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Miyazaki's 'Spirited Away' Wins Best Animated Picture 455

DavidBrown writes "Moments ago, Hayao Miyazaki won the Best Animated Picture award for 'Spirited Away.' It's about time."
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Miyazaki's 'Spirited Away' Wins Best Animated Picture

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  • by the uNF cola ( 657200 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:06PM (#5580743)
    Cripes, it was only minutes ago. I hope we don't hear every little detail before its done. :)
    • I assume that you realize this was not posted because an 'Oscar' is relevant to Slashdot, but because Sprited Away IS.
    • I take it back! Did you hear what Michael Moore said about Bush on TV? Someone write THAT up! Totally went off on "President" Bush.

      Props to him, not for berating bushes actions.. but for standing up in what he believes in. We should all follow his example.. doing what we believe in... do it to whatever extent we can. Cut through the bullshit.
      • After Michael Moore made his acceptance speech, which was received with fairly loud jeers and boos, the next "speaker" on stage was Jack Valenti, which caused me to start booing as well. Sadly, the hollywood glitterati did not continue with me...
  • Just curious, how long was this one in the preview que (or whatever) before it got posted to Slashdot?
    • I assume that the editors were watching and posted it immediately.

      In any case, Hollywood finally gets it right - to be sure, SA didn't have much in the way of real competition, but I was pleasantly surprised regardless.

      Here's hoping that Laputa is released domestically soon!

  • This, and the Two Towers are the best films I've seen in the last year.
  • features Chihiro interacting with a monkey called mono. great cartoon :^)
  • Darn (Score:3, Funny)

    by Qinopio ( 602437 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:09PM (#5580763) Homepage
    Does this mean I'll have to start caring about the Oscars?
  • Right On! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by itistoday ( 602304 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:10PM (#5580768) Homepage
    I showed this movie to my whole family. Great flick and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys watching fantasy. The story is very good-hearted and the plot and fantasy aspects are amazing.

    Some would compare it to Harry Potter, but really it's much more... intellectual.
  • Theatrical run (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sarauble ( 573656 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:10PM (#5580769)
    Let's see now if Disney makes good on its promise to re-release Spirited Away to theatres with equal backing as Lilo and Stich was given.
    • Maybe they'll get it into their thick skulls to release "Whisper of the heart," another Miazaki anime Disney's been holding hostage...

      Still, the thing that sucks is that Disney IS profiting from this, and frankly I don't trust them to dub animes properly. But on the flip side of the coin, this could be a real boon, as it could really popularize anime. If disney (err... Miramax, really, but...) started bringing anime over all the time, well, I would be a happy puppy.

      • Why wouldn't you trust them to dub animes properly? I know that it's fun to bash the big corporation, but the Princess Mononoke was nothing short of amazing. I didn't get the chance to see Spirited Away in the theater, but I've heard that the dub is quite good as well.
        • Dubbing (Score:5, Informative)

          by Draconix ( 653959 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @11:25PM (#5581123)
          Miramax hired one of the best writers alive today, Neil Gaiman, to do the American version of Mononoke Hime. He went to Japan, studied the language and culture, met prominent artists there, and did his damn best (and also teamed up with Yoshitaka Amano to make a wonderful companion book to The Sandman) to not only translate it, but make it sound just as good as the original version, and yet still seem as if his script were the original. Unfortunately(?), Disney used some of its own writers to dub Spirited Away, so it's most likely not up to the caliber of Princess Mononoke, but (knock on wood) they couldn't have screwed it up too bad, right?
          • Re:Dubbing (Score:3, Insightful)

            by grmoc ( 57943 )
            I enjoyed the dub quite thuroughly, actually, and I've seen it both subbed and dubbed.

            I actually -prefer- the dub for Spirited away, and that is a verry Verry rare thing for me.

  • spirited away (Score:5, Interesting)

    by minus_273 ( 174041 ) <> on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:10PM (#5580772) Journal
    was the BEST movie that i saw in a long time. It had a wonderful story that appealed to adults and children. The cinematography was excellent as well. It too bad americans still make a distinction between animated movies and live action ones.
    • It too bad americans still make a distinction between animated movies and live action ones.

