Spirited Away



is a 2001 Japanese
animated Animation is a method by which still figures are manipulated to appear as moving images. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent celluloid sheets to be photographed and exhibited on film A fi ...
fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, animated by Studio Ghibli for Tokuma Shoten, Nippon Television Network, Dentsu, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Tohokushinsha Film, and Mitsubishi and distributed by
Toho is a Japanese film, theatre production and distribution company. It has its headquarters in Chiyoda, Tokyo, and is one of the core companies of the Osaka-based Hankyu Hanshin Toho Group. Outside of Japan, it is best known as the produ ...
.Sen To Chihiro No Kamikakushi
". http://www.bcdb.com, 13 May 2012
The film features the voices of Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Takeshi Naito, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Tsunehiko Kamijō, Takehiko Ono, and Bunta Sugawara. ''Spirited Away'' tells the story of Chihiro Ogino (Hiiragi), a ten-year-old girl who, while moving to a new neighborhood, enters the world of
Kami are the deities, divinities, spirits, phenomena or "holy powers", that are venerated in the Shinto Shinto () is a religion Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, b ...
(spirits of Japanese
Shinto Shinto () is a religion Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that generally r ...
folklore).Boyd, James W. and Tetsuya Nishimura. 0042016.
Shinto Perspectives in Miyazaki's Anime Film 'Spirited Away' (PDF)
." '' Journal of Religion & Film'' 8 (3):Article 4.
After her parents are turned into pigs by the witch Yubaba (Natsuki), Chihiro takes a job working in Yubaba's bathhouse to find a way to free herself and her parents and return to the human world. Miyazaki wrote the screenplay after he decided the film would be based on the ten-year-old daughter of his friend Seiji Okuda, the film's associate producer, who came to visit his house each summer. At the time, Miyazaki was developing two personal projects, but they were rejected. With a budget of US$19 million, production of ''Spirited Away'' began in 2000.
Pixar Pixar Animation Studios (commonly known as Pixar () and stylized as P I X A R) is an American computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations ( computation) automatic ...
animator John Lasseter, a fan and friend of Miyazaki, convinced
Walt Disney Pictures Walt Disney Pictures is an American Film studio, film production company and subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios (division), Walt Disney Studios, which is owned by The Walt Disney Company. The studio is the flagship producer of live-action featur ...
to buy the film's North American distribution rights, and served as
executive producer Executive producer (EP) is one of the top positions in the making of a commercial entertainment product. Depending on the medium, the executive producer may be concerned with management accounting or associated with legal issues (like copyrights ...
of its English-dubbed version. Lasseter then hired Kirk Wise as director and Donald W. Ernst as producer, while screenwriters Cindy and Donald Hewitt wrote the English-language dialogue to match the characters' original Japanese-language lip movements. Originally released in Japan on 20 July 2001 by distributor
Toho is a Japanese film, theatre production and distribution company. It has its headquarters in Chiyoda, Tokyo, and is one of the core companies of the Osaka-based Hankyu Hanshin Toho Group. Outside of Japan, it is best known as the produ ...
, the film received universal acclaim, grossing at the worldwide box office. Accordingly, it became the most successful and highest-grossing film in Japanese history with a total of ($305 million). It held the record for 19 years until it was surpassed by '' Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train'' in 2020. ''Spirited Away'' has been regarded as Miyazaki's magnum opus, and often listed among the greatest films of all time. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards, making it the first, and to date only, hand-drawn and non-English-language animated film to win the award. It was the co-recipient of the
Golden Bear The Golden Bear (german: Goldener Bär) is the highest prize awarded for the best film at the Berlin International Film Festival. The bear is the heraldic animal of Berlin, featured on both the coat of arms and flag of Berlin. History The w ...
at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival (shared with '' Bloody Sunday''), and is within the top ten on the British Film Institute's list of "Top 50 films for children up to the age of 14". In 2016, it was voted the fourth-best film of the 21st century by the BBC, as picked by 177 film critics from around the world, making it the highest-ranking animated film on the list. In 2017, it was also named the second "Best Film...of the 21st Century So Far" by ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' (''the Times'', ''NYT'', or the Gray Lady) is a daily newspaper based in New York City New York, often called New York City or NYC, is the most populous city in the United States. With ...
''. In 2022, it was ranked as the 75th greatest film of all time by the Sight & Sound critics poll.


