I agree with some prior posts discussing the theme of innocence in Spirited Away. Not only does the film portray the wonders of childhood in a colorful, imaginative wonderland with the spirit world Chichiro discovers but also many characters in the story seem to embody broader meanings of greed, corruption, and pureness of spirit. “No-Face” was a fairly obvious parallel to the dangers of greed. His insatiable desire is sparked by fellow gluttons he can take advantage of and is in turn quieted by a Chichiro that wants none of the superficial things he has to offer. Madame Yubaba also embodies this sense of avarice; she does not recognize her own ‘precious’ child is gone while busy obsessing over her riches. Her contrast, Zeniba, is portrayed living a modest lifestyle but has a kind heart and offers only good intentions with helping Chichiro save her friend. Throughout the movie and through various tests of her character Chichiro unwaveringly displays the heart of an uncontaminated child not yet corrupted by the lure of money and material possessions. Her concerns lie instead with the well-being of her friends and family, which turn out to be the very choices that end up saving her from being trapped in the spirit world.
Although there are not as many obvious ties to the other films we have watched thus far, I do see similarities with the morphing of reality into the uncanny and fantastic. Was the spirit world real? The car was overgrown with vines when Chichiro and her family returns, the friendship hair band was still glistening in her hair, could these be signals that her journey was real? Or was this fantastical world merely the construct of a girl seeking comfort at the prospect of a new home?