      I wonder how they'll handle Avalon []...

    • cinematography??? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Cryptnotic ( 154382 )
      Uh... cinematography is usually setting up lighting on a set and choosing cameras and lenses and film and how to use those tools to render a scene with actors onto a photographic negative. In an animated film like Spirited Away, none of that needs to be done. The "camera angles" are chosen by the director when they do the storyboards. Individual frames are drawn by hand and scanned and sometimes composited with CG or edited on a computer. The ultimate output is made to print film that gets run through
  • yes! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SpiritC ( 163392 )
    this is a very deserved Oscar!
    the movie deserves it, Miyazaki deserves it and anime deserves it.
    this is a good thing for anime
    p.s. and the other movies all sucked compared to this :P
  • I went to see Adaptation (gotta love Spike Jonze) at my towns cool little indy theater the Cla-Zel [], and they ran a preview for the American release of SA. I've already seen the actual movie a while ago at a theater up in Toledo, but it was a good trailer...
  • It's so damn good... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Peterus7 ( 607982 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:11PM (#5580781) Homepage Journal
    To see an anime finally get best animated picture!

    But then again, Disney and Dreamworks put forth anything *that* good or *that* original.

    Spirited away had originality and a nice fuzzy feeling with it too, with a sense of wonder too.

    And it's gonna change the way the critics view anime from now on, too. I wonder if maybe they'll do "Best anime film..." Nah...

    • But then again, Disney and Dreamworks put forth anything *that* good or *that* original.

      I assume you meant "didn't" put forth anything...

      I was just going to say be careful with dissing Disney -- they released Spirited Away in the US (and will put it out on video/DVD on April 15). So you owe them.
    • Uhh, what do you mean "finally"? This is only the second year this category has existed at the Oscars.
    • The competition (Score:5, Informative)

      by mblase ( 200735 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:26AM (#5581397)
      For those who didn't watch: Ice Age [], Lilo & Stitch [], Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron [], and Treasure Planet [].

      I can only claim to have seen two of these, but I think I can say that "Lilo & Stitch" was the only worthwhile competition in this category. Still, it should rightly be considered remarkable that a dubbed foreign film won in this category, especially since Disney put almost no effort into promoting this film when it was released.

      And on that note, it looks like Miyazaki's film "Castle in the Sky" will be released in the US on DVD at the same time as "Spirited Away", both of which should get a lot more attention from Disney now than they did last calendar year. Hey, whatever works....
  • by Zergwyn ( 514693 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:14PM (#5580795)
    I am very pleased that Spirited Away has recieved the recognition it deserved. I was fortunate enough to be able to see it on the big screen, and both the animation and the story were very pleasant. Spirited Away is one of the rare films that I could take a bunch of kids to watch, yet still enjoy the movie myself, because the story can be appreciated on a number of levels.

    Miyazaki has directed an unusually large number of very nice animated pieces, and Studio Ghibli is well known as delivering some of the highest quality films out there, live or animated. I hope that this may do something to bring more mainstream appreciation to animation as an adult story telling medium in the United States.

    As a note, if anyone is interested in seeing a list of other films by Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, they can look at [].

    • ...though bear with slow response, as is already pretty well experiencing the Slashdot effect. My traffic-shaping rules are helping the site hold its own, but you may have to tolerate sluggish reply at the moment. :)

      --Rachel ( sysadmin)
  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:14PM (#5580797)
    ...The movie is coming out on Region 1 DVD April 15, 2003. Along with Kiki's Delivery Service and Castle in the Sky.
    • Ooooh!!! Laputa! >drools

      The soundtrack for Laputa, even 16 years later, still touches a nerve. Joe Hisashi is incredibly talented - comparable to Alan Silvestri (of Forrest Gump fame).
      • The soundtrack for Laputa, even 16 years later, still touches a nerve. Joe Hisashi is incredibly talented - comparable to Alan Silvestri (of Forrest Gump fame).
        The soundtrack was re-recorded for this new release, under the Hisaishi's direction. It's been redone with better arrangements and recording techniques.

  • by lavalyn ( 649886 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:19PM (#5580817) Homepage Journal
    Spirited Away was fighting against such notable animated features as "Treasure Planet."

