Tag Archives: Hayao Miyazaki

Spirited Away: Coexistence between Nature and Modernity

Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film Spirited Away follows a story of a young girl named Chihiro who unknowingly enters a spiritual realm with her parents, and suddenly finding herself in the position to save her parents who transforms into pigs and find her way back to reality. Upon entering this unknown spiritual world, Chihiro, determined to save them, assumes a different identity (as Sen) when she signs Yubaba’s, the head of the bathhouse, working contract in order to stay in their world. As she embarks on her journey and meets different individuals, she too grows as an individual eventually leading her to the conclusion of her journey and returns to the other side of the world. In this animation, Miyazaki illustrates the bathhouse as a structured hierarchy in the labor force work as a result of a modernizing Japan, contrasting them from each other. Miyazaki points out the problematic result that can occur in a country that is modernizing rather quickly but also points out that it is finding the balance that will create a harmony between advancements and nature.

When Japan opened its doors to the West, it resulted to foreign ideas, food, technology, clothes and other goods to enter Japan’s lifestyle. Japan started to demand more labor to keep up with the industrialized West and to modernize itself.  Kamaji’s boiler room represents Japan’s labor force that is rapidly growing due to the demand of consumer goods. To keep up with the demand means creating mass production while reducing the required physical labor. This resulted in the use of assembly lines, a process in which different parts of products are created and assembled much faster by machines. Kamaji is very similar to these assembly line machines because with his six arms, he operates the boiler room of the bathhouse on his own. Kamaji as the machine in the labor force is able to provide and meet the demands of the bathhouse, hence when Chihiro first asked for a job, he denies her because he has all the help he needs – the soots and himself.

Kamaji operating the boiler room, keeping the bathhouse running

Kamaji operating the boiler room, keeping the bathhouse running

In comparison, Yubaba’s office found at the very top of the bathhouse is the complete opposite of the boiler room which draws a distinction on the levels of the hierarchical labor force. Yubaba’s office in comparison to the rest of the bathhouse has a very Western influence to it. The halls are grand and tall, the walls and furniture are very ornate, items such as pillows has a lot of embroidery – overall it is very Westernized. Even Yubaba’s clothes compared to the workers is Western. Yubaba’s office being located on the very top of this hierarchy in a way associates the West with luxury and the better economic status. Yubaba runs the bathhouse and has control over everyone that works there. The difference between the boiler room and Yubaba’s office suggests that the accumulation of material goods can establish one’s status.

A view of Yubaba’s ornate office

A view of Yubaba’s ornate office

Miyazaki illustrates this as one side of industrialized Japan, where the people itself are so caught up to the luxurious lifestyle associated with the West that in the end it hurts them. For example when the filthy river god, who Yubaba thought was a stink spirit, enters the bathhouse it turns out he had consumed all these materials. It was not until Chihiro helps him that he is able to cleanse himself away from the filth that was dragging him down. This suggests the idea that filth can come along with consumerism when it gets out of hand. After Chihiro helps the river god, he gives her a healing cake which she uses later on to help Haku and No-Face. This herb-like healing cake she uses for No-Face to vomit everything he consumed suggests that a balance between nature and the growing industrialization in society is needed for sustainability.

The river god spews out various objects with the help of Chihiro

The river god spews out various objects with the help of Chihiro

However, Miyazaki also includes that industrialized Japan is not always a bad thing. Nature and industries can coexist harmoniously if people control their consumption of consumer goods. For instance, Yubaba’s twin sister Zeniba also lives in a Western-influenced place but it is much more simple and humble. Zeniba’s humble home paints the idea that adopting Western influence does not automatically means it will end in a disaster. It really depends on the people how they will balance both sides, and how to control their desire for materials. Zeniba’s home is a depiction of this balance, with her Western furniture that are not over the top, and her house not containing a superfluous of items. Furthermore, the plants she has hints on nature coexisting with modernity.

Chihiro and friends entering Zeniba’s humble home

Chihiro and friends entering Zeniba’s humble home

Miyazaki carefully highlights the problem and consequences that arise from a growing industrial country like Japan, and the rise of consumerism. As seen in the cases of the spirit god and no-face who over consumed, lost their true identity and it was not until they were cleansed that they gain their true identities back. Some may lose their sense of self because of their desire for wealth. However, it is also depicted in the animation that such coexistence between the two is possible as long balance is sought.

