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The spirited away cartoon is an anime produced by noted Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki. The plot follows the story of a young boy named Chihiro, who is kidnapped from his home and taken to a strange place. During his stay in the strange place, he meets a mysterious man named Haku, played by the voice of Miyu Irino. Haku explains that the place is actually a resort for supernatural beings, and Chihiro must work there to free his parents.
Art director Yoji Takeshige
In the late 1970s, the Japanese company Studio Ghibli hired Yoji Takeshige as their art director. He shared his duties with Takeshige, who was also the cartoon's writer. Together, they worked on many Ghibli films. This includes the classics like Princess Mononoke, The Wind Rises, and Spirited Away. Takeshige's background work was featured in various exhibitions, including Understanding the Secrets of Takahata/Miyazaki Animation.
While working at Studio Ghibli, Takeshige consulted with various shojo manga magazines to help him create the world of spirit. This is why his character Takahashi Korekiyo residence is so iconic and is featured in the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. This was one of the key inspirations for Spirited Away's architecture and design.
Story of Chihiro
The Story of Chihiro in spirited away is a popular Japanese animation series. The story follows Chihiro as she is abducted from her parents and awakens to find her world completely changed. She is forced to work in a bathhouse run by a witch named Yubaba. She is renamed "Sen," and will never be able to return to the human world.
The film takes on a fantasy form, as it does in many of its Japanese counterparts. Rather than using guns and superpowers, it focuses on a little girl's efforts to survive in a world of dishonesty. Chihiro learns the importance of friendship, and she uses her resources to save her family. The film also shows how powerful her judgment is, as she uses all of her skills to survive and eventually return to the human world.
In order to escape the witch's wrath, Chihiro must find a job. This task will save her parents from the witch's curse. Luckily, she manages to do so, and she is eventually reunited with her parents. However, as Chihiro's parents lose their memories of the spirit world, they must continue their journey to their new home. This episode of Spirited Away is the first in the series.
Comparisons to live-action fantasy Pan's Labyrinth
There are many similarities between the animated film Spirited Away and the 2006 live-action fantasy Pan's Labyridth. Both films follow a young girl named Ofelia as she embarks on missions that often do not make much sense and sometimes aren't very noble. Spirited Away aims to avoid strict comparisons to the live-action fantasy, but it does create context by setting up a situation where a child must follow orders or face the consequences. Both films frame childhood as a maze of traps and dead-ends - with authority figures who aren't always in the right.
One of the most prominent similarities between the two movies is the plot. Both are rooted in classical Hollywood storytelling, and both feature young characters as the central characters. They also share the same themes of good and evil. Both films feature a faun and a pixie that try to guide the young girl through various tasks. In both movies, the faun represents an influence that shapes a child's life.
Impact on Japanese animation
The acclaimed Spirited Away cartoon, created by Hayao Miyazaki, spawned an entire subgenre of Japanese animation. Inspired by the story of Chihiro, a young girl who loses her parents, the film features both fantasy and horror elements. The titular character, No-Face, represents Chihiro's loneliness, identity crisis, and fears. He promises unlimited wealth in exchange for his help in solving the problems of Chihiro and her family.
Spirited Away dominated the anime genre for years after its release. It won an Academy Award and won multiple international awards, including the Best Animated Feature. Even though Miyazaki declined to attend the Academy Awards ceremony to accept his Oscar, he still won over millions of fans worldwide. Spirited Away's success helped introduce hundreds of thousands of new viewers to Studio Ghibli films. This cartoon is the rare example of a movie that young fans are bound to keep. It showed the potential of serious animation, and many mainstream Japanese animators have failed to realize that lesson 15 years later.
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