Ten-year-old Chihiro Ogino and her parents are traveling to their new home when her father decides to take a shortcut. The family's car stops in front of a tunnel leading to what appears to be an abandoned amusement park, which Chihiro's father insists on exploring, despite his daughter's protest. They find a seemingly empty restaurant still stocked with food, which Chihiro's parents immediately begin to eat. While exploring further, Chihiro reaches an enormous bathhouse and meets a boy named Haku, who warns her to return across the riverbed before sunset. However, Chihiro discovers that her parents have been transformed into pigs, and she is unable to cross the now-flooded river. Haku finds Chihiro and instructs her to ask for a job from the bathhouse's boiler-man, Kamaji, a yōkai commanding the susuwatari. Kamaji refuses to hire her and asks worker Lin to send Chihiro to Yubaba, the witch who runs the bathhouse. Yubaba tries to frighten Chihiro away, but she persists, and is eventually given a working contract. Yubaba takes away the second
kanji are the logographic Chinese characters taken from the Chinese script and used in the writing of Japanese. They were made a major part of the Japanese writing system during the time of Old Japanese and are still used, along with the subs ...
of her name, renaming her . While visiting her parents' pigpen, Sen realizes that she had already forgotten her real name. Haku warns her that Yubaba controls people by taking their names and that if she forgets hers like he has forgotten his, she will never be able to leave the spirit world. Sen faces discrimination from the other workers; only Kamaji and Lin show sympathy for her. While working, she invites a silent creature named No-Face (''Kaonashi'' ) inside, believing him to be a customer. A "stink spirit" arrives as Sen's first customer, and she discovers he is the spirit of a polluted river. In gratitude for cleaning him, he gives Sen a magic emetic dumpling. Meanwhile, No-Face imitates the gold left behind by the river spirit and tempts a worker with it, then swallowing him. No-Face demands food from the bathhouse and begins giving away extensive amounts of gold to its workers. Sen sees paper Shikigami attacking a dragon and recognizes the dragon as Haku metamorphosed. When a grievously injured Haku crashes into Yubaba's penthouse, Sen follows him upstairs. A shikigami that stowed away on her back shapeshifts into Zeniba, Yubaba's twin sister. She turns Yubaba's son, Boh, into a mouse and creates a false copy of him. Zeniba tells Sen that Haku has stolen a magic golden seal from her and warns Sen that it carries a deadly curse. Haku strikes the shikigami, causing Zeniba to vanish. He falls into the boiler room with Sen, where she feeds him part of the emetic dumpling, causing him to vomit up the seal and a black slug, which Sen crushes with her foot. With Haku unconscious, Sen resolves to return the seal and apologize to Zeniba. Sen confronts an engorged No-Face, and feeds him the rest of the dumpling. No-Face follows Sen out of the bathhouse, steadily regurgitating everything that he has eaten. Sen, No-Face, and Boh travel to see Zeniba with train tickets given to her by Kamaji. Meanwhile, Yubaba orders that Sen's parents be slaughtered, but Haku reveals that Boh is missing and offers to retrieve him if Yubaba releases Sen and her parents. Yubaba agrees, but only if Sen can pass a final test. Sen meets with Zeniba, who makes her a magic hairband and reveals that Yubaba used the black slug to take control of Haku. Haku appears at Zeniba's home in his dragon form and offers to fly them home. No-Face decides to stay behind with Zeniba and become her spinner, while Sen and Boh leave with Haku for the bathhouse. In mid-flight, Sen recalls falling years ago into the Kohaku River and being washed safely ashore, correctly guessing Haku's real identity as . When they arrive at the bathhouse, Yubaba forces Sen to identify her parents from among a group of pigs in order to leave. After she answers correctly that none of the pigs are her parents, her contract disappears and she is given back her real name. Haku takes her to the now-dry riverbed and vows to meet her again. Chihiro crosses the riverbed to her restored parents, who do not remember anything after eating at the restaurant stall. They walk back through the tunnel until they reach their car, now covered in dust and leaves. Before getting in, Chihiro looks back at the tunnel, her hair tie from Zeniba still intact.

Voice cast


Development and inspiration

Every summer, Hayao Miyazaki spent his vacation at a mountain cabin with his family and five girls who were friends of the family. The idea for ''Spirited Away'' came about when he wanted to make a film for these friends. Miyazaki had previously directed films for small children and teenagers such as '' My Neighbor Totoro'' and '' Kiki's Delivery Service'', but he had not created a film for ten-year-old girls. For inspiration, he read shōjo manga magazines like '' Nakayoshi'' and '' Ribon'' the girls had left at the cabin, but felt they only offered subjects on "crushes" and romance. When looking at his young friends, Miyazaki felt this was not what they "held dear in their hearts" and decided to produce the film about a young heroine whom they could look up to instead.Miyazaki on Spirited Away // Interviews //
. Nausicaa.net (11 July 2001).
Miyazaki had wanted to produce a new film for years, but his two previous proposalsone based on the Japanese book by Sachiko Kashiwaba, and another about a teenage heroinewere rejected. His third proposal, which ended up becoming ''Sen and Chihiro's Spirited Away'', was more successful. The three stories revolved around a bathhouse that was inspired by one in Miyazaki's hometown. He thought the bathhouse was a mysterious place, and there was a small door next to one of the bathtubs in the bath house. Miyazaki was always curious to what was behind it, and he made up several stories about it, one of which inspired the bathhouse setting of ''Spirited Away''. Production of ''Spirited Away'' commenced in February 2000 on a budget of (US$15 million).
Walt Disney Pictures Walt Disney Pictures is an American Film studio, film production company and subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios (division), Walt Disney Studios, which is owned by The Walt Disney Company. The studio is the flagship producer of live-action featur ...
financed ten percent of the film's production cost for the right of first refusal for American distribution. As with '' Princess Mononoke'', Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli staff experimented with computer animation. With the use of more computers and programs such as Softimage 3D, the staff learned the software, but used the technology carefully so that it enhanced the story, instead of "stealing the show". Each character was mostly hand-drawn, with Miyazaki working alongside his animators to see they were getting it just right.The Making of Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" – Part 1
. Jimhillmedia.com.
The biggest difficulty in making the film was to reduce its length. When production began, Miyazaki realized it would be more than three hours long if he made it according to his plot. He had to delete many scenes from the story, and tried to reduce the "eye candy" in the film because he wanted it to be simple. Miyazaki did not want to make the hero a "pretty girl". At the beginning, he was frustrated at how she looked "dull" and thought, "She isn't cute. Isn't there something we can do?" As the film neared the end, however, he was relieved to feel "she will be a charming woman." Miyazaki based some of the buildings in the spirit world on the buildings in the real-life Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum in Koganei, Tokyo, Japan. He often visited the museum for inspiration while working on the film. Miyazaki had always been interested in the Pseudo-Western style buildings from the
Meiji period The is an era of Japanese history that extended from October 23, 1868 to July 30, 1912. The Meiji era was the first half of the Empire of Japan The also known as the Japanese Empire or Imperial Japan, was a historical natio ...
that were available there. The museum made Miyazaki feel nostalgic, "especially when I stand here alone in the evening, near closing time, and the sun is setting – tears well up in my eyes." Another major inspiration was the , a traditional Japanese inn located in Yamagata Prefecture, famous for its exquisite architecture and ornamental features. While some guidebooks and articles claim that the old gold town of Jiufen in Taiwan served as an inspirational model for the film, Miyazaki has denied this. The Dōgo Onsen is also often said to be a key inspiration for the ''Spirited Away'' onsen/bathhouse. Toshio Suzuki, the producer of the film, also cites European inspirations and influences in the production of ''Spirited Away''. He specifically invokes the structure of the film as European-inspired due to Miyazaki's own influences by European films such as ''The Snow Queen'' and ''The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep''.


