Spirited Away Review: Summer/Fall 2021 Edition

Spirited Away is a Fantasy, Anime, Film released in July of 2001 written by Hayao Miyazaki. For a child, moving can be the hardest thing. Leaving behind friends, a home, and other good memories can be the scariest thing in the world. However, what if a shortcut on the way to your new home takes you somewhere you can only see in dreams—a place filled with a variety of spirits and otherworldly creatures. A new home doesn’t sound so bad right about now, is what one young girl named Chihiro finds out, as well as a few other things.

Spirited away is a fantasy film that takes the viewer into a whole different world. It does this through the eyes of Chihiro, a young girl who is moving with her parents. The story starts quickly, but not so fast that there is no time to get to know the family, specifically Chihiro. It allows the viewer to understand the situation and her feelings before throwing the main “meat” of the story at the viewer. The story explores many themes such as friendship and loves while keeping that fantasy feels to it. The most important and exciting part of the story is the growth Chihiro experiences and how she handles the different situations that occur. The people she meets and the bonds she makes also make for an excellent element to the story. Spirited Away has a few action scenes in it too. Well, maybe not action or, rather, not jaw-breaking action but plenty of scenes that keep the viewer on the edge of their seat. In the story, the viewer often sees situations that make one feel for Chihiro, “Will she be alright?”

“How will she get out of this?” and “What’s going to happen next?” keeping it very interesting. Chihiro is the focus of the story, but that doesn’t mean that the other characters aren’t fleshed out as well. Many characters are introduced throughout the film, each adding an exciting element to the story. One is a mysterious boy named Haku, who helps Chihiro out, but his loyalty is hard to figure out. Like Chihiro, his character grows tremendously, as do other characters. The management of the characters is outstanding. Something else the film does well is the art. It is visually stunning. A lot of detail is put into the scenes. The character designs and landscaping all come to life, bringing great emotion and wonderment to the overall story. The detailing of everything captures the viewer’s attention and doesn’t let it go until it’s done. The art can’t do this alone, however, and that’s where the music comes in. The musical scores for this film perfectly reflect the overall feel of the film. It primarily enhances the scenes and adds to the emotions that occur. “One summer’s day,” one of the musical scores, perfectly introduces and ends the story setting the overall tone for the film.

Another thing to note is the acting. Bad acting can ruin a film. Thankfully the acting was just as noteworthy as the film itself. Every voice actor played their part well. The emotion came through brilliantly. Not too much, not too little. Neither fake, nor wooden, or overdramatic. So, the film was straightforward to watch. Overall, Spirited Away can be considered an instant classic. It takes everything good in a fantasy movie, puts it into a single pot, mixes it, and turns out fantastic. 

Review by Raine Leggett of Raine And Reads

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