The highest-rated Studio Ghibli movie and only Japanese film to win an Oscar for the best-animated feature and it has remained the highest-grossing film in Japan, Spirited Away is a breathtaking magical film that to this day remains one of my biggest influences. It is heavily based on Shinto mythology. Hayao Miyazaki, a brilliant animator, and a genius storyteller, masterfully weaves this masterpiece which even 19 years later captivates its audience from across the world.
Ten-year-old Chihiro Ogino is transported in a world of Kame's and spirits where she must work in a bathhouse while she figures out a way to save her parents.
The first time I saw this film I was still a high school student, and was transitioning away from my anime obsessed preteen years. I was falling in love with dark comic books and going through a phase of being an angst teen. I had seen Princess Mononoke, and was familiar with the amazing work of Miyazaki and Ghibli so I didn't think twice about watching a fairy tale story.
Little would I have known how this film would have transformed me? Yet Here I was 15 years of age wearing Nirvana shirt writing crappy poetry about the troubles of a teenager in America, suddenly mesmerized by the animation and story unfolding in front of me. It took me back a couple of years where fantasy and anime were all I consumed before I worried about fitting in. It made me feel like the first time I watched Neverending Story and Labyrinth. It was suspending me and transporting me into the world Miyazaki had made for Chihiro. Not only did this film Spirit the main character away but for me as its audience. I become obsessed with learning more about the Kame and yokai that inspired this film. For those who know me I have an obsession with Mythologies from the world and this film is one of the main reasons I got into Shinto stories and traditions.
To this day Spirited Away holds a special part in my life and whenever I feel drained or uninspired it is a film I go back to, to lift my spirit. I hope you find this film as inspiring as I do.