The film score of ''Spirited Away'' was composed and conducted by Miyazaki's regular collaborator Joe Hisaishi, and performed by the New Japan Philharmonic. The soundtrack received awards at the 56th Mainichi Film Competition Award for Best Music, the Tokyo International Anime Fair 2001 Best Music Award in the Theater Movie category, and the 17th Japan Gold Disk Award for Animation Album of the Year. Later, Hisaishi added lyrics to "One Summer's Day" and named the new version of the song which was performed by Ayaka Hirahara. The closing song, was written and performed by Youmi Kimura, a composer and lyre-player from
Osaka is a designated city in the Kansai region of Honshu in Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west ...
. The lyrics were written by Kimura's friend Wakako Kaku. The song was intended to be used for , a different Miyazaki film which was never released. In the special features of the Japanese DVD, Hayao Miyazaki explains how the song in fact inspired him to create ''Spirited Away''. The song itself would be recognized as Gold at the 43rd Japan Record Awards. Besides the original soundtrack, there is also an image album, titled , that contains 10 tracks.

English adaptation

John Lasseter,
Pixar Pixar Animation Studios (commonly known as Pixar () and stylized as P I X A R) is an American computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations ( computation) automatic ...
animator and a fan and friend of Miyazaki, would often sit with his staff and watch Miyazaki's work when encountering story problems. After seeing ''Spirited Away'' Lasseter was ecstatic. Upon hearing his reaction to the film, Disney CEO Michael Eisner asked Lasseter if he would be interested in introducing ''Spirited Away'' to an American audience. Lasseter obliged by agreeing to serve as the executive producer for the English adaptation. Following this, several others began to join the project: ''
Beauty and the Beast ''Beauty and the Beast'' (french: La Belle et la Bête) is a fairy tale written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740 in ''La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins'' (''The Young American and Marine ...
'' co-director Kirk Wise and ''
Aladdin Aladdin ( ; ar, علاء الدين, ', , ATU 561, ‘Aladdin') is a Middle-Eastern folk tale. It is one of the best-known tales associated with ''The Book of One Thousand and One Nights'' (''The Arabian Nights''), despite not being part o ...
'' co-producer Donald W. Ernst joined Lasseter as director and producer of ''Spirited Away'', respectively.The Making of Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" – Part 3
. Jimhillmedia.com.
Screenwriters Cindy Davis Hewitt and Donald H. Hewitt penned the English-language dialogue, which they wrote in order to match the characters' original Japanese-language lip movements. The cast of the film consists of Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden, Suzanne Pleshette (in her final film role before her death in January 2008), Michael Chiklis, Lauren Holly, Susan Egan, David Ogden Stiers and John Ratzenberger (a Pixar regular). Advertising was limited, with ''Spirited Away'' being mentioned in a small scrolling section of the film section of '' Disney.com''; Disney had sidelined their official website for ''Spirited Away'' and given the film a comparatively small promotional budget. Marc Hairston argues that this was a justified response to Studio Ghibli's retention of the merchandising rights to the film and characters, which limited Disney's ability to properly market the film.



The major themes of ''Spirited Away'', heavily influenced by Japanese
Shinto Shinto () is a religion Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that generally r ...
Buddhist Buddhism ( , ), also known as Buddha Dharma and Dharmavinaya (), is an Indian religion or philosophical tradition based on teachings attributed to the Buddha. It originated in northern India as a -movement in the 5th century BCE, and ...
folklore, centre on the protagonist, Chihiro, and her liminal journey through the realm of spirits. The central location of the film is a Japanese bathhouse where a great variety of Japanese folklore creatures, including
kami are the deities, divinities, spirits, phenomena or "holy powers", that are venerated in the Shinto Shinto () is a religion Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, b ...
, come to bathe. Miyazaki cites the solstice rituals when villagers call forth their local kami and invite them into their baths. Chihiro also encounters kami of animals and plants. Miyazaki says of this:Chihiro's archetypal entrance into another world demarcates her status as one somewhere between child and adult. Chihiro also stands outside societal boundaries in the supernatural setting. The use of the word '' kamikakushi'' (literally 'hidden by gods') within the Japanese title, and its associated folklore, reinforces this liminal passage: "Kamikakushi is a verdict of 'social death' in this world, and coming back to this world from Kamikakushi meant 'social resurrection.'"Reider, Noriko T. 11 February 2009. "Spirited Away: Film of the Fantastic and Evolving Japanese Folk Symbols." '' Film Criticism'' 29(3):4–27. Additional themes are expressed through No-Face, who reflects the characters who surround him, learning by example and taking the traits of whomever he consumes. This nature results in No-Face's monstrous rampage through the bathhouse. After Chihiro saves No-Face with the emetic dumpling, he becomes timid once more. At the end of the film, Zeniba decides to take care of No-Face so he can develop without the negative influence of the bathhouse.


