, but their natures. Apart from the stories and dialogue, "Spirited Away" is a pleasure to regard just for itself. This is one of the year's best films."
"There is something special about Spirited Away. It's a heroic adventure story...an anime masterpiece...with an ordinary 10-year-old girl named Chihiro as the heroine. And it's got a magical air of once-upon-a-time, a fairy-tale quality reminiscent of the uncensored works of the Brothers Grimm, where boys can turn into dragons, door knockers talk back and even evil spirits can't go back on their word."
-Kenneth Turan, LA Times
"Mr. Miyazaki's specialty is taking a primal wish of kids, transporting them to a fantasyland and then marooning them there. No one else conjures the phantasmagoric and shifting morality of dreams -- that fascinating and frightening aspect of having something that seems to represent good become evil -- in the way this master Japanese animator does. "
-Elvis Mitchell, NY Times
Personally, I found the film to be very slow moving, running at almost two and a half hours long. However, it's beautiful animation, deep storyline, and interesting characters kept me interested enough to keep watching. Although I do think it does a good job of tackling the obstacles of adolescence, I think it does so in such an unrealistic and interesting way that you aren't even aware that's the message you're supposed to be getting from it. The film is rated PG, so it definitely wouldn't be out of place in a classroom setting, though I'm not sure where it would fit in. It is definitely a film worth watching, and I highly recommend it.
Various Contributors. "Spirited Away." Spirited Away. Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 06 Aug. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirited_Away>.
Various Contributors. "Hayao Miyazaki." Hayao Miyazaki. Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 06 Aug. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayao_Miyazaki>.
Ebert, Roger. "Spirited Away." Spirited Away Movie Review. Roger Ebert, 20 Sept. 2002. Web. 06 Aug. 2013. <http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/spirited-away-2002>.
Turan, Kenneth. "Under the Spell of 'Spirited Away'" Under the Spell of 'Spirited Away' Los Angeles Times, 20 Sept. 2002. Web. 06 Aug. 2013. <http://articles.latimes.com/2002/sep/20/entertainment/et-turan20>.
Mitchell, Elvis. "Conjuring Up Atmosphere Only Anime Can Deliver." Movie Review - Spirited Away. New York Times, 20 Sept. 2002. Web. 06 Aug. 2013. <http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9504E0DB1030F933A1575AC0A9649C8B63>.