Movie review: Chaos occurs when a young girl moves to a new city.


As of Feb. 7th Spirited Away earned ¥30.4 billion, and was the highest grossing film in Japanese history. graphic by: Anastasia Nisky

Anastasia Nisky and Brianna Ramirez

“Spirited Away” depicts a lost girl in a spirit world trying to save her parents and get back home

“Spirited Away” is an animated motion picture from Japan created by Hayao Miyazaki. It was released in the U.S. on Aug. 31, 2002. The film won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2003. 

Spirited Away takes place in early 2000’s Japan and is centered around a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro, who has just moved to a new town. On the way to their new home, Chihiro’s parents find an arrangement of food sitting outside a restaurant near a bathhouse and eat it, resulting in them transforming into pigs.

A boy named Haku, who can shapeshift into a dragon, finds Chihiro and explains to her what happened and what she needs to do. They must enter the spirit world to set her parents free, and upon returning to their own world, he tells Chihiro that she must work in the bathhouse owned by a spirit named Yubaba, who changes Chihiro’s name to Sen and makes her forget her true name. Along the way, Chihiro makes friends as she works to survive in the spirit world and save her parents. 

While Chihiro is working in the bathhouse, she accidentally leaves the window open, letting in a spirit called “No Face,” who creates gold with his hands for people that give him food and becomes obsessed with Chihiro because she has let him in. Once there’s no more food left, he starts to eat the other spirits, and Chihiro is the only one that can stop him.

Toward the end of the movie, Chihiro remembered that when she was little, she fell into a river and was carried to safety, the Kohaku River. Chihiro tells Haku she thinks he was the river. When he hears his actual name, Haku’s dragon scales fall away, and he turns back into a boy. 

When they get back to the bathhouse, Yubaba shows Chihiro a pig pen and tells her that if she can correctly guess which pigs are her parents, then they will be turned back into humans and be set free with Chihiro. 

Emilia Reed ‘26 said, “I really liked [Spirited Away], I liked the animation and the character designs of the spirits.”

“Spirited Away” is the only Non-English-Language animated film to have won an Oscar. Graphic By: Brianna Ramirez

Angel Lara ‘26 said, “I thought it was a really cool movie. The animation was very fluid, and I really liked the colors. The story was pretty good too.”

We really enjoyed this movie because we thought the story was very interesting, like when Haku remembered his name near the movie’s end. It was also emotional at times, like in the scene when Chihiro leaves the spirit world and she knows that she will never see Haku again. It made us emotional. 

We also thought the film had beautiful animation. In our opinion, “Spirited Away” was very well written with unique characters and amazing animation, cementing it as a unique film unlike any other we’ve seen before.