Re: "Spirited Away": Sen-Chihiro and Japanese Cult
I just saw "Spirited Away" and enjoyed it very much, so did my 9 year old daughter.
Besides the imaginative animation, and the clear Ulysses-like growing journey of the child, I was left with the feeling that I lost some of the meanings and symbols, exclusive of Japanese culture.
I think the movie is one of the best animated movies I've ever come across. The surreal scenes brought back memories of my childhood when my siblings and I were inundated with stories of ghosts and spirits, as that was all a part of the formative mosaic of the culture in which I grew up.
The no-face character, to me, suggested a spirit of innocence, a blank slate so to speak, pliable to the child's imagination.
The boy was Chihiro's imaginary playmate, and also part of herself; the courageous part that was a guiding force as well as an anchor.
The river spirit was indicative of a loss of ecological balance; hence the pollution that had to be rinsed away.
All in all, a similarity between the spirits in Spirited Away and the Western world of elves and gnomes and goblins and pixies and sprites.