Things Chibi Hime Screams About

Things Chibi Hime Screams About

Todays Scream Fest: Spirited Away

Well, it's official, webmistress Chibi Hime has fallen under the spell of Spirited Away, the latest from her favorite Japanese director, Hayao Miyazaki. This film is one of the flat out most beautiful films I have ever seen. It has a gorgeous score that makes me want to cry when I listen to it, along with a gorgeous ending theme that also makes me want to sob.

Here are a few things I love about Spirited Away:

1. The STORY, totally original, heartwrenching, compelling and complex. This isn't a beer and popcorn movie, its a psychological expeience that makes Lilo and Stitch look like Saturday morning fodder put in the most annoying timeslot.(Don't get me wrong, I thought Lilo and Stitch was good, but Spirited Away towers above it on all levels.) The story does not insult the intelligence of its viewers, adult or child. It is a complex combination of joy, sorrow, love, loyalty and maturation that enthrall the viewer and excite the senses.
2.The ART-Simply gorgeous, there is no other word for it. This is Studio Ghibli, don't forget, they only make good movies that are artistically flawless. The characers are unlike anything in any other film and the backgrounds are breathtaking. The almost simplistic character designs are in sharp contrast to the detailed backdrops, causing them to stand out without drawing attention away from any other aspect of the film. The scene where the sun sets and the ghosts begin to appear is at once chilling and awe inspiring.
3. Kaonashi-"No-Face", a faceles phantom who wears a mask (That's him up there next to Chihiro) is incredibly adorable. He is also very touching, he is excluded from the bathhouse of the gods because he's a monster. He has to stand outside in the rain while everyone has fun inside. Chihiro opens the door and lets him in. Kaonashi repays Chihiro for her kindness by helping her get herbal soap tokens for the stink spirit's bath. Kaonashi can make fools gold that the other spirits believe is real and thus pretend to like him and wait on him as if he were a diety, but Kaonashi only wants to find "Sen", the one who was kind to him first, without him giving anything to her. He later consumes an exorbinant amount of food, which causes him to become evil (perhaps he was excluded for so long for his own good), he is saved by Chihiro, who feeds him a piece of the dumpling given to her by the stink spirit. Proving his loyalty and friendship, he accompanies Chihiro aboard the train that will take them to Swamp Bottom, the home of Zeniba, Yu-baba's identical, but far more friendly twin sister.
4. Haku-The mysterious boy who has mythical powers. He befriends Chihiro and tells her how to survive in the land of the spirits. Haku is really a river spirit and can change into a dragon(he's in the top image).
5. The Music- Joe Hisaishi outdid himself again on this film. From simple piano solos to soaring suites, this soundtrack can really pull the heart strings. It has a distinctly Asian feel that I love! The Ending song, Always With Me may sound strange at first, but after seeing the film, it is wonderful.
6. Miyazaki-He's my favorite japanese director and his reason for making the film ( A response to young girl's apathy towards tradition) shows how much he's dedicated to his work.
7. Chihiro-the Heroine, she should probably be higher on the list, but she's here. I love her, she's a brave, smart and compelling character. She tries to help everyone, putting her quest to save her parents aside to help others. She matures during the film, a process that we see, simply perfect.

PLOT- Chihiro and her parents are moving to the suburbs, Chihiro doesn't want to move, she whines, complains and pouts for most of the drive. Her father takes a wrong turn(Just like a dad, doesn't stop to ask for directions). They drive down a forest road and end up in front of a tunnel. They get out of the car to investigate, the wind mysteriously pushes them forward through the tunnel which looks like a gothic church inside. On the other side of the tunnel, her parents smell food and decide to look for it, chihiro says she wants to leave, but no one listens. Her parents find a restaurant, but there is no one around, so they decide to eat now and pay when the owner comes. Chihiro (understandably) doesn't want to eat the food and goes off on her own. SHe meets Haku, a boy who tells her that she must leave before darkness falls. Just as he says this, the sun starts to set. Chihiro runs back to her parents to find that they have been turned into pigs. Terrified, she runs to the tunnel, only to find that a river stands between her and her escape.

Haku finds her and helps her get a job at the bathhouse of the gods, owned by Yu-baba, the witch. There she befriends Lin the slug spirit, Kamaji the spider-like boiler room man, Kaonashi/No-Face, along with a swarm of soot sprites who eat star shaped candy sprinkles and whose antics are hilarious. She finds her parents, thanks to help from Haku and swears to save them.

Meanwhile, Yu-baba changes Chihiro's name to Sen (she controls people by taking heir names, she also controls Haku this way). In order to save her parents, Sen must remember her true name and overcome the challenges of the spirit world. Thus begin a few episodic adventures that change her life forever. One minute charming and whimsical, the next dark and forboding, Spirited Away is a surreal masterwork of sight, sound and emotion that is an unforgettable cinematic event.

Things that make Chibi Hime Want to Cry in Spirited Away:

1.When Kaonashi gives Sen an enormous stack of herbal soap bath tokens and she refuses. She is in a hurry and runs out. Kaonashi leaves them in a bucket for her, she needs them later, it is fortunate she had some help.
2. When Kaonashi turns evil, okay its only for ten minutes, but still.
3. When an almost evil Kaonashi tries to give Sen a pile of gold. She tells him she doesn't need it and rushes off again (to save Haku)
4. When Haku is bleeding in Sen's room while in dragon form.
5. Sequence following that one in the boiler room, when Haku is bleeding to death.
6. The part when Haku remembers his name.
7. The song they play during the end credits

Well, It is definitely worth your time and effort, to see if its coming to your town, look at the theatre listings at to check the touring schedule.

Spirit Yourself Away

Magic Shoppe 2

I don't own Spirited Away, JCA, ST, FF, E or any other copyrighted material.