    In the field of drawn animation, Japan is a whole other ballgame.
  • by Rooked_One ( 591287 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:19PM (#5580818) Journal
    but storylines like the ones that Little Ninjai [] has blow me away. Its a wonderful myraid of anime but for some reason it seems americanized in a way. I know this is a little offtopic but if you look at it in a way I am talking about something similar to the subject and sort of "pimping out Little Ninjai" for those of you who havn't seen it. I'd just like to see more of that "something" that most anime's seem to lack. Don't get me wrong, I loved Tenchi Meauo (I know thats spelled wrong, but just pronounce it)
  • Good news (Score:3, Interesting)

    by faust2097 ( 137829 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:20PM (#5580822)
    This is a Good Thing[tm] but I'd say its victory is mostly due to the extremely unremarkable American animated features this year. When an anime movie wins best foreign language move wake me up.

    p.s. does "Harry Potter" not count for anything because it was a UK production?
    • Re:Good news (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mononoke ( 88668 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:41PM (#5580901) Homepage Journal
      When an anime movie wins best foreign language move wake me up.
      It could happen. Of course, the academy created the Animated Feature Award expressly to keep from 'diluting' their other categories with animation.

      Just FYI, here are some other awards Spirited Away won. Note that many are purely film awards, where Spirited Away beat out non-animated features:

      • Best Film; 2001 Japanese Academy Awards
      • Golden Bear (tied); 2002 Berlin International Film Festival
      • Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Feature Production; 2002 Annie Awards
      • Best Directing in an Animated Feature Production; 2002 Annie Awards
      • Best Writing in an Animated Feature Production; 2002 Annie Awards
      • Best Music in an Animated Feature Production; 2002 Annie Awards
      • Best Animated Feature; 2002 New York Film Critics Circle Awards
      • Special Commendation for Achievement in Animation; 2002 Boston Society of Film Critics Awards
      • Best Animated Feature; 2002 Los Angeles Film Critics Awards
      • Best Animated Feature; 2002 Critics' Choice Awards
      • Best Animated Feature; 2002 New York Film Critics Online Award
      • Best Animated Feature; 2002 Florida Film Critics Circle
      • Best Animated Feature; 2002 National Board of Review
      • Best Original Score in the Category of Comedy or Musical; 78th Annual Glaubber Awards
      • Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media; 7th Annual Golden Satellite Awards
      • Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature; 45th San Francisco International Film Festival
      • Special Mention from the Jury; 2002 Sitges Film Festival
      • Best Asian Film; 2002 Hong Kong Film Awards
      • Best Film (tied); Cinekid 2002 International Children's Film Festival
      • Best Animated Feature; Online Film Critic Society
      • Best Animated Feature; Dallas-Forth Worth Critics
      • Best Animated Film; Phoenix Film Critics Society
      • Best Family/Animation Trailer; Fourth Annual Golden Trailer Awards
      • Award Winner, Film; 2003 Christopher Awards
      List courtesy of []
  • Jim Rygiel, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook and Alex Funke.

    Also ironically amusing was the Panasonic DVD recorder commercial that had a voiceover to the effect of something like "watch what you want, when you want."

  • by Michael Snoswell ( 3461 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:22PM (#5580833) Journal
    I had to drag and con my 4 kids into seeing this film. They'd never heard of it, or seen ads or anything and they really did not want to go, nor did my partner. In the end we went (I used a pointed stick :-) and they all absolutely loved it and went and told all their friends by which time they movie was pulled from all local cinemas. My daughter (10) especially loved the movie, as did my partner. Wonderful stuff!
  • by Dimwit ( 36756 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:26PM (#5580846)
    At least, in my opinion. Miyazaki has done many, many films, and Spirited Away was actually one of my least favorite. Don't get me wrong, I still loved it, but anyone who liked Spirited Away really needs to see:

    * Laputa - Castle in the Sky (Possibly the best anime ever)
    * Girl From the Valley of the Wind
    * Princess Mononoke
    * Kiki's Delivery Service
    * Porco Rosso (this one's just weird, but very good)
    * My Neighbor Totoro

    He's done plenty of others, but those are the best, IMHO.

