Spirited Away: The Importance of Food Setting

The movie Spirited Away is a Japanese animated film which written by Hayao Miyazaki in 2001. It tells a story of a ten years old girl Chihiro and her parents strayed into the spirit world. After Chihiro’s parents ate too much and transformed into pigs, Chihiro starts to find the way to save her parents and the way home with Haku, Kamaji, Lin and others’ help. This movie has received lots of positive feedback either in plots or music or others since it was published. However, the setting in this movie is also significant. More remarkable, food plays a very important role in this movie, which is not only the blasting fuse but also throughout this whole movie.


 In the beginning of the movie, Chihiro’s father drives into a wrong way which led them into the spirit world. He first smells the food smell, and then he and Chihiro’s mother start eating while Chihiro rejects to eat but stand outside of the restaurant. From the setting of each character, things happened very reasonable. Chihiro’s father is a pretty fat guy, and her mother is thin; as a result, father must eat a lot in daily life so that he can recognize food smell very fast. On the contrary, the protagonist Chihiro is a very thin girl. It is understandable that she might not love eating plus she knew it’s rude to eat without owner’s permission. In another word, because of the food smell, Chihiro’s family starts eating and stays longer in the spirit world. That caused her parents turn into pigs.

As Chihiro meets Haku and on her way back to her parents, she finds that both of them became pigs and there is a river blocked her way. She feels worried and scared. Soon Haku finds her and gives her a berry to eat so that she won’t disappear in this world. In this scene, the setting of this small berry has an effect of earning Chihiro’s trust. Therefore, Chihiro can followed Haku’s guide and found Kamaji.

 In Kamaji’s room, food also leads Lin into the story. The setting here is Lin comes to Kamaji’s room and serves food for him and sootballs. Because Lin came here, she met Chihiro and later on after Chihiro got the job in Yubaba’s place; Lin is the person who takes care of Sen (Chihiro’s new name) became more logical. After that, Lin and Sen got their first guest—-Stink spirit. Also, in this scene, food delivered the sense of stink smell when Lin holds their rice and sees the dirty spirit. Even rice is wilted by the bad smell; Sen must suffer a lot while serving this guest.


Straight after, when they find out this guest is not a stink spirit, every one try their best to help pull the waste out from the spirit. The real identity is river spirit, and he gives a ball to Sen as a reward. This setting of the ball is very significant because it survived two important characters—Haku and No-face in the later on plot.         

 At the same night, No-face uses gold to attract the fog and starts his dissatisfy in food and serves. For people who serve No-face with precious food, they have desires of money, greedy. They want to use those foods to exchange with No-face’s gold. On the other hand, No-face is also cannot get enough from food. Even though he eats as much as he can, and his body become huge, it still cannot fill his lonely heart until Sen shows up and helps him out. No-face decides to go with Sen to Yubaba’s twin sister Zeniba’s house.


At the same time, Yubaba realized her most importance property has been replaced. With Haku’s reminds, Yubaba pays attention on the non-stop-eating baby, and then recognizes he is a fake one. In this situation, food snakes also setting here for making notice, which make a huge noise while everyone is quiet. It helps the plot development and goes on.

 Meanwhile, Sen’s group has just arrived to Zeniba’s place, they had a quiet peaceful meal together. This is also the only peaceful meal in the whole movie, which kind indicates a peaceful ending.

 Overall, every setting of food existing in the movie Spirited Away is with purpose and functions. Miyazaki puts them at reasonable time and important points, which is not only as a bedding of the story but also as hints in some plot.


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