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When driving to their new home, young Chihiro and her parents stop at
what appears to be an abandoned themepark, but when the parents
inexplicably find tons of freshly prepared food in one of the abandoned
restaurants, they immediately start to eat - like pigs. Chihiro finds the
whole situation weird and refuses to eat anything, instead explores the
area, pnly to bump into young Hako, who urges her to leave before
nightfall, because otherwise this place would become dangerous - alas too
late, night falls all too soon, weird shapes turn up, and to Chihiro's
despair, her parents have turned into pigs. Hako helps Chihiro escape the
weird creatures lurking around the place, and again urges her to leave,
but she insists on staylng until her parents are turned back into humans
and are able to return with her.
Hako gets Chihiro a job at the local Bathhouse
for Gods, which is run by greedy witch Yubaba, who has turned
Chihiro's parents into pigs, but at first, Chihiro proves to be nothing
more than a useless klutz - that is, until she haqs to take care of a
client, a Stink God, and reveals him not to be a Stink God at all
but a River God. Later though she invites a No-Face into the
bathhouse, a perfectly peaceful, even benign creature - except when it's
in the bathhouse, where it devours customers and personnel alike and uses
their greed against them ... yet it doesn't harm Chihiro because she's not
greedy and has been nice to it - and thus Chihiro is able to lure the
creature out of the bathhouse again, where it turns back into the nicest
being their is and even spits out everybody it has devoured.
Hako, who is not only Chihiro's friend but also Yubaba's number one
henchman, returns from a mission to steal yubaba's twin sister Zebiba's
hagic amulet - and he returns gravely wounded and Zebiba in tow, who turns
Yubaba's baby into a hamster before disappearing. Chihiro, who has long
fallen in love with Hako, decides she must save him at any price, and thus
takes the amulet and the hamster to travel to Zebiba to urge her to
help. Interestingly, Zebiba is not half as much of an evil witch as Yubaba
has made her to be, and she actually agrees to all of Chihiro's demands
without asking for too much - heck, she even forgives Hako for stealing
Returning to Yubaba's place, the hamster quickly turns back
into her baby, and after being pressured by pretty much everyone in her
bathhouse including Hako, Yubaba agrees to turn Chihiro's parents back
into humans and return them to their world ... but once back, Chihiro's
parents can't remember a thing about what has happened anymore ...
definition, Spirited Away is children's fare ... but it's also so
much more, it's less of a simple film and more of an experience, a trip to
a surreal world that never once seems to miss a beat and seemingly
effortlessly succeeds in creating a sense of wonder only all too rarely
found in children's films or even movies as such. But the film's charming
story, its lo9ve for detail and its many highly original ideas see to it
that the film remains unlike anything you have ever seen without becoming
brain-heavy, unintelligible or boring throughout.
Easily one of the
best children's movies, animated films and fantasy pictures of all time.