Saturday, January 29, 2011

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?


  1. I also enjoyed the ambiguity of the ending of Spirited Away that calls to mind the confusion between reality and fantasy that we have seen in previous films this semester. In this case, with the shot of the car seemingly dusty and overgrown, I like to think the director throws that in there to allow viewers to leave believing that the adventure was indeed real, that some time has passed that Chichiro's parents are unaware of. They don't seem to be phased by anything that has taken place, yet the car is dusty and Chichiro still has her magical hair tie from her adventure, hinting that it was some kind of reality. On the otherhand, we could simply write this off as a young girl's powerful imagination making her daydream seem real. I like when director's leave us with this kind of ambiguity, because the mind really is something too complex for us to fully understand, so either explanation could be equally feasible for all we know.

  2. The ending of Spirited Away is definitely similar to some of the other movies we have watched. The Hour of the Wolf and The Lost Highway also left me wondering what actually happened and what was imagined. I think Spirited Away tries to show us that, even if everything was just Chichiro's imagination, it was very real to her. Children often drift into fantasies and they can feel very real--I'm sure most of us can remember that. But even if the events in Spirited Away were just in Chichiro's imagination, I think it is safe to say that she will still take a lot out of it. Like you said Kristen, she faced Greed and it's twin (which I found pertinent: Greed and Generosity looked exactly the same, displayed by Yubaba and Zeniba) and the trials of growing up. She definitely learned some lessons from her adventures, real or imagined.