Contrary to my initial ideas about Spirited Away, I was very pleasantly surprised. I love the idea of coping with change. It is time for young Chihiro to deal with moving to a new city, a new home, and making new friends. She enters this fairytale world and it just so happens that the change and ‘newness’ she overcomes there helps her deal with the change and ‘newness’ that she is afraid of in real life.
In the car on the way over to her new home she feels alone and seeks to find comfort in her flower, which also seems to be leaving her soon too. Her parents reassure her and speak with her about all the excitement change can bring to one’s life. Just as she is fancying the thought of this change, her world as she knows it changes yet again.
Chihiro must now work to overcome a new life. She most importantly wants to find her parents and turn them back from swine. In addition to this already difficult task, she is really alone now, and must try and find her way back home. As she does this, she has to decipher if the characters she meets along her journey, like Haku and Lin, are friends or foes. She must also learn a new job and how to deal with her inhumane boss Yubaba.
Miyazaki has made a beautiful film which explores the mind of a child who faces confusion and adversity in multiple realms, yet comes out of the experiences with a positive outlook on her new life. I think it is a great film for any age about overcoming the trials and tribulations of not only becoming wiser, but also about getting to know oneself better.