Pure Asian Entertainment: Film, TV, Anime & Manga
Spirited Away (2002)

Animation, Anime & Manga, and Art House & International movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki

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An utterly charming modern fairy tale

  • Sep 8, 2003
There is so much that could be said about Hayao Miyazaki's incredible tale of a little girl lost in a new world, it's difficult to even know where to begin. Since others have already said so much, I'll try to keep it short.

"Spirited Away" has all the ingredients of a classic fairy tale, but told using a modern medium. In just over two hours, it accomplishes the admirable goal of establishing a new world, one experienced for the first time by the young human girl Chihiro, later called Sen. As first her parents are changed, so Chihiro changes as she learns how best to adapt to this new environment, though Chihiro is changed in far more subtle (and perhaps more permanent) ways.

Comparisons to L. Frank Baum's "Oz" series, or perhaps even more, Lewis Carroll's "Alice" books, are entirely apt. "Spirited Away" shares the best elements of those classic stories: frightening situations, mysterious characters, a sense of humor, and an unquenchable sense of wonder and magic. As Chihiro adapts to and comes to terms with this strange new place and the new people she has to interact with, we are given a rare treat... a glimpse into something we've never seen before, through the eyes and sensibilities of a child.

The DVD presentation is even better than expected, with excellent image and sound reproduction. What's more, the second DVD includes extras that are actually worth watching. In particular, the Nippon TV special includes some enticing segments showing Miyazaki working on "Spirited Away," conveying his ideas to the rest of those working on the film. The DVD is well worth watching more than once, and will be a happy addition to my small (but growing) collection.

What's best about the DVD, however, is unquestionably the film itself. Steeped in Japanese culture and mythology, and yet universal in its themes, it is a film which is worthy of the best tales we pass down to our children, and to our children's children. The story is unique, and yet it should have meaning for anyone who sees it, particularly those who remember with fondness the rare magic that a good story can weave. This story weaves the best sort of magic imaginable.

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September 26, 2010
Yes it's a Brilliant Masterpiece and one of my all time favorite movies.
September 26, 2010
Excellent review, excellent review indeed. Love that second sentence in the final paragraph, well done.
More Spirited Away (2002) reviews
review by . November 15, 2007
posted in ASIANatomy
Spirited Away is a film directed by renowned anime director Hayao Miyazaki. This was a critically acclaimed film, and even won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.    This coming-of-age story revolves around a spoiled 10-year-old girl named Chihiro. She is unhappy about having to move to a new home and going to a new school. While heading to their new home, the family takes a detour and end up in another world, one that is populated by spirits. Chihiro's parents are turned into …
review by . May 14, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
This has become my favorite movie. I rented Sprited Away on thursday evening, watched it, with great amazement at today's advanced animation technology. I couldn't get it out of my head all week, untill I finally bought it.    The animation is superb, the characters really grow on you ( Chihiro is adorable, as she grws greatly as a person, alongside with a bunch of whacky characters that make you laugh and cry at the same time)I loved the lenght of this movie, so anyone who thinks that …
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Rich Stoehr ()
Ranked #21
I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't).      People … more
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The highest grossing film in Japanese box-office history (more than $234 million), Hayao Miyazaki'sSpirited Away(Sen To Chihiro Kamikakushi) is a dazzling film that reasserts the power of drawn animation to create fantasy worlds. Like Dorothy inThe Wizard of Ozand Lewis Carroll's Alice, Chihiro (voice by Daveigh Chase--Lilo in Disney'sLilo & Stitch) plunges into an alternate reality. On the way to their new home, the petulant adolescent and her parents find what they think is a deserted amusement park. Her parents stuff themselves until they turn into pigs, and Chihiro discovers they're trapped in a resort for traditional Japanese gods and spirits. An oddly familiar boy named Haku (Jason Marsden) instructs Chihiro to request a job from Yubaba (Suzanne Pleshette), the greedy witch who rules the spa. As she works, Chihiro's untapped qualities keep her from being corrupted by the greed that pervades Yubaba's mini-empire. In a series of fantastic adventures, she purges a river god suffering from human pollution, rescues the mysterious No-Face, and befriends Yubaba's kindly twin, Zeniba (Pleshette again). The resolve, bravery, and love Chihiro discovers within herself enable her to aid Haku and save her parents. The result is a moving and magical journey, told with consummate skill by one of the masters of contemporary animation. MPAA Rated: PG ("Some scary moments")--Charles Solomon
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Director: Hayao Miyazaki
DVD Release Date: April 15, 2003
Runtime: 125 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Video

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