Studio Ghibli finally answers our questions about ‘Spirited Away’

A still from “Spirited Away”
Image: imgur

Famed Japanese production house Studio Ghibli released “Spirited Away” in 2001, and has captured the hearts of both the young and old around the globe.

Till this day, fans continue to praise the animated fantasy film for its imaginative and touching storyline, but fans continue to debate its underlying message.

A Japanese fan of the Hayao Miyazaki film finally decided to write in to the studio asking the same questions that we’ve had for years, and to her surprise got a reply just days before the film celebrates its 15th anniversary.

As @0910noncha posted on Twitter on July 9, she’d wanted to know why the protagonist Chihiro’s parents turned into pigs, what exactly was in the food that turned them that way, and how Chihiro managed to pass her final test.

The reply @0910noncha received went on for almost two pages and was written by a Studio Ghibli employee. According to a translation by RocketNews24, Miyazaki turned Chihiro’s parents into pigs to represent the greed that took place during Japan’s recession in the eighties.

The letter went on to explain that once a person transforms into a pig it is irreversible, and Miyazaki has used the metaphor to describe the real world and how greed changes people.

It further explained that Chihiro knew none of the pigs in the pen were her parents, as a result of how her thinking had changed after her experiences in the underworld.

“Chihiro, as a 10-year-old girl, could understand the difference because she had overcome difficulties and had managed to acquire the ‘energy to live’ which is something everyone can do naturally,” the letter stated.

Lastly, the letter also clarified that the story wasn’t about a girl with a “unique heart”, but about how a girl learned to face her fears by understanding and appreciating the meaning behind life.

The food, however, remains a mystery. The studio employee vaguely wrote: “It’s not actually made clear what the food is it’s just ‘very delicious’.”

“Spirited Away” is the most successful film in Japan’s history and won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards. To date, it has grossed over $289 million in worldwide box offices.

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