Toycars’s review published on Letterboxd:
A beautifully crafted masterpiece, from the connoisseur of symbolic anime himself, Hayao Miyazaki. From the get go, we're met with our protagonist. A spoiled and lazy 'brat' who like many kids her age, dislikes the thought of moving town, and leaving her old life behind. We quickly encounter the world that Miyazaki, has delightfully crafted. A world which contains relics from a past era. The main attraction in our world is a traditional bathhouse run by a Witch.
I found the story to be an enjoyable experience. It is a tale of growing up and finding love. Having to let go of the past, and to experience new things in life.
The colors are really vibrant throughout the entire movie. We're faced with really beautiful shots of the world, that Miyazaki has so carefully crafted, that it almost feels like we're reliving it through Chihiro. There are some shots that are taken straight out of paintings. Somber images, and some of the shots especially near the ending, has this "slow" feeling to it, where it sort of feels like Chihiro has become custom to the world she is currently in, and therefore has an easier time accepting what is really going on around her.
The music fits in perfectly with what Miyazaki has imagined as this fairytale, imaginative world of modern Japan. Most of the scores are slow moving, somber, somewhat sad, but beautiful in its own way.
It's also obvious that Spirited Away is a critical piece of Japanese society. For an example, we have the contract signed by Chihiro. Miyazaki connects a persons character with their name, which is why the Witch requests and takes away peoples names when they sign the contract to work at the bathhouse. This draws a heavy parallel to the real world, where most Japanese workers "sign" away their life when they hit the workers market. We also have several consumer problems throughout the movie, such as overfeeding and over caring. I also especially like the ending where Chihiro is faced with the challenges of having to recognize her parents. This really speaks to the whole ideal of having to remember your roots.
Perfect anime 5/5.