Written by EM
(Original title: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi)
Today’s review will be all about life and growing up (because, sadly, we’re not Peter Pans).
Chihiro is a little girl that is on the way to moving with her parents to a new place. While she’s upset about it at the backseat, they get lost and stop in front of an enormous gate. And guess what-they decide to cross it. Because hey, what could possibly go wrong? Only Chihiro seems a little hesitant-and good for her! Once they reach what seems to be an abandoned theme park, Chihiro’s parents smell food and go after it like crazy. When they find it, although there is noone there to serve it, they start eating with all the gluttony that could possibly exist in a human being. And apparently Gluttony is not a deadly sin only for Christians, since both parents suddenly turn into pigs. It’s now dark, and Chihiro is alone in a strange place that is about to get even stranger. Soon, hoards of odd creatures storm the place, and the once-abandoned theme park is now all lit-up and accepting these crearures as guests. Naturally, Chihiro is scared and tries to run away but with no success. Out of the blue, a boy appears who is wiling to help her for no apparent reason. His name is Haku. Since this is her only chance to survive, she follows him. When she is spotted by the creatures, who apparently don’t like humans, Haku leaves her with instructions on how to proceed without him. He will go to distract them while she follows his advice. And she does.As instructed by Haku, she asks to be employed by the owner of the place, the witch Yubaba. She is quickly dismissed as a “weak little brat” but her insisting (again, as Haku advised) get her a job there.With one sacrifice on Chihiro’s part; her name is stolen from her along with memories of who she was when still called Chihiro. She’s now Sen. And as the title goes in Greek, the “Trip to Wonderland” starts right then.
And it is a world of wonders, isn’t it? The one we live in, I mean; you, me, Chihiro, Yubaba. We come to the world because two humans came together, each carrying their own past and with their own personalities. And their children are the next model, the evolved, the better one. And one day, in what seems to be the bat of an eye, we are separated from them and we are forced to follow our own paths and goals. We are suddenly Chihiro. And, if you are lucky enough, you get a good friend who will be by your side to guide you at your most vulnerable, Haku. However small or big this friend’s contribution, you are eternally grateful and when they need you ( I know, we think them as omnipotent-omniscient beings, but they are not), you do everything to be there for them. And this is how (all) relationships are formed. But you have to remember; the same character that brought you precious friends like Haku, Lin, Kamaji, will also attract people that only see profit in you, like Yubaba and her employees. These last ones are blindly obeying Yubaba, and this is problably how Sen’s mind will be corrupted as well, unless she never forgets her real name ( Chihiro). Because forgetting your real name means forgetting who you are and your past which built up to your own, unique personality.
In my most humble opinion, Miyazaki’s film, makes a very simple, and at the same time very complex, suggestion. It is a long and tricky way home but friends, experiences, and the challenge of keeping on the right path make it a magical one.
And that was one of many versions of Chihiro’s story. Now it’s your turn to tell the rest.