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Spirited Away Case Study

vikiwalden | Tuesday November 01, 2011

Categories: GCSE, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, Non-Hollywood Films, World Cinema, Spirited Away, Genres & Case Studies, Adventure, Animation, 1990 Onwards, Hot Entries

Paper 2 | Non-Hollywood Films Case Study | Spirited Away



Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) follows the story of a young girl, Chihiro as she crosses the border between the human world and the spirit world. En-route to their new home, Chihiro’s parents stop at (what they think) is a disused theme park site. Despite being abandoned, one stall has food; without question her parents greedily eat the food, but as night falls Chihiro is warned by a spirit, Haku to leave. As she flees, she realises her parents have been turned into pigs and she must save them.

Haku guides Chihiro into the spirit world, where she must find a job in order to avoid being turned into a pig herself. Chihiro is distracted by a number of tasks: to clean the Stink spirit, to stop Kaonashi devouring the guests, to find Haku’s real identity, to return the seal to Zeniba and to save Yubaba’s baby.

However, Yubaba steals the Kanji from Chihiro’s name, renaming her Sen - she must remember her name if she is to survive and save her parents. Luckily with the help of Haku she is able to.

Despite her fearful disposition at the beginning, Chihiro matures to become a fighter; she is determined, loving and moral. Through these qualities she is able to complete all her quests, and outsmarts Yubaba to save her parents. Despite this, her parents have no memory of the adventure and nothing has changed; they still ignore her and see her as child-like. They are blind to the spirit world, as her mother says in the opening sequence, the shrines are built because “some people believe spirits live in them?- she clearly doesn’t believe that. 

Production Context

  • Released: 2003
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Writers: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Production Companies: Studio Ghibli, Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV), DENTSU Music and Entertainment, Tokuma Shoten, Buena Vista International, Tohokushinsha Film, Mitsubishi Commercial Affairs

Character Profiles


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