I was entertained by the storyline and touched by the message of Spirited Away. I agree with the theme of a "coming of age" tale where Chihiro learns from the mistakes of her parents and overcomes great obstacles as she discovers her own bravery. I also think the movie depicts a Japanese cultural connection to ancestors and how they influence future generations. Chihiro did not become more mature through typical means, but she; instead, became apart of her heritage in order to move forward with her future. The portrayal of her "grandmother" as twins actually was a metaphor for the choices you have in life, and the dichotomy between good and evil that can be present in each person. It seemed the director wanted Chihiro to learn from her ancestors.
Also, I thought it was interesting how the spirits and their world portrayed ideas such as greed, jealously, and power, which are the childhood lessons that Chihiro learned from her adventure. Even though Chihiro was supposed to discover who she is as a person, it seemed from the beginning of the movie that Chihiro was actually already mature she just did not know it yet. Therefore, I think the story was meant more to show Chihiro and the audience that each person already has the ability to overcome obstacles and fear, but we must discover that in ourselves. At the end of the movie, there was a scene when the family was walking back through the entrance and Chihiro grabbed her mother's arm in fear. I though, for a moment, that she had regressed back to having low self-confidence, but it was actually just a moment of fear until she said, "I think I can handle it." This draws on the idea that even mature people have moments of fear for whatever reason because we cannot fully escape our childhood memories. There is a continual connection between your childhood and ancestors as you become an adult. Spirited Away captured the essence of growing up while showing the importance of ancestors in Japanese culture.