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Spirited Away (2001) – My Anime Journey - This film is very strange and unique!!


I have never watched anime before. I was given this recommendation as a good place to start. I haven’t really liked or wanted to like anime before. I am starting a series on watching anime so I can record my progress from being a person who dislikes it, into perhaps a lover?

I am not fond off the typical anime art style. I will try and be as open minded as I can before watching this movie.

Within this article, I will be writing down my thoughts as they happen, so something may click later which I didn’t initially pick up on. Everything I say is my own opinion, so please don’t be negative in the comments, Thank you!

So, I hope I like this movie as it will broaden my taste in different genres.,


At the start of the movie, there seems to be a nice family dynamic in the car. I really am unsure about what this movie is about. The Dad seems a bit cocky, he thinks he knows a shortcut, but of course he doesn’t! (I think we all have a family member who is like that).

I wonder what that building is, is it a larger spirit temple? The Dad mentioned them in the car journey so perhaps it is some sort of foreshadowing for the rest of the movie.

OH – Doesn’t matter, it is an Abandoned Amusement Park. For something that is supposed to be run down, it looks so pretty and atmospheric. Where is everyone? Why is it empty? I think all the townspeople are perhaps dead, maybe a disaster?

The food the parents find looks sooo good! But why is it that Chihiro is the only one with the commence sense not to the eat the food? Maybe the townspeople set this trap so they could eat the parents as if they are pigs, because the amount of food there is they could be like pigs

for slaughter.

Why is there a random bathhouse the middle of an amusement park? That is a bit random, whatever – I can live with it. There is another human, first contact of life. Why did he warn her about the dark, surely it would be the same at night?

OH – there are lots and lots of ghosts, clues in the name of the title I suppose.

I CALLED IT! The parents literally tuned into pigs… I think the town is magical or something to teach humans a lesson.

Now Chihiro is turning into a ghost, this is so confusing. Maybe they all died in the car, and this is a way they determine who goes to heaven or hell.

The film now appears that it could feature a love story between the protagonist and the boy, Haku.

I need to give credit to the composers of the film because the music is truly incredible. Without it, the movie wouldn’t have as much life as it does now. It really makes the world feel live, makes it seem magical.

Haku sent Chihiro to see Kamaji, he is a very creepy spider, crossed with a man. I don’t know how she is keeping her cool. I would be terrified! I would have dipped and left my parents by now. But somehow, the world seems creepy but magical. There are these little spider creatures (don’t know their name) who are so cute but there is still a mystery surrounding who they are but it never really gets explored (as far as I know).

The locations are so beautiful… It’s like I want to go there. And it is extraordinary that an animation can make me feel in such an emotive way.

All the characters are unique and quirky in their own way. They all seem so nice, yet they have some darker sides as well.

Forget what I said! THE OLD LADY IS A MOOD (as I find out later her name is Yubaba). The scene where Chihiro begs Yubaba for a job at the bath house gives me major Coraline vibes… I see a resemblance of The Baldam within Yubaba. Spirited Away was released a year before the first Coraline book, so maybe there was a little influence from this movie that inspired Neil Gaiman.

Why are humans so hated? Maybe they all react like Chihiro’s parents, and she is the only exception.

WAIT – Haku better not be a traitor. Did he intentionally trick Chihiro into working at the bathhouse so Yubaba could steal her soul. If so, this is a very dark movie and I will forever hate Haku. Or this is a misdirect to create suspense later in the movie. I don’t know how Chihiro is managing this… it seems very traumatic for a child to live through.

F**k – she’s forgetting her NAME! I feel like one of the main themes of the movie is identity, and that you shouldn’t allow people to strip your own identity. Only you can define who YOU are.

Who is the black spirit… it is so creepy just standing there watching. But it helps convey how nice Chihiro is compared to the rest of the inhabitants of the bathhouse. I like how she was nice to the spirit, so the spirit helped her out. It shows that kindness works both ways.

The spirit is also helping her clean the mud monster, why? I feel the spirit has a bigger part too play, why is it helping everyone.?

Never mind, it just ate the frog!! So, the spirit is a bad guy? I’m so confused as it now seems like a horror film.

WTF, Haku is a dragon!! Maybe he is not human and is some sort of spirit as well.

I feel like I have finally found what the movie is about... GREED. Chihiro, isn’t greedy like everyone else in the movie. Her wants are selfless. The townspeople and the parents both were greedy and did it in a selfish manner.

Sometimes, it can be confusing! Like the whole twist with Yubaba having a twin sister. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing but the amount of curve balls this movie has is insane.

The black ghost, is called No face. Even-though it has a face – bit of a dumb name. The ending gets a bit harder to follow, but I can say confidently that Chihiro is one of the sweetest children I have seen in any medium. No matter whatever choice she was given she always chose to help others than the most desirable option.

So, the slug was controlling Haku, meaning he wasn’t bad just controlled by Yubaba. It is later revealed he saved her in the past as he is a river spirit. I liked the ending but still struggle to comprehend all the resolutions.


To conclude, I found that Spirited Away, is a nice film, has nice undertones and meaningful messages. It can be quite quirky but confusing at times. However, it was a great movie that I would recommend to anyone and provoked many deep thoughts. It makes me happier to continue my anime journey.

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