The film has been compared to
Lewis Carroll Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (; 27 January 1832 – 14 January 1898), better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was an English author, poet and mathematician. His most notable works are ''Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'' (1865) and its sequel ...
's '' Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'' and '' Through the Looking Glass'', as the stories have some elements in common such as being set in a fantasy world, the plots including a disturbance in logic and stability, and there being motifs such as food having metamorphic qualities; though developments and themes are not shared. Among other stories compared to ''Spirited Away'', '' The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'' is seen to be more closely linked thematically. Yubaba has many similarities to the Coachman from the 1940 film '' Pinocchio'', in the sense that she mutates humans into pigs in a similar way that the boys of Pleasure Island were mutated into donkeys. Upon gaining employment at the bathhouse, Yubaba's seizure of Chihiro's true name symbolically kills the child,Satoshi, Ando. 11 February 2009. "Regaining Continuity with the Past: Spirited Away and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." '' Bookbird'' 46(1):23–29. . who must then assume adulthood. She then undergoes a
rite of passage A rite of passage is a ceremony or ritual of the passage which occurs when an individual leaves one group to enter another. It involves a significant change of status in society. In cultural anthropology the term is the Anglicisation of ''ri ...
according to the monomyth format; to recover continuity with her past, Chihiro must create a new identity.

Traditional Japanese culture

''Spirited Away'' contains critical commentary on modern Japanese society concerning generational conflicts and environmental issues. Chihiro has been seen as a representation of the '' shōjo'', whose roles and ideology had changed dramatically since post-war Japan. Just as Chihiro seeks her past identity, Japan, in its anxiety over the economic downturn occurring during the release of the film in 2001, sought to reconnect to past values. In an interview, Miyazaki has commented on this nostalgic element for an old Japan.

Western consumerism

Accordingly, the film can be partly understood as an exploration of the effect of greediness and Western
consumerism Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts. With the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in ...
on traditional Japanese culture. For instance, Yubaba is stylistically unique within the bathhouse, wearing a Western dress and living among European décor and furnishings, in contrast with the minimalist Japanese style of her employees' quarters, representing the Western capitalist influence over Japan in its
Meiji period The is an era of Japanese history that extended from October 23, 1868 to July 30, 1912. The Meiji era was the first half of the Empire of Japan The also known as the Japanese Empire or Imperial Japan, was a historical natio ...
and beyond. Along with its function within the ostensible
coming of age Coming of age is a young person's transition from being a child to being an adult. The specific age at which this transition takes place varies between societies, as does the nature of the change. It can be a simple legal convention or can ...
theme, Yubaba's act of taking Chihiro's name and replacing it with Sen (an alternate reading of ''chi'', the first character in Chihiro's name, ) can be thought of as symbolic of capitalism's single-minded concern with value. Napier, Susan J. 11 February 2009. "Matter Out of Place: Carnival, Containment and Cultural Recovery in Miyazaki's Spirited Away." '' Journal of Japanese Studies'' 32(2):287–310. . The Meiji design of the abandoned theme park is the setting for Chihiro's parents' metamorphosis – the family arrives in an imported
Audi Audi AG () is a German automotive manufacturer of luxury vehicles headquartered in Ingolstadt Ingolstadt (, Austro-Bavarian: ) is an independent city on the Danube in Upper Bavaria with 139,553 inhabitants (as of June 30, 2022). Aroun ...
car and the father wears a European-styled polo shirt, reassuring Chihiro that he has "credit cards and cash," before their morphing into literal consumerist pigs. Miyazaki has stated: The bathhouse of the spirits cannot be seen as a place free of ambiguity and darkness.Thrupkaew, Noy. "Animation Sensation: Why Japan's Magical Spirited Away Plays Well Anywhere." American Prospect 13.19: 32–33. Academic OneFile. Gale. 11 February 2009. Many of the employees are rude to Chihiro because she is human, and corruption is ever-present; it is a place of excess and greed, as depicted in the initial appearance of No-Face.Harris, Timothy. "Seized by the Gods". '' Quadrant'' 47.9: 64–67. Academic OneFile. Gale. 11 February 2009. In stark contrast to the simplicity of Chihiro's journey and transformation is the constantly chaotic carnival in the background.


Commentators have often referred to environmental themes in the films of Miyazaki. In Spirited Away, two major instances of allusions to environmental issues have been noted. Pam Coats, for example, a Vice President of Walt Disney Feature Animation, describes Chihiro dealing with the "stink spirit", who, it turns out, is actually a river spirit but is so corrupted with filth that one couldn't tell what it was at first glance. It only became clean again when Chihiro pulled out a huge amount of trash, including car tires, garbage, and a bicycle. This alludes to human pollution of the environment, and how people can carelessly toss away things without thinking of the consequences and of where the trash will go. The second allusion is seen in Haku himself. Haku does not remember his name and lost his past, which is why he is stuck at the bathhouse. Eventually, Chihiro remembers that he used to be the spirit of the Kohaku River, which was destroyed and replaced with apartments. Because of humans' need for development, they destroyed a part of nature, causing Haku to lose his home and identity. This can be compared to deforestation and desertification; humans tear down nature, cause imbalance in the ecosystem, and demolish animals' homes to satisfy their want for more space (housing, malls, stores, etc.) but do not think about how it can affect other living things.


