The characters in this film stick to the traditional anime style character's, which have always seemed to me to be a bit over the top. Where as subtle acting is used in most animation, letting the voice actor bring the spirit on the character out, in Anime I have always noticed an over abundance in drawn, over acted reactions that steal from the format and it's amazing art work. Most of the characters looked familiar and little surprised me even though I have little interest, or experience with anime. This film brought me to the same conclusion that I have had about many Anime features, and I can explain what that feeling is.
Anime is influenced and inspired by the rich cultures or Asia,which include China, Japan, and India, along with many others. These countries have a long rich tradition that they reach to when they are crafting their artwork and entertainment. You can find wonderful examples of this in Spirited Away with all of the SPirits for everything including crap. But right here is my problem. I am sure this film gives many people in Asia that warm feeling in the top of their stomach as every frame lays out things that mean a lot to them. They don't mean anything to me, I'm not Asian in anyway and my traditions and value are somewhat different since my origins come from Europe. I don't possess the heart felt feelings about these stories so I feel that a lot is lost in translation for me. I have tried for years to enjoy anime, but it doesn't work. And this is why I think I have this problem. If I saw Braveheart made into an anime, maybe then I would feel that feeling, but it's unlikely they will be remaking a Scottish legend when they have so many of their own to recreate.
For final comments I say this. Spirited Away was entertaining and well crafted. I am sure the story will work better for other people, especially those who enjoy anime. I suppose I will only be able to enjoy a small part of this films magic since I enjoyed it to a degree. I would suggest this to any anime fan looking for something a little less bloody and sex oriented and more like an anime style Disney film.