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Spirited Away: Identity Formation, Preservation, and Recollection

Robert Vander Veer
3 Page Analysis on Spirited Away
Japanese 70, Discussion 1B

 It is difficult to pinpoint just one overall theme in Spirited Away, a movie as complex and ridden with symbolism as it is beautiful. Chihiro, the movie’s main protagonist and central character, is not the only one in the movie who experiences her own change and development. As the story unfolds, even the minions who are obstructions on the quest to save her parents naturally turn into allies that walk by her side as she vigilantly keeps her goals in sight despite the oppressive and chaotic nature of the “Bathhouse”. In order to serve their purpose within the hedonist and egoist environment, the characters are given one-dimensional roles via the replacement of their identity by Yubaba, who owns them once she makes them forget their “name” (their true self) and gives them a new one. This may seem odd in the literal sense, but metaphysically and symbolically, there is no better representation that parallels quite accurately how people are “indoctrinated” into society, and how they transform and lose themselves when being swept up in the world of unfulfilling work, losing themselves day by day. Spirited Away thus becomes a story about the preservation, recollection, and formation of identity and of the “self” in a modern society wherein it is easy to lose yourself when becoming a gear in the “machine” of society.

            To understand the central themes of identity reformation and preservation in Spirited Away, it really helps to make sense out of the rules of the world the movie takes place in. At first, they seem very foreign, and just made up to seem “otherworldly”, but the fact of the matter is that they are not very much unlike our own, in that they are metaphysical representations of the conscious and what takes place “inside” rather than actual “cause-effect” physical realities. When Chihiro is first “absorbed” into the Spirit World, she becomes transparent, as if fading from existence. Because she does not belong in the world, and has no ties, it is almost as if she has nothing within that world to “ground” her into that reality, no identity or purpose within this society in which she doesn’t belong, that is, until Haku comes. “Don’t worry, I’m a friend.” As he gives her a small tidbit of food, Chihiro becomes rematerialized, having partaken in a simple exchange of food with Haku. Although this seemed like such a simple moment, it is one of the most significant, in that by eating the food, Chihiro is almost given an identity for this particular society, now having established a bond with Haku, someone being from within the society to indoctrinate her. In this sense, food almost seems to always embody something within the movie, and in this scene, it was the establishment of a bond that kept her from floating away; a new identity, or persona if you will, that enabled her to act upon and exert her presence materially on the other worldly society thanks to Haku.

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An astonished Chihiro holds a panacea that seemingly has the potential to remedy the ailments brought on by the desensitization and traumatizing disenchantment (or malicious enchantments) of the Bathhouse World. This was given to her by the River God that she helped, showing how powerful bonds are in order to be established within a society and to build upon your identity.

            Later on in the movie, When Chihiro helps a River God from another world, he gifts her with a special Panacea that can seemingly “purge” anyone of anything that ails them within the world of the bath-house. Given to her because of her selflessness and lack of presumptions about his character, the River God brings something in which even the hedonist world of desire cannot trample under, and this embodies something from a different, supposedly more tranquil world. In a sense, since only Chihiro could have obtained this gift, it’s almost as if it the manifestation of a 2nd identity for her in the world of the bathhouse, as she is indoctrinated by the semblance of this item bestowed unto her. Whereas the previous exchange with Haku preserved and reformed a new identity within the bathhouse world, this new exchange between her and the nameless River God gave her a new, more empowered identity, one of an objective worldview that could be used to take on the hardships of the bathhouse, rather than just be encompassed by them. Astonishingly, this takes the form of food, which has two interesting and very important qualities central to the film: It can be shared with others, and it is expendable. Because it can be shared, she too, can bestow it unto others, as if to put her own strength of heart and purity into others to purge them of the noise of the bathhouse.

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A newly purged No- Face accompanies Chihiro, who is more than willing to let him come along. Realizing that the bathhouse is what makes him crazy, she knows it is best to take him as far as possible from there.

