I am a massive fan of the work of Studio Ghibli and while I could not rank the movies, I can tell you that Spirited Away is one of my favorites. Originally released all the way back in 2001, Spirited Away was a worldwide breakthrough movie for the Japanese studio. It captured everyone’s attention, even Disney who at the time snapped up the international distribution rights.
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The Movie Review
The story of the movie is great and will have you engaged right from the start. It is about a young girl called Chihiro who along with her parents are moving to a small town in the Japanese countryside. Along the way, they get lost and they end up at this old abandoned theme park which is pretty creepy.
Chihiro and her parents explore this theme park even though Chihiro thinks it is creepy. Despite the place being abandoned, they come across a place that has all this tasty fresh food. Her parents decide to eat and then they turn into pigs! The whole theme park changes and Chihiro finds herself in a strange land full of spirits!
She soon comes across a friend in the very cool, loyal, and dynamic Haku who explains to her what this place is. It is kind of a resort for the spirits and she has to get out of there or she will be stuck there and her parents will be permanently turned into pigs. The center of this place is a strange bathhouse that is home to a powerful witch that runs this place.
Eventually, Chihiro takes a job there and things get very strange. She does all she can to not just survive, but to also save her parents before it is too late. Spirited Away is a truly engrossing story and Chihiro is a very likable character who goes above and beyond not just for her parents, but for the spirits that she ends up connecting with too.
As is the case with all Studio Ghibli movies, Spirited Away is pure pleasure for your eyes. This strange spirit world looks amazing and the different creatures that come to this place have a ton of imagination to them. I have always loved the way Studio Ghibli has a ton of authentic Japanese scenery and architecture in their movies, but there is always some kind of twist on it.
The voice acting in the Western version of the movie is amazing and each character feels real. Chihiro is played by the talented Daveigh Chase who you may know better as Samara from The Ring. Her parents are played by Michael Chiklis and Lauren Holly. The whole cast does a great job of bringing this tale to life.
It is so obvious to say that Spirited Away is one of the best Studio Ghibli movies, but that praise is well deserved. It is not just a great animated movie; it is a great movie in general. If I ever introduce someone to the world of Studio Ghibli, I always suggest that they start off with this movie.