Box office and theatrical release

''Spirited Away'' was released theatrically in Japan on 20 July 2001 by distributor
Toho is a Japanese film, theatre production and distribution company. It has its headquarters in Chiyoda, Tokyo, and is one of the core companies of the Osaka-based Hankyu Hanshin Toho Group. Outside of Japan, it is best known as the produ ...
. It grossed a record ¥1.6 billion ($13.1 million) in its first three days, beating the previous record set by '' Princess Mononoke''. It was number one at the Japanese box office for its first eleven weeks and spent 16 weeks there in total. After 22 weeks of release and after grossing $224 million in Japan, it started its international release, opening in Hong Kong on 13 December 2001. It was the first film that had grossed more than $200 million at the worldwide box office excluding the United States. It went on to gross ¥30.4 billion to become the highest-grossing film in Japanese history, according to the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan. It also set the all-time attendance record in Japan, surpassing the 16.8 million tickets sold by '' Titanic''. Its gross at the Japanese box office has since increased to , . In February 2002, Wild Bunch, an international sales company that had recently span-off from its former parent StudioCanal, picked up the international sale rights for the film outside of Asia and France. The company would then on-sell it to independent distributors across the world. On April 13, 2002,
The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American multinational mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media Media may refer to: Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver info ...
acquired the Taiwanese, Singapore, Hong Kong, French and North American sale rights to the film, alongside Japanese Home Media rights. Disney's English dub of the film, supervised by Lasseter, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on 7 September 2002 and was later released in the United States on 20 September 2002. The film grossed $450,000 in its opening weekend from 26 theatres. ''Spirited Away'' had very little marketing, less than Disney's other B-films, with a maximum of 151 theatres showing the film in 2002. After the 2003 Oscars, it expanded to 714 theatres. It ultimately grossed around $10 million by September 2003. Outside of Japan and the United States, the movie was moderately successful in both South Korea and France where it grossed $11 million and $6 million, respectively. In Argentina, it is in the top 10 anime films with the most tickets sold. In the United Kingdom, then-independent based film distributor Optimum Releasing acquired the rights to the movie from Wild Bunch in January 2003. The company then released it theatrically on 12 September 2003. The movie grossed $244,437 on its opening weekend from 51 theatres, and by the end of its theatrical run in October, the movie has grossed $1,383,023 in the country. About 18 years after its original release in Japan, ''Spirited Away'' had a theatrical release in China on 21 June 2019. It follows the theatrical China release of ''My Neighbour Totoro'' in December 2018. The delayed theatrical release in China was due to long-standing political tensions between China and Japan, but many Chinese became familiar with Miyazaki's films due to rampant video piracy. It topped the Chinese box office with a opening weekend, beating '' Toy Story 4'' in China. In its second weekend, ''Spirited Away'' grossed a cumulative in China, and was second only behind '' Spider-Man: Far From Home'' that weekend. , the film has grossed in China, bringing its worldwide total box office to over . ''Spirited Away'' worldwide box office total stands at US$395,802,070.

Home media

''Spirited Away'' was first released on VHS and DVD formats in Japan by Buena Vista Home Entertainment on 19 July 2002. The Japanese DVD releases include storyboards for the film and the special edition includes a Ghibli DVD player. ''Spirited Away'' sold 5.5million home video units in Japan by 2007, and holds the record for most home video copies sold of all-time in the country . The movie was released on Blu-ray by Walt Disney Studios Japan on 14 July 2014, and DVD was also reissued on the same day with a new HD master, alongside several other Studio Ghibli movies. In North America, the film was released on DVD and VHS formats by Walt Disney Home Entertainment on 15 April 2003. The attention brought by the Oscar win resulted in the film becoming a strong seller. The bonus features include Japanese trailers, a making-of documentary which originally aired on Nippon Television, interviews with the North American voice actors, a select storyboard-to-scene comparison and ''The Art of Spirited Away'', a documentary narrated by actor Jason Marsden. The movie was released on Blu-ray by and North America by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on 16 June 2015. GKIDS and Shout! Factory re-issued the film on Blu-ray and DVD on 17 October 2017 following the expiration of Disney's previous deal with Studio Ghibli in the country in North America. On 12 November 2019, GKIDS and Shout! Factory issued a North-America-exclusive ''Spirited Away'' collector's edition, which includes the film on Blu-ray, and the film's soundtrack on CD, as well as a 40-page book with statements by Toshio Suzuki and Hayao Miyazaki, and essays by film critic Kenneth Turan and film historian Leonard Maltin. Along with the rest of the Studio Ghibli films, ''Spirited Away'' was released on digital markets in the United States for the first time, on 17 December 2019. In the United Kingdom, the film was released on DVD and VHS as a rental release through independent distributor High Fliers Films PLC following the film's limited theatrical release. It was later officially released on DVD in the UK on 29 March 2004, with the distribution being done by Optimum Releasing themselves. In 2006, the DVD was reissued as a single-disc release (without the second one) with packaging matching other releases in Optimum's "The Studio Ghibli Collection" range. The then-renamed
StudioCanal UK StudioCanal Limited, operating as StudioCanal (formerly Optimum Releasing), is the official branch of StudioCanal in the British Isles. The company releases many films, including foreign, anime is hand-drawn and computer-generated ...
released the movie on Blu-ray on 24 November 2014, A British 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition, similar to other Studio Ghibli anniversary editions released in the UK, was released on 25 October 2021. In the United States, the 2015 Blu-ray release grossed $9,925,660 from 557,613 physical units sold . In the United Kingdom, the film's Studio Ghibli anniversary release appeared several times on the annual lists of best-selling foreign language film on home video, ranking number six in 2015, number five in 2016, and number one in 2019.


The film was aired on Nippon TV (NTV) in Japan, on 24 January 2003. It became NTV's most-watched film of all time with a 46.9% audience rating, surpassing the 35.1% record previously set by ''Princess Mononoke'' in 1999. In the United Kingdom, the film was watched by 670,000 viewers on BBC2 in 2010. This made it the year's most-watched foreign-language film on BBC, and the year's second highest foreign film on UK television (below the Indian
Bollywood Hindi cinema, popularly known as Bollywood and formerly as Bombay cinema, refers to the film industry based in Mumbai, engaged in production of motion pictures in Hindi language. The popular term Bollywood, is a portmanteau A portman ...
film '' Om Shanti Om''). ''Spirited Away'' was later watched by 300,000 UK viewers on BBC2 in 2011, making it the year's most-watched foreign-language film on BBC2. Combined, the film drew a UK television viewership on BBC2 between 2010 and 2011.