Much like Chihiro, No-Face is initially transparent, has no place to go, and knows no one in the bathhouse, and thus has no “self” to place him in relation to anyone or anything in the world. When Chihiro opens the door for him in the rain, she is performing a subtle ritual of initiation, establishing an indirect bond with No-Face, although unbeknownst to her. In a sense, you could say he really has “No-Face”, or no identity. The mask he wears is expressionless, and gestures and utterances are his only form of communication. Because he has no identity to establish, he is impressionable to the world of the Bathhouse, and is quickly engulfed by the desire and greed around him. When he sees Chihiro as someone who stands above all of this chaos, he is filled with a strange sort of infatuation for her, almost as if she is like a diamond in the rough. He constantly gives her gifts throughout the story, almost as if he wants her to fall into the world of desire with him, possibly in order to rationalize that there is no one who could possibly resist, that falling into the ordinary flow of the Bathhouse is normal. He is torn between wanting Chihiro, and wanting to be like her. Upon becoming engorged after indulging in every whim of the bathhouse, he comes to find that he is still miserable. Wanting to possess Chihiro, (being the embodiment of tranquility and enlightenment; being free from material desire), he pursues her, wherein Chihiro gets him to eat the Panacea, using the very last bit on him rather than on her parents. No-Face is purged of all the darkness of the Bathhouse, regurgitating everything that he had absorbed as he follows Chihiro. He eventually joins her as a travelling companion, leaving everything behind, including all that plagues him, to walk with Chihiro to Swamp Bottom. In the slower, rhythmic world of nature, No-Face is free to live a life free from the circle of desire and suffering that is commonplace in the bathhouse, and is allowed to stay with Zaniba. Here, he can take the baby steps he needs to find out what he wants to do with his life.

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The way No-Face eats his food in Zaniba’s house in the quiet forest is a far cry from how he had been previously engorged and engulfed by desire and misery in the bathhouse. No-Face sips on a cup of tea, almost serenely with a slight expression of delight on his mask.

In conclusion, it is impossible to confine Spirited Away to one central theme, as there are many things to draw and learn from within this brilliant film. In establishing a believable world that is in its own right a microcosm of many societies today, Spirited Away opens up a world of possibilities to revisit and learn something new from time and time again.

 

Spirited Away: Beauty of Simplicity

            Hayao Miyazaki’s anime film, Spirited Away, tells a beautiful tale about a young ten-year old girl, Chihiro, who finds herself lost in the spirit world. She is forcefully thrust into a strange world, with a bustling bathhouse, strange spirits, and mysterious magic. However, Chihiro manages to find her place and remain true to her morals in the bathhouse filled with greed and materialism. Surrounded by corruption and capitalism, Chihiro represents the struggle between the modernization of Japan and the country’s struggle to reconnect with its past. Through the use of food, Miyazaki criticizes the excessive materialism rising in modern times.

Miyazaki clearly illustrates the decline of morals from the very beginning. When Chihiro first enters the spirit world, her parents greedily gobble down food that is not theirs. Her dad says, “It’s ok, I have cash and cards”.  They believe that because they have money, everything is fine; it does not matter that they are stealing food. They use their wealth to validate their deplorable actions.

Chihiro witnesses her parents transform into greedy pigs.

Chihiro witnesses her parents transform into greedy pigs.

Then, they greedily gorge themselves until they literally become mindless pigs. Their actions are disgusting, and Miyazaki uses the pig metaphor to criticize the growing materialism in Japan. A horrified Chihiro witnesses her parents’ lack of morals and messy eating. Food is everywhere and they are covered in the remains of their meal. The complete deterioration of the food as well as the transformation of humans to greedy animals symbolizes the degradation of morals and emphasis on materialism.

Miyazaki also uses the character, No Face, and his relationship with food to criticize the materialism in the world. The first time No Face appears he is meek and shy. However, as the movie progresses, he begins to consume food and becomes increasingly greedy. His gluttony escalates quickly until he devours plates of food and eventually swallows workers whole. In a mirror of Chihiro’s parents, No Face uses money to justify his vulgarity. The staff accepts it because the ridiculous amount of gold he throws around, demonstrating the corruption caused by greed. He transforms from a meek shadow to a gluttonous, frightening entity that completely disregards any form of civility.

No Face's gluttony completely degrades the extravagant food he is given.

No Face’s gluttony completely degrades the extravagant food he is given.

Glistening, delicious food is paraded to him, signifying the importance of food. However, when it reaches No Face, the food is indiscriminately devoured and thrown to the ground. The food, once an extravagant banquet, is now trash splattered everywhere. The perversion of food clearly illustrates the vulgarity of greed and the deleterious effect of materialism.

While food symbolizes the greed and materialism, it also demonstrates its role in establishing relationships and community as well as the merits of simplicity. Early in Chihiro’s work as a yuna, Haku takes her to a field to meet her parents. There, he offers her onigiri, or traditional Japanese rice balls, to encourage her and lift her spirits.

Haku's traditional rice balls encourage Chihiro to continue working hard.

Haku’s traditional rice balls encourage Chihiro to continue working hard.

