This is the movie that introduced me to the world of Miyazaki, and pretty much all anime. That's reason enough, I think, to call it my favourite anime movie, but I shall go into more detail in this review.
The story is weird, imaginative and absolutely amazing. It starts off as the simple story of a little girl moving to a new neighbourhood, but things turn quite complex as her and her parents stumble upon a spirit world. The parents, after eating at the spirit's buffet, inconveniently turn into pigs and the little girl now has to work at a bath house in the hope of returning home safely. I've probably seen Spirited Away about five times and I still don't quite understand everything, but that part of what keeps me in awe whenever I watch it. And every time I do, I notice something new. It's strange, but wonderful, to see such depth and complexity in what is marketed as a family film.
The animation is also top-notch. The character and spirit designs are incredible and something only the most imaginative could think up. It varies from cute, to engaging to quite frightening.
I've only seen the english dub and, despite what seems to be the general consensus, I quite like it. Sure, Chihiro's voice grates occasionally, but the dubbing team does deserve respect for keeping the integrity of the story. Though I repeat, I have only seen the dub so I can't really compare with the Japanese version. I must say, the use of sound in the river spirit scene is brilliant.
One of the many many things that is so wonderful about this movie is that there is no clear cut good and evil. Chihiro is, obviously, good- having purely good children protagonists is a charming reccurring theme in Miyazaki's films. But the film's main antagonists Yubaba and No-Face aren't exactly evil. You really have to see the movie to understand
I highly recommend Spirited Away, it is a must-see for anyone even thinking about considering getting into anime.
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