    I'd suggest getting the whole "Studio Ghibli Collection" from Anime on DVD [].

    Just my two cents...
    • Girl From the Valley of the Wind

      Which may or may not be better known as Nausicaa.

      Which I can't seem to find anywhere in North America, except in the pirate stores in Chinatown.

      Getting my grubby little hands on the really good stuff seems to be an exercise in futility. Almost as if Disney is intentionally blocking access to them.
      • Nausicaa has always been rather difficult to find. However, search online for some fansub distributors. That's how I got my copy.

        Nausicaa is not only my favorite anime, it's also one of my favorite movies. Anyone who hasn't seen it ought to get their hands on a copy.
      • You *might* be able to find a horribly-hackdubbed version under the name "Warriors of the Wind", which I think may have been released before the Disney acquisition of the rights to Ghibl movies. At least, I don't remember seeing the Disney name anywhere on it.
    • So this is the canonical situation where the award goes to someone who's been around for a long time for something not his or her best work? That's never seemed fair to me.
    • Which of these you prefer most will depend entirely one your taste, I think. One of the great things about Miyazaki is that he has a great range - all his stuff isn't the same like so many others.

      I prefer Kiki's Delivery Service the best, and Spirited Away next, then Princess Mononoke. I haven't yet seen the others, but I've got some of his comics, like Nausicaa and some others.

      It's so great that his work is finally coming out on Region 1 DVDs soon. Yay!

      My favourite line in Kiki:

      "Helloooo, Kitty!"
      - Gigi
    • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @11:23PM (#5581113) Homepage Journal
      Princess Mononoke is the only other Miyazaki film I've seen. I enjoyed it, but it didn't blow me away like Spirited Away. The latter impressed me with its elaborate art, its overall beauty, and it's thorough sense of place. (The last was really striking, for an animated movie. Most live action movies don't do such a good job creating an illusion of place, despite having a fundamental advantage!) PM had these things too, but less so. And it was more preachy, less focused. I mean the title character didn't even have a central role!

      The weird thing about PM is the way Disney tried to "localise" the English version. Fortunately they didn't meddle with the story. But they hired a bunch of Name Actors to do the dubbing. Which was a waste of money, because none of the people they chose has a really distinctive voice!

      Weirdest of all is hiring Neil Gaiman to "adapt" the script. God knows what that means. He didn't even make the obvious change: correcting the translators misnaming of various smoothbore weapons as "rifles".

      • by aronc ( 258501 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @11:56PM (#5581286)
        Weirdest of all is hiring Neil Gaiman to "adapt" the script. God knows what that means. He didn't even make the obvious change: correcting the translators misnaming of various smoothbore weapons as "rifles".

        Being a huge fan of both Gaiman and Miyazaki I can shed some light here. Much of the script for the film (and any film really) has to be changed for a dub. Jokes, word-play, historical references, and the like usually have to be either somehow explained (with added exposition) or modified to similar item in the new language. That sort of thing is what Gaiman did. They used him in particular so he could help maintain the mythic feel and tone the movie had.

        So essentially what happened was a few professional translators went through the film and did the literal word-for-word translation of the whole thing. Then they sat down with Gaiman (plus Gaiman did a lot of research on his own) and walked through it all and converted that into an english script that was both comprehensible to an american and stayed true to the original vision. As for calling the muskets/blunderbusses rifles, that was Disney's call. They had final editorial control and for some reason were adamant about calling the things rifles. Gaiman actually mentioned this in particular in his blog as one of the things he was confused by/unsatisfied with, believe it or not. There's more detail to be had if you search in his archives here [].
    • i couldn't find a link to the collection on animeondvd ... but it pop'd right up on amazon: e/Y02Y3603391Y1284075/qid=1048477782/sr=1-1/002-94 42486-5961600 []

      (the link doesn't have one of those dumb refer cookies so click at will)
  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:33PM (#5580876)
    So let's get this straight. Spirited Away wins the Oscar, yet Disney didn't market this movie worth sh*t! I'm in a top 15 media market and all the ass clowns at Disney do is put it in a couple art houses.
  • Well deserved -- I'm not an anime fan (and I'm not young) but I loved this movie. It was more surreal and fantastical than I expected and that was a very welcome surprise.