Critical response

''Spirited Away'' has received significant critical success on a broad scale. On
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, the film holds a 97% approval rating based on 195 reviews, with an average rating of 8.60/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "''Spirited Away'' is a dazzling, enchanting, and gorgeously drawn fairy tale that will leave viewers a little more curious and fascinated by the world around them."
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, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 96 out of 100 based on 41 critics, indicating "universal acclaim."
Roger Ebert Roger Joseph Ebert (; June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013) was an American film critic, film historian, journalist, screenwriter, and author. He was a film critic for the ''Chicago Sun-Times The ''Chicago Sun-Times'' is a daily newspaper ...
of the ''
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'' gave the film a full four stars, praising the work and Miyazaki's direction. Ebert also said that ''Spirited Away'' was one of "the year's best films", as well as adding it to his " Great Movies" list. Elvis Mitchell of ''
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'' positively reviewed the film and praised the animation sequences. Mitchell drew a favorable comparison to Lewis Carroll's '' Through the Looking-Glass'', and wrote that Miyazaki's "movies are as much about moodiness as mood" and that "the prospect of animated figures' not being what they seem – either spiritually or physically – heightens the tension." Derek Elley of '' Variety'' said that ''Spirited Away'' "can be enjoyed by sprigs and adults alike" and praised the animation and music. Kenneth Turan of the ''
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'' praised Miyazaki's direction and the voice acting, as well as saying that the film is the "product of a fierce and fearless imagination whose creations are unlike anything a person has seen before." '' Orlando Sentinel'' critic Jay Boyar also praised Miyazaki's direction and said the film is "the perfect choice for a child who has moved into a new home." In 2004, '' Cinefantastique'' listed the film as one of the "10 Essential Animations". In 2005, ''Spirited Away'' was ranked by IGN as the 12th-best animated film of all time. The film is also ranked number 9 of the highest-rated movies of all time on Metacritic, being the highest rated traditionally animated film on the site. The film ranked number 10 in ''Empire'' magazine's "The 100 Best Films of World Cinema" in 2010. In 2010, Rotten Tomatoes ranked it as the 13th-best animated film on the site, and in 2012, as the 17th. In 2019, the site considered the film to be #1 among 140 essential animated movies to watch. The film was ranked at number 46 on '' Time Out'' magazine's list of "The 100 Best Movies of All Time". In 2017, ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' (''the Times'', ''NYT'', or the Gray Lady) is a daily newspaper based in New York City New York, often called New York City or NYC, is the most populous city in the United States. With ...
'' ranked it as the second best film of the 21st Century so far. In 2021, the Writers Guild of America ranked ''Spirted Aways screenplay the 67th greatest of the 21st century so far. In 2022, the film was ranked number 75 on '' Sight & Sound'''s greatest films list, being one of two animated films to make the list (alongside Miyazaki's own '' My Neighbor Totoro''). In his book ''Otaku'', Hiroki Azuma observed: "Between 2001 and 2007, the
otaku is a Japanese word that describes people with consuming interests, particularly in anime, manga, video games, or computers. Its contemporary use originated with a 1983 essay by Akio Nakamori in '' Manga Burikko''. may be used as a pejo ...
forms and markets quite rapidly won social recognition in Japan," and cites Miyazaki's win at the Academy Awards for ''Spirited Away'' among his examples.


Impact and legacy

Film industry

''Spirited Away'' is frequently regarded as one of the best films of the 21st century as well as one of the greatest animated films ever made. ''
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'' wrote that the film "set the bar extremely high for all anime movies that followed it -- including Studio Ghibli's." and further explained that "It's a movie many people re-watch due to its comfort and nostalgia, and since Netflix brought the Ghibli movies to North America last year, it's become even more accessible". Swapnil Dhruv Bose '' Far Out Magazine'' declared the film to be "the greatest animated film of all time" and explained that it "resonated with audiences all over the world despite the existence of cultural barriers is because of its brilliantly devised universality" and has the ability to "generate fascinating multiplicities which morph according to the age of the viewer". In another article detailing Hayao Miyazaki's wide impact to the film industry, he wrote "The influence of ''Spirited Away'' can be easily observed in Disney productions like '' Brave'' and '' Frozen'', thanks to John Lasseter's (the Chief Creative Officer of Pixar) efforts to introduce it to Western audiences". '' Vice'' also declared ''Spirited Away'' to be the all-time best animated film and wrote that the film "showed how breathtaking, heartfelt, and serious animation can be" that "
Pixar Pixar Animation Studios (commonly known as Pixar () and stylized as P I X A R) is an American computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations ( computation) automatic ...
, Disney, and other mainstream animators have still failed to genuinely realize 15 years later". Film director
Steven Spielberg Steven Allan Spielberg (; born December 18, 1946) is an American director, writer, and producer. A major figure of the New Hollywood era and pioneer of the modern blockbuster, he is the most commercially successful director of all time. Sp ...
said that ''Spirited Away'' might be "better than any Disney films" he has ever seen. Rayna Denison, professor of film, television, and media studies, told ''
Time Time is the continued sequence In mathematics, a sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repetitions are allowed and order matters. Like a set, it contains members (also called ''elements'', or ''terms''). The number of ...
'' that "This is a film made by a master animator at the height of his powers and it is one where the quality of the animation really does set it apart from everything else around it. Nobody else was making films that looked like this or that were as inventive as this was at this time". The film has been cited as influence for various Disney and
Pixar Pixar Animation Studios (commonly known as Pixar () and stylized as P I X A R) is an American computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations ( computation) automatic ...
animated films. Production designer Harley Jessup said that he initially looked at ''Spirited Away'' and was inspired by the spiritual feelings elements to utilize them in '' Coco''. Co-writers Ken and Ryan Firpo cited the film as one of the influences that helps them explore "ideas of morality and humanity" in '' Eternals''. '' Turning Red'' director Domee Shi named ''Spirited Away'' as one of her favorite animated films and one of the influences for her film.

