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"Spirited Away": Sen-Chihiro and Japanese Culture

 
 
fbaezer
 
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 10:57 am
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.

Did you also like the film? Why?
Did you also feel that Westerners lost some important elements?
And what do they mean?

Is the town-spa a big reproduction of the little "houses of the spirits" Chihiro sees in the road?
Who is the "No Face"? What does the character mean?
Why are the twin witches referred as "granny", at least in the Spanish translation?
Is the film also a critique of insudstrializations intents of "taming" the forces of nature (the drying of the river-boy)?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 11,077 • Replies: 33
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 04:56 pm
fbaezer, I had to take a peek at what your forum was all about: a cartoon no less! However, a simple search got me the following link that might be helpful to you. I didn't see the movie yet, but will look forward to seeing it. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/click/movie-1116064/reviews.php?critic=5&sortby=default&page=1&rid=794021
Let us know what you think.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 05:26 pm
I've been trying to catch it on cable -- but I will add it to my NetFlix list as I missed it at the theaters and Ebert gave it a very good review. I did enjoy "Ice Age" and, of course, I also want to see "Finding Nemo" (especially since I just installed three aquariums in my bedroom!)
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 05:30 pm
My wife went to see Finding Nemo a couple days ago with her friend, and said it was excellent. She said the children were quiet. Wink
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 06:27 pm
My sister took her daughter to see Spirited Away last weekend. She liked it. The creator of the flick did a feature-length cartoon called My Neighbor Totoro ( http://www.totoro.org/ ) which my neice absolutely adored (as did me and my sister). Apparently a lot of what happens in these films has to do with Japanese mythology?
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 06:29 pm
LW, Which movie channel has "Spirited Away?" I think we carry most of them.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 06:42 pm
It was on Starz but I dropped Starz. I guess I will add it to my NetFlix queue.
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Laeknir Scrat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2003 11:42 am
"The Ice Age" rules!!!
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Equus
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2003 03:14 pm
I loved Spirited Away and My Friend Totoro. The same guy also did Princess Mononoke, which I understand is the highest-grossing non-English film ever. The animation in all three is fantastic, filled with imagination and surrealism. And such detail!

Princess Mononoke has the clearest story line of the three. Some viewers may be put off by loose plots in the other two movies that are overwhelmed by the bizarre artwork.

These are not "cartoons". The typical child would be perplexed and lost by the bizarre and nonsensical plot twists. These animated films are for teens and adults.
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Sep, 2003 12:04 pm
Equus, my 9 year old daughter grabbed just about every plot twist in "Spirited Away". Her only question was about the nature of the river-boy. A simple explanation was sufficient for her to have the whole picture.
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deniZen
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2003 07:22 pm
Re: "Spirited Away": Sen-Chihiro and Japanese Cult
fbaezer wrote:
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.


Hello fbaezer.

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.
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2003 10:12 am
Thanks for your comments deni_Zen (great avatar)

As I understand there are two rivers in the story, one is the filthy spirit Sen has to clean; the other is Haku, who saved little Chihiro from drowning and deposited her to the shore (and perhaps was dried or somewhat controleld by the witch).

Can anyone tell something about the meanings of the names Chihiro and Sen (which are both in the original Japanese title of "Spirited Away")?
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Monger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2003 10:33 am
fb, I haven't seen Spirited Away yet & I don't know if those names have deeper meaning in the cartoon, but sen means thousand & chihiro means a very deep ravine.
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elan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2003 07:25 am
Quote:

Can anyone tell something about the meanings of the names Chihiro and Sen (which are both in the original Japanese title of "Spirited Away")?


The Japanese character for the name Sen is part of her original name Chihiro. Sen means a thousand or thousands. Chihiro compromises of the character for thousand as well as the character which means "to find".
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2003 11:18 am
Hi elan, wlecome to A2K.

Since both "Chihiro" and "Sen" are on the Japanese title of the film, and the name was so important to the plot, it intrigued me.

So what I gather is that the meaning of the names is the girl's journey to actually find herself.
And, aren't we all multiple? Do thousands upon thousands do not live within us?

Thank you.
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elan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2003 06:45 am
Thanks Smile. Probably not thousands.....or we'll suffer from mpd lol. But yes it probably means the journey where you find a hidden part of yourself, in Chihiro's case, her hidden strength.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2003 09:32 am
Expecting the film on my next rental shipment from NetFlix.
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 01:07 pm
Have you seen the film, lightwiz?
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 01:18 pm
I saw that movie, I thought it was wondrous ...

Beautiful animation, a story that cant help remind ya of your own magical children's imagination, and yet its also layered and sometimes even a little dark enough to make it a fascinating enough view for an adult ... yeah, I have a fond memory of that film.

It was a while ago tho that it was screening here, a year or two ago ... so I cant remember all the details anymore ... and yeah, I'm sure there were culture-specific things that passed us by - but the odd guessable unfinished streak just adds to the feel of a childrens movie, I think ...
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niebling
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 02:28 pm
Hey All,

Spirited Away is truly brilliant.
My girlfriend and I watc it every couple of weeks or so...literally.

Question...I found an image of Haku casting the spell form near the beginning of the movie on this site when I googled it, but now can't track it down.

Anyone know where to find it? I've been hunting for it everywhere.

Thanks in advance.
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