“Miyazaki Month: Spirited Away” by Myrna Waldron
Chihiro is the type of little girl heroine I wish I had when I was younger. Hayao Miyazaki has said that he specifically designed her to be average, relatable, likeable, and non-sexualized. He has also said how much he resents that a hero can be unattractive, but a heroine must always be cute. Chihiro really does look, act and feel like a real Japanese child, not a fantasy of what one “should” be. Her story has been compared to Alice in Wonderland, which I can sorta see (little girl is trapped in a dreamlike world where people are needlessly hostile to her and not much makes sense). One thing I really love about how Chihiro is depicted in this movie is all the little touches that make her feel real. When she puts on her shoes, she taps her toes on the floor to make sure the shoe is on properly as she walks off. Something that we normally don’t even think about, our tiniest little unconscious habits, Hayao Miyazaki has thought of, and added to the depiction of his heroine.
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Spirited Away - Sen to Chihiro na Kamikakushi in romaji - is probably my favourite film from Miyazaki-san. The only bummer is that the fan sub that was gifted to me by a friend is so much better than the Disney translation that I also own. :(