Girl kidnapped by spirits

“There must be some kind of mistake; none of these pigs are my parents!”

Amid the plethora of bizarre events found in the fantastic movie, “Spirited Away,” this is one of the most normal quotes I could actually find.

“Spirited Away” is a charming film from the magnificent Studio Ghibli about a young girl, Chihiro, who inadvertently walks right into the spirit world along with her parents. While this may seem like it would be a fun adventure for some, things turn bad when the three are trapped there by Yubaba, a spirit who owns the local bath house. In an odd turn of events, Chihiro befriends a spirit, named Haku, who aids her in her quest to find her parents and, ultimately, to go back home.

Amidst this plot full of twists and turns, there are many references to Japanese culture and mythology, something I highly appreciate in a movie of this kind. It lets me know that the writers aren’t just making stuff up as they go along. In fact, I recently learned that Miyazaki, the creator of “Spirited Away,” usually has an idea, but doesn’t make a script. He simply lets the pictures from the movie decide what to do.

The movie managed to keep me interested with its beautiful animation and music. With every step and new plot development, the music captures the mood, and the animation shifts just enough to catch my attention and hold my focus. “Spirited Away” features what I believe to be the most masterfully done visuals in existence.

However, in terms of sound, the harsh voice acting of the lead roles contrast the peaceful music and soothing voices of background characters. Chihiro’s loud and borderline obnoxious voice contradicts Haku’s slow, soft voice in such a way that makes me raise an eyebrow. I’m not sure if this was intentional, but if it was, they definitely succeeded in what they hoped to accomplish.

Despite the few drawbacks that I found while watching this movie, it is a wonderful story told in a beautiful way, and I could watch it again and again.

4 / 5 spirit shrines.