As she eats them, she does, in fact, cheer up, and the food strengthens both her resolve and her connection with Haku. Not only does the setting contrast with the clutter and extravagance of the bathhouse, but the food is also juxtaposed to its excessive meals. The pretentious food of the bathhouse only encourages materialism; however, simple rice balls reinforce Chihiro’s morals and friendship with Haku. The traditional food also encourages the audience to return to their simple roots in order to maintain their cultural and personal identity. The river god’s medicine ball also represents the merits of simplicity. Chihiro first receives the herbal cake when she remains true to her work ethic as she bathes the river god. It is a job no one wishes to do; yet she puts her full effort into it. As a reward, she receives a simple, medicine cake, a contrast to the extravagance of the bathhouse, similar to the rice balls. However, this unassuming ball becomes a savior for both No Face and Haku. For the former, the simple food purges all the food from No Face. The simple herbal cake restores No Face to his original selfless state; this represents that simplicity and strong morals cleanses one from the evils of materialism. Similarly, the medicine ball also purges Haku from the evils within him and further cements the strong relationship between him and Chihiro. Through the use of simple food, Miyazaki implies that simple morals and good character triumph over the evils of materialism.

While many may see Spirited Away as a simple fairy tale, Miyazaki’s use of food throughout the film clearly demonstrates that strong morals and a simple foundation can fortify oneself against greed. In fact, simplicity saves people from the degradation of morals caused by greed. It is crucial to remain true to oneself and ones morals amidst the growing materialism in Japan and around the world.

Care and Health

Throughout the film Spirited Away, the creator, Hayao Miyazaki, reinforces the idea that coming of age is not only the loss of idleness that so characterizes childhood, but also beginning to care for oneself and eventually caring for others as well. Miyazaki uses food to mark Chihiro’s growth throughout the movie as she struggles with adjusting to the working world in order to find an escape.

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Haku persuades Chihiro to eat a berry in order to stay present in the spirit world

            When children first go off into the real world and become to mature into adults, they have trouble remembering to take care of their own health. In Chihiro’s case, she was thrust into this situation so instead of even considering her health, she focuses on trying return to where she came from; a place where her parents were responsible and took care of her, away from this alien world and its foreign elements did not exist. However, Haku comes to the rescue and persuades Chihiro to eat a berry prompting her to take care of her well-being as well as getting her to focus on the predicament at hand. Food gives her strength to exist as well as realize that wishing will not transport her back to her previous world. Instead, she must find a logical solution to her predicament.

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Haku again offers Chihiro food after her long and difficult day in the spirit world

            After a long day of close calls and tense moments, Chihiro is assigned to Lin as an assistant and she begins to understand the reality of her situation. When Haku calls her out and offers her rice cakes in the early morning, Chihiro begins to cry because she can do nothing but look forward even though she wants to go back. In offering Chihiro rice cakes, Haku mimics the way Chihiro’s parents cared for her because they provided her with food and shelter. Chihiro struggles internally because she is nostalgic about her past and wants nothing more than to go back, however, because of the responsibilities that have been placed on her shoulders due to her new job, she must live in the present focus on the task at hand. She sobs as she wolfs down the rice cakes because she realizes that she has to grow up and work hard in order to return to her world with her parents as humans.

 

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Chihiro grasps a dumpling and the magic cake with a new energy

            When she receives the magic cake from the River god, Chihiro realizes that she finally has a way to lift the curse on her parents and return to her world! Lin offers her a dumpling as a celebratory reward for Chihiro’s hard work; however, it is more than just a reward to Chihiro. It signifies her maturation because it is the product of her own hands. She realizes that because of her hard work, she can provide for herself and now has the ability to take care of her parents as well. As she holds the previous magic cake in one hand, she eats her dumpling happily and converses with Lin about leaving the Bath house one day, knowing that it is nearer than she had previously thought.

 Eating the magic

Chihiro forces some of the magic cake into Haku’s mouth to save her dying savior

            When Chihiro feeds Haku some of the magic cake that was meant for her parents, Miyazaki illustrates a changed Chihiro who is now caring for her friends the way he first cared for her when she was “dying.” As she matured through the movie, she realized that Haku had cared for her and that saving his life was merely returning the favor. However, it does not symbolize that she has chosen him over her parents. She was able to give the magic cake to Haku without so much a second thought because she now knows that she can work hard and will continue to work hard to find a different way to save her parents.

