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A Beautiful and Eye-Opening Trip into the Spirit World

By Adam Kalogeros  ‘18


The world always looks different through the eyes of a 10-year-old compared to the way it looks through the eyes of their parents. Sometimes it is full of wonder, while other times it is full of a fear of the unknown.

In Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 animated film, “Spirited Away,” the viewer follows 10-year-old Chihiro through her unintentional trip to the Spirit World as well as her journey to get back home safely. The story starts when Chihiro’s father takes a wrong turn on the way to their new home, and after traveling through a mysterious tunnel (much to Chihiro’s terror and dismay), they end up in an abandoned amusement park.

After exploring the park, Chihiro’s mother and father are famished and begin inhaling plates of food that have been left on a nearby table, even though Chiro begs them not to take what is not theirs. Upon further exploration of the amusement park, Chihiro finds a bathhouse and a young man named Haku, who warns her to get back through the tunnel before it gets dark, but unfortunately, it is already too late.

Chihiro tries to return to her parents, but they have been turned into pigs. Terrified, Chihiro runs away only to end up in a crowd of spirits roaming through the park. Chihiro soon learns that the only way for her to remain alive in the Spirit World, and to find a way home, is to sell her name to Yubaba, the witch of the bathhouse, in exchange for a job.

“Spirited Away” is a story of terror, innocence, and growth. It teaches the viewer that children are truly capable of incredible things, and that they have as much to teach us, as we have to teach them.