Another Miyazaki Hayao film that’s one of my favorites is Spirited Away, or Sen to Chihiro Kamikakushi. This story is about a young girl named Chihiro who is very unhappy because her family is moving and she has been uprooted from her friends and school. The story begins with Chihiro and her parents driving to her new home. They take a wrong turn along the way, and end up on a dead end road. At the road’s end is a tunnel which seems to lead to an abandoned theme park. Against Chihiro’s will her parents explore and Chihiro ends up taking an amazing adventure.
At the start of the movie, Chihiro is very near the top of the list of all time worst whiny, crybaby characters. Through the course of the movie though she grows and changes and becomes a strong young girl. In the end Chihiro rescues herself, her parents and Haku, and is instrumental in rescuing a strange god named No Face and an old river god. She also changes the lives of several other characters for the better, most notably Baba-sama’s large son.
This film is about a young girl growing up, but it’s also has a lot of life lessons along the way, about accepting what life hands you and dealing with it, about supporting your friends and accepting them, even about not being a glutton. It’s wonderful to watch and of course with Joe Hisaishi’s music, it’s wonderful to listen to. I would honestly be hard pressed to decide which Miyazaki film is my favorite, but this one is definitely near the top.