At first, when Chihiro is caught between her old world and the new spirit world, she is so blinded by her predicament that it is Haku’s generosity and acts of kindness that keep her alive. In the end, she realizes that she has the ability to be a hard worker and take care of herself. As a mature character her responsibilities are no longer merely the regulations of her job but also responsibilities to her loved ones. Chihiro, who began as an idle child who complained about everything, became hard worker who not only cared for herself but also saved Haku and her parents. Chihiro leaves the spirit world a changed character and though it is debatable whether or not she remembers her experience there, the experiences shaped her into a new person.

Food: Balanced and In Moderation in Spirited Away

Spirited Away, the anime film directed by Hayao Miyazaki released in 2001, is a complex story due to the presence of spirits, monsters, and lost identities. Despite this, the theme of food is carried throughout the entire movie in various ways. Chihiro enters another world, where her parents become pigs, and she loses part of her name to her boss Yubaba so that Yubaba can control her. Miyazaki uses the contrast between the negative impact food has on Chihiro’s parents with the positive one it has on Haku and Chihiro as a means of showing that food can be positive or negative, depending on whether you use it properly and in moderation.

One of the first things that happens in the new land is that her parents “sniff out” food like dogs, and then consume large amounts of it without checking with the restaurant owner first. Because of their greed, they become literal pigs. This is significant because pigs are a symbol for excess and filth. Some may say that this scene reveals Chihiro’s parents’ true form.

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Chihiro is afraid when her parents turn into filthy pigs, emphasizing their greed.

Chihiro’s small size, placed to the side of this screenshot, shows that she is of minimal importance. The focus is on the filth of the discarded food waste, and the mess that Chihiro’s parents have become. Chihiro is frightened by what her parents have become, similar to how some people are disgusted with the modern culture of consumerism.Spirited Away has an overall theme against consumerism, and it is most evident in this scene.

However, food is not used in this movie just as a way to show the evils of consumerism. Miyazaki balances the healing properties of food to show that if people use nature and food correctly, they will be rewarded. Haku gives Chihiro food from his world, the one full of spirits, right after she arrives so that she will not disappear. This early use of food for a good cause establishes the fact that there is balance. Even more significantly, Haku takes Chihiro to see her parents in their pig form, and gives her some rice to help her regain her strength.

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Chihiro takes more food after crying over her past life.

In this screenshot, viewers call tell that Chihiro is upset and Haku needs to console her. He does that with food. The significant part of this scene comes from Miyazaki’s juxtaposition of food with Chihiro rediscovering her identity. She finds her farewell card in her clothes, and remembers her name. This shows that food and identity are related. Cuisine can connect people with their culture and the others within it. The Westernization and modernization of Japan caused some people to lose pieces of tradition and their past, but eating traditional foods allowed people to regain part of their history, as Chihiro does with rediscovering her name.

Miyazaki uses Haku’s seemingly fatal injuries from consuming Zeniba’s seal to exhibit that food has healing properties. The River God gives Chihiro an herbal cake after she saves him. That act shows her kindness, and since she is a kind person, the world is kind back. She uses the herbal cake to save Haku, further illustrating her good.

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Chihiro uses her gift from the River God to help Haku.

Chihiro has to force feed Haku, showing that sometimes people do not want to eat, but they must for their health. Not eating is dangerous as well, so Miyazaki’s many uses of food show that there must be a balance. Chihiro also does not feed Haku the entire herbal cake, only what he needs, which is another example of Miyazaki’s belief in moderation. There are many underlying themes that come from the use of food in the film, but the main idea is that the use of food can range from abuse to healing to starving. Chihiro is a good person, and uses food to help her friend instead of selfishly consuming it, so nature and food are helpful to her.

Spirited Away may seem like a simple anime movie at first, but Hayao Miyazaki uses food to make a statement about the importance of balance and moderation. Chihiro’s parents’ transformation into pigs shows the concerns that Japanese people had of consumerism. However, Miyazaki juxtaposes this with Chihiro’s selfless deeds of love for Haku, and the food that helps them recover. This is important because although the world is corrupt with consumerism, there is still good in people. It is clear that Miyazaki believes in karma and that nature should reward or punish humans depending on their consumerism or moderation.

Why Are You Eating?

Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away follows the story of a young girl, Chihiro, who accidentally wanders into the world of spirits with her parents and becomes stranded when darkness falls and her parents are turned into pigs. In a world unfamiliar to humans, Chihiro receives help from a spirit, Haku, and throughout the film, several other spirits, to save her parents and escape the spirit world. Transformation is a key theme of the film as Chihiro starts off as a lazy, whiney, and unwilling girl and transforms into a more independent and confident one. Food is a key element that symbolizes this theme in a more literal and physical sense as it has the power to transform both humans and spirits.

