Spirited Away is the 2001 Japanese animated fantasy written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. This film overtook Titanic (at the time the top-grossing film worldwide) in the Japanese box office to become the highest-grossing film in Japanese history. Acclaimed by international critics, the movie is considered one of the best films of the 2000s decade and one of the greatest animated films of all time. Even knowing this does not prepare you for the emotional depth and stunningly rich imagination of the filmmaker.
The film tells the story of Chihiro Ogino (Hiiragi), a sullen 10-year-old girl who, while moving to a new neighborhood, becomes trapped in a world of spirits: I mean spirits of every shape, color, and texture, including the masked enigma Noh Face and the haunting and fastest-growing bathhouse blob you could ever imagine. After her parents are transformed into giant, gluttonous pigs by the witch Yubaba (Natsuki), Chihiro takes a job working in Yubaba’s bathhouse to find a way to free herself and her parents and return to the human world. This is high art by a genius artist at the peak of his oeuvre.