Miyazaki films are some of my favorite movies, particularly Spirited Away. The film follows Chihiro and her journey trapped in a world of spirits. I actually haven’t seen this movie in several years, so I went back and rewatched it for this assignment. I was a little worried that the film wouldn’t live up to how good it was in my memories, but I was sooo wrong.
I love how easily the fantastical is blended with reality. The world and characters in the film are so unique, but it all fits together so well. In the beginning, Chihiro and her parents are on the way to their new home, but they stop along the way to check out an abandoned amusement park, which then turns into the spirit world. The way this transition is done is so beautiful and you almost can’t even tell it’s happening.
I really enjoyed Kurt Vonnegut’s talk about story structure, and decided to try applying it to Spirited away.
When actually trying to make the structure, Spirited away doesn’t really follow any of the structures Vonnegut talks about. Chihiro starts out low, she is moving away from her friends and what she knows and her parents don’t understand how she feels. It only gets worse when she’s transported to the spirit world and her parents are turned into pigs. Things start looking up as she befriends some spirits and gets the hang of working in the bath house, only to drop low again when Haku, the spirit who Chihiro is closest too, is injured and almost dies. The movie ends on a hopeful note, Haku lives and Chihiro and her parents make it back to their own world.
I think this story structure is really interesting for a movie like Spirited Away. It’s this fantastical, bright, and colorful world, however we see it through the eyes of our main character who doesn’t belong there and wants nothing more than to leave.
While Spirited Away is created in the fantasy genre, it still has themes and ideas that could be part of our theme. Looking at a movie like this has made me realize that while telling my story, it doesn’t have to be 100% biographical or just a set of facts about my life. As long as there are themes and ideas that can be related back to my own story, fiction can be a way to be a bit more creative when writing and creating about the class theme.