The first time I watched Spirited Away was during an A Level Film Studies class. Four to Five years on I decided to re-watch it. Considering the film is rated so highly amongst critics and ‘Greatest Ever Animated Film’ polls I couldn’t remember much about it except some of the odder characters. The creatures and spirits are some of the oddest, surreal and bizarre in an animated film I can remember. There are the soot workers, a momentary glimpse of a giant and obese radish spirit, two identical big headed grannies, a silent spirit monster and three green bouncing heads to name a few. Watching the film a second time the creativity was equally refreshing. There a scenes with a stinking, sludge spirit that transforms with the help of Chihiro (the protagonist), as well as another where paper birds attack Haku (Chihiro’s friend in the spirit world) in the form of a dog-like dragon. The film isn’t enchanting like a fairy tale is but it does captivate you and your imagination.
Spirited Away is a far cry from the sentimental and hopeful films that Disney produces. It is refreshing to see a children’s film that isn’t overbearingly emotional, but peaceful and quaint; it feels Japanese rather than American. The film was odd, bizarre and surreal, but it was oddly comforting. Animation can capture you like a live action film never could. Spirited Away thrives in its creativity but it doesn’t make it a classic or to be regarded as one of the greatest animated films ever, but it is a captivating film.