Spirited Away (2001) IMDb


Suzuki Toshio (producer), Miyazaki Hayao (writer-director).


Modern-day fantasy with heavy mythological influences. Lots of metamorphosis.


A ten-year-old strays into the land of Japan’s gods, where humans are unwanted guests or worse.


Like Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) and Porco Rosso (1992), this falls into the trap of frivolous fantasy, eroding basic believability. Kaonashi as a counterfeiter recalls the man from Echigo in The Life of Oharu (1952). I had to watch it two whole times before I understood that Kaonashi sounds weird because it talks with the voice of what it eats (which is just me being dumb). Partially based on a book.

References here: Ghibli movie titles, “Mei and the Kitten Bus” (2002), The Cat Returns (2002), Thank You, Mr. Lasseter (2003), Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), Tales from Earthsea (2006), Over the Garden Wall (2014), Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017).

animation fiction Ghibli Japanese production moving picture