The first instance we see of food transforming people is when Chihiro’s parents pig out on the food in the stalls and are literally turned into pigs as punishment for eating the food for the spirits. Food also transforms people to help them as Haku gives Chihiro a berry to eat from the spirit world so she stops vanishing. Later, he also gives her rice balls with a spell to help her gain strength, as she would need it to work for Yubaba as she finds a way to save her parents. A notable difference between the foods Chihiro eats and her parents eat is the amount of preparation in the meals. While her parents eat marinated, flavored, and cooked meat that are laid out in huge batches, Chihiro eats food that is either natural, like the berry, or more simply prepared, like rice balls.

There is also the difference of why they eat. Chihiro’s parents eat because the food looked good and it is there. They also eat more for the sake of eating. Chihiro eats because of necessity. She needs to eat the berry in order to stop from disappearing and remain in the spirit world and she needs to eat the rice balls to regain her strength. She eats so she can be strong in this unfamiliar world where she must save herself and her parents.

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Haku giving Chihiro a berry to keep her from disappearing

 

The difference between the transformations when consuming cooked, well-decorated food and more natural, simple food is also evident in the spirits. When No-Face gets the attention of the bathhouse workers with his ability to create gold, they bring him piles of dishes with all kinds of well-prepared food to please him, and he gobbles it all up greedily. The more he eats, the more he turns into a monster, and is only able to return to normal when Chihiro gives him the special dango from the river spirit so he throws up all the food he had eaten. Chihiro also forces Haku to eat this dango in order to save him from Zeniba’s curse that is killing him, but it also releases him from the spell Yubaba had on him to control him.

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No-Face surrounded by piles of fancy dishes

Food is a necessary element in all life, even for spirits, but one must not abuse their ability to eat. Spirited Away shows how what you eat and why you eat can define you are.

Spirited Away: The Paradox of Food

What is food? A source of power? A corrupting entity? “Both” is the answer the film titled Spirited Away provides throughout its entirety. But exactly how is food a source of power? First off, food in Spirited Away is conveyed as a thing that mystically heals all ailments both big and small. For example, food on many occasions simply improves Chihiro’s mood like so:

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The dumpling of happiness.

Also, food in Spirited Away does much more like arrest impending death. And food let us not forget, is a pro-social medium in the film as well that reinforces friendships and establishes alliances:

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Food and friendship.

In addition, the food art in the film is greatly detailed. That is to say, food items are highly colored; they are diverse, and lustrous. These particular designs in effect glorify food; they establish food as a commodity of great value.

Alas, Hayao Miyazaki darkens this positive image of food by amply showcasing gluttony and its vices. Gluttony first off is pervasively represented by Yubaba’s bathhouse workers. That is to say, most if not all of the workers in Yubaba’s bathhouse are plump and thick bodied, a condition indicative of food overindulgence. Their constant rush in and out of frames all throughout Spirited Away imprints the vice of gluttony on the viewer’s mind. The pig is another motif that strongly connotes gluttony in the film. The direct relation Chihiro’s parents share with it, their transformation into pigs that is, is a critique of greed, the kind that extends from a consumerist mindset. Accordingly, Chihiro’s parents are “modern masters.” They posses high end commodities (i.e. Audi vehicle) and endorse consumerism: “Akio Ogino: Don’t worry! You’ve got daddy here. He’s got credit cards and cash.” Thus, their transformative experience is a relentless punishment of material greed that spares no one, not even parents, figures of authority:

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Don’t be greedy!

Furthermore on the topic of overindulgence, this act is literarily illustrated twice within the film. Both occurrences are highly grotesque in nature. Filth and waste are the themes that arise the most during these sequences. In effect, an outcry towards the mismanagement food is related that figuratively equals the defilement of food. Keeping in mind the above-listed manners in which food is strongly valued in the film, the gluttony scenes of Spirited Away are essentially scenes in which food is rendered valueless. That is to say, food looses it aesthetic bearing and luster when flung about and hastily consumed. Also, food becomes a harming entity that convulsively distorts the body when it is uncontrollably handled:

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Gluttony: destruction of the self.

All in all, food in Hayao Miyazaki’s film titled Spirited Away is a flexible paradox. That is to say, food heals the body and soul when respected but as soon as it’s taken for granted, food dulls in nature and it distorts the body and mind in alarming ways.