If you’re a fan of anime or Japanese culture, chances are you’ve heard of the character Kaonashi, also known as No-Face. During Halloween, many people cosplay as Kaonashi, a unique and iconic character from the anime film Spirited Away. Spirited Away, or Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi in its original Japanese title, is a 2001 animated film from Studio Ghibli, directed by the renowned Hayao Miyazaki. The film was a huge success, grossing $395.8 million, and won numerous awards, making it one of the best films ever made.
The story of Spirited Away follows 10-year-old Chihiro (Hiiragi Rumi) and her parents as they move to a new house. While driving, her father takes a wrong turn and they end up in front of a mysterious tunnel. Her parents decide to investigate, but Chihiro is hesitant to follow. Against her better judgment, she eventually follows them only to find an abandoned town. When her parents smell delicious food, they follow the scent to a restaurant, but the owner is nowhere to be found.
While her parents eat, Chihiro wanders around and finds herself at a hot spring bathhouse, where she meets Haku (Irino Miyu), a young boy. Startled by her presence, Haku warns Chihiro to leave before sunset. But when Chihiro tries to leave, she realizes that the world has completely changed, and strange creatures start to appear. By the time she reaches the restaurant, her parents have turned into pigs, and she is trapped in a massive lake. Everything she sees seems like a nightmare, and she’s unable to escape until Haku finds her again.
Haku explains to Chihiro that to survive in this world, she needs to get a job at the bathhouse. He sends her to see Kamaji, a spider-like creature, who assigns Lin (Yoomi Tamai), one of the bathhouse workers, to show her around and help her get a job from Yubaba (Mari Natsuki), the witch who owns the bathhouse. Yubaba agrees to employ Chihiro but demands that Chihiro give up her name. Yubaba renames her “Sen” with one of the characters from her original name, and Haku warns her not to forget her real name, or she will be stuck in that world like he is.
As Chihiro starts working, she sees a spirit sitting outside the bathhouse, a spirit that she recalls seeing earlier when she arrived with Haku. She opens the door and lets the spirit into the bathhouse. One day, a guest with a strong odor arrives at the bathhouse, and Yubaba orders Chihiro to take care of him. Though at first, the guest is considered to be a smelly spirit, he turns out to be a river spirit polluted by humans. With hard work and dedication, Chihiro saves the spirit and receives a gift of three dango (a Japanese sweet treat). Her perseverance earns her respect from her co-workers.
Spirited Away is a beautifully animated film with a captivating storyline that will keep you hooked from start to finish. The film is a masterpiece that has won numerous awards, and rightly so. The characters are unique, and the settings are beautifully rendered, making it a visual treat. The story is also well-written, and it explores themes of perseverance, friendship, and the consequences of greed. Miyazaki’s attention to detail is clear in every frame, making this a must-watch for anime fans and lovers of good cinema.