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Spirited Away, a first look at the work of Hayao Miyazaki

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Spirited Away, a first look at the work of Hayao Miyazaki
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The special one A night at the Academy Museum which aired when the highly anticipated Academy Museum in Hollywood opened had all kinds of highlights. The one that really caught my eye was the gallery dedicated to Hayao Miyazaki. He made beautiful, award-winning animated films that I had never heard of.

For more information, I found Spirited Away (2001) and Princess Mononoke (1997) available on HBO Max. I looked Spirited Away first and will describe it in this review. i also watched Princess Mononoke, but liked the storyline better in Spirited Away. Both were visual masterpieces.

Spirited Away, a first look at the work of Hayao Miyazaki
I don’t want to move!

The over 2 hour animated adventure begins and ends in reality. 10-year-old Chihiro moves with her parents to a new city and she is not happy about it. Between those bookends is an amazing, imaginative, fantasy adventure that is a brilliant work of art.

Chihiro and the Dragon in Spirited Away
Chihiro with her dragon friend

The family is taken to a bathhouse for liquor. Anything can happen there. People turn into pigs. Soot carries coal. Boys become dragons. Witches become crows. Radishes walk into elevators. Babies are bigger than elephants and an old witch named Yubaba runs the place.

chihiro and Hauk in Spirited Away

Chihiro’s parents need to be rescued here. Fortunately, Chihiro makes friends who help her save them. The first is Haku, a boy who tells her how to get a job at Yubaba so she can stay there and save her parents. Otherwise people are not allowed here. Haku helps her in several ways.

Rin and Chihiro in Spirited Away
Rin shows her the tricks of the trade

When Chihiro makes her way to the needed job, she is put to work with Rin. Rin is another friend and helper in this world of ghosts and quests.

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Chihiro is shy and scared at first. She is afraid of everything in this strange new world. As time goes by and with trials and quests to face, she finds her courage and her inner strength. She becomes the heroine in her own story.

Chihiro on the train with liquor
Chihiro takes a train across the sea with ghost passengers and a faceless helper

I’m 20 years late to learn about and watch this movie, but time hasn’t diminished the magic. You may be years ahead of me in Hayao Miyazaki’s valuation department. If you’re just hearing the name, like me, I suggest you search for this movie and others of his available on streamers and take a look.

Spirited Away

However, the time may have influenced the voiceover in the trailer. You must love these old “In A World” style teasers.

Filmy One ( – Exclusive Entertainment Site

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