Commercial and cultural significance

According to ''
Time Time is the continued sequence In mathematics, a sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repetitions are allowed and order matters. Like a set, it contains members (also called ''elements'', or ''terms''). The number of ...
'', ''Spirited Away'' "arrived at a time when animation was widely perceived as a genre solely for children, and when cultural differences often became barriers to the global distribution of animated works" but it "shattered preconceived notions about the art form and also proved that, as a film created in Japanese with elements of Japanese folklore central to its core, it could resonate deeply with audiences around the world". Denison emphasized that John Lasseter and Disney "boosted ''Spirited Away'' visibility in America by heavily campaigning for the film to be considered for the Academy Awards", and cited it as one of the reasons why it won Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Writer Jonathan Clements, whose published works revolve around
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both Geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The modern State (polity), states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. ...
n culture,
anime is hand-drawn and computer-generated animation originating from Japan. Outside of Japan and in English, ''anime'' refers specifically to animation produced in Japan. However, in Japan and in Japanese, (a term derived from a shortening ...
, and Japanese television dramas, emphasized that the film's Oscar win was "a wake-up call for a lot of people in the film business who had been disregarding Japanese animation for years". Susan Napier, professor of Japanese studies at
Tufts University Tufts University is a private research university on the border of Medford and Somerville, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1852 as Tufts College by Christian universalists who sought to provide a nonsectarian institution of higher learni ...
, called ''Spirited Away'' wins at major Western award shows "a very big shot in the arm to the Japanese animation industry". She further explained that cartoons in the West have often been seen as "childish, vulgar, things that you didn't take seriously" but after the film took home the Academy Award, people were starting to see animation as "a real art form".

Stage adaptation

A stage adaptation of ''Spirited Away'' was announced in February 2021 with a world premiere planned in
Tokyo Tokyo (; ja, 東京, , ), officially the Tokyo Metropolis ( ja, 東京都, label=none, ), is the capital and largest city of Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is ...
on February 28, 2022. It is written and directed by John Caird, with
Toho is a Japanese film, theatre production and distribution company. It has its headquarters in Chiyoda, Tokyo, and is one of the core companies of the Osaka-based Hankyu Hanshin Toho Group. Outside of Japan, it is best known as the produ ...
as the production company, with Studio Ghibli's blessing. The role of Chihiro is played by both Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi. On a limited time release, the Imperial Theater performance of the play is available for rental in Japan from November 11 to December 18{{{Cite web , title=舞台「千と千尋の神隠し」(千尋役:橋本環奈)≪帝国劇場公演版≫(初配信)|フジテレビの人気ドラマ・アニメ・TV番組の動画が見放題<FOD> , url=https://fod.fujitv.co.jp/title/112h/ , archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20221215204644/https://fod.fujitv.co.jp/title/112h/ , archive-date=2022-12-15 , access-date=2022-12-15 , website=フジテレビの動画配信サービスFOD|ドラマ アニメ TV番組が見放題 , language=ja in several streaming services such as ABEMA, Amazon Prime Video Japan, Docomo Anime Store, Fuji TV on Demand, Hulu Japan and U-NEXT. There are 2 versions of the play available for rental: * {{transl, ja, ''Stage "Spirited Away" (Chihiro role: Kana Hashimoto) ≪Imperial Theater performance version≫ (First distribution)''. Japanese: {{lang, ja, 舞台「千と千尋の神隠し」(千尋役:橋本環奈)≪帝国劇場公演版≫(初配信){{Cite web , title=Hulu(フールー): 人気映画、ドラマ、アニメが見放題! , url=https://www.hulu.jp/search?q=舞台「千と千尋の神隠し」 , archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20221215192423/https://www.hulu.jp/search?q=舞台「千と千尋の神隠し」 , archive-date=2022-12-15 , access-date=2022-12-15 , website=舞台「千と千尋の神隠し」の検索結果 {{! Hulu(フールー) 【お試し無料】 , language=ja * {{transl, ja, ''Stage "Spirited Away" (Chihiro role: Moe Kamishiraishi) ≪Imperial Theater Performance Version≫ (Re-edited Version)''. Japanese: {{lang, ja, 舞台「千と千尋の神隠し」(千尋役:上白石萌音)≪帝国劇場公演版≫(再編集版){{Cite web , title=舞台「千と千尋の神隠し」(千尋役:上白石萌音)≪帝国劇場公演版≫(再編集版)|フジテレビの人気ドラマ・アニメ・TV番組の動画が見放題<FOD> , url=https://fod.fujitv.co.jp/title/705u/ , archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20221215205145/https://fod.fujitv.co.jp/title/705u/ , archive-date=2022-12-15 , access-date=2022-12-15 , website=フジテレビの動画配信サービスFOD|ドラマ アニメ TV番組が見放題 , language=ja{{Cite web , title=舞台「千と千尋の神隠し」(千尋役:上白石萌音)≪帝国劇場公演版≫(再編集版)(舞台・演劇 / 2022)の動画視聴 {{! U-NEXT 31日間無料トライアル , url=https://video.unext.jp/title/SID0075215 , archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20221127074515/https://www.video.unext.jp/title/SID0075215 , archive-date=2022-11-27 , access-date=2022-12-15 , website=U-NEXT<ユーネクスト> , language=ja

See also

{{Portal, Anime and manga, Film, Japan * 2000s in film * '' Isekai'' * List of highest-grossing anime films * List of highest-grossing films in Japan * '' Noppera-bō'': Japanese "no-face" spirit





