63. Spirited Away (2001)

When Chihiro and her parents get lost, they go through a hillside tunnel, and find themselves in a mysteriously empty amusement park. But when her parents begin eating the plentiful food available, Chihiro becomes concerned and refuses to eat as well. She then meets Haku, who warns her to leave immediately, as nightfall is due. She rushes back to her parents, only to discover that the food they were gorging on was for the spirits, and that they have been turned into pigs.

Chihiro has to find a way of breaking the spell, so she begins by trying to find work in the bathhouse owned by an old woman, Yubaba, who controls Chihiro by stealing her name and giving her the nickname of Sen. Lin, a maid, and Haku, help Sen, and along the way, she encounters some strange beings and bewitched creatures, such as radish spirits, river dragons, the masked No-Face and a gigantic baby. With their help, can she find her parents, and return them back to their human form?

Another treat from Japan’s Studio Ghibli, Spirited Away is a film where it is near-on impossible to find fault. It’s beautifully animated, with a thrilling storyline and interesting, if not madcap characters. It’s engaging from beginning to end and also raises environmental awareness such as when a river spirit is cleaned of all the debris and trash polluting its waters. It is captivating and visually stunning – a real treat.


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