Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
It is currently quite difficult to write, as I have an adorable cat lying on my chest. I don't have the heart to move her, so I suppose I will try to write this post on my laptop by depending on my typing skills, as I can't really see through the black fur. I apologize if parts of this entry are unreadable; just know that I sacrificed quality for cuteness, and I don't regret it.
Speaking of cuteness, let's talk about Spirited Away. Ten year old Chihiro is upset that her family is moving to the suburbs. On the way to their new home, her parents take a wrong turn and end up in the spirit world. Her parents eat the food at an abandoned restaurant stall, which transforms them into pigs. Chihiro meets a boy, Haku, who tells her to ask for a job at the bathhouse. Is anyone else suspicious?
I sensed something dark about the "bathhouse" but I thought I might just be being paranoid. However, I did some research and apparently there are hints about prostitution all over the place. For example, the name of the witch who runs the bathhouse is "Yubaba" which is the word for "madam" in Japanese. Chihiro is also forced to change her name, which is common in brothels. So perhaps Chihiro was really kidnapped and sold into prostitution and merely imagined the spirit world as some sort of coping mechanism. And people think animation is just for children.
Anyway, this is a very beautifully done film. I thought Princess Mononoke was a bit too "video game-y" to be enjoyed by a large audience, but I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this. At the very least, the Sootballs are delightful enough to make this film worth your while.
First anime film to be nominated for (and win) an Academy Award.