    Maybe I speak for myself, but I found this superior to the previous "most popular anime flick in the mainstream," Princess Mononoke. That movie was also great, but like other anime movies I've seen, the plot was thin, long and wandering, which I think are qualities that turn off most (western) audiences. For some reason I didn't think tha
  • I would like to extend my heartfelt congrats to Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, and everyone involved with the English-language adaptation of Spirited Away. Before the Oscars, I read much commentary that predicted that the Best Animated Feature category would be marred by studio politics (as it was last year, when Shrek won). Glad to see that this is not the case this year, and that the best film really did win.

    Now I've gotta cross my fingers for Chicago to win the Best Live-Action Feature Oscar ;) I'm als

  • I'm really glad to see that they won. Spirited Away was an excellent, excellent movie, beautifully drawn and positively enthralling in my opinion. I was certain Lilo & Stitch would take this category simply because it was the headline Disney release this year. Kudos to Miyazaki on an absolutely fantastic piece, and kudos to the academy for recognizing it. Bet Disney wasn't expecting this...
  • I was lucky to be able to see this city, which showed in 1 theatre in a city of 1 million people. It's unfortunate that it was so hard to find, but then that's why I suggest that everyone support your local independant theatre if you have one, because they generally show the best movies, not the popular ones.
  • I'm sure this will get modded as off-topic or flamebait, but these awards ceremonies are nothing buy self-congratulatory nonsense. I go to work. I do my job. I don't expect people to watch a TV show about me getting recognized for doing what I'm paid to do. I don't need an emmy, a grammy, an oscar, an MTV award, a Blockbuster award, a golden globe, or a people's choice award to know whether I'm good at what I do or not.

    I apologize for not making reference to this movie that won the award, and mod this
    • I don't expect people to watch a TV show about me getting recognized for doing what I'm paid to do. I don't need an emmy, a grammy, an oscar, an MTV award, a Blockbuster award, a golden globe, or a people's choice award to know whether I'm good at what I do or not.

      But software does get moderated. There are software awards. There are software ratings. You can buy magazines that compare software products. There are TV shows that discuss software. I flick through PC magazines (wouldn't bother paying for

  • This should be a recognition for Miyazaki's work, rahter than just for this particular picture. What Miyazaki and Sudio Ghibli have created throughout the years is, I think, animated poetry.

    On a side note: I was very disappointed with the DVD edition of "My neighbor Totoro". Such a long wait for the DVD edition, and then they f* it up. I'll just transfer my VHS movie to SVCD.
    • Re:Miyazaki (Score:3, Informative)

      by aronc ( 258501 )
      I was very disappointed with the DVD edition of "My neighbor Totoro".

      That's because it was a shoddy, quick-job done by Fox so they could get it out the door just under the gun of their distribution rights expiring. You can expect Disney/Buena Vista to release a very nice 2 disc version (just like Spirited Away, Kiki, and Laputa/Castle in the Sky are getting on the 15th) at some point in the future.
  • by PHAEDRU5 ( 213667 ) <instascreed@gma i l . c om> on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:03AM (#5581309) Homepage
    subject line says it all
    • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:02AM (#5581718) Journal
      It was a positive reception at first. He invited all the other nominees up on stage with him, they all came. He said that they were all up there because as documentarians, they prefered truth over fiction. It was when he started saying that a fictitious president was leading us into a war for fictitious reasons that the crowd started booing. There was still some applause, but a lot of loud booing. The music came up and he was escorted off. Steve Martin made a crack later about the teamsters helping him into the trunk of his limo out back.
      • I got a laugh out of Moore.. guy is kind of tactless but very brave I think.

        But Brody.. wow. A summary for those who missed it:

        Brody gets up on stage, looking completely floored. He says he didn't write a speech because whenever he did for any award in the past, he didn't win. He goes on for a while, flustered as hell, then he mentions they're already flashing the "Time's up" at him, but he's just getting started on his thank yous, to his parents, to the filmmakers, etc.

