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Fri, 29 Mar 2024
Spirited Away
# 10:05 in ./general

Now for some more Japanese culture, this time animation, also known as anime.

The most famous Japanese anime studio is Studio Ghibli, a company I've come across many times but never seen any of their films. A lot of people really love the stuff they make. As I've said, I've never had much interest in manga, or anime, but I've been been intrigued enough now that I decided I should should watch one. I recently saw Spirited Away, one of their most popular productions (and also a 2003 Oscar winner).

It's a simple story about a young girl separated from her parents and trapped in a ghostly world of spirits, complete with magical people, weird entities and strange creatures. The world appears centered on a large bath-house run by a witch and the little girl has to find a job and work out how to escape and save her family.

Well, I really loved the film, enjoying it immensely. Charming and beautifully made "cell" animation, I can see why the the Ghibli "style" is such a worldwide success. There's a bit of a "signature" style, a traditional animation look alongside atmospheric painted backgrounds. I can understand a film like this being a big hit for both children and adults. Funny moments but also themes that tug at the core human emotions of love, loneliness and loyalty. It's also a refreshing change to see a film informed by Japanese cultural traditions even though it speaks to universal traits.

A film easy for me to recommend wholeheartedly. I will try and watch another Studio Ghibli production.

© Alastair Sherringham 2023
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