In the middle of her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and monsters; where humans are changed into animals; and a bathhouse for these creatures.
On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.
The sailor of legend is framed by the goddess Eris for the theft of the Book of Peace, and must travel to her realm at the end of the world to retrieve it and save the life of his childhood friend Prince Proteus.
Chihiro and her parents are moving to a small Japanese town in the countryside and Chihiro is missing her old house. Chihiro's father makes a wrong turn and drives through a lonely land road with dead end in a tunnel. Her parents decide to stop the car and explore the area. They cross the tunnel and find an abandoned cultural theme park on the other side with a ghost town. When her parents sees a restaurant with smelling food but no staff, they decide to eat to pay later; however Chihiro refuses to eat and decides to visit the place. She meets the boy Haku that tells her that her parents and she are in danger and they must leave the place. She runs to the restaurant and finds that her parents have turned into pigs. Further, the place is a bathhouse of spirits, monsters, gods and ghosts owned by the witch Yubaba. Now Chihiro counts on Haku to save her parents and return to their world. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In order to animate the scene where Chihiro force feeds Haku the medicine in his dragon form, Hayao Miyazaki had his animators study a dog's mouth as they fed it treats while a veterinarian held its lower jaw. See more »
When Sen steps in the Black Slug in the boiler room, the slug goes all over the bottom of her foot. When she kneels down next to Haku, the black slug remains are no longer on her foot. See more »
[reading a card]
I'll miss you, Chihiro. Your best friend, Rumi.
See more »
The credits have a series of still images from the film. The last image before the film fades is Chihiro's shoe in the river. See more »
Last year I saw Spirited Away on it's UK release. I've never been a particular fan of anime, and it didn't really occur to me that I was watching a foreign language film dubbed into English (or 'American'). I can't imagine seeing a live action foreign language film dubbed into another language, but hey, this is a kids cartoon, what does it matter? Up to a point it didn't, because I loved the film. I enjoyed it so much I set about digging up the Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki back catalogue, in the process Sprited Away was filed away as one of the lesser Ghibli's - still great, but compared to Laputa, Grave of the Fireflies and a few others, it seemed a little weak.
BUT... I recently re-watched it on DVD with the subtitles and found the difference unbelievable. The film came alive like the other Miyazaki's I've seen. It seemed infinitely more layered, detailed, intelligent and witty than I remembered. Could it be that retaining the intended performances (even if the words are unintelligible) can make that much difference? Maybe the dub was just poorly done? Or was it just because I was now versed in the language of Ghibli? As a little experiment I decided to re-watch some of the film with both the English subtitles and English language dub in order to compare, I ended watching the whole thing out of morbid fascination. It's simply amazing what a difference there is. Entire scenes change. It's not just that subtle emphasis is shifted or the same points are made in a different manner - in the dub, the subject of whole conversations and scenes are changed, and often to some flat and uninteresting hokum. Relationships between characters are changed, their motivations and personalities are changed, the difference is shocking.
I appreciate western, and particularly American audiences can be put off by subtitles. And cinemas are less likely to show the film anyway. It's pointless to be all righteous when, fundamentally, you just want people to see the film. Unless they do, this treasure trove will remain undiscovered, and maybe finding it will encourage people to conquer the 'subtitle demon' (as Miyazaki might call him). But the problem is the quality of these dubs, and the liberties taken with the source material. Of course, without speaking Japanese, who can say it's not the subtitles that are way off? They're probably written by westerners too. But the dub just stinks of Disneyfication. Saturday morning generic nonsense. The challenging, uncompromising and emotionally ambitious nature of the film is severely watered down.
A fair question might be, 'if it's so bad why was it so successful?' The success is evidence of the films staggering quality. Even so, it hardly challenged whatever Jerry Bruckheimer movie was showing at the time. In Japan it's the biggest grossing film in history. 'Go figure,' as Chihiro wouldn't say.
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