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Spirited Away

Scott

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A movie about a 10-year-old girl has overtaken Titanic as the best-selling movie in Japanese history. Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (English title: Spirited Away), a full-length animated film, opened last summer in Japan and has become a massive hit, now appearing on VHS and DVD.


Spirited Away is the first movie in four years by director Hayao Miyazaki, who is very popular with kids (as well as adults) in Japan. Fans lined up outside theaters for hours to see the movie on the day it was released. The film broke the Japanese record for number of spectators shortly after it came out, and in just 56 days it also took the record as the highest-earning Japanese film ever. This record was previously held by another Miyazaki movie from four years ago, Mononoke Hime (English title: Princess Mononoke), which took about a year to set the record.


In Spirited Away, Chihiro, an ordinary 10-year-old Japanese girl, is moving to a house with her parents when they wander into a mysterious town. Her father claims that it must be an old abandoned theme park. They wander into the heart of the small town and her mother and father are turned into pigs after they eat food that was not meant for them. In shock, Chihiro runs around the town only to meet a boy of her age named Haku. Haku informs her that in order to survive and turn her parents back into humans, she must work for Yubaba, the witch who controls the town. Chihiro ends up working in a big bath house, where the many gods and monsters said to live in Japan come at night, across a red painted bridge, to relax and recover from the day's stress.


Yubaba robs Chihiro of her name, after Chihiro signs a contract, and changes it to Sen. The little girl will not be able to return to the human world if she forgets her real name. She encounters many strange obstacles along the way such as a visit from the "Stinky God" to the bathhouse, and a meeting with Yubaba's GIANT son, who is referred to as Baby. Will Chihiro, who has suddenly lost her parents and been left to care and work for herself, be able to find her way back? Chihiro appears both weak and negative at the beginning of the story, but as it unfolds she becomes increasingly stronger. For those of you who have seen Miyazaki's previous work, My Neighbor Totoro, you will notice that the little black dust bunnies play a guest role in this movie.


The film features subtitles in English, French and Japanese, and dubbed soundtrack in French, and Japanese. The film is provided on 2 DVDs and features many extras, as with all Studio Ghibli's DVD film releases. The first disc contains the movie and on the second disk are many extras. On this disc, you can view the film in storyboard mode, a great way to get insight on the movie and the director. There are also many other things, including an interview you don't want to miss, and a preview for the newest Ghibli movie, Neko no Ongaeshi (The Cat Returns).


Spirited Away, in my opinion, is the greatest movie ever produced by Ghibli. It also has serious potential for being one of the greatest anime movies ever made to this date. Spirited Away is a beautiful film, full of incredible scenes and characters that are especially eye opening. There seems to be a combination of inventions of Miyazaki and snippets from tales in ancient Japan and China.


For those of you who may have heard that there is a reddish tint to the DVD, don't let that throw you. I noticed a SLIGHT red tint which was easily improved by editing the color settings on my TV. After the first minute you forget that there is a red tint and by the end of the movie you're questioning to whether there even is a red tint on the DVD.


I plan on watching and enjoying it many more times after today. I'm also excited to see the results of the English dub when it hits North American theatres this fall, in September 2002. If you're interested in more information, you can visit http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/sen/.


In final, I suggest you buy Spirited Away today. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. It is available at most Japanese themed stores on the net, including http://www.yesasia.com and http://www.cdjapan.co.jp but is available much cheaper brand new at http://www.ebay.com.
 

Scott

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Has anyone else seen this movie? If so, post your thoughts as I'm interested to hear them!
 

Twisted

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I have it, but didn't have time to see it yet. I was planning to watch it tonight but the weather was too nice to stay home. :gulp:
 

nebosuke

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I caught the captioned version at the El Capitan last weekend. It's simply a great movie, animated or not. I will probably wait to buy the DVD until the U.S. version comes out to see what is available on the disc versus the imported (Japanese) one.

You can read summaries (with links to the entire articles) of all of the critics reviews at Rotten Tomatoes.
 

moyashi

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ugh, tiny towns are the pits. At least you have a theater. I didn't. I had to drive 30 minutes to see anything that wasn't on video yet.
 

rhymester*

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yeay i love that movie!! glad to see it did well in the west! it was very popular here in singapore too!

😄
 

Twisted

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I have finally seen it tonight. Absolutely brilliant!
 

moyashi

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Waiting for a chance to watch it.

Wife is anti-movie watching lately ... ugh
 

Hoyu

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My wife brought an original VCR tape of "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi" (Spirited Away) home nearly 6 months ago, proclaiming that it was the very best of Hayao Miyazaki's anime she had ever seen. And this says a lot! She has been a huge fan of the whole Miyazaki legacy all her life; The Castle of Cagliostro, Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro & Princess Mononoke, to name a few.

My advice is... if you watch this, then you should know something about Shinto and Buddhist conceptuality...

or you will be quite lost metaphorically. ;)
 

jsantiago77

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Translation?

I'm curious. What does "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi" means in Japanese? Not the Spirited Away but the real word for word translation? I have seen the movie in Japanese with no subtitle so aside from Otoosan and Okaasan, I got lost. Planning to either watch it again with subtitle or hit my head and wake up as a Japanese.
 

Hoyu

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*** Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi ***

Two Possible Translations

Literal: Sen and Chihiro of the hidden Gods

Figurative: Sen and Chihiro and the hidden place of the Gods

Chihiro is given the name Sen when she starts to work at the bathhouse of the Gods (Shinto Kami), and the bathhouse is in a hidden place. So I guess it makes sense, but after you read the following quote you will have a better understanding of how the names Sen and Chihiro play into the title:

Chi and Sen use the same Kanji. Upon entering this world, you must sacrifice your identity to the boss, even if you still have your memories. Hence the similar name.

Source: http://www.lovehkfilm.com/panasia/spirited_away.htm
 

thomas

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It's still raining awards.

New York critics award "Spirited Away"

New York Film Critics Circle on Monday chose Hayao Miyazaki's award-winning animation, "Spirited Away" (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi), as the best animated movie of the year, the third award the blockbuster has collected in the United States this month.

=> http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=1&id=243025
 

thomas

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Grrr, just makes me more curious. ;)

Welcome to the board, Integral! 🙂
 

thomas

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kinjo

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I got to see Spirited Away in my Japanese 1 class, like 4 months ago. I liked it was the first movie I every seen in Japanese. a student from my class downloaded it from kaza and gave it to are sensai. It was coo.
 

thomas

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Originally posted by Twisted
Have you seen it yet, Thomas?

Guess I have to wait until they show it on TV, lol.

Kazaa, eh? ;)
 

den4

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I need to see it, too, one of the aeons....heard it's great though....but then, it is Miyazaki..... :D
hope it wins something at the Oscars, but I doubt it.. :(
 
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