I’ve been drawn to anything and everything Japanese for a while now. It started with Made in Japan by Akio Morita, followed by Jiro dreams of Sushi and a book about Hello Kitty. And the latest entrant: Spirited Away.
If you plan on watching it, watch it in HD with English sub titles. The English dubbed version loses the charm and the natural flow of the original movie.
I was mesmerized by the trembling cellophane that the flowers were wrapped in. Yes, cellophane paper cast a spell on me. Spirited Away follows Chihiro in her journey through a strange land in search of her parents. The graphics are utterly beautiful, drawn in incredible detail. You can feel yourself shudder as the wispy spirits pass by Chihiro on the bridge.
There’s a lot to say about the spirits! They’re creepy, definitely. Their creepiness lies in their inscrutability. Their bland faces don’t reveal much, it’s hard to decide whether to trust them or not. The strangest Spirit is No Face, who Chihiro keeps encountering. No Face has a mask and is cloaked in wispy blackness and simply stares at Chihiro from time to time. Cue creepy music.
Chihiro meets Haku, a boy of her age, who acts like a guide. You don’t realize till the end that they’re in love with each other. It’s a beautiful kind of love, where they don’t adhere to the standard holding hands and romancing stuff. They just do stuff for each other.
Spirited Away portrays greed, love, sacrifice, loneliness and goodness through Chihiro and the various characters she encounters in this dreamy journey. Not only is it a visual delight, it’s a feast for all the senses! The music and the background score up the magic quotient. Keep your tissues handy!