        Now he's WAY over max time, and
  • by forgetmenot ( 467513 ) <atsjewell&gmail,com> on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:25AM (#5581393) Homepage
    My Japanese wife collects all of Miyazaki's movies. Spirited Away definitely deserved to win. If you enjoyed this one I highly recommend seeing his other movies as well. Interestingly, Spirited Away and Totoro (one of my all-time favourites) are the only ones I've seen either in English or subtitled, and I don't understand Japanese, but it hasn't detracted at all from my enjoyment of these movies. Basically, I just read an English summary of the movie on the Internet and then go enjoy. "Princess Mononoke" is incredible (but gory - not for young children) and you don't have to understand Japanese to enjoy it un-subtitled. "Castle In The Sky" is also great and is so vivid in it's animation you can "see" the words and intentions of the characters.

    Any parents among you should introduce your child to "My Neighbour Totoro". This is by far my most favourite animated film ever and my 3 year-old daughter's as well. The magic in Miyazaki's story telling is just incredible.
    • I agree, "Tonari no Totoro" is a real treat! And it's really OK for the whole family (including a 34-year old engineer). It's one of those movies that really makes you feel good, and you're not ashamed about it. Well, I'm not.

      "Mononoke Hime" is a bit gory, as you say, and yet, there is so much beauty there. Just think of the majestic elegance of the wolf gods, for example. I still have to find a cartoon that would match the glorious, powerful and elegant animation in "Mononoke".
  • Winners List (Score:4, Informative)

    by marvy666 ( 215740 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:18AM (#5581553) Journal





    ART DIRECTION: CHICAGO John Myhre (Art Direction); Gordon Sim (Set Decoration)





    DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT: TWIN TOWERS Bill Guttentag and Robert David Port


    FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: NOWHERE IN AFRICA Germany Directed by Caroline Link

    MAKEUP: FRIDA John Jackson and Beatrice De Alba

    MUSIC: (SCORE) FRIDA Elliot Goldenthal

    MUSIC: (SONG) 8 MILE 'Lose Yourself'
    Music by Eminem, Jeff Bass and Luis Resto; Lyric by Eminem

    BEST PICTURE: CHICAGO Martin Richards


    Martin Strange-Hansen and Mie Andreasen

    SOUND: CHICAGO Michael Minkler, Dominick Tavella and David Lee

    SOUND EDITING: THE LORD OF THE RINGS - THE TWO TOWERS Ethan Van der Ryn and Michael Hopkins

    VISUAL EFFECTS: THE LORD OF THE RINGS - THE TWO TOWERS Jim Rygiel, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook and Alex Funke

    Screenplay by Ronald Harwood

    Written by Pedro Almodóvar
  • Get serious, please. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by logout ( 20612 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @03:11AM (#5581945)
    It's too bad that I cannot find any *serious* comments about Spirited Away even here at Slashdot. It's not a simple animation film for children. Nor is it a fun movie for mature adults either.

    The main point of the movie is how Western civilization *devastated* the Japanese people, especially in the form of capitalism. One funny (and tragic) reality addressed by the director is that Japanese are totally ignorant of the fact that they have lost their Japanese identity adopting capitalism and that the western people enslaved (I hate to use this word) Japanese people under the hierarchical structure of capitalism.

    Notice that this film is overpainted with Japanese cultural artifacts everywhere. However, only Yubaba shows characteristics typical in the Western people. A big nose, flurry dress, and her big room with carpet and bonfire, to name a few. Her room is located on the very *top* of the building, dominating all other Japanese workers.

    Haku symbolizes Japanese people who strived to learn the power from the Western civilization. He wanted to learn the *magic* from Yubaba, but what he actually experienced was that he had to lose his own name in order to do that. How Yubaba enslaved Haku? Haku himself had to *sign a contract* which forced him to *lose* his name.

    So, what happened? The japanese lost their souls. The poor people who lost their identities do not have any virtues in their life other than to get more gold to be rich. The remaining value created from their priceless labor is *stored* as a form of gems in Yubaba's safe.

    Why does Yubaba have a twin sister? It symbolizes director's view that the Western culture became a mutant from its origin. The _good_ western culture is the other twin Yubaba. Notice that Yubaba's sister also lives in a totally western environment. A small cottage, hand-cooked cake, tea, and so on. She, the original tradition of the western culture, is a person with bright rationaility.