Further reading

* Boyd, James W., and Tetsuya Nishimura. 2004.
Shinto Perspectives in Miyazaki's Anime Film 'Spirited Away'
" '' The Journal of Religion and Film'' 8(2). * {{cite journal, last1=Broderick, first1=Mick, title=Intersections Review, Spirited Away by Miyazaki's Fantasy, journal=Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context, date=2003, issue=9, url=http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue9/broderick_review.html, access-date=5 June 2016 * Callis, Cari. 2010. "Nothing that Happens is ever Forgotten." In ''Anime and Philosophy'', edited by J. Steiff and T. D. Tamplin. New York: Open Court. {{ISBN, 9780812697131. * {{cite book, last1=Cavallaro, first1=Dani, title=The Animé Art of Hayao Miyazaki, date=2006, publisher=McFarland & Co., location=Jefferson, N.C., isbn=9780786423699 * {{Citation , author1=Cooper, Damon , title=Finding the spirit within: a critical analysis of film techniques in spirited Away.(Critical essay) , magazine=Babel , date=1 November 2010 , publisher=Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations , volume=45 , issue=1 , pages=30(6) , issn=0005-3503 * {{cite book , last=Coyle , first=Rebecca , year=2010 , title=Drawn to Sound: Animation Film Music and Sonicity , publisher=Equinox Publishing , isbn=978-1-84553-352-6 , quote=Drawn to Sound focuses on feature-length, widely distributed films released in the period since World War II, from producers in the USA, UK, Japan and France-from Animal Farm (1954) to Happy Feet (2006), Yellow Submarine (1968) to Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), Spirited Away (2001) and Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003). *{{cite book, last=Denison, first=Rayna, year=2008, chapter=The global markets for anime: Miyazaki Hayao's Spirited away (2001), editor1-last=Phillips, editor1-first=Alastair, editor2-last=Stringer, editor2-first=Julian, title=Japanese Cinema: Texts and Contexts, publisher=Routledge, isbn=978-0-415-32847-0 *{{cite book , last=Fielding , first=Julien R. , year=2008 , title=Discovering World Religions at 24 Frames Per Second , publisher=Scarecrow Press , isbn=978-0-8108-5996-8 , quote=Several films with a 'cult-like' following are also discussed, such as ''Fight Club'', ''Princess Mononoke'', ''Spirited Away'', and ''Jacob's Ladder''. * {{cite web, author=Fox, Kit , url=http://www.animerica-mag.com/features/11.05/sareview.html , title=Spirited Away , work=Animerica , archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20040407174919/http://www.animerica-mag.com/features/11.05/sareview.html , archive-date= 7 April 2004 , url-status=dead *{{cite book, last=Galbraith IV, first=Stuart, year=2008, title=The Toho Studios Story: A History and Complete Filmography, publisher=Scarecrow Press, isbn=978-0-8108-6004-9, quote=Since its inception in 1933, Toho Co., Ltd., Japan's most famous movie production company and distributor, has produced and/or distributed some of the most notable films ever to come out of Asia, including ''Seven Samurai'', ''Godzilla'', ''When a Woman Ascends the Stairs'', ''Kwaidan'', ''Woman in the Dunes'', ''Ran'', ''Shall We Dance?'', ''Ringu'', and ''Spirited Away''. * {{cite book , last=Geortz , first=Dee , year=2009 , chapter=The hero with the thousand-and-first face: Miyazaki's girl quester in Spirited away and Campbell's Monomyth , editor1-last=Perlich , editor1-first=John , editor2-last=Whitt , editor2-first=David , title=Millennial Mythmaking: Essays on the Power of Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, Films and Games , publisher=McFarland , isbn=978-0-7864-4562-2 * {{cite book , last=Hooks , first=Ed , year=2005 , chapter=''Spirited Away'' , title=Acting in Animation: A Look at 12 Films , publisher=Heinemann Drama , isbn=978-0-325-00705-2 * {{Citation , author1=Knox, Julian , title=Hoffmann, Goethe, and Miyazaki's Spirited Away.(E.T.A. Hoffmann, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Hayao Miyazaki)(Critical essay) , journal= Wordsworth Circle , date=22 June 2011 , publisher=Wordsworth Circle , volume=42 , issue=3 , pages=198(3) , doi=10.1086/TWC24043148 , s2cid=169044013 , issn=0043-8006 * {{Citation , author1=Matthews, Kate , title=Logic and Narrative in 'Spirited Away' , journal=Screen Education , date=2006 , issue=43 , pages=135–140 , issn=1449-857X *{{cite book, last=Napier, first=Susan J., year=2005, title= Anime from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, publisher=Palgrave Macmillan, isbn=978-1-4039-7051-0 * {{cite book, last1=Osmond, first1=Andrew, title=Spirited away = Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi, date=2008, publisher=Palgrave Macmillan on behalf of the British Film Institute, location=Basingstoke nglandisbn=978-1844572304 *Suzuki, Ayumi. 2009.
A nightmare of capitalist Japan: Spirited Away
, '' Jump Cut'' 51 *Yang, Andrew. 2010. "The Two Japans of 'Spirited Away'." '' International Journal of Comic Art'' 12(1):435–52. *{{cite book , last=Yoshioka , first=Shiro , year=2008 , chapter=Heart of Japaneseness: History and Nostalgia in Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away , editor-last=MacWilliams , editor-first=Mark W , title=Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the World of Manga and Anime , pages=268–285 , publisher=M.E. Sharpe , doi=10.4324/9781315703152-19 , isbn=978-0-7656-1601-2 , url=https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781315703152-19/heart-japaneseness-history-nostalgia-hayao-miyazaki-spirited-away-shiro-yoshioka

External links

{{Commons category, Spirited Away {{wikiquote * {{IMDb title, 0245429 * {{tcmdb title, 437090 * {{Allmovie, 254034 * {{bcdb title, 20695, Spirited Away * {{anime News Network, anime, 377 * {{mojo title, spiritedaway * {{Metacritic film * {{Rotten-tomatoes, spirited_away
''Spirited Away''
at the Japanese Movie Database {{in lang, ja

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