Spirited Away parents guide

Spirited Away Parent Guide

Overall B-

In this beautifully drawn animation, a young girl and her parents find themselves spirited away to a supernatural dimension after they take a detour through a mysterious tunnel. North American audiences may find the conventions of this Japanese story to be just as mysterious.

Release date September 20, 2002

Violence C
Sexual Content A-
Profanity A-
Substance Use B

Why is Spirited Away rated PG? The MPAA rated Spirited Away PG for some scary moments.

Run Time: 124 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Spirited Away starts off simply, as Chihiro (voice of Daveigh Chase) travels with her mother and father (voices of Lauren Holly and Michael Chiklis) to a new home. Things get complicated when they decide to take a detour through a mysterious tunnel. Once on the other side her parents suddenly acquire an insatiable urge to explore what they think is a deserted amusement park.

Surprisingly, the smell of food wafts through the breeze, leading the adults by their nose until they discover a delectable smorgasbord and begin eating like pigs. Leaving them to get their fill, the ten-year-old explores her strange surroundings, stumbling across a building full of bizarre creatures, and a boy named Haku. Told that she will be unsafe if she tarries after dark, the girl rushes back to warn her family, only to discover they have been transformed into swine.

Now Chihiro is forced to place her trust in the slightly older boy, who explains she must get a job if she is to remain in the realm of spirits. Haku introduces her to his boss Yubaba (voice of Suzanne Pleshette), an evil witch who operates a huge spa/resort for poltergeists looking for purification. Hoping her employment will buy enough time to find her parents and de-pig them, Chihiro helps bathe all manner of strange looking beings.

There is no debate Hayao Miyazaki’s film represents some of Japan’s finest animation, explaining this movie’s record-breaking $200 million take prior to opening in the US. Seeking similar success in North America, Disney has dubbed it into English - but cultural differences could leave audiences bewildered.

Although profanity and sexuality are minimal, the mythical complexities may bore young viewers, and if they are prone to nightmares, you should count on missing some sleep. Chihiro faces constant peril and apparitions that morph from blobs into witches, flying serpents, people, and nearly every other imaginable thing. Many scenes are gripping, somewhat gory, and downright scary - attesting to how vivid this anime is.

For myself (one who doesn’t even pretend to understand oriental folklore), Spirited Away appears to be a “Made in Japan” Alice in Wonderland. And if that’s not your cup of tea, you’ll probably want to avoid falling in this rabbit hole.

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Starring Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Susan Ega. Running time: 124 minutes. Theatrical release September 20, 2002. Updated

Spirited Away
Rating & Content Info

Why is Spirited Away rated PG? Spirited Away is rated PG by the MPAA for some scary moments.

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Spirited Away Parents' Guide

The “orphan” formula - where a young child is separated from their parents - appears to be popular in other cultures as well the in North America film and literature. Why do you think writers often remove adults from a child’s life before they face trials and obstacles?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Spirited Away movie is April 15, 2003. Here are some details…

Spirited Away releases to home video on April 15, 2003.

Related home video titles:

A much more straightforward Miyazaki film that is heartwarming by Western standards is My Neighbor Totoro, although it dabbles in Japanese folklore as well. Miyazaki also made the critically acclaimed (but content heavy) Princess Mononoke.

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