    Then what must Japanese do in order to destroy this terrible structure created by the evil Yubaba? Do they have to organize a revolution? Do they have to kill Yubaba?

    Miyazaki Hayao's message is superior to that. Chihiro succeeds in finding and sympathizing with the common values appreciated both by Japanese people and Yubaba's sister. She symbolizes the young, future Japanese generations. From the sympathy and understanding of the *rational* Yubaba's twin sister, she proceeds on to the next stage of mutual understandings. She wakes up Haku, and he realizes his Japanese identity. After Chihiro came back to Yubaba, Yubaba is no longer her boss. She calls her name as "Oba-tsang", not as "Yubaba-sama", which can be translated into "grandmother" and "my boss Yubaba". She peacefully disarms Yubaba with her Japanese identity.

    Overall, "Spirited Away" should be a movie that many Western people will get angry with (or be ashamed with); however, the great point of this movie is that it shows a way to solve this conflict peacefully, especially with the language of *rationality*, a concept which Western people are so accustomed to. It suggests a way that leads to the mutual understandings and the world peace. Here lies the greateness of this movie.

    So, please, take this animation seriously. Although Yubaba's sister totally became friends with Chihiro, Yubaba refused to understand Chihiro to the end of the movie. The reason Yubaba released Chihiro and her parents is only because her contract with Yubaba became void. She is still ignorant of the terrible mistakes she inflicted on the Japanese people. I do not like to see Western people watching this movie continue to repeat this foolish mistake of Yubaba's in real world. Just by trying to remember Yubaba's twin sister, you will be able to sympathize _at least_ with the japanese people.

    • The main point of the movie is how Western civilization *devastated* the Japanese people, especially in the form of capitalism.

      I find it interesting you mentioned that because that means the movie expresses concerns about Japan since the time of the Meiji Restoration starting in 1868? In many ways, the Meiji Restoration was actually good for Japanese society because it prevented Japan from suffering the type of political and military convulsions that ruined China in the modern European colonial era.
    • by mumblestheclown ( 569987 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @10:34AM (#5583000)
      What a load of psudo-intellectual crappetty-crap-crap crap.

      You are taking a basic, generic thesis--the capitalist west encroaches on some native populace, seduces it, which causes it to lose its soul. Sure, this is a common story that can be applied to many places throughout the world.

      But not here.

      Perhaps more than any other country that I know Japan has done a credible job of managing a harmonious coexistance of traditional culture with an international one. Notions that the west introduced capitalism to japan is bullshit. While arguably democracy (or something close enough to it) didn't come to japan until after the war, Japan developed a parallel capitalist culture along the lines of that of western europe regardless of the dutch, perry, or whoever else you want to point to.

      The japanese have famously "embraced and extended" outside technologies, but have not done it at the expense of their cultural soul as, say, Shanghai or Jakarta is in the process of doing. Japanese culture is alive and well, and we have no particular need to sympathize with the Japanese for the reasons you suggest. The movie might be interpreted as a reminder to japanese to be mindful of the importance of traditional values, but your suggestion that it is an apt allegory for the japanese condition as pitiful victim of the west is absolute and total nonsense.

      (disclaimer: 10 years lived in japan, saw movie in both languages, etc.)

  • YES! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by UrGeek ( 577204 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @07:34AM (#5582417)
    This film has so much charm and grace. I can only hope now, just maybe, a subtitled version will be show in Austin.

    It has been a long time since I saw a subtitled anime on the big screen.
  • Marxist Miyazaki... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cacophanus ( 183187 ) <> on Monday March 24, 2003 @08:06AM (#5582489) Homepage
    It is important to mention that, whilst Ghibli accepted the award, nobody came to the ceremony to collect their Oscar.

    Miyazaki is a well documented Marxist (look at Mirai Shounen Conan [] and the book it is based upon, The Incredible Tide [], for proof), so I doubt he would attend an awards ceremony at a heart of American capitalism. Not to mention that he is hugely anti-war anyway.

    Whilst he very much deserves the award, there